The 327th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  February 22, 2022 at 7pm EST. ONLINE PRESENTATION VIA ZOOM. Please email comicssymposium@gmail.com to register for this event. Free and open to the public.

Through the eye of Clara Bessijelle.

A chronological look inside the world of Clara Bessijelle’s comics. A world where Face Man, The Doctor, Lobster King and other strange characters wreak havoc!

Clara Bessijelle Johansson is a cartoonist born in Stockholm, Sweden.

Her work is usually about odd characters who spend their time in richly illustrated environments. Clara has published comics and has been anthologized in both European and American publications. Her comic Face Man, published by Domino Books, was nominated for The Ignatz Awards as Promising New Talent 2012.

The 326thd meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  February 15, 202s at 7pm EST. ONLINE PRESENTATION VIA ZOOM. Please email comicssymposium@gmail.com to register for this event. Free and open to the public.

Drawing Life with George Booth, a short documentary screening and conversation.

Following a virtual screening of the short documentary Drawing Life about the iconic cartoonist George Booth, we will have a discussion with filmmaker Nathan Fitch and cartoonists Seth Fleishman, Brendan Loper and Emily Collins about Booth’s work and influence. https://www.nathan-fitch.com

Seth Fleishman is a professional cartoonist, songwriter, and musician. Since 2016, his cartoons have appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, and Reader’s Digest. His original song, “I Don’t Look Good Naked Anymore” (Snake Oil Willie Band), reached #2 on the Billboard Comedy chart in 2014. The creator of GratefulGuitarLessons.com, he is also a recognized authority on the music of the Grateful Dead.

Brendan Loper is a cartoonist from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He earned his BFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA in studio art from American University. He lives in Columbia, South Carolina.

Emily Collins is an artist/director/producer from Brooklyn, NY. She is the co-founder of animation company Mighty Oak. She has over 13 years of experience creating animation and working with animation teams. Over the years, Emily has developed a love for communicating and sharing the art of animation to all ages of animators and artists. She has taught, directed, and produced everything from animation classes to short films. 

Nathan Fitch is a filmmaker and visual journalist based in Brooklyn, New York. He’s currently completing his feature length documentary, ISLAND SOLDIER Nathan is a member of the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective; his award-winning work has been published by The New Yorker, The New York Times, TIME magazine, NPR, and The National Film Board of Canada, to name a few. He holds an MFA in documentary storytelling from Hunter college, where he was the recipient of the prestigious James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. Nathan served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Micronesia, and has an enduring fondness for Breadfruit. https://www.nathan-fitch.com

The 325th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  February 8, 2022 at 7pm EST. ONLINE PRESENTATION VIA ZOOM. Please email  comicssymposium@gmail.com  to register for this event. Free and open to the public.

Patrick W. Galbraith on Erotic Comics in Japan: An Introduction to Eromanga

Comics and cartoons from Japan, or manga and anime, are by now a common feature of popular culture around the world. While it is often observed that these media forms appeal to broad and diverse demographics, including many adults, eroticism continues to unsettle critics and has even triggered legal action in some jurisdictions. Increased visibility of a wide range of manga and anime, including erotic variants, has led to deepening suspicion, public outrage and calls for strengthening regulation, if not banning some content out right. Erotic comics, or eromanga, are most often held up as examples of the extremes and violations of manga, anime and even the nation of Japan itself. International tensions around manga as popular culture and policed content raise questions about freedom of expression and its limits. With such issues in mind, this talk presents the English translation of Nagayama Kaoru’s Erotic Comics in Japan: An Introduction to Eromanga (Amsterdam University Press, 2020). The goal is to open up the book’s content, as well as its ethical project and politics, for discussion and informed debate.

Patrick W. Galbraith is an Associate Professor in the School of International Communication at Senshu University in Tokyo. His recent publications include Otaku and the Struggle for Imagination in Japan (Duke University Press, 2019) and The Ethics of Affect: Lines and Life in a Tokyo Neighborhood (Stockholm University Press, 2021). He is the co-translator of Erotic Comics in Japan: An Introduction to Eromanga (Amsterdam University Press, 2020). 

The 324th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  February 1, 2022 at 7pm ET. ONLINE PRESENTATION VIA ZOOM. Please email  comicssymposium@gmail.com  to register for this event. Free and open to the public.

Michael Frei: Playing with Animation

“What is the difference between an animated film and a game?” Possible answers differ depending on the aspects we are looking at. There is a difference in form, in the process of creating it, in how it is presented and in how the audience is involved. When filmmakers talk about interactivity, they often make the following conclusion: film is linear while games are non-linear. We might imagine “interactive films” as having a branching structure and the interaction itself as the act of making decisions. It can be rather unsatisfying to just make a story decision – because every decision for something turns out to be a decision against its alternative. What I find much more satisfying, is the intangible, tactile sensation experienced when interacting. How the materiality of a virtual world reveals itself only through the interactions of a player. If animation gives you the illusion of life, interactivity might give you the illusion of choice.

Michael Frei is an artist/director based in Zürich, Switzerland. Best know for his projects Plug & Play (2013-2015) and KIDS (2019). He is born in Appenzell, Switzerland in 1987. Falls on his head a few times. Does an apprenticeship as draftsman from 2002-06 because he is very good at drawing straight lines. Goes on to study animation in Lucerne and Tallinn where he unlearns drawing. He takes many baths when he is invited Animation Artist in Residence in Tokyo 2014. In 2015 he co-founds Playables, a production company for his and other peculiar projects.

The 323rd meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  January 25, 2022 at 7pm ET. ONLINE PRESENTATION VIA ZOOM. Please email comicssymposium@gmail.com to register for this event. Free and open to the public.

Sasha Svirsky: Chaos as a method. 

Sharing experience of an artist in animation without having been trained as a professional animator. Animation, as an area with a wide range of possibilities. Especially for those who are interested in producing visual content. Is it possible to make films without resorting to plots or storyboards? Embarking on a journey with an undetermined end. I am going to talk about my approach to animation and some practical issues such as software usage. 

Sasha Svirsky was born in 1980. Graduated from Grekov Art College in Rostov-on-Don, Russia as a painter. A self-taught animator. In 2008, he began work as an independent animation film director. During this time, he has created more than 30 animation shorts. He develops his own artistic language by mixing media and continues to make graphical artworks, paintings, and collages. In his animation, he uses a method of improvisation and challenges stereotypes. 

Two of his last films were premiered on Berlinale Short. Has numerous awards of international festivals.  

Currently based in Moscow, Russia.

poster for Sasha Svirsky’s latest film “Vadim on a walk” (2021)

Click to enlarge

The 322nd meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  December 7, 2021 at 7pm ET. ONLINE PRESENTATION VIA ZOOM. Please email comicssymposium@gmail.com to register for this event. Free and open to the public.

Jessica Brantley on Elephant and Castle and Reynard the Fox: Media-Consciousness in a Late-Medieval Prayerbook

Late-medieval books of hours were the most popular forms of personal media in their era:  the first book a family or an individual would likely own, these prayerbooks were read multiple times a day, and often were used to teach literacy to children. But if books of hours were foundational to fourteenth- and fifteenth-century literate culture, what do their forms reveal about the nature of late-medieval reading? Books of hours were often elaborately illustrated, making questions about the relation of text to image central to their construction. This presentation will examine the ways in which text and image interact in the experience of reading Walters MS W.102, an English book of hours made c. 1300. Replete with unusual texts in Latin and French, as well as numerous complicated images and image-sequences, this book implies a remarkable level of media-consciousness in both its production and its reception.

Jessica Brantley is Professor and Chair of the English Department at Yale University. Her first book, Reading in the Wilderness: Private Devotion and Public Performance in Late Medieval England (Chicago, 2007), shows that the format of a late-medieval miscellany reveals surprising connections between the private reading of a meditative lyric and the public performance of civic drama. Other projects in process include a forthcoming handbook on Medieval Manuscripts and Literary Forms and a monograph provisionally entitled The Medieval Imagetext:  A Literary History of the Book of Hours.

image from Walters MS W.102

The 321st meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  Nov. 30, 2021 at 7pm ET. ONLINE PRESENTATION VIA ZOOM. Please email comicssymposium@gmail.com to register for this event. Free and open to the public.

Douglas Fordham: Between Caricature and Ethnography: The Illustrated Travel Book circa 1800

Art historians love categories, and there is a sizable art-historical literature dealing with caricature, on the one hand, and travel/ethnographic art on the other. But how clear was the distinction between “objective” ethnographic observation and visual satire for contemporary British consumers? Focusing on printmaking, and more specifically the medium of aquatint, this talk examines moments when the line blurred in late Georgian Britain.

Douglas Fordham is Professor and Department Chair of the Art Department at the University of Virginia. He is a co-editor of Art and the British Empire (MUP, 2007), and author of British Art and the Seven Years’ War: Allegiance and Autonomy (UPenn, 2010). His most recent book, Aquatint Worlds: Travel, Print, and Empire (Yale, 2019), examines the emergence of the aquatint travel book in Britain and the significant role that the format played in shaping British conceptions of India, Africa, and China.

Thomas Medland after Samuel Daniell, “A Boor’s wife taking her coffee,” 1806, aquatint and etching with hand-colouring, in John Barrow’s Travels into the Interior of Southern Africa

The 320th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  November 23, 2021 at 7pm ET. ONLINE PRESENTATION VIA ZOOM. Please email  comicssymposium@gmail.com  to register for this event. Free and open to the public.

Peter Blegvad on his new book, Imagine, Observe, Remember (Uniformbooks).

Designed by Colin Sackett, its 250 profusely illustrated pages document an extraordinary life-long epistemological illustration project. In this talk Blegvad will discuss the project using the book as a guide.

“When one looks into the darkness there is always something there.” — W. B. Yeats. 

When one looks into one’s own interior there is always mental imagery. Imagine, Observe, Remember looks at the looking we do with the mind’s eye, offering practical exercises for the development of this mysterious faculty. The book is also a memoir, a portrait of the artist as he develops his craft from what is possibly his first drawing to his current status of seasoned practitioner. It is furthermore a series of meditations, observations, quotes, images and instructions that will constitute a valuable resource for artists, writers, teachers and any reader who agrees that the uncharted wilderness within is worthy of exploration.

Peter Blegvad – writer, artist, songwriter, broadcaster – was born in NYC in 1951 and is currently based in London.  He taught creative writing at Warwick University for many years, and was Senior Tutor in Visual Writing at the Royal College of Art.

An introduction to the Imagine, Observe, Remember project is online here: http://www.amateur.org.uk

Blegvad’s book Imagine, Observe, Remember is published by Uniforrmbooks: https://colinsackett.co.uk/uniformbooks.php

Related works have been exhibited in Kunstverein Hannover and Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (2004), in the Kunsthalle Luzern (2007), in Extra City, Antwerp (2010) and elsewhere. His comic strip, “The Book of Leviathan,” is published by Sort Of Books and the Overlook Press (in English) and is also available in Mandarin, Cantonese and French. His latest album is ‘Go Figure’ (2017) on the ReR MegaCorp label.

The 319th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 at 2pm ET. ONLINE PRESENTATION VIA ZOOM. Please email comicssymposium@gmail.com to register for this event. Free and open to the public. PLEASE NOTE 2 PM ET START FOR THIS TALK!

Catherine Anyango Grünewald: How will we know what to remember?

Catherine will speak about her graphic novel and drawing practice, which she uses to explore the interweaving of time, space and memory. In her work she is interested in using visual storytelling and comics as a way to study the other and the unknown, the visualization of the breakdown of order within a system, and how images change form over time, with images and identities haunting multiple types of production. She willdemonstrate how a graphic adaptation of classic texts can place a new understanding of existing material, and how she uses the format to underline emotional undercurrents in written material.

In times of political and social extremism, nostalgia and the rewriting of history into ideals creates a reality that lacks specificity. Memory becomes oversimplified, generalised and reduced. Visual storytelling can remind people of the specificity of reality and the importance of remembering, envisioning and articulating our lives and the lives of others. Through her graphic novels Heart of Darkness, Scandorama, Terminal and Dead Man Walking Catherine will investigate nostalgia and haunting, revisit eugenic and colonial histories and explore the use of drawing to remember and memorialise contemporary victims of crimes. 

Catherine Anyango Grünewald (born 1982, Swedish/Kenyan) is an internationally exhibited artist and lecturer. In 2010 her graphic novel adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness was published to critical acclaim and has been translated into eight languages. In 2018 she illustrated Scandorama, a dystopian Scandinavian graphic novel written by Hannele Mikaela Taivassalo, and her own upcoming graphic novel 2×2 explores the physical effects of guilt and corruption. She is also currently working on a graphic novel adaptation of Sister Helen Prejean’s Dead Man Walking which will be published by Random House in 2022. Catherine’s drawing work uses the materiality of drawing tools to explore meaning, exploiting the physical properties of pencil and eraser to render events with realism, but to also explore unseen dimensions. Her drawings tackle the historical and contemporary systemic oppression of characters who have been marginalised and underrepresented. The process and labour invested in the work is a direct homage to the subjects, victims of violent domestic or institutional crimes. In 2019 she was awarded the Navigator Art on Paper Prize, the largest award for work on paper in the world. Catherine taught at the Royal College of Art in London for ten years and is now a Senior Lecturer in Illustration at Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm.