By Gareth A. Hopkins and Erik Blagsvedt
272 Pages. Black and White. £15.00 – print on demand – available now
I like the odd and the strange. I like the challenging and the experimental. I like Found Forest Floor – and yet still it confuses me…
— I hope that it confuses the masses.
This is a comic. I will fight anyone and make them cry with witty/nasty sarcasm if they disagree with me. Read in an accommodating frame of mind this will equally enrich and frazzle your daily toil.
But I caution you, read it in small portions, for I fear that it may also infect your decision making.
When this graphic novel arrived through my letterbox, I was having a minor comics related crisis. What was happening in the UK small press? Where are the books that I expect to challenge me, I was wondering?
Then this angular arty word soup arrived… I haven’t put it down since.
“Found Forest Floor is a graphic novel which pairs abstract illustration and poetry to create a non-linear narrative,” we’re told in covering promtional information. “It is illustrated by Gareth A. Hopkins and written by Erik Blagsvedt.”
The history of the creation of this book does not, we’re also told, follow the ordinary creation of a comic…
“In 2016, David Quiles Guillo approached Gareth A Hopkins and Erik Blagsvedt to collaborate on an abstract graphic novel for his Abstract Editions publishing imprint.
“By design, Hopkins created 250 pages of abstract illustrations through a combination of traditional and digital methods which were then arranged in such a way that they suggested a narrative. These were used as inspiration by Blagsvedt to create blocks of poetry which were then edited and inserted into the artwork by Hopkins.”
The publisher then goes on to talk about interpretation as the important aspect of enjoying, and perhaps (as in my case) not understanding but relishing nevertheless what these creators have accomplished.
Cards on the table. I love this.
I love anything that gets you climbing out of your sandbox and giving something a go. I do not, and probably never will pretend to understand what is going on between the covers. However, I allow my mind to sit back and the images flex and grow around the often daft tribes of verse. The words are frivolous, diabolical, funny and often satirical. You are allowed to follow them in the same haphazard way your eye drinks in the black and white art. The combination has me grinning in the coffee shop I am currently writing in.
“alphabet tea in enormous tit purring alms…”
Hopkins has created the art from quite a personal space. His family, a park in Central London and beaches he has visited are some of the inspirations for his starkly spiky black on white art. He has a style that is both pleasing and challenging at once. He seemingly draws through instinct and a stripped down vision of the subject. Allow your focus to shift literally and figuratively as you follow the pages.
Like angular Rorschach tests by a less and honest psychologist I watch the line dance about. I am more than a little worried that this book is analysing me as I turn through it and dip ahead a little. I hope, genuinely hope, that Mr Hopkins and Mr Blagsvedt are having a secret joke on the reader. Assessing us as we assess them through this book.
I also want a “Prog Clock” – where do I find one?
Full Disclosure. After first reading this I headed off and took an online Rorschach test. The results were slightly disturbing to say the least.
Aha….. F*** It. Don’t read reviews. Just order this and try it for yourself! It may well improve your day.
This explains it far better than I ever can https://intercorstal.com/found-forest-floor/
Many thanks for reading.