Winning is nice. In September I
won a voucher for £20 worth of handmade organic ice cream
in a raffle during the street party (am
waiting for the right occasion before I collect it).
a preamble to some philosophising which
I would not be doing had I been the winner or the
runner-up in a competition which
I entered recently. Had I won, all I would be writing
today is YES! YES! YES! alongside a photo of myself making
that triumphant air-punching gesture that is so popular
among footballers and other winning types. Obviously
I didn't win since I am philosophising.
Tomorrow in the Observer the winner
and the runner-up of this year's graphic
story competition (a graphic short
story in four pages) will be published. Last night I
attended a party in Foyles where the winners and their
entries were exhibited and discussed by the judges and
previous winners. I liked the winner and the runner-up
but not having seen all the other entries, I can't say
if they were the best.
In sport it's
fairly easy to measure who wins - the fastest runner
is the fastest runner. But in the arts it gets a bit
murky. Winners and losers are largely decided
by the prevailing cultural, commercial, and aesthetic
zeitgeist and by those occupying significant positions
within it. If you fit inside that zeitgeist you're likely
to win; if you don't, you won't.
If that sound like sour
grapes, really it's not (snarl) I'm aware that
I don't fit into the zeitgeist, whatever it is, and
never have fitted it. I'm not an Outsider artist in the
accepted sense of that term, but neither am I an insider.
I've drawn cartoons but I'm not a comics artist. In general,
I never know where *any* of my work fits. I'm glad (sob)
I didn't win because it forces me to examine what it
is I truly want to achieve creatively and...erm...okay.
End of philosophy. Fook the zeitgeist.
My entry to
this competition, Hindsight, deliberately
side-steps the usual comics format. I wanted to do
something more like the recent My Life
Unfolds and I recycled some of the stencils
I had cut for that concertina book, as you can see,
and it's autobiography again. I wanted the technique
to be more painterly than comics-influenced so I
made collagraph cardboard plates for each page, inked
them up intaglio, printed them with my
etching press and then hand-coloured them, with lots
of texture. The text can be interpreted in
any way you wish, there could be more than one meaning.
The originals are A3 size but below
I've photographed A4 copies taped together concertina-fashion.
If you want your own mini-version, I've
had some postcards printed as a set of four cards
in a cellophane bag. I'll be selling them
(along with La Vie en Rosé and some other
books) at my stand in the Comiket
Festival next Saturday,
10th November, 11 am - 7pm. If you're in London, come
and see me there.
You can order the
cards from me: £2.50 for the set of 4 cards, plus postage
to wherever you are. They are beautifully printed by
I can highly recommend. If you've never used them let
me know and I can email you a voucher for 10% off your
first order. No, I don't work for them! They give this
voucher to all their customers.