From October 2 until the 9th I was here in Arc-et-Senans, France, for the 3rd installment of Pierre Feuille Ciseaux. Its a little hard to describe what exactly PFC is…its a residency, an art retreat, an OuBaPo (comics either done alone or in small groups based on constraints) workshop, and a festival. I came in 2009 as a weekend visitor (see Flickr set here) and now this year I was one of the invited artists along with 21 other awesome artists from all over the place including fellow Americans Anders Nilsen and Zak Sally. The idea is basically to get a bunch of cartoonists together and have them work together for a week. It was great. Here’s some photos:
The residency is at the Saline Royale, designed by insane architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux in the 18th century. If you want to read about it, here’s the Wikipedia page. I can’t get through it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Saltworks_at_Arc-et-Senans. All you really need to know is that its weird looking and the perfect place to have a residency for a week.
(That’s the view from my room; our workroom was in that building on the left.)
Arc-et-Senans is a tiny little village surrounded by farmland:
So anyway, on Sunday night everyone arrived and we all went to check out the exhibition which included work from the previous two Pierres Feuille Ciseaux:
And the next day we got to work! People either worked on their own projects or tried some of the OuBaPo excercises:
On Wednesday night we had a field trip to Besançon, the nearest city. They had a whole evening planned of musical performances by several of the invited artists such as Ibn Al Rabin, Benoît Preteseille and Zak:
Besançon is very pretty.
Then back to work. Here is what our basic schedule was every day:
The group at work:
(LL De Mars)
Look at that amazing art mess! I loved that table. I think we should reconfigure the desks at Pizza Island to be more like this.
(Anders, Joe Dog, Matti, Zak, my spot)
So what kinds of exercises? Well this one was my favorite: one artist makes a comic in three frames, then the next artist makes a comic in four frames which would work both as a stand-alone comic AND add to the first comic if you put each frame in between the first three frames. Then it either goes back to the first artist to do the next three frames or on to someone else. Kind of hard to explain but here are some examples:
People could add new excercises. Zak made a gigantic map for people to add to:
I’ll post links to some more of the results and exercises when I am able to scan them.
Of course, we also took breaks to laugh at Rob Liefeld drawings:
We were all fed really well three times a day by the amazing Pascaline, our chef. Yes, our chef. I got super spoiled.
(talkin’ bout comics after a good meal)
(the dining room with magic buffet)
Over the weekend, the public was invited to come see the exhibits and attend some talks and panels. The weekend was kicked off on Friday night with a reception in the exhibition room. Here we are headed over to the exhibition hall at dusk:
Anders, Zak and I were on a panel about the changing face of American comics.
Audio here: http://official.fm/tracks/333881
Then there was a cool panel which highlighted some of the cartoonists who had come from places outside the Franco-Belgian-Swiss scene and which talked about what role one’s country plays in their work. That one included Mazen Kerbaj (Lebanon), Joe Dog (South Africa), Polina Petrouchina (France via Russia), Lucas Varela and Diego Agrimbau (Argentina).
Audio here (in French): http://official.fm/tracks/333870
There were some other talks by important people like Jean Christophe Menu and Thierry Groensteen but trying to understand French is real taxing and I was tired so I didnt really follow along so well. They said important thngs I bet.
And then there was a giant wedding dress made out of minicomics that got married to an imaginary person (?):
And we partied. Late night pictures of drunken dancing not shown. I mean, I didnt take any. But here’s everyone earlier in the night:
And then it was over and everyone started leaving. Zak and Anders and I are still here at the Saline along with a few other artists and the amazing Pierre Feuille Ciseaux crew who are taking down the show. These folks are all rad.
So big thank yous go out to everyone who made this happen (Charlotte, Sophie, Adeline, Pablo, Gilles, Juliette, Maxime, Lionel and Pierre) but especially June Julien Misserey who worked his ass off three years in a row to make PFC happen. Thanks, June!
Tomorrow June will be escorting the three of us on a little mini book-tour for three days in the area (more info here) and then Zak and Anders will be off to Brussels and I’ll head to Angoulême for a bit. For now, though, we’re staying put at the Saline.
UPDATE: See Anders’ blog post about Pierre Feuille Ciseaux here.