After life

Dawson, Beth (2014) After life. [Artefact]

Abstract

The short graphic story ‘After Life’ narrates an intimate experience of grief and is practical research contributing to the knowledge of communicating realistic emotional accounts through illustrated fictionalised stories. The comic looks to innovate approaches within the medium by partnering a ‘confessional’ (M.L Rosenthal, 1959) poetic style of writing with stylised sequential imagery to explore generating original methods for sharing and visualising complex psychological states. It contributes to a body of contemporary comic work exploring and evolving sequential illustrative practice through unpicking and challenging its stylistic visual language. After Life is the first comic by the author to explore the appropriateness of specific aesthetics within a comic to set the mood. Through an ongoing series, the author’s intention is to explore visual styles to create contemplative ‘moodscapes’ most appropriate for roaming a psychological terrain. Rigorous process has been used to validate the significance of the piece through its selection via juried panel for international exhibition and comic award. After Life was ranked joint runner-up in the Jonathan Cape/Comica/Observer graphic short story prize in 2014. The Guardian online (where the comic is hosted) describes the work as “superbly drawn […] also witty, poignant and insightful.” The comic has been published and shared widely online. Beth Dawson has also performed this work as a ‘poetic comic reading’ at research dissemination events, most notably at “Drawing In The Girls,” as part of Leeds Beckett University’s research the cluster group ‘F= Presents: Festival of The Body” in March 2016 which took place during International Womens Day week and placed this piece within a broader context of exploring feminism and the female voice within contemporary art practice.

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