I take elements from Japanese and Chinese calligraphy and incorporate them into an expressive graphic style I can call my own, a style very reminiscent of comic books.
Whilst growing up, comics, manga (Japanese comics) in particular, had a huge influence on me and my drawing style. Traditionally printed in black and white and with 20-30 pages of a story due every week by the mangaka (manga artist), the artist has to get creative and efficient in their style. The clever use of negative space, inking techniques and framing need to be mastered by the mangaka. Wanting to be a mangaka myself at one stage in my life, these were all skills that I adopted into my own work.
Comics, defined as “Sequential Images”, – by Scott McCloud in “Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art”- rely on panels to segment their stories into different frames of time. The panel border is our guide through time and space. Panels in comics can come in many shapes just like the canvas or frame of a painting. Typically, it is the classic rectangle that is used most often. Most of us are so used to the standard rectangular format in comics that a “borderless” panel can take on a timeless quality. When “bleeds” are used in comics (i.e. when a panel runs off the edge of the page) this effect is compounded. Time is no longer contained by the familiar icon of the closed panel, but instead hemorrhages and escapes into timeless space.
I take this concept on board into my own work to amplify that feeling of negative space. I remove all boarders in my artwork so that the white of the painting becomes one with the gallery space. I bring the audience into the comic, an infinite loop of stories. The images can connect to one another or stand alone as individual pieces; that is up to the audience to decide.
The space between panels in comics is known as “the gutter”. Here in the limbo of the gutter, human imagination takes two separate images and transforms them into a single idea.