OPENING NIGHT: Sketchkrieg Presents Paper Trail
Early this February, the XPACE Cultural Centre exhibits 'Paper Trail,' an art project that takes the Surrealists’ ‘exquisite corpse’ technique and runs it through a pop art meat grinder of comic illustration. Showcasing the work of Toronto-based illustration collective SketchKrieg!, 'Paper Trail' is a collaborative comic book narrative intended for gallery viewing.
In 2010, the seven illustrators in SketchKrieg! embarked on a collaborative comic panel project. One illustrator would create one comic panel – any size, any format. That panel would be passed along to a second illustrator, who was then instructed to illustrate a new panel within the next four days. That illustrator would pass that new panel (and the original) to a third illustrator, and the cycle would continue. The sequence was illustrated one panel at a time, each illustrator unaware how the previous illustrator intended the story to progress. No plot or outline was devised before committing ink to paper. Everything was intended to be surprising and improvised. And no dialogue was allowed.
The resultant story (currently still in progress) is full of bizarre twists and turns as the paper chain progresses. In-between gutters, genres flip from post-apocalyptic saga to romantic comedy to political thriller. Characters die and are reborn, their motives change as often as the illustration style. The exhibit, showcasing the entire 63-panel sequence, features work from SketchKrieg! illustrators Brian Hoang (Medicine), Jason Loo (Canadian GIJoe), Alana McCarthy (OWL Kids), Tyrone McCarthy (Corduroy High), Evan Munday (Quarter-Life Crisis), Gillian Newland (A Chanukah Noel) and Zen Rankin (Action Satisfaction Supreme).