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A Sweet Exhibit: Kody Chamberlain showcases all of Sweets at Louisiana gallery

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Ever read a comic on a wall? What about a complete graphic novel? Should be a unique experience, right? Well, you can do it now at The Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette, LA. The Center invited Louisiana native Kody Chamberlain to exhibit the complete sequential story of his Image comic, Sweets. All 117 pages of it.

Fully titled Sweets: A New Orleans Crime Story is, as the title suggests, steeped in couleur locale, making it the ideal candidate for the kind of event The Acadiana is currently organizing. The 117 pages are spread out across the exhibition space with only half an inch between each of them, which truly makes the comic come alive, says Chamberlain, who’s wanted to do an exhibit like this for quite some time.

“I've had the idea to show a full graphic novel in a gallery setting for several years,” he attests. “It's something I've talked about with a different gallery back in 2007, but never had time to make it happen. Since the trade paperback of Sweets was due out this month, I thought it would be a fun way to promote the book and perhaps get some attention that it might not get otherwise.

"I've had a relationship with this particular venue for several years: I do summer camps for kids that center around comic book art, storyboarding, graphic design, etc. It's a very large building with several gallery spaces, and I was well aware of the format they like to use in each particular gallery.

“I presented them with my initial pitch to show a full miniseries in a readable format, and they were eager to make it happen. They've been very accommodating and gave me full access to the space to do whatever I wanted. It's been a great experience. It's amazing to see all the pages spread out across the gallery walls, it looks very impressive. The pages are full comic size, and it fills the entire gallery space with only a half inch between each page. It has a far bigger impact than I ever expected.”

Because of its New Orleans setting and vivid, true-to-life details, one would think that Sweets (and its art) appeals mightily to the local crowd. Chamberlain confirms that the series has really resonated with Louisiana/New Orleans natives.

“Everyone I've talked with in Louisiana loves it,” he says. “Being a native of Louisiana, I was able to capture a lot of local flair and culture, lots of people picked up on that. There are more than a few background details only a local would recognize, places like Camellia Grill, St. Charles Street, etc. Even the praline recipe that opens the story is a family recipe that's been passed around.”

         

Sweets has been collected in a trade paperback, which coincidentally hit stores this week. Even with the collected edition now available and the exhibit taking place, there’s no time for Chamberlain to rest on his laurels. The creator is already hard at work cooking up some new stories.

“I'm currently writing three new scripts and I plan to illustrate at least one of the three. I may end up working with a few other artists on the other two, but I haven't decided yet. In the writing queue right now is an all-new crime story, a horror/revenge story, and an adventure story set in the 80s. Each has a very unique feel and tone.

“I hope to be able to announce the first of the three before the end of the year. I'm also doing a bunch of covers for various books, including the recent announcement of the Country Ass-Whuppin'! charity book from 12-Gauge Comics.”

The gallery exhibition at The Acadiana runs until October 1, 2011. The Center is throwing a TPB release party and book signing with Chamberlain on September 10 at 6pm.

Gallery details:

Kody Chamberlain - Sweets: A New Orleans Crime Story
The Acadiana Center for the Arts - Mallia Gallery
101 W. Vermilion St., Lafayette, LA 70501
337.233.7060 (phone), 337.233.7062 (fax)
Hours: Tuesday - Friday: 10 AM - 5 PM, Saturday: 10 AM -  5 PM
Admission: Members: Free; General: $5; Students & Seniors: $3;
17 & Younger: $2; 4 & Younger: Free

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