With just a month to go before this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival (17th – 19th October 2014), Kendal is already abuzz about comics as local galleries and businesses host a number of free comic-related exhibitions.
While art by Festival patron Sean Phillips has been gracing the walls of local cafe Baba Ganoush for a while now, two major comic exhibitions are now open at the Brewery Arts Centre, the Festival’s lead venue.
“Drawing on Japan” featuring the work of Glyn Dillon, Junko Mizuno and Fumio Obata has taken over the venue’s Intro Bar and Warehouse Café, while “The Universe Within“, an exhibition focusing on the work of top Marvel and Image artist Doug Braithwaite, is on display in the Brewery’s Sugar Store Gallery.
“The exhibition is a retrospective of my career,’ says Doug, whose recent credits include Storm Dogs for US publisher Image and UNITY and Armor Hunters for Valiant, “from my first foray into the comic book business through to some of my current projects.
“You can see my progression as an artist through the years and there will be examples of work displayed that should give the viewers a bit of an insight into my working process.”
“The Great War in Comics” opens at the prestigious Abbot Hall Gallery on 28th September (running until 6th December), featuring art from ‘Charley’s War’ by Joe Colquhoun, ‘White Death’ by Charlie Adlard and ‘Ghosts of Passchendaele’ by Ivan Petrus. While you’ll be able to visit this terrific exhibition for free over the Festival weekend if you have a ticket for any Festival event, there is an admission charge to the Gallery at any other time.
“The Magic of Metaphrog” featuring the work of one of Scotland’s most innovative comic art teams opens in Kendal Library on 1st October, exhibiting pages from their hand-painted graphic novels Louis – Night Salad and Louis – Red Letter Day, along with brand new material from their forthcoming graphic novel to be released by Papercutz in 2015.
At the end of this month, comics will take over shop windows across the town with the “Windows Trail“, involving both business and locals with the creation of fun displays of comics and comic-related ephemera. The aim of this is to draw the local community into the enthusiasm visiting comic creators have for their art, echoing similar ‘outreach’ work that is part and parcel of long-establish European comic festivals such as Angouleme.
Over the Festival Weekend, Ruskin’s Bar will celebrate 75 Years of Batman with artworks inspired by the character, designed by students of Kendal College; art by Oliver East will grace the Brewery’s Studio Theatre, created as part of the Festival-backed “Cumbrian Yarn” project; and the VIZ comic team will be exhibiting work from the comic as part of “VIZ UnMasked” in Elephant’s Yard.
Artist Doug Braithwaite has high praise for the Lakes Festival after being one of the guests last year, and is looking forward to returning to the town in October.
“For those trying to break in to the industry, festivals and cons are great for meeting other creators who are also trying to break in,” he feels. “Writers meet artists they can collaborate with, ideas get bandied about, they’re places of creativity where you’ll make some lifelong friends.
“They’re also places where you can meet the established creators and talk to them and, if you’re lucky, you might get your work looked at by an editor. They are great places to network, make friends and contacts and generally absorb some of what the industry is about.”
• Tickets for all the events at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival (17th – 19th October) are on sale now. For the full guest list, details of events and exhibitions and bookings visit: www.comicartfestival.com
• The full festival programme has also released. You can now view the full festival programme online here on Issuu
Sean Phillips at Baba Ganoush
Unit 4, Berrys Yard 27, Finkle Street, Kendal LA9 4AB. Web: www.baba-ganoush.co.uk
Please check Baba Ganoush website for opening times. Free
A selection of images from last year’s fantastic The Art of Sean Phillips exhibition in one of Kendal’s top cafés, to help raise local awareness of this year’s upcoming Festival
The Universe Within: The Art of Doug Braithwaite
The Sugar Store Gallery, The Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal. Web: www.breweryarts.co.uk
Runs until 26th October 2014. Free
Explore top comic artist Doug’s working process, as well as see some of his finished artwork, and find out why he is considered to be a truly “fine” artist both within and beyond the comic art world.
More Info: www.comicartfestival.com/brewery-arts-centre
Drawing on Japan
Intro Bar and Warehouse Café, Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal (usual opening hours)
Runs until 26th October 2014. Free
Three acclaimed international artists exhibit work which draws on Japan for their influence, style and inspiration : Glyn Dillon, Junko Mizuno and Fumio Obata.
The Magic of Metaphrog
Kendal Library, Stricklandgate, Kendal (usual opening hours)
1st – 31st October 2014. Free
Multiple-award-nominated Metaphrog will be exhibiting pages from their hand-painted graphic novels Louis – Night Salad and Louis – Red Letter Day, along with brand new material from their forthcoming graphic novel to be released by Papercutz in 2015.
Oliver East :The Homesick Truant’s Cumbrian Yarn
Studio Theatre, Brewery Arts Centre and The Factory, Kendal
17 – 19th October 2014. Free
Oliver East is one of a new wave of comic creators who takes both art and comics in uncharted directions. East gets his energy from being out on the road, from following a predetermined path and taking what chance and the elements throw at him. During the harsh winter and of 2014 Oliver began his most ambitious project to date.
Commissioned by the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, East walked over 140 miles in 10 stages from Arnside train station to Carlisle train station taking in the 30+ train stations that form the Cumbrian Coastal Train Line. Keeping as close as possible to the train line and intently observing his surroundings but without taking photos or making detailed sketches, East focused on the humdrum incidentals of the landscape and human activity. Later he drew and made comics, one for each stage of the journey. The end results, in dramatic monochrome, are not documentary but revelatory.
Windows on Comic Art Trail 2014
Taking over the windows of over 30 businesses stretching across the town, from Youdells to Kendal Fisheries and Oxfam to Waterstones
3rd to 24th October. Free
The Great War in Comics
Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal. Web: www.abbothall.org.uk
28th September – 6th December 2014, Monday – Saturday 10.30am – 5.00pm, Sunday 19 October noon – 4.00pm. Free entry with any festival ticket 17-19th October (Entry fee applies outside of festival allowing access to all exhibitions)
Marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, Abbot Hall Art Gallery and the Lakes International Comic Art Festival bring together for the first time the work of three internationally-acclaimed artists who have shed new light on this conflict through the medium of comic art: Charlie Adlard, Joe Colquhoun and Ivan Petrus.
More Info: www.comicartfestival.com/abbot-hall-gallery
Elephant’s Yard, Kendal, 17th – 19th October. Free
The ever-irreverent VIZ team are promoting their Lakes Festival exhibition plans with this satirical take on the British Library’s recent Comics UnMasked poster by Jamie Hewlett.
More Info: www.comicartfestival.com/viz-unmasked
The Batcave at Ruskin’s Bar
Ruskins Bar, Yard 2, Stricklandgate, Kendal LA9 4ND. Web: www.ruskinsbar.com
Opening Times: Friday 17th October 5.00 pm – 1.00 am | Saturday 18th October 10.30am – 1.00am (family-friendly until 5.00pm) | Sunday 19th October 11.00am – 1.00am (family-friendly until 5.00pm)
Quickly… To The BatCave! Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the weird and wonderful world of Batman where the Lakes Festival goes a bit batty with an installation created by the multi-talented creative arts students (past and present) of award-winning Kendal College. Experience the mystery and atmosphere of the BatCave, come and meet the Dark Knight himself and some of the characters that make up this legendary story.
More Info: www.comicartfestival.com/ruskins
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.