Thursday 25 August 2022

Part 13: 'Grey Waters' interview with Artist and Educator, Geoff Grandfield - The L.A.W. GraphicNarrativ Seminar Series

You can now see my interview with Geoff Grandfield as he discusses his new silent graphic novel, Grey Waters on YouTube here

Geoff Grandfield Interview for Silent Graphic Novel GREY WATERS

The Seminar Series continued over the summer as I design the new lectures that I will deliver from this October. I have a new survey for practitioners to contribute and ambitions to take things beyond the teaching studios of the London College of Communication.

I had the opportunity to interview artist/ illustrator/ associate professor illustration and animation at Kingston University, Geoff Grandfield about his silent graphic novel 'Grey Waters' in August 2022. 10 questions were sent to Geoff initially and then we built upon these for the video recorded interview version.

Here is a taster of the interview that was recorded as a video for publication at a later date.


Q1. What are the reasons behind you creating a silent graphic novel?


It seems right? I’m following instinct. The way the form appeals is as a series of images that are direct and active, as they offer something. As a viewer you decide on the pace of the reading and how you see it. I spent a lot of time exploring how individual frames are experienced in relation to the whole of a page and as a double page spread, trying to find a way that one didn’t distract from the other and allowed a simultaneous reading.

My only previous foray into GN was a treatment of Fast One by Paul ‘Cain’ (alias for screenwriter Paul Ruric) where I used painted frames and stuck on dialog, it wasn’t printed how I designed it and am producing a new digital version this year. The collision of image and text had some interesting moments, but by writing in images I hoped to open up the movement across pages with minimal intervention of words.



Q2. Where does the title 'Grey Waters' come from?


I tried a number of options but wanted something emblematic of the content. As the story is about real events, their recall and speculation, the title could have got a bit cryptic!

The title chosen has a dual role as a composite of the slightly adapted name of the real life character I based the work on and brain function / memory, like being submerged in ‘grey matter’.



Q3. Do you consider yourself a writer or an artist?


Writing in pictures? My work has explored intangibles through making pictures, individually and in series. I like the word illustrator! Though ‘illustration’ has cultural ambiguity, and is mostly culturally dismissed, I think that disregard works for how I use it as a means to understand self and the world without critical expectation.


Q4. What are your thoughts on image as literature?


Fine if that helps reach audiences. We talk about reading pictures but what I love about a good picture is the lack of linear reading and potential for surface or deep reading.



Q5. Why do you think that TRUTH has become such a mercurial thing during the 21st century?


The persistence of centuries old monolithic cultures that had their economic power base in printed authority have cracked up with the economic restructuring from digital technology. With it the construction of ‘truth’ guarded by dominant cultures. So truth is now transparently subjective?


Q6. Who is responsible for telling the TRUTH?


The artist, which is anyone who wants to be true to themselves! I think I mean that by spending some time and effort realising what you want, as opposed to what others want you to have/ do/ possibly think, you gain understanding of yourself that is not mediated by others and in the process make something that is meaningful to you. The chances are this may be meaningful to others too if you decide to share with an audience. So I suppose I am equating truth, which I think is always subjective, with true instincts and living in a way that is positive? Sometimes a person that practices that is called an artist, but it is a very overused and loosely fitting word! A bit like truth!



Q7. How do you keep your ideas fresh when so much of our visual world is controlled by large corporations?


Try and find your own voice, art college is a good start. Well this is subjective, from my point of view, but hopefully relates to a lot of creative practice. By making the investment of time/ thought/ play/ making and reflection, then what is meaningful to you may emerge. It’s a long process as the hooks are sunk in deep even by the time you’re an adolescent, the desire to be part of something can be a trade in of what you really want – I think I’m still answering the previous question!


Fresh means different? Try new things, new to you or you haven’t seen explored? I never really got too excited by lots of media mixing as I found it distracting from what I wanted to make art about, so I found the most direct lo-tech chalk on paper and still use this now.



Q8. Do you think this is stifling our imaginations?


Most people unfortunately don’t realise they are being stifled/ manipulated on what to think or see, they feel they make choices. It sounds like conspiracy because it has over 100 years of psychological testing behind corporate strategy but not easy to spot.


Q9. In a world filled with electronic media do you think that the traditional book has had its day, or will we always need books?


Always need communication tools in the hands of thinking makers! That is books and everything else. I am a big fan of a the lo-tech approach, DIY! The best visual authorship leads I think, so don’t wait to be commissioned to make something, do something you want to see and show it, this can lead to positive response and getting your work to an audience. Too much commissioning comes from the ‘I want one of those’ approach and dissatisfaction if it doesn’t match, make what you really want to see and hopefully you won’t get bent out of shape by what the commissioner wants!

Q10. What are you working on now/ next?


Actually starting a research enquiry into the ‘visualisation of absence’. There’s a graphic novel in that too!


Thank you very much for this Geoff, it's been a pleasure and I look forwarded to seeing your work published. I think my students will benefit greatly from your insights. Let's build on this collaboration. For more work check out Geoff Grandfield's website

All artworks are copyright of Geoff Grandfield © 2022

Look out for the video of this interview to be published in September 2022.

Proposition Time Part 8

Create 6 illustrations/ images/ ideas as a sequential narrative inspired by the text set out below:

Free you mind and use this exercise as a way to re-imagine your work.

Outside the rain begins
And it may never end
So cry no more, on the shore a dream
Will take us out to sea
Forevermore, forevermore 

Close your eyes ami
And you can be with me
'Neath the waves, through the caves of hours
Gone, forgotten now
We're all alone, we're all alone 

Close the window, calm the light
And it will be all right
No need to bother now
Let it out, let it all begin
Learn how to pretend 

Once a story's told
It can't help but grow old
Roses do, lovers too, so cast
Your seasons to the wind
And hold me dear, oh, hold me dear 

Close the window, calm the light
And it will be all right
No need to bother now
Let it out, let it all begin
All's forgotten now
We're all alone, all alone 

Close the window, calm the light
And it will be all right
No need to bother now
Let it out, let it all begin
Owe it to the wind, my love, hold me dear 

All's forgotten now, my love
We're all alone

Tuesday 16 August 2022



'Superheroes, Orphans & Origins: 125 years in comics'



Monday 15 August 2022

London College of Communication, Design Student Opportunity: Visual art commission for Black History Month 2022

The call for entries for the Natixis IM Black History Month Art Commission is now live, and open to all students and grads from London College of Communication, Design School programmes. I would be really grateful if you could send the below information to your students and recent grads if you’ve not yet done so  although it’s the summer we expect that some students will still be interested in this opportunity: 

LCC student design commission contest: Natixis IM Black History Month 


Natixis Investment Managers (Natixis IM) are inviting proposals for a £1,500 2D visual art commission celebrating Black history and culture, as part of Natixis’ celebration of Black History Month 2022.  


Natixis IM would like you to use your visual storytelling to highlight aspects of BHM that are important to you. Through this commission, Natixis IM hope to encourage conversation and engage its employees around the importance of Black history and culture. 


The winning artwork will be unveiled during BHM in October 2022, and be permanently displayed in Natixis IM UK office. Your work will also be showcased and celebrated on LCC’s and Natixis IM’s social media channels.  


Who’s eligible: Students and graduates of LCC Design School programmes 

Winner will receive: The winning designer will be awarded £1,500 

Deadline: Midnight, Wednesday 24 August 2022 


How to apply:  

1.       Register your interest here 

2.       Read the brief, here 

3.       Watch the client briefing video 

4.       Submit your proposal by the deadline here 


Questions? Email  

Cathy Chan Price

Business and Innovation Administrator 


University of the Arts London

London College of Communication

Elephant & Castle



Friday 1 July 2022

Part 12: Lee Andrew Wright the Inspiration for this Series - The L.A.W. GraphicNarrativ Seminar Series

In life we are fortunate to have friends. There are friends who shape you in ways you would never have considered before. Someone who presents their wisdom to you in such a manner that you want to attain that wisdom for yourself, Lee Andrew Wright was such a person.

I have dedicated my work on Graphic Narratives and Storytelling to him because of our many conversations about the craft and the way a good old yarn can help us see the full power of ideas. I have had a life that my dear friend Lee Andrew Wright was never afforded himself. Simply put, without him, there would be no me.

I have two things I'd like to share here about him.

First the lyrics and a link to a song that sums up our relationship even to this day, even though Lee has long since passed away. Secondly I print for the first time my Eulogy to him from his funeral back in 2011. I love you Lee and I always blessed you with roses even though I never gave them to you in your lifetime. I hope my work is a lasting tribute to you. Rest in Power my dear friend X.

The Waterboys 

I pictured a rainbow
You held it in your hands
I had flashes
But you saw the plan
I wandered out in the world for years
While you just stayed in your room
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon

Hmm, you were there in the turnstiles, with the wind at your heels
You stretched for the stars and you know how it feels to reach too high
Too far

Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon

I was grounded
While you filled the skies
I was dumbfounded by truth
You cut through lies
I saw the rain dirty valley
You saw Brigadoon
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon

I spoke about wings
You just flew
I wondered, I guessed and I tried
You just knew
I sighed
But you swooned, I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon

with a torch in your pocket and the wind at your heels
You climbed on the ladder and you know how it feels to get too high
Too far

Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon

The whole of the moon, hey yeah!

Unicorns and cannonballs, palaces and piers
Trumpets, towers and tenements
Wide oceans full of tears
Flags, rags ferryboats
Scimitars and scarves
Every precious dream and vision
Underneath the stars, yes, you climbed on the ladder
With the wind in your sails
You came like a comet
Blazing your trail too high
Too far

Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon


Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Michael Scott

The Whole of the Moon lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc


YouTube link for this song  here

Lee Andrew Wright 17/01/1964 - 30/06/2011

Karl Anderson Foster 21.07.2011

"We should go carefully through this world for we can never be sure of our influences on others."

I want to tell you about my friend. Lee was unique, he truly was, intelligent, funny, stubborn, brave and very wise.

I met Lee way back in 1984 at Amersham College (just up the road there). We didn't get on that well at first but as Lee was a great conversationalist we soon found common ground.

Over the years we talked about many things, music, films, art, politics and women. We shared much and laughed a lot.

Back in 1985 Lee told me I was a lucky man. At that point I had never felt lucky, quite the reverse in fact. I wasn't really sure what he meant by lucky. Was I luckier than him? He had spent a great deal of time in hospital and suffered pain daily and I thought that was the deal. I couldn't have been more wrong. Lee never complained to me about his life, he was simply encouraging a friend to take their rightful place in the world. Wise words indeed, I got a lot of support from Lee.

Lee was fiercely independent and wanted to live his life on his own terms. I think he achieved this in part. I think you would agree.

I am proud to have known Lee and feel blessed to have felt his love.

There is an immortality for all of us. Lee lives on in everyone of us. When we remember him, we should do so with a smile on our lips.