Odding Wang Talks About Sequential Art and Monogatari.

Odding’s adorable avatar

The first time I met Odding was at the Sequential Art Meetup in July, but we never got a chance to talk. During the set-up for the Monogatari exhibition at Tokyo Chapter in October, we discovered we had a lot in common–especially coffee and mushrooms. Odding’s delicate graphite images for her Monogatari contribution, “Here,” add a wonderful facet to the amazing artwork in the issue. Checkout the Q &A with Odding below.

How long have your been making sequential art?
For decades, since I was around 5 or 6.

What do you like about sequential art compared to other forms of expression?
I think sequential art opens up many possibilities, comparing to single frame images, since it brings fragments of time in itself; Comparing to moving images like movies or animation, it gives the reader freedom of setting your own pace; Comparing to literature, like novels or poetry, sometimes it speaks more with less words or even only visual elements. I like all the above forms as well but I think sequential art definitely has its own unique charm and more potential to be explored.

What inspired your story for Monogatari?
“Here” was about a real story, well, it wasn’t even a story, just a little fragment of memories, when I first moved to my current place and found this little old motsuyaki store, run by a small old lady with (probably) her son, the lady was always smiling and I could tell that she was a very honest and sweet person. One day I noticed a bamboo dragonfly on top of the shelf in the store and she realized that I was interested in it, so she took it down and let me play with it. Back then I couldn’t speak any Japanese, so our communication was basically gestures and smiles. I’m always fascinated with old places and old people, and this kind of little stories always brings me lots of warmth at heart.

What are you most proud of in your story?
I’m proud of its honesty, even though it was a mixture of reality and imagination. The point is whenever I read it myself, I can still feel the same kind of warmth as I did in the little store.

What was the biggest challenge in making your story?
Telling the story without words would be one of the biggest challenges, as I did in my other stories too. I was worried that readers won’t be able to fully understand it, but actually they don’t even have to. The story itself is beyond language barrier, and I think I’m quite satisfied with it. Another challenge would be fitting the artwork into A5 size space without losing much details, and I think the editor and printers did a good job on that.

Do you have any favorite stories or sequential artists that you recommend to readers?
My all time favourite would be Chris Ware, then Jon McNaught, whose way of storytelling kind of inspired “Here”. Besides those two, I’d also recommend Lisa Hanawalt and Nick Drnaso. For books I recommend “The Photographer” by Didier Lefèvre and Emmanuel Guibert; and “Here” by Richard McGuire (Haha my story in Monogatari has nothing to do with this book).

Where can people find out more about your work?
You can check out: www.oddingwang.com, or follow me on Instagram: @odding

Interview with Julia Nascimento About Sequential Art and Monogatari.

I met Julia Nascimento last year when she came to an Art Byte Critique meeting. She showed us her books and her illustrations and I was blown away. One of the things I love about Julia is her vision and her drive to create not just art, but community. She has enriched the Tokyo art community by setting up the Sequential Art Meetup. Many thanks to Julia for taking the time to answer questions about her art and collaborative process with Craig Atkinson for their Monogatari story, “Little Key.”

Julia-Nascimento-artist-illustrator-indie-creatorHow long have your been making sequential art?
I’ve been telling stories visually since I was very young. But it only got serious when I started FE&JUada Comics with Felipe Kolb Bernardes, which is a series about our life as a foreign couple living in Japan.

What do you like about sequential art compared to other forms of expression?
I really enjoy being able to use images and words together, and balancing how I use them depending on which way I want to tell a particular story.

What inspired your story for monogatari?
This time I collaborated with a local writer, Craig Atkinson. He provided the text about a lost key in Shibuya and I created four illustrations for it.
When Erica Ward and I decided the theme for ToCo’s second issue was going to be “monogatari”, we agreed that the focus should be inanimate objects, rather than people. Shibuya always represented a kind of sea of people for me, and I tried to depict people as a form of landscape, once the main subject of the story is a key.

What are you most proud of in your story?
To be honest what I’m most proud of is the fact we were able to put together such an amazing book with thirteen stories! I took the first printing test with me to read during a long overseas flight and it was extra special to read it up in the air. The stories are so different from each other yet they give the reader a great feeling of diversity that Tokyo has.

What was the biggest challenge in making your story?
Working in the same piece with another person is always a challenge, both sides need to be in tune for the partnership to be successful. At first I thought of drawing the story in panels, but the text I received from Craig was nothing close to what I imagined as comics, and I didn’t wanted to force the story into something it was not. So I had to figure out a way to display the text on my illustrations in a meaningful way for the storytelling itself.

Do you have any favorite stories or sequential artists that you recommend to readers?
I do! I love Julia Wertz’s brutally honest comics (plus she does an amazing job drawing interior), Sarah Glidden‘s journalistic watercolor comics, and Carson Ellis‘ whimsical picture books. I’m also a huge fan of Daniel Clowes and Adrien Tomine. Guy Delisle‘s comics diaries abroad are also a delight! As for Japanese authors, I love Yukari Takinami‘s “Rinshi!! Ekoda-chan”, Junji Ito‘s “Uzumaki”, and Katsuhiro Otomo‘s “Akira” was probably my first encounter with manga in my uncle’s storage boxes when I was around five or six years old.

Where can people find out more about your work?
You can find me on Instagram, Tumblr, Bigcartel for my shop, and on Carbonmade for my portfolio. My autobiographical comics FE&JUada is on Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and Bigcartel under @feijuadacomics.

Reading Between the Lines–An Art-Book And Zines Exhibition at Launch Pad Gallery

In September, Art Byte Critique artists collaborated with artists from the UK for joint art book exhibitions in two countries. “Reading Between the Lines” at Launch Pad Gallery in Yokohama ran from September 21-October 1, 2018. “Turning the Page” was at Paper 2 gallery in Manchester from September 29-October November 3, 2018.

Joan Birket of St. Helens in the UK developed the connection to Tokyo-based Art Byte Critique to develop relationships and collaborations. The two groups have had previous collaborations in St. Helens, UK,  at Heart of Glass  and Eccleston Community Library for for World Book Day.

Arthur Huang, Art Byte Critique founder, wrote an excellent summary of “Reading Between the Lines”

We would like to thank everyone who came out over the last two weeks to see the exhibition, attend the reception party, listen to artist talks, participate in bookmaking workshops, talk with artists, and most importantly, spend quality time with all the artists’ books created by 20 artists.

It was deeply inspiring and satisfying to see people discovering the book arts for the first time, donning white gloves to pore over the works, finding inspiration in the workshops, and talking about the works and the process.

A big thank you to Fred and Ling from Launch Pad Gallery for giving us the opportunity to put this exhibition together. Their support and enthusiasm for this exhibition was priceless. Thank you to all the Art Byte Critique artists for amazing work and their collective effort in putting on a beautiful, fun, and engaging exhibition supplemented with artist talks and workshops!

Thank you to all the Northwest England artists for sharing their works with us and getting up early to have a great conversation about the book arts and creativity.

It has been an amazing two weeks and we look forward to future opportunities to share our love for book arts in the near future.

While “Reading Between The Lines” at Launch Pad Gallery closed at the beginning of October, Art Byte Critique and Northwest England Artists books were on display at PAPER 2 Gallery in Manchester for the “Turning the Page” artist book exhibition until November 3rd.

It’s been great to meet Fred and Ling at Launch Pad Gallery and to get to know the British artists and talk about books. I look forward to connecting and collaborating with them more often.

COMING SOON: Check this link to see images provided from the reception of Turning the Page at PAPER 2 Gallery

Find out more about the participating artists by clicking the links below:
Jane Barwood
Joan Birkett
Paul Cousins
Deanna Gabiga
Arthur Huang
Patty Hudak
Mariko Jesse
Yuko Kamei
A.J. Malone
Jeni McConnell
Carol Miller
Julia Nascimento
Lyle Nisenholz
Mia O
Lori Ono
Jacqui Priestley
Louise Rouse
Yvonne Tinsley
Claire Weetman
Nick West

Interview With Jessica Whitfield About Sequential Art and Monogatari

Jessica is one of the collaborating artists in Monogatari. We didn’t have the chance to meet as she couldn’t make it to the release party. Her story about the Romance Car, a train that travels from Tokyo to Hakone, shows a keen observation of Japan with a perfect dash of whimsy. Jessica kindly took the time to reply to my questions about her work.
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Q: How long have your been making sequential art?

I’ve been sketching cartoon strips for about 6 months. It started as a diary to try and remember funny things my friends said during the day. Monogatarizine with ToCo is my first published piece!

Q: What do you like about sequential art compared toother forms of expression?

I like that sequential art is very accessible. You don’t have to understand art to get it. It’s also a little nostalgic.

Q: What inspired your story for Monogatari?

I think Japan must be the only country in the world to make people fall in love with trains. Nearly every one I met in Japan would get animated talking about their favourite train line. I worked in a kindergarten so trains were a massive deal for the kids and a great way to make friends! My favourite train in Japan is the romance car; I love the style, the destination (Hakone)and the name of it.

Q: What are you most proud of in your story?

I feel proud that I was able to capture the small things that made me love Tokyo; like the little plant pots outside houses and seasonal flowers.

What was the biggest challenge in making your story?

The hardest aspect was coming up with an original plot! I wanted it to be a love story but not too cliché or soppy.

Q: Do you have any favorite stories or sequential artiststhat you recommend to readers?

I love Dodge Greenley’s instagram comics. Yumi Sakugawa is another inspirational sequential illustrator!

Q: Where can people find out more about your work?

For now, just my instagram: genki_jess

Interview with Tania Vicedo About Sequential Art and Monogatari.

Tania-Vicedo_Artist-profile-pictureI met Tania Vicedo on the day of the Monogatari Release party set up. I love the pared-down style of her images. She really gets to the essence of her subject. I enjoyed speaking with her about her work. She graciously took the time to answer questions about her art and creative process for her story in Monogatari.

Q: How long have your been making sequential art?
I made my first comics when I was a teenager inspired by manga and the cartoons on TV. However by that time I don’t think I finished any of the stories completely.

During my MA Communication Design at Kingston University, London (2014–2016) I got interested again in sequential art specifically in wordless stories. I really enjoyed books by the independent publisher Nobrow. In consequence to that, my final project was a wordless and completely handmade book on the topic of emotions. To see the project please visit this link: https://taniavicedo.net/Emotional-Symmetries-book

After I graduated, I made a short graphic story for the Observer/Cape/Comica graphic short story prize, which got shortlisted and exhibited in Orbital Comics, London. Because of this I decided to make a zine version of this story which I have been bringing with me to several zine and illustration events. Please see the project here: https://taniavicedo.net/In-a-not-so-far-future-zine

Nowadays, even though my main focus is on creating conceptual illustrations, I keep creating sequential art for personal projects or collaborations, such as Monogatari.

Q: What do you like about sequential art compared to other forms of expression?
I like that there is always a narrative to it. It is a medium for telling stories, and it is as diverse as films or books can be.

As I mentioned earlier I am particularly interested in wordless visual stories for several reasons. I like that they are universal, anyone can read the visual language despite of the word language they speak. However the visual language is not a precise one, so anyone will interpret in their own unique way and will perceive the story differently, which in my opinion that makes it a very interesting experience.

Q: What inspired your story for Monogatari?
I was inspired by my neighborhood charming irregular buildings which remained me of the wabi-sabi philosophy, that’s why I decided to make a series of images on this topic.

Wabi-sabi in its origins referred to the solitude felt when living in nature and it was also linked to the tea ceremony. It is also about looking closer, appreciating imperfection and the pass of time.

In my story I made a sequence of images so they are a continuous close up, one vignette leads to the other, so the next vignette is a close up of the previous one (except for the two last ones).

Q: What are you most proud of in your story?

I am happy I was able to tell a story completely without words this time. Also I am happy about how I found this story; during the brainstorming stage I had the ideas for what could be some other stories, but I reached a point where I was drawing a tea cup, and then I drew the crack on it, and then I could see the crack looked like a mountain. From that moment, I was able to build the story quite smoothly. I am happy I could find an idea in the serendipity of the process.

Q: What was the biggest challenge in making your story?

Coming up with a story is always challenging. But it also was working in black and white, as I usually work using colours.

Do you have any favorite stories or sequential artists that you recommend to readers?
I really recommend the work of Marion Fayolle, especially her book ‘In Pieces.’  Her stories are incredibly ingenious and funny.

Also the work by Jon McNaught is very interesting. He creates these quiet, poem like graphic stories which are also very beautiful. I like his book ‘Birchfield Close’.

I would like to recommend also the work of Evan M. Cohen and María Medem. They both create very unique sequential stories which they share on their Instagram accounts.

Q: Where can people find out more about your work?
In my website and social media:

https://taniavicedo.net/
https://www.instagram.com/taniasillustration/
https://www.facebook.com/tanias.illustration/

Tania-Vicedo_monogatari-exhibition

Upcoming Exhibitions Including my FIRST Solo Show

It’s been a productive time behind the scenes and now the fun stuff! I have three exhibitions coming up in the next couple weeks. Two are group exhibitions and the other is my first SOLO show!

I’ll be posting more about each show in the future, but for now, this is the schedule.

Favourites from the Tokyo Art Fair 2017

The Tokyo Art Fair 2017 was in March. I was lucky enough to attend for Tokyo Art Beat. I can be a bit shy so having the purpose of recording impressions of the Art Fair and wearing a press arm band really helped to break the ice. There was a lot of work that I really enjoyed and conversations with the artists and gallery owners were fascinating. There were some space constraints for the TAB article and I thought I would share the work here as well.

Artist information is in the title of the photo so you may need to click to see it. My comments are in the description of the photos.

All photos taken with permission of the artists or gallery representatives.

Detail of Chigusa Kono’s glasswork.

 

Kono-San is really nice and generous with her time. Plus she’s a Gunma artist! I’ve met so many people from Gunma recently. I love the concept of her imaginary plants. She bases her work on real plant detail but creates alien looking biological forms. Her work also makes a nod to ikebana. You can arrange the glass plants as you like in the stone stand.  I really regret not getting a better photo of the detail of the work.

 


I rally enjoyed the audio sculpture created by Pe Lang and Marianthi Papalexandri Alexandri. I wish I had done a better job of capturing this. I had a really interesting discussion with Marianthi about the work and her collaboration with Pe Lang.

This kinetic sculpture really fascinated me as well.

Short Review of “Japanese Manga, Anime and Games Exhibition” at The National Center of Art Tokyo

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The show is running now until August 31 and tickets are 1000 yen, photography is not allowed on the exhibition.

I have mixed feelings about this show. I’m a manga, anime and game fan and I was really excited to see this show. I saw some favorites like Ghost in the Shell and Detective Conan, and Work by Osamu Tezuka, Final Fantasy and Monster Hunter. I saw some artists I wasn’t familiar with and a bit about 3-D rendering for Grand Tourismo.

I most particularly enjoyed the character development examples and the story boarding for animation.

But this show is also really text heavy and most of the text was in Japanese only. If your reading level is good you will definitely get more out if it. Maybe it was the language barrier, but I felt it had a kind of sterility that the few interactive games didn’t make up for.

If you’re a die-hard fan or otaku, you probably will not find anything new (but who knows). If you’re looking to be educated and expand your knowledge of the field, you need language skills.

Do I regret going? No. I enjoyed the art and the storyboards. I just wasn’t as amazed as I expected. I feel like the show tried to be too broad and maybe lacked depth. Maybe it’s best to say it’s like a primer to the topic.

I’m keen to hear other perspectives of the show. Please let me know what you thought of the exhibition.

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