Thursday 16 May 2013

TCAF 2013: Lille Carre's Heads or Tails

There's a lot of great work being done, but it's rare to find something that really speaks to me. Fart jokes, superheroes, and the autobiographies of oddballs generally don't do it for me. They don't stop me in my tracks and make me take notice. I can notice great craft, precision, and skill. Those are all admirable qualities, but doesn't mean the material resonates. There's beauty that leaves you bemused, and there's beauty that leaves you breathless.

That's the work of Lille Carré.

This year's greatest find at TCAF was Lille Carré's Heads or Tails. I hadn't seen her work before (her animation has been shown at Sundance, her art in The New Yorker, and more), I've been remiss, but the cover hooked me. The graphic nature of it, the idiosyncratic layout, the snappy colour and balance between aggressive, blocky shapes and delicate detail was just fabulous. The interior does not disappoint, although I am more drawn to her more graphic work than her traditional inked cartoons. Those are nothing to sneeze at, however; some are reminiscent of Gorey. Her work is united in its aesthetic and manages to plumb numerous different stylistic directions without breaking.

There's a sensibility here that's hard to pin down, an ephemeral mode of thought that defies being narrowly categorized. 

Her story Wishy Washy explores the danger of polar extremes, and to me, how they both destroy. Then again, that's a theme I explore in my own work (even if others don't, or refuse to, see it) so perhaps I'm just projecting. Part of every story is what we bring to it. But when I finished Wishy, I said, yeah. She gets it.

Carré's surreal slices of life and meditative musings are confident and bold in their use of space. She's not afraid to let her comics breathe, or use a double page spread for an extremely bare, irregular star shape. 

Her many one page pieces are like visual Haikus. Light with a dark subtext. Cartoon poetry. Just short enough for my ADD addled brain to appreciate.

Absolutely delightful.

She's already done phenomenally well, and I'd expect even greater things in future. This is one artist to watch. Like Lorenzo Mattotti, she makes it look easy. It's very annoying, in the best possible way.

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