Sunday, September 26, 2010

#8 - Olivier Schrauwen

Your comics look like classic, old-fashioned American newspaper strips. Why did you choose such drawing style?

My knowledge of early 20th century comics is quite limited. “My Boy” might look like it’s true to the style of those strips but it isn’t really. I use very little reference material, I just draw what I think they look like. It's an approximation. In fact, everything is made up architecture, clothing. It’s an absurd, fantastical world, but you can’t see that right away.

Why do you sometimes connect scenes of naturalistic brutality with funny situations or slapstick humour?

Slapstick humor is always kinda brutal. People get hit in the face, fall to their deaths, etc. By making certain slapstick scenes extra nasty I can break up the comedic pattern and have something more dramatic. Sometimes it seems necessary to have a tragic counterpoint, when a character finds it’s death for instance.

You have specific drawing style and characteristic type of humour. It’s probably hard to make stories and drawings coherent. So how – for you – the story should interact with the drawings?

Mostly, I want everything to work together: story, idea, drawing. But sometimes I look for a formal conflict, the drawings might appear warm and gentle, but the story implies something hard and cold.

Your comics are surreal and funny, but you also write about serious things. Don’t you think, that this surreal atmosphere may distract attention from the serious side of your comics?

I don't consciously balance those things out, like: “I need 4 jokes and 2 serious moments”. When I get excited about a story or an idea, it always has a humorous and tragic side to it. For me one thing doesn’t necessarily cancel out the other. I can imagine though, that some people get annoyed by the silly jokes or vice versa by the “serious side”.

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

I also make films and music, but I hate the technical bullshit I need to deal with when working in those media. For comics, I just need paper and a pen. Apart from that, I always express the same things, no matter wich medium I work in. Except for the case of comics I know the language the best.

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?

I don’t see art as something that’s moving towards a sublime an perfect state at which no more new art will be needed. It’s more like a mutating beast, always adapting to it’s environment, always changing. In this way things are never said and done. I guess, if the presentation of comics will become digital, this will have a profound effect.

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

I do hope my comics capture some of the evanescent moments. They aren’t explicitly auto-biographical, but things that are going on in my everyday life tent to slip in. Even if the story involves a gang of revolting pygmees.

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

I dunno. When I like a photo, it;s mostly not for what it litteraly depicts. It’s mostly something more subliminal that appeals to me. The way the light looks, the gaze in someone’s eye, whatever. It’s very hard to pinpoint, so if I had to take one essential photo, I’d just take a random snapshot and hope for that one chance in a million that it’s the right one.

You can also find Olivier Schrauwen here:
- Bries 

1 comment:

  1. On this picutre he reminds me Donald Tusk :)