The University of Cumbria Institute of the Arts, working with the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, is hosting an exhibition of sequential illustration based around the theme of walking, which launched last week with a guest lecture for students from top US comics artist Frank Santoro and an appearance by British comics creator Oliver East.
The exhibition, titled “Walking The Line“, is on at the recently opened Vallum Ditch Gallery on the University’s Cumbrian campus, and features Oliver’s internationally acclaimed comic strip work.
Oliver is one of a new wave of comic creators with a fine art training who takes both art and comics in uncharted directions. He gets his inspiration from walking long distances, along predetermined routes and creating comics that meditate on the experience. The exhibition showcases some of the original artwork that Oliver made for The Homesick Truant’s Cumbrian Yarn, published last year as a LICAF project, after he walked over 140 miles in 10 stages from Arnside train station to Carlisle train station, keeping as close as possible to the 30 or so stations that form the Cumbrian Coastal Train Line.
Intently observing his surroundings but without taking photos or making detailed sketches, he focused on the humdrum incidentals of the landscape and human activity. Later he drew and made comics, one for each stage of the journey and the end results, in dramatic monochrome, present not documentary images but closely involve the reader in a series of painterly soundscapes.
Accompanying the exhibition will be a selection of work from staff and BA Illustration students who have produced their own ‘walking’ creations inspired by Oliver’s methodology and approach.
Oliver visited the Brampton Road campus on Thursday 15th October to view the student work and officially open the exhibition, accompanied by San Francisco based artist/comic book creator and educator Frank Santoro, one of may international guests at this year’s LICAF, and gave a talk and ran a workshop with BA Graphic Design and Illustration students.
A short film on Oliver’s most recent project, which involved the retracing of a fantastical walk by an elephant and his keeper from Edinburgh to Manchester in the spring of 1872 (a route which passed through Cumbria) and entitled Take Me Back to Manchester (see news story for links), was showcased at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival last weekend.
• Walking the Line runs until Thursday 12th November 2015 at the Vallum Ditch Gallery, University of Cumbria Institute of the Arts at Brampton Road, Carlisle. Opening times: 10.00am to 4.00pm weekdays Monday to Friday
• BA Graphic Design/Illustration official course website: www.cumbria.ac.uk/graphicdesign
• Oliver East website: www.olivereast.com
• Lakes International Comic Art Festival: www.comicartfestival.com