Dave McKean’s Black Dog: Artwork Sneak Peek, Kendal premiere tickets selling fast

Black Dog – The Dreams of Paul Nash - Sample Art 1
Art © 2016 Dave McKean

A selection of previously unseen artwork and the names of international musical collaborators have been announced in advance of the world premiere performance of Black Dog – the Dreams of Paul Nash by Dave McKean in May.

Co-commissioned by the Lakes International Comic Art Festival and 14-18 NOW, the UK’s official arts programme for the World War One centenary, Black Dog – The Dreams of Paul Nash is a multimedia performance and new graphic novel by illustrator, comic artist, filmmaker and musician Dave McKean.

Black Dog – The Dreams of Paul Nash - Sample Art 2
Art © 2016 Dave McKean
Black Dog – The Dreams of Paul Nash - Sample Art 3
Art © 2016 Dave McKean

The artwork showcases Dave McKean’s diverse illustrative style and, as we previously reported, explores the work of Paul Nash, one of the most important British artists of the twentieth century, whose First World War experiences inspired him to create paintings of disturbing, lasting power.

Black Dog – The Dreams of Paul Nash by Dave McKean was co-commissioned by The Lakes International Comic Art Festival, On a Marche sur la Bulle and 14-18 NOW WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The commission is also supported by Kendal College, Kendal Business Improvement District and South Lakeland District Council.

The graphic novel by Dave McKean, one of the iconic figures of the UK comic art world, will be released in two editions – a limited edition in May and a full publication in October at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival (14-16 October 2016). Art from the project will feature in Dave’s performance at Kendal Town Hall on 28th May 2016 as part of the 14-18 NOW programme – and we’re told tickets for this world premiere are selling fast, so book now.

Black Dog – The Dreams of Paul Nash - Sample Art 4
Art © 2016 Dave McKean
Black Dog – The Dreams of Paul Nash - Sample Art 5
Art © 2016 Dave McKean

The evening will feature projections, animated illustrations, live music and narration, along with artwork from the Black Dog graphic novel which will also be launched on the evening, with a collector’s edition available to purchase on the night.

Musician Matthew Sharp
Musician Matthew Sharp

Musical collaborators performing include Matthew Sharp who has performed worldwide as a solo cellist, baritone and actor. Active as a solo cellist, bass-baritone, actor and director, Sharp, who is Artist-in-Association with the English Symphony Orchestra, has given solo performances at the Glastonbury and Latitude festivals, as well as performing with many international orchestras.

Ashley Slater
Ashley Slater

Ashley Slater is a UK-based trombone player and singer, best known for his work with Fatboy Slim, Norman Cook and the band Freak Power. He has also recently performed with Elvis Costello and Debbie Harry.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the Lakes International Comic Art Festival to present this unique performance and new graphic novels by the hugely talented Dave McKean,” commented Jenny Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW. “14-18 NOW aims to encourage people to pause and reflect on the impact of the First World War through art, and it is wonderful that we are able to give visitors to, and residents of, the Lake District the chance to do this.”

“The quality of the artwork Dave McKean is producing for Black Dog – the Dreams of Paul Nash is truly astonishing,” enthuses Julie Tait, Director, Lakes International Comic Art Festival. “We are thrilled to be bringing the world premiere performance to Kendal; this is a major new work by one of the most creative minds in the comic world.”

14-18 NOW is a programme of extraordinary arts experiences connecting people with the First World War, as part of the UK’s official centenary commemorations. It aims to engage as many people as possible with the First World War, exploring how the war has impacted on the society we live in now. 14-18 NOW commissions new work by leading contemporary artists from all art forms, inspired by the period 1914-1918.

The commemorative period is marked by three key seasons – the first season centred around 4 August 2014 (Anniversary of the Declaration of War), the second is March to November 2016 (anniversary of the Battle of Somme) and the last in 2018 (centenary of Armistice Day). 14-18 NOW is responsible for the UK tour of the iconic poppy sculptures by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper.

14-18 NOW is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England, by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and by additional fundraising.  14-18 NOW has commissioned over 80 artworks to date that have been seen by over 20 million people.

• Tickets for the premiere in Kendal on 28th May 2016 are available through the Brewery Arts Centre box office (tel: 01539 725 133) or website

• Additional performances will be held in France over the summer before the performance returns to Cumbria for the graphic novel launch in October

• For more about 14-18 NOW visit: www.1418now.org.uk

• Lakes International Comic Art Festival: www.comicartfestival.com

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", working as a freelance editor, as Creative Consultant on the new Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years. His credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel UK and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines. He also edited STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics, including Team M.O.B.I.L.E. and The Beatles Story. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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