BOONE—Comics and graphic novels have long been used as a medium to depict political opinion, for satire or entertainment.
An exhibit representing work from the Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS) in Vermont is on display through Feb. 6, 2016, at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at Appalachian State University.
“At the Junction of Words & Pictures: The Tenth Anniversary of The Center for Cartoon Studies” features work by CCS faculty James Sturm, Stephen R. Bissette and Jason Lutes as well as by CCS Fellows Chris Wright (2008-09), Julie Delporte (2011-12), Connor Willumsen (2012-13) and Sophie Yanow (2014-15). Also included are examples of art by CCS graduates and cartoonists who have collaborated with the school on various book projects.
The exhibit was guest curated by Craig Fischer, a professor of English at Appalachian. Fischer teaches cultural studies and film, including experimental and art cinema, comics and graphic novels. The exhibit is underwritten in part by the Office of Academic Affairs, the College of Arts and Sciences, Belk Library and Information Commons, the Department of Art and the Department of English.
“The study of comics and graphic novels is important for a simple, wonderful reason: comics are going through a spectacular artistic renaissance that makes them currently much more compelling – at least to me – than most contemporary literary fiction or Hollywood movies,” Fischer said. “Each year, newcomers and experienced cartoonists alike create significant works, even as publishers keep the classics of the comics medium in print. It’s the best time to be a comics reader.”
Fischer said the cartoon renaissance is evident through the work being developed at the Center for Cartoon Studies.
“The most vibrant segment of the comics renaissance is the growth of what we could call literary cartooning, or comics for adult readers, and the Center for Cartoon Studies trains cartoonists how to make future books with the scope and depth of Art Spiegelman’s ‘Maus’ (1986) and Alison Bechdel’s ‘Fun Home,’” (2007) he said.
To earn their MFAs, CCS students write and draw a “thesis,” a long-form graphic novel project.
“This exhibit, then, is a cross-section of an art form at peak creativity, through individual pages by faculty and alumni,” Fischer said. “Alumni of the center have created graphic novels for mainstream and alternative publishers, begun their own publishing companies and branched out into children’s book illustration and comics journalism. The diversity and number of contemporary comics projects that can be traced back to CCS is staggering.”
The Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS) is the nation’s premiere school for aspiring literary cartoonists. Included in the exhibit is a collection of CCS publications and memorabilia, such as custom-drawn diplomas for graduating classes, and a reading area with CCS-related books, mini-comics and zines.
Gallery visitors should note that the artwork in these exhibitions contains material that some may find offensive.
Also on exhibit is the work of Appalachian alumnus Andrew David Cox ’14. Cox was an editorial cartoonist for The Appalachian student newspaper before embarking on a career as a professional artist. His is a member of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists. He draws weekly cartoons for the Central Penn Business Journal. His work has also appeared in the Winston-Salem Journal and The News & Observer in Raleigh.
The exhibit of his work is titled “Back to Boone: Editorial Cartoons by Andrew David Cox.”
For information about related lectures and presentations, visit http://tcva.org/exhibitions/1746.
The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts is located at 423 West King St., in Boone. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday, and noon-8 p.m., Friday. The center is closed Sunday and Monday, and observes all university holidays. There is no admission charge, although donations are accepted.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.
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