Dave McKean’s multimedia performance of Black Dog returns to the Lakes International Comic Art Festival

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival has announced the return of its co-commission, premiered in 2016, Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash by Dave McKean, at this year’s Festival in September in Bowness-on-Windermere.

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

This multi-media performance combines visual storytelling, a captivating musical score and spoken word performance, offering a visual journey through the mind and experiences of artist Paul Nash, explored through the exceptional comic artwork. Dave McKean will perform live alongside collaborators Clare Haythornthwaite and Matthew Sharp.

Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash was commissioned by the 14-18 Now and The Lakes International Comic Art Festival, as part of a four-year slate of new artworks for the centenary commemorations of World War One. It is a graphic novel, and a live performance piece, covering the life of the British landscape artist Paul Nash during his time as an officer in Ypres, and how his experiences there changed his art and his character. 

“He went into the war a young, idealistic, romantic, rather wishy-washy symbolist, and emerged the other side a hardened, angry, expressive and committed socialist”, notes Dave McKean. “He didn’t label himself an ‘artist’, he had become a ‘messenger’. His calling, to show the people back home what had happened, what the truth of war means to the men caught up in it, to ‘wipe the cant and lies from English life’. And to show how the devastation we inflict on the land, on the natural world, reflects the scars and violence we inflict on each other.”

"A Night Bombardment" by Paul Nash | Image: National Gallery of Canada - Transfer from the Canadian War Memorials, 1921
“A Night Bombardment” by Paul Nash | Image: National Gallery of Canada – Transfer from the Canadian War Memorials, 1921

Paul Nash (11th May 1889 – 11th July 1946) was a British surrealist painter and war artist, as well as a photographer, writer and designer of applied art. Nash was among the most important landscape artists of the first half of the twentieth century. He played a key role in the development of Modernism in English art. The artworks he produced during World War One are among the most iconic images of the conflict. 

‘When I look at Paul Nash’s work, I always feel like I am watching a dream,” Dave has also said. “They feel like looking at the real world through the filter of his imagination.So many people lock their experiences of war away, don’t want to talk about it – but artists and writers can put that experience somewhere. You can really see that in Paul Nash’s work: his impressions of the people, the landscape and how that reflects the psychology of the experience. I think he absolutely nailed it.”

A graphic novel and a performance spanning many different media – comic art, music, graphic story-telling, projections and visual art, the performance has toured internationally to huge acclaim, including a sell-out performance at Tate Britain, as part of the Toronto Comic Art Festival in 2017 and as a closing performance at the Derby Book Festival in June 2017. It was awarded the Event of the Year at the Cumbria Life Culture Awards 2017.

Don’t miss the chance to see it in the intimate surroundings of the Old Laundry Theatre. Admittance to this performance is included in the price of the event’s Weekend Ticket.

Black Dog is one our proudest moments,” says Festival Director Julie Tait, “and a mesmerising and moving experience.”

Weekend tickets for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival are on sale now, and, separately, tickets for the Opening Night event, “Avengers – The Uncivil War”, have also gone on sale, a fun event that will see comic creator Emma Vieceli try and keep aspiring Avengers such as Yomi AyeniVIZ’s Graham DuryKeli LarkPieter de Poortere and Tom Richmond, and others to be announced, in line!

Supported by Arts Council England, the British Council, Creative Scotland and other funders, the Festival’s guest list includes creators such as Mohammad Sabaaneh, whose acclaimed work has been exhibited across the globe; Sean Phillips, whose crime title, Criminal, created with Ed Brubaker, is heading to the small screen; Junko Mizuno, whose art simply refuses to be categorised; Doctor Who comics and series storyboard artist Mike Collins; and graphic artist Victoria Lomasko, whose graphic reportage has earned acclaim across Europe and beyond.

The weekend will also host Britain’s first International Comics Rights Market where, akin to Europe’s Angouleme Festival, international publishers will meet British creators and publishers to consider their work for publication; the Lakeside Comics Marketplace, where independent creators will be selling comics, artwork and more; and many free Little LICAF events for young, aspiring creators to enjoy making comics and more.

The full programme of events at the Festival, running at various venues across Bowness-on-Windermere over 27th – 29th September will be revealed shortly.

The guest line-up is: Aimée De Jongh, Amy Tetteh, Benoit Dahan, Bobby Joseph, Bruno Redondo, Bryan Talbot, Cyril Lieron, Dagsson, Dan Panosian, Dave McKean, Emma Vieceli, Fumio Obata, Gigi Cavenago (TBC), Isabel Greenberg, Jacob Phillips, Jason Quinn, Jorge Fornés, Juanjo Guarnido, Junko Mizuno, Karel Osoha, Kate Charlesworth, Keli Lark, Kevin Eric Raymundo, Luke Healy, Marc Jackson, Mary Talbot, Mehdi Annassi, Michael Lark, Mike Collins, Mollie Ray, Nina Six, Paolo Herras, Patricia Ramos, Pieter De Poortere, Reetta Niemensivu, Sean Phillips, Terry Moore, Tom Richmond, Victoria Lomasko and the VIZ team.

Full details of each guest feature on the Festival website here, and there’s a guide to creators exhibiting at the Lakes Comics Marketplace here, too.

You can find details of tickets here on the Festival website and how to buy them

Dave McKean talks about the creation of “Black Dog” – both graphic novel and performance – here on his official website

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival returns to Bowness-on-Windermere Friday 27th – Sunday 29th September 2024 | Ticket details here

Black Dog: The Dreams Of Paul Nash (Second Edition, Dark Horse, 2021)

• The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is online at: www.comicartfestival.com | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Sign up for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival Newsletter

Buy Black Dog: The Dreams Of Paul Nash (Second Edition) from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

A new special edition with bonus material by Dave McKean. Best known for his collaborations with Neil Gaiman, McKean defied expectations with his stunning debut as writer and artist in Cages, winner of multiple awards for Best Graphic Album.

Dark Horse proudly presents a new original graphic novel by the legendary artist based on the life of Paul Nash, a surrealist painter during World War One. The Dreams of Paul Nash deals with real soldier’s memoirs, and all the stories will add up to be a moving piece about how war and extreme situations change us, how we deal with that pain, and, in Nash’s case, by turning his landscapes into powerful and fantastical psychoscapes.

Dave McKean

Dave McKean is an illustrator, photographer, graphic designer, filmmaker and musician. He is also one of the UK most acclaimed comic artists.

His work incorporates drawing, painting, photography, collage, found objects, digital art and sculpture.

Dave McKean
Dave McKean. Photo: Vernon Nash

McKean’s projects include illustrating comics by authors such as Neil Gaiman (Violent Cases, The Sandman series, The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr Punch) and Grant Morrison (Batman – Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth).

He has directed three feature films and created innovative performances for the stage incorporating graphic art, music and spoken word, including Black Dog – The Dreams of Paul Nash, commissioned to commemorate the 100th centenary of World War One and performed worldwide, including on the Somme, in Kendal and at Tate Britain.

Gilgamesh - art by and © Dave McKean
Gilgamesh – art by and © Dave McKean

His more recent projects include the comic Raptor, published in 2021. Hamish Hamilton announced in June 2024 that it has signed up a graphic novel project bringing together best selling nature writer Robert Macfarlane actor-musician Johnny Flynn and artist Dave McKean to retell the Epic of Gilgamesh, the epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia.

The graphic novel wil tell “both the tale, then, and the tale of the tale”, with one strand the epic itself of the god-king Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu who journey to the Sacred Cedar Wood; a second strand revolves around George Smith, the auto-didact, working-class genius who in the 1860s taught himself to read the ancient cuneiform script, and became the first modern translator of Gilgamesh.

The three-way collaboration has its roots in a story-song show, “Lost In The Cedar Wood”, that Macfarlane and Flynn created in 2021. That show in turn began as an album of the same name that the pair released in 2022.

Dave McKean Online

Web: davemckean.com
Twitter: @DaveMcKean
Instagram: @davemckeanhourglass

Clare Haythornthwaite and Matthew Sharp

Matthew Sharp, Dave McKean and Clare Haythornthwaite (Black Dog Performance)

Having started playing the violin at the age of seven because a second violin was needed in the family string quartet, Clare Haythornthwaite, who is Leader of the Cranbrook Symphony Orchestra, soon discovered the joys of music-making.  She led her school orchestra from age 12 to 17, played with the Berkshire Youth Orchestra (regularly in the Royal Albert Hall) and then Leeds University orchestra, toured Europe with the Windsor & Maidenhead Symphony Orchestra and since then has played with various other orchestras and string quartets, including a local quartet, The Purple Ladies, that plays for all occasions. She has performed nationally and internationally.

Clare teaches musicianship, recorder, ukulele and violin part time and runs the family multimedia business with her husband Dave McKean: everything from paperwork to photography, painting to performing, posing costumed to nude.  

When not playing classical music, Clare loves to dance and play folk music with various folk bands, currently with Re-Jigged, playing and as a caller.

Clare has lost count of the number of years she has played in the Cranbrook Symphony Orchestra, but she started before her children were born. Now that they have flown the nest, she finally has had more time to perform and feels honored to take on leading the orchestra that has brought such joy over so many years.

Musician Matthew Sharp

“Virtuoso of the arts” (The Times), Matthew Sharp has performed worldwide as solo cellist, baritone, actor and director: solo appearances with the RPO, LPO, RLPO, CBSO; singing principal roles for the Royal Opera House and Opera North; acting principal roles at the Young Vic and National Theatre Studio; directing for the BBC and Opera North. From Glastonbury to Glyndebourne, Sydney Opera House to Wigmore Hall, he has worked with an extraordinary spectrum of leading artists from Sir John Tavener to Marta Eggert to Dave McKean to Caryl Churchill.

His own music and theatre works have toured to major festivals globally. He has given over sixty world premieres and recorded for Sony, EMI, Decca, Naxos, Somm, NMC, Avie and Whirlwind.

Matthew Sharp is online at matthewsharp.net

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival returns to Bowness-on-Windermere Friday 27th – Sunday 29th September 2024 | Ticket details here

Categories: British Comics, Comics, Digital Media, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Events, Other Worlds

Tags: , , , , , ,

Discover more from downthetubes.net

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading