editing disabled

MACY Studio Practices Proposal (in-progress)
Nick Sousanis nsousanis@gmail.com
Title: Untitled thus far, but this will absolutely change as the project develops.

What it’s about: My proposal concerns my creative process – not so much where ideas come from, but how ideas are grown or how they are created. It’s about playing with pen and paper – in images and text, and how such curiosity fuels research journeys through texts, experience, all the way back to pen and paper again (or their digital equivalents).

What it is: A photo of the piece taken from directly in front of it would look exactly like a comic book page. However, in person, one would see that it is actually unflattened, extruding into three-dimensions. Essentially, the frame or “gutters” (the negative space between comic book panels) and the text/balloons will live on a separate outer layer. Beneath this “framing” layer are the images residing either on a single layer or in multiple layers. We might imagine this as being composed of numerous (small) dioramas or perhaps looking through the windows into a doll house – only that the rooms behind each window don’t connect to each other in the way that they do in a doll house. The project will consist of at least two such “pages” but no more than four in total, each 11in. w by 17in. v. (Dimensions may change.) At this point, I imagine building the layers out of sheets of foam core (though I’m open to material suggestions), and objects within will be small – meaning overall weight for hanging purposes minimal.

Text on the frame layer will carry the narrative on the creative process and how a project like this one is generated (and perhaps lean towards the self-referential and be specifically about dreaming up this one). The visual layer conveys the narrative in its own – at times complementary, at times divergent – way. In some panels (frames/windows/dioramas) what’s inside will be the actual objects – a pen, scribbled notes, a Petri dish – and other panels will be my creations in the form of drawings, cutouts, or popups.

Conceptual: I’m interested in how comics unflatten representation by actively engaging viewers in making the leaps across the gutters and connecting the fragments that make up the comic page into a cohesive whole in their heads. Literally adding another dimension to the mix may add to that unflattening, although of course, it may not. My initial thought in approaching the call for proposals was strictly a “flat” comic. But in thinking about what my “studio” is, I wanted to include sketches and other artifacts of the process. As is the case with so many things – in putting two together, something new is created. The piece is educational in talking about process and how comics function, and leaving viewers/readers with questions about their own process. I hope to include/offer 2-d, black and white paper versions of the project for visitors to take with them. (This will resemble the project itself and what it would have been had it been left a flat page instead of made into an object.) Similar works at www.spinweaveandcut.com.

The piece starts with a line of text: “This is my lab/studio. (Doesn’t look like much.)”
Accompanying this will be my pen and the margin of a sheet of notebook paper (blank with what are obviously notes from a class cropped off on the right edge).

The second panel reads as follows: “My work usually starts with something small – a raising of the eyebrow, a puzzled pause…”

“And then…”

And then the piece takes off on a detouring dance of juxtapositions and connections, as I explore how the unexpected – new births – come from putting this next to that. Ideas crystallize and pieces fit together in an emerging game – not a predetermined puzzle. Its ending is thus not yet writ, except that I know it will serve as a launch pad – a means of asking “What’s next?” – for the author, and perhaps for the viewer/reader as well to set off on a new journey of curiosity and discovery. - Nick