On September 12th 2017 GSA Library in association with the Goethe-Institut held a day of comic-making, food, and talks on the medium!
This workshop was inspired by the Goethe-Institut’s ‘Picture Politics’ project, which provided an online platform for cartoonists, comic artists and illustrators to express their opinions on a global climate of fear and prejudice, through comics. At the end of 2016, Goethe-Instituts organized workshops and exchanges between German artists and their own. The aim of these exchanges was to promote a faceted and open discourse – and, eventually, to raise the question of how to shape the future of our societies.
What was particularly interesting about the ‘Picture Politics’ project was the recurrence of the concept of home, and how this multi-faceted term can counteract the values of an extremist rhetoric. With this in mind, we created an offshoot of this project in the form of a workshop which was initially intended for the new 2017/18 students of Glasgow School of Art, many of whom had just left home for the first time. However the project also proved popular with students from all years of GSA, one student of GU and a few members of the public, which reflected the universality of the theme.
This workshop sought to examine the concept of home and how its characteristics change from person to person, asking questions through the medium of comics. It was run by Elina Bry, who is currently studying her MFA at GSA. Elina uses her work in photography, film, language and comics as a means to explore her identity as a bicultural artist.
We were also very lucky to host Scottish comics artist Karrie Fransman! Karrie has released several full-length graphic novels, writes and creates comics for several major newspapers, and has spoken and run workshops for the likes of The Guardian and TEDx, to name but a few. In her presentation Karrie shared her own creative output from the past few years, and some historical examples of comics as a sequential art-form. Karrie admitted that in the process of putting together material for her presentation, she was surprised to find how often ‘home’ featured as the subject of her work.
Both artists stressed the flexibility of the form. Elina has recently released her own book of comics which rejects borders and boxes altogether. Karrie similarly has experimented with sculpture and the virtual reality app Tilt in her work. This flexibility was very much embraced by the workshop attendees, and this is reflected in the diversity of material that they produced. We will be collating all of the comics which were created during the workshop into a zine later this month, which will be accessible at GSA Library and the Goethe-Institut!