Monday 24 September 2012

Teapot Therapy and On Reflection: An Andy Poyiadgi special!

It’s always a bit of an awkward moment when someone you know offers to send you their work to look at. Even if you insinuate yourself into creative, artsy circles like I do (bribing creators to be my friend with cake), there’s nevertheless a risk that you will open up said link or email and find something that isn't your kind of thing at all.

Mercifully, when the lovely Andy Poyiadgi said he would send me a story of his (a suggestion which - appropriately enough for this blog – came from a shared love of tea, biscuits and cake) I opened up the link and was blown away. The piece in question was Teapot Therapy, which can be found here. In 4 short pages, it does something that many comics struggle to achieve: it connects on an emotional level, and is incredibly moving. The heartache that forms an undercurrent to the comic gradually seeps into the story, never becoming melodramatic or trite, but rather striking a recognisable and convincing chord. I won’t go into the story too much as, frankly, you should just go and read it for yourself. (It's only 4 pages, don't be lazy now). Suffice it to say that it is a thing of quiet beauty. Something which can also be said of Andy’s art, which somehow manages to match the tone of his narrative perfectly. Soft, clean lines and muted colours (aided by the clever use of actual tea for the backgrounds, I believe) seem at first comforting, but then with the gradual reveal of the story take on a different meaning. For me, they speak to a muted every-day life: not grim or unbearable, but somehow sapped of those things that had once made it vibrant and engaging.

Formally, Andy plays with the conventions of panels and structure in a way that is interesting but never distracting, with each new shape or sequence adding another subtle level of meaning to the story. And you can’t deny that it’s beautiful to look at. I mean, seriously now, just look at this page:

Sigh. Lovely stuff. If you're a fan of more traditional panels, Andy's also got a 6 page story in  ink+PAPER #2On Reflection. Rather like Teapot Therapy, the tone is quiet and thoughtful, with sequences given over to individual moments to allow each one the space and weight it deserves.

Compositionally, it is perhaps more conventional than Teapot Therapy, but it is nonetheless an intriguing one to pore over. Without giving too much away (again, you should be going out and buying yourself a copy of ink+PAPER #2 here, or at your local comic shop), take a moment whilst you're reading this to enjoy the way in which reflection permeates not just the content of the panels, but also the structure of the page.

What a lovely thing it is to discover just how talented one of your friends is. Having seen what Andy can do in a shorter piece, I'm now eager to find out what he could do with a longer story. One to watch, I have no doubt!

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