East London Comics & Arts Festival 2016

Posted on June 18, 2016 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

round chapel

The Grade II listed Round Chapel, Hackney

 

Organised by London-based Nobrow Press, the fifth annual East London Comics Art Festival (ELCAF) took place over three days at the Round Chapel and MKII gallery in Hackney.

The festival is designed to showcase some of the most exciting works in comics and illustrations, and it features independent publishers and illustrators from UK and internationally. It also include talks, masterclasses, and workshops for adults and children. Together with Pick me up Graphics Arts Festival at Somerset House (which has become too commercial) and the London Art Book Fair at the Whitechapel Gallery, this show has become the leading festivals of its kind in the UK.

 

East London Comic Arts Festival

East London Comic Arts Festival

East London Comic Arts Festival  East London Comic Arts Festival

Bottom row: The lovely mid-century inspired illustrated books and cards at Design for Today's stall

 

It was my first visit to the festival, and I was delighted to see a variety of illustrated books, zines and prints available at affordable prices. It also enjoyed the opportunity to meet and talk to the illustrators and publishers about their works. At the show, I discovered many impressive works by the London-based Design For Today, Otto Press, Peow Studio, Day Job, and I like the comic zines by British illustrator John Cei Douglas.

Exhibitors from outside of the UK were equally captivating. I met and chatted to Singaporean illustrator Michal Ng and the Madrid-based Ruohong Wu about her books that are influenced by her architecture background.

 

Katsumi Komagata talk  Katsumi Komagata design

les trois ourses

Katsumi Komagata  Katsumi Komagata petit arbre

Katsumi Komagata

Top left: Nobrow founding partner Sam Arthur with Japanese graphic designer Katsumi Komagata at the Artist Talk by The Japan Foundation; Top right: Komagata's design for children's hospital ward in Japan; last 3 rows: Komagata's books at Les Trois Ourses' stall

 

Though the highlight of the festival for me was Les Trois Ourses – the French publisher that features graphical books by award-winning Japanese graphic designer Katsumi Komagata.

A few days before the festival, I attended The Japan Foundation's Artist Talk by Katsumi Komagata at Foyles. The talk was organised in conjunction with the festival, and Nobrow's founding partner Sam Arthur was also present to join the conversation.

This was Komagata's first trip to the UK, and so it was a fantastic opportunity to hear the designer talk about the inspirations behind his works. Renowned in France, Komagata was less well-known in Japan until he started to design for hospitals children's wards in Japan. He founded graphic design studio and later publishing press One Stroke in 1983, and started designing books for children after the birth of his daughter. In 1994, he started collaborating with Les Trois Ourses, and has published picture books for children with disabilities. Komagata's books have often been compared to the books designed by the great Italian designer/artist Bruno Munari, and Komagata acknowledged that Munari's designs did inspire some of his works.

Unfortunately, I did not attend Komagata's workshop at the festival, but I did manage to chat to Alexis from Les Trois Ourses about Komagata's wonderful books like Petit Arbres and Aller-Retour – which I bought at the festival.

 

round chapel

East London Comic Arts Festival  East London Comic Arts Festival

Top & bottom left: The historical interior of the Round Chapel; Bottom right: comics and zines bought from the festival

 

I never expected to feel fulfilled after spending all the cash in my wallet, but I was! I think the festival was an inspiring event, and I especially liked the fact that it featured many non-mainstream illustrators and publishers that are hard to find in the city's generic bookshops. Now I just need to save up for next year's festival!

 

Strand Buildings in Clapton

Strand Buildings in Clapton  Strand Buildings in Clapton

Strand Buildings in Clapton

The Art deco Strand Buildings in Clapton

 

IMG_5723-min  IMG_5724-min

IMG_5727-min  IMG_5725-min

The super cool Cine Real super 8 and 16mm film shop and club at 35 Lower Clapton Road

 

 


This post was posted in London, Japanese designs, Shopping, British designs, Talks, Graphics & illustrations, Design festivals & shows, Anything Japanese, Design, books, Publishing, illustrated books & zines and was tagged with London, Japanese designers, shopping, talks, graphic design, art deco architecture, Katsumi Komagata, illustrated books & zines, East London Comics & arts festival, publishing

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