Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Eric Knisley and Jan Martijn Burger, Factory, 2017 [2nd ed. 50] and Tunnel, 2017 [2nd ed. 50], Raleigh, North Carolina


Here are two really fun and lively accordions that have been created through the exquisite corpse technique between these two accomplished artists, and the accordion format is absolutely ideal for this kind of artistic collaboration. I asked Eric for information about how the two of them worked together as their drawings merge seamlessly across the 11ft span of the works, and below are some selections from his response:

...I've been doing these exquisite corpse/accordion books for about eight years now...I was traveling a great deal for work, on the plane for long periods, and I needed something to do on the plane that required no more than a pencil and some paper, and that's how it started.

These books are done "classic" corpse style: there's about one inch of image showing when each artist gets the book; the prior artist has drawn across two pages plus just a bit of the third page. So we don't get to see *all* of the other guy's work, just a wee bit. We're not allowed to look back at the rest of the art. The transitions are the good parts--we are constantly trying to trick each other as to what we're drawing, so you never know what will happen...


....Jan's a master puppeteer who runs the Paperhand Puppet Intervention, and is also a graduate of the Center For Cartoon Studies in Vermont. So he knows a thing or two about drawing and design. He was great to work with. We know each other's style fairly well, so we often had moments of cartoon telepathy while working on the project; that's why the art styles blend so well. Jan's influences are mostly European cartoonists — lots of clear line stuff. My influences are mostly American illustrators and underground cartoonists, so my lines tend to be much scratchier. You'll notice that there's a giant baby head in "Factory". This is because Jan and his wife had their first child while we were doing the project, and he just rolled that right into the book! Jan's an amazing guy — I was very lucky to get him as a collaborator...

One reason I have done all these books (about 35 at this point) is that they really push me hard as an artist. When I would get the book back from Jan, I'd look at the little one-inch strip he'd left me to work from, and I'd think, "Good grief, this is GREAT!" and then I'd think "Shit shit shit" because now I have to do better. Jan and I are both a bit competitive, so we would deliberately leave some really good work to intimidate the other guy. Ah, men...

Dimensions for both books: 21 pages, single-sided, 9" (h) x 6" (w), when fully open 11ft. See Eric's Etsy store for purchases: Eric knisley











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