Day one of the Graphic Novelist Exchange Residency began with Ant Sang, Tim Gibson and me being introduced to Chuang Yung-shin, 61Chi and Ahn Zhe by Catriona Ferguson, Director of the NZ Book Council, with the help of translation from Dala Publishing's Aho Huang, at Vaughan Park Retreat Centre (you can read my introduction to the residency here).
Left to right: Dala Publishing's Aho Huang (our translator), 61Chi, Ahn Zhe, me, Chuang Yung-shin, Tim Gibson and Ant Sang.
Once the welcoming was over, we had the first of what was to become a daily ritual: the meeting.
The meeting gave us all a chance to air our initial ideas and thoughts about what form our collaboration could yield.
Since finding out I had been selected for the residency, I had put a lot of thought into form and took along some graphic novels and stories and sketches to illustrate my ideas.
Click on images for links.
I chose The Octonauts and the Only Lonely Monster to show how pages could be printed in different directions, upside down, for eg, to engage readers to participate physically with book and how this technique could be employed to make a reader from one culture shift their perspective, literally, to see a work from another culture's point-of-view (start video at 5:05 for demonstration of how the book has to be turned to be read).
I talked about Mary and Bryan Talbot's graphic collaboration, Dotter of her Father's Eyes, which demonstrated beautifully not only the relationship of its subjects but also is endearingly revealing about its author's marriage.
New Zealand cartoonist Grant Buist had told me about another collaboration that involved translation of sorts: The Red Re[a]d Diary, by Teddy Kristiansen with Steven T. Seagle, where one artist, unable to read the language of the original manuscript, had made up his own interpretation for what the story was by looking at the images and text and guessing.
And I talked about the graphic conversation Dylan Horrocks had with Emily Perkins, that resulted in All Hail Ellie Destroyer of Worlds.
I wanted to visually represent the surface image we present to strangers and the inner that we only reveal once we become friends, and how this applies to our cultures.
I demonstrated how cut-outs could be used to hide then reveal parts of a narrative.
This idea was popular as it fit well with the overall theme of the exchange: Island to Island.
The meeting gave us lots to think about. We decided a walk was in order to let the thoughts settle in.
Vaughan Park is siutated at the edge of Long Bay Regional Park and the weather was kind to us as we took in the beautiful views....
...recorded ourselves recording and...
...recorded graphic fiction in the sand....
...encountered a little history about an earlier cross cultural exchange...
...and found our own ways to bridge our cultures.