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Brecht Evens Grapples with the Making of Art

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Belgian Angoulême award winner Evens returns with a parable about life in the art world further experimenting with his unique illustrative ecoline drawings.

Hitting all the right spots with its Eisner-nominated debut The Wrong Place, Brecht Evens proved to be an international sensation with further translations in French, Spanish and German following quickly. His follow up graphic novel is entitled The Making Of and explores the world of the arts in a small town setting. 

Pieterjan is invited to the festival as an honored guest. From the moment he arrives, things start going wrong, and since no one seems ready to step in, Pieterjan takes over the show. As the show progresses though, buried tensions float to the surface until it all starts to boil.

Evens firmly set up his fascination for social interaction in The Wrong Place and his second graphic novel The Making Of threads upon the same path but manages to explore the nature of identity even further. Evens clearly found a steadier focus in telling his stories. The Making Of makes use of a considerably larger cast than The Wrong Place making it possible for Evens to deepen the relationships and inner life of the characters. While all are first sketched out in rather broad sweeps making use of country stereotypes, Evens challenges our preconceptions by pointing out the disunited nature of identity. No person consists of one point of view, all have their inner conflicts that bubble to the surface, confronting the other peoples assumptions.

Pieterjan comes off as an ego tripping lout but serves perfectly to challenge our own expectations in the small town locality while his city-like and off standish ways stand in shrill contrast to Kristoff’s over enthusiasm, thrilled to the bone to welcome a ‘true’ artist to his small town biennale. It is an interesting reflection on the nature of art, reflecting on the locality of an object being of almost equal importance as to the making of it or the maker itself. Evens plays it well of the quirkiness of human interaction, the assumptions people make about each other and the banality of amateur art.

The flourishing watercolors of Evens showcased in The Wrong Place is once again sensitive and exuberant and Evens elevates it to an even more surrealistic stage. His brushwork has a keen eye for patterns and natural shapes and parries off against broad strokes representing human figures in natural vistas. His spreads take on an almost impressionistic awareness with its exploding drowned-in-ecoline colours and orchestrated chaos. Unlike the 3D mazes of The Wrong Place, The Making Of takes less pleasure in working out all the right angles and perspectives than in putting to the page an evocative representation of human awareness.

The Making Of by Brecht Evens presents an all-encompassing blanket of emotions and ambrosial scenery. Combining the pettiness of human interaction with provocative visions on the world of the arts, it is a graphic novel that will challenge the way you look at sequential storytelling and your own preconceptions of the human beast.

The Making Of by Brecht Evens is originally published in Dutch by Oogachtend. An english language translation is forthcoming by Drawn & Quarterly in June 2012.
 


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