It's May! The days are getting longer, the sky sunnier (well, sometimes) and it's a little easier to feel hopeful.
We're also thrilled to have another member join the future Good Comics team! Huge congratulations to Paddy and his wife Claire who have welcomed their second child into the world earlier month.
Following on from our last blog, catching up with Mohar Kalra, we have another creator chat this week. Join us in looking (and admiring) new work from our very own Good Comics alumni Emre Altındağ, creator of our 2021 release Fishes May Come Back. To celebrate, we've also offering 15% off Fishes in our online store until the end of May. No code needed!
We last spoke to Emre last year, a couple of months after the release of Fishes and our other Kickstarter-backed titles. Since then, he's kept busy and is working on a range of new projects. Enjoy.
It's been over a year since Fishes May Come Back came out with us. How do you feel about the book?
Well, to be honest, it’s been a really special gift for me to take care of my creative works even more. As time passed, it’s also been hugely inspiring to still hear the various reactions to Fishes from a great audience.
As you know, Fishes was actually a very small part of a longer work. Last year, I was contacted by an editor from a university press in North America. We had a fruitful talk about my work, how to adapt it to the current market, and so on. But the market is strict, and because of its wordless form, it would be challenging to adapt it to be compatible with other contemporary comics. So, even if it seems sad, I had to move on - still drawing other chapters trying to develop the design. But because of my intention to keep its naivety safe, I am aware it could be hard to find an embracing market for it.
As you say, the Fishes story we published is a smaller story in a much bigger project you’ve been working on for a long time. If anyone reading this is working on a similar, large labour-of-love project, would you have any advice for them on how to keep up the momentum and not be discouraged?
I guess these kinds of long-time projects need to have an intimate relationship between artist and work. I mean, if you are not getting funded for any of your work, or not getting any editorial support in any way, you are the only one with a dream that has to push it, to keep it going. So, it might be challenging in many ways.
But I think doing something creative aside from that sort of stand-alone personal project may keep the courage alive for it. I also believe when you keep your connection with other creative people around you with your work, you always see and recognise yourself. So, your work also changes and goes on its own discovery. And that may give motivation for the work. I suppose it becomes a kind of ''lab work'' in which you are always experimenting, exploring and getting to know about the medium. That kind of perception might be the cure to keep on going for a long-time personal work.
What have you been up to since we published Fishes? Any events, comics, art, work in progress. We're interested in hearing it all!
I have made some speeches about my work, especially related to wordless comics in some conferences which was a really nice experience. After these talks my perception of my work has also changed in many ways. Also, I have been collaborating with my partner on a memoir and a non-fiction project related to her architectural background, and we are in contact with some editors in the UK and North America.
Besides that, I've also been working on a story about homeless people written by Jonathan Clode, which was a part of the funded project by ESRC called All is Not Well 2.0 at the University of Cardiff. I've really enjoyed it, and feel lucky to collaborate with Jonathan. The story made me push to see the possibilities of comics form in many more ways.
I'm really grateful for all of these projects. Because of the current conditions all around the world, doing something creative and communicating it is really encouraging and inspirational.
All is Not Well is a beautiful and moving piece of work, congratulations to you and Jonathan. The projects you’re working on with your partner sound interesting too. How are you finding working on a non-fiction project? Could you tell us a little more about it?
The non-fiction project comes from the master thesis text of Deniz. We are still experimenting on transforming an academic text into joyful storytelling. I have always liked the text and the concept when she was working on it, and I had always suggested making something more creative from it. So, the story goes back to 3 or 4 years before, even before Fishes.
When we started to realise the current comics audience around the world more, we really inspired by the possibilities of using the non-fiction text through the form of comics. For me, if there is a story or text written by someone who I really get along with, I feel much more comfortable working on it.
Sounds exciting! So aside from these ongoing projects, what's next for you?
Well, most recently one of my works will be exhibited at the University of Cambridge this summer as part of the Comics and the Global South conference. There will also be another Light and Memory event and journal issue around June or July. We've already decided on some talks with different artists, featuring their works and an interview. The international atmosphere of the event is really exciting. We hope there will be a very wide range of artists participating in the 2022 events.
You can follow Emre on Instagram here, and also check out his Light and Memory collective on Instagram whilst you're at it. Pick up a copy of Fishes May Come Back in our online store with 15% off until the end of May.
And check out the Comics and the Global South conference in Cambridge this summer, 6th-7th July.