Sunday, August 22, 2010

#3 - Ivan Brun

In your comic books, you like to combine cartoon drawings with often violent content. By doing that, you want to surprise and shock the reader?

Well, I started to develop this cartoonish approach since 2005, before that I was drawing my cruel and violent stories in a much more realistic, figurative manner. Sometimes I felt it was too heavy and dramatic for the reader to take. Then I decided to simplify my drawings, adding humor and a caricatural twist to get the message across more easily. The simplified humoristic drawings creates an interesting counter-balance with the subject matter, at least in my eyes, because it seems that some people still view my comics as insane, scary and disturbing material. Whatever you'll do, some people will never fully understand your artistic intentions, again, it's still a matter of personal sensibilities.

You are writing about poverty, ethnic minorities, geocentrism, you show the dark side of the modern world. You do it because you want to tell everyone, what irritates you in this world? Or do you hope, that the reader will change under the influence of your comic books?

The whole deal was to deliver a vision, a commentary about the post-industrial, post-capitalistic world we're living in. Since the early nineties, it have always been my line of work, considering the world situation is changing drastically at a rapid pace since the fall of the iron curtain, I wanted to analyse and understand the dynamics of the “New World Order” and how it's connected to our daily lives. I don't believe in fairy tales, so I don't think the situation will ever get back to normal since the 2008 financial crisis, and I also don't believe my comic books will have a positive impact on the readers in terms of political awareness. For the better, I can expect at least that people sharing the same vision can feel some empathy.

Sometimes you are showing very brutal and gory scenes. Do you ever had problems with censorship because of that?

Not really, because in France, the publishing scene is pretty liberal, and the obvious fact that my material is directed to mature readers. The censorship can reveal itself in more insidious ways, meaning that my previous book, "No Comment", was not distributed in some bookstores or displayed in public libraries because of some graphic and explicit sex scenes. But that decision belong to the store owners. Also missed a publishing deal in the United States for the same reason. More recently, before the release of my latest opus, “War Songs”, the publisher wanted me to remove multinational logos appearing on the cover. Reason is they didn't want to put themselves at risk, knowing that such logos are copyrighted and protected visual stuff, which could not be reproduced without authorization... Maybe I did hit a sensitive point, depicting porn and violence seems okay, but when you get “too political”, it's a different story.

You are a musician, a painter and a comic artist. Which medium offers you the greatest opportunities to express yourself and your opinions?

The three offers lots of opportunities to express oneself, but I have to admit I'm quite limited in my abilities as a musician, tuneless noise can't express a wide range of emotions and feelings. Never been able to make it with painting, which is an elitist medium, and art circles or cultural institutions never showed any interest in my works, I probably suck at painting, but nobody told me it straight... It's definitely within comics that I have been able to express myself in the better conditions and reaching a wider audience.

Cinema has movement and music has sound. And what – for you – distinguish and make comic books a different medium?

A low-tech, inexpensive medium using pictures and words, or in my case, pictures within pictures, offering a wide range of possibilities.

Many critics say, that everything in art had already been said and done. If that’s true, what are the new solutions and horizons for comic books?

In terms of subject matter – sure, it is. But things are still evolving in terms of shape and form. E-books and e-comics could offer new ways of making and reading comics in the next years. For the moment, it's just adapting old material for new supports, wait and see...

Instant photography, like Polaroid, captures the evanescent moment. And what is evanescent for you?


If you could take only one picture, what would you photograph?

Can't tell for sure, but catching something that the human eye can't see.

You can also find Ivan Brun here:

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