Comprising the work of the three artists who make up the Baguette Trousers collective (Chloe Elise Dennis, Luke Finch and Sinae Carrotate Park) Artificially Coloured is a showcase anthology introduction to their varying styles, all ready for their debut as a collaborative entity at this year’s East London Comics and Arts Festival. This landscape anthology focuses on the childhood objects that helped shape us; those possessions or experiences that we remember with the most vivid sense of nostalgic wistfulness.
At ELCAF’s Springboard Meetings last year I was lucky enough to give a portfolio review to up-and-coming small presser Chloe Elise Dennis so seeing her there as an exhibitor this year provides a fitting sense of events coming full circle. Dennis’s Artificially Coloured offering ‘Unwind’ displays the growing leaps of confidence in her visual storytelling that have been so evident with every new project/every WIP posted to social media over the course of the last twelve months.
This remembrance of kite-flying is told with a poetic rhythm and a beautifully captured child’s eye perspective. It’s delicately paced to bring to life those feelings of trepidation and anticipation that Dennis’s earlier incarnation experienced, and full of the clever panel compositions that have been a feature of some of her previous work. The addition of physical thread in the art to denote the kite’s line adds a neat “tactile” element.
Luke Finch’s ‘Stuffed News’ by comparison is a more narrative-based short which is less about bringing us into a specific moment but nonetheless will resonate with the readership as it brings them briefly back to those days when play involved recreating our own versions of the adult world.
Here a renowned news reporter looks back on the days when he was sent to live with his grandparents and the “news studio” he set up with a collection of stuffed toys, including Wiggums the Teddy Bear. Finch has a jauntily expressive cartooning style and, while the story itself is admittedly slight, the clarity of his visuals and the way in which he juxtaposes childhood fantasy and reality here shows great promise.
The book concludes with ‘Excellent’ by Sinae Carrotate Park which echoes Dennis’s earlier story by bringing us into a moment of time rather than presenting an involved narrative. Here an office worker escapes the monotony of the working day by taking herself back to a time when the simple comfort of an ice cream was enough to temporarily make all right with world. Park’s style is a perfect fit with its faux naivety adding an extra layer of authenticity to her pages. I was reminded of the work of 2016 Broken Frontier ‘Six to Watch’ artist Kim Clements here; the deliberately childlike visuals connecting with us on a fundamental level.
One of the most important aspects of an event like ELCAF is the opportunity it provides for new talents to be seen by wider audiences. The disparate styles of the artists of the Baguette Trousers collective are all worth your attention. For those looking to discover unfamiliar creative voices at the festival this is one of your must-grab debuts.
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