go look – Gareth Hopkins – a very personal recommendation

(click on images to follow links)

There are plans and plans and things that make them fail or change. I’d planned to make this a wider discussion about a new set of posts I’m planning looking to announce new books and interesting books that I’ve found. But then I started work on it and began with a look at Gareth’s work and it just focussed down to being about him and his oeuvre.

Gareth Hopkins is a significant part of why you’re seeing this post. Oh, firsty, Gareth does his own newsletter, it’s here.

He’s got a new silent, abstract comic out for sale called The Children of the Valley (that’s Plant y Cwm in welsh, which I love the sound of (I’m not a native welsh speaker sadly).

I’ll always recommend reading anything Gareth puts out, this one has very beautiful art to stare at, even if it has none of Gareth’s usual moving and cryptic poetry accompanying it.

I need to unpack that a bit. When I went on social media first, Gareth’s work was one of the first things I found and started following. He was working on Found Forest Floor at that time and there was something about that that took hold of me. Partly it was just the very oddness of a comic page paneled up over single images and how he managed to make a sense of motion in his still abstract images. Partly, it was that odd game you can play with abstract art where you recognise shapes as something else. At one point, there was a drawing that reminded me of the Yellow Submarine sailing through the seas.

Gareth put a free download of that up on his site and I downloaded it and coloured over it using MS Paint then made a tiny little zine of it and I think I sent a copy of it to Gareth as well. At that time, it was very much his art that drew me in, the idea that you coil make abstract comics and comic images that transformed other people’s work into new things.

I found instagram and an instagram feed where someone posted an image every time they ran and I started drawing abstract comics based on that.

Here’s the first page I drew.

That’s what got me back into making things, in fact, he’s what got me back into making things. Knowing someone was just making things ang printing them out and distributing them reminded me of the time I once made a zine (that no one ever bought or saw!) and I thought I’d try that myself. One of the first ones I made was Emergency and I sent that out to people who were interested and Colossive Press got in touch with me and asked me whether they could pick it up and publish it, which blew my mind and is exactly what they did – you can buy it here by the way. It’s a series of photographs and essays about being the father of a child with hidden disabilities. It was my gateway into zine making and publishing. Thanx to Tom and Jane Murphy for their interest.

I went on to start zine love and one of the first reviews I did was of a comic Gareth had drawn and written. It very nearly made me cry. I’ve linked to the review below.

Then I went mad and decided to publish an anthology and Gareth agreed to be part of it, which was so exciting for me and then his comic was absolutely amazing. You can also buy that from Colossive, here.

Basically put, Gareth’s work opened up my mind about what could be done in comics and what I could do myself.

thanx Gareth, you’re a diamond.

Want to know what to expect from Gareth’s comics? Here’s a review and here’s my write up for the paper underground awards.

Here’s a cover 

And a couple internal pages

all contents copyright its respective owners

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