Crosscomix Rotterdam – review

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Presentation: Methamorphoses by alumni Veerle Coppoolse.

There are some nice events and festivals in the Netherlands for illustrators and animators. I always recommend; Playground, Klik, Haff, Graphixx (Belgium) and the Ilustration Biennale. Today I saw the pilot version of a new event: Crosscomix Rotterdam. I was attracted by the concept of this festival to connect comics with other disciplines such as; music, poetry, politics, games and architecture. The festival took place at the Rotterdam Schouwburg.

Our Illustration tutor Robert van Raffe spoke about his collaboration with a poet for Duplex (strip2000). It was nice to learn that the poems in this publication were created by actively working together. There was also a debate between politicians during which illustrators (such as Maaike Hartjes) visually commented simultaneously in the background. I did not like the debate, but I do see how the clarity of debate can be improved by the use of illustrators.

Furthermore political cartoonist TRIK gave a presentation on how he illustrates news-topics. How can you clarify your opinion visually to a broad audience? His key solutions were; use metaphors and clichés. During the program illustrator Brecht Evens gave an ongoing workshop to students who were experimenting with his style/technique. Our alumnnus Karida Bochove also seemed to draw continously throughout the program on a ongoing comic.

Illustrator Merel Barends explained about her drives and interest in scientific topics. She says her interest in science came partly because she wanted her comics to ‘last longer’ or have a ’deeper impact’. She also introduced the term: Illustrated Journalism, which might offer new posibilities for illustrators.  It was also nice to listen to Paul Bierhaus, (great to have a Rotterdam-based game company: YipYip). He gave a lecture about the relation between comics and video games. There was even a skype conference with Joost Swarte. Unfortunately the connection was not very well. He spoke about his new publication: Scratches. The cover image he presented was made by our alumnus Daan Botlek, but I am sure no one in the audience could identify the blurry image.

Next to the professionals it was nice to see our alumni students present their graduation projects from last year as well (Maureen van der Hout, Meral Tuncali,  and Veerle Coppoolse). In general the program was easy accessible, fast, diverse, and never boring. It was nice to see students, teachers and alumni. The festival is still going on as a write this review. They probably had a lot more to offer, and I’m sorry to have missed the performance of Kamagurka, but for me it was time to go home.

I think the relevance of the festival is to see the importance, the fun and the beauty of ‘crossing borders’ and making new connections with other disciplines. I think that it’s important for illustration students to others approach others for new forms of collaborations.

I am looking forward what the program will be like next year. Congratulations to all those who made this event possible.

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