TEKST

Alles op de rit

Deze zomer opende ik een restaurant. Het heet Alles op de rit.

Mijn restaurant verschijnt en verdwijnt onderweg, in de trein, op de fiets, in de auto. Het is een onderwegrestaurant. Kleine porties, want het moet allemaal mee kunnen. Gelukkig ben ik heel goed met campingbordjes en thermosflessen. Ik serveer een overheerlijke maaltijd en schuif bij je aan voor een goed gesprek.

Goede vriend Hylke was mijn eerste gast:

 

 

 

 

Neko finds love

Here’s the story of Neko, a short little comic I created for the artist publication of Antropical art residency at Kolla festival in Steinfort, Luxembourg. This is the first draft and it was published in the publication as you see it.

Following a three-act structure it was easy to make up the story as I went along. It is obvious the final panel needs more space, just by making the panel larger there will be more of an emphasis on the ending. The story is a bit messy in the middle, as I redraw it I will take more space to make the yawn-perceived-as-fighting more obvious and carry more weight.

 

It’s a simple story. Does it seem easy? Too easy even? I’m curious.

It actually has two rules to it. The colours for one. Black and red. Nothing else. One colour for each character, of course. And Neko has a little red in him on the cover, because he is touched by Kolla’s lovingness.

Secondly, each character has its own distinct traits, which came about by their shape. It was funny how the pens I used decided the story, it started with Neko, he was immediately rough and cranky and edgy, this was the black pen’s doing and I rolled with it. The red marker I used for Kolla immediately gave a smoothness. And so the story came to be about edgy versus smooth.

Neko starts on edge and by the end of the story he allows for something new; relaxation and smoothness. That’s necessary for a story isn’t it? Change. Neko starts one way and by the ends he has changed. The middle shows us how this came to be. Very simple, very clear.

It’s quite an obvious story choice to put two diametrically different characters opposite each other. I had three pages in the publication, no time for nuance. I like simplicity when it’s done well. I have often read three panel comics that didn’t make sense or weren’t funny. Just messy. But when is it done well? I mean, I want it to be simple, but not easy, you know?

As I was making this, the story became applicable to how I was experiencing the residency. I was Neko, on edge and distrustful toward hugs. An experience I have had in many other situations, everyone seems best friends from day one and I feel like I am not fitting in. It doesn’t get me anymore, but it used to. When I feel this way I know I’m not the only one. I observe it and I take it as an ingredient for my story. I like this way of working, taking this one autobiographical element and giving it to a character, blowing it up until it is all who he is. For me it gives a sense of the real to fiction.

Do you feel me?

A question finds me: “Are you spiritual or religious in any way?” I already dislike the woman asking the question, but am not in a position to openly do so. There isn’t a good reason for the dislike. Also, she is my boss. I bring myself to feel something I tell myself to be genuine appreciation for the asking of the question. It’s a good question. It is not asked often and she has me wondering why. Sitting at the wooden table we drink wine after work. In the declamation of our achievements of spirituality I find myself listing and observing myself listing things. The boss lady is listing quite severely. A third woman isn’t so sure. This is deemed weakness. The boss lady pins herself with the badge of extreme hypersensitivity. I claim it also. The third asks what it means. I tell her no one is sure. The boss lady corrects me. It is feeling what others are feeling all the time. I confirm it. The third feels relief at something so easy. I bring up a recent argument with a lover as an excuse to talk about talking to frogs (which I can’t do). The boss lady doesn’t wince. She is able to know a person’s time of death and speak with fish. The third shrugs, she can’t do anything.