“There are more fart jokes in my comic than in Joyce's 'Ulysses'”: Olivier Schrauwen returns with a hilarious ode to boredom | Culture | EUROtoday

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Olivier Schrauwen (Bruges, 46 years outdated) is sitting in a restaurant within the middle of Valencia. He is torn between seeing a mascletá for the primary time or having rice at Malvarrosa. He has simply participated within the metropolis's Comic Fair, one of many busiest in Spain. “Whenever I see myself at fairs like this, surrounded by people dressed in cosplay, I wonder; 'What is my place in all this?' he reflects. For some fans, that place is clear: he is the most interesting European author of the present. We don't say it, he proclaims it as is The Comics Journal, the reference publication of the sector. It is also endorsed by the authors Art Spiegelman (Maus), Chris Ware (Jimmy Corrigan, the smartest boy in the world) o Daniel Clowes (Ghost World), who point to Schrauwen as an inexhaustible source of inspiration. “It's something I prefer not to think about, because he makes me nervous. They are very generous by speaking well of me,” he says with honest humility and a hopelessly shy look.

Olivier Schrauwen, fulfilling the Fallas ritual of eating some churros while passing through Valencia.  / Courtesy of the publisher
Olivier Schrauwen, fulfilling the Fallas ritual of consuming some churros whereas passing by way of Valencia. / Courtesy of the writerCesar Sanchez

This Belgian cartoonist based mostly in Berlin is a type of rarities that once in a while contribute to increasing the boundaries of the graphic novel. He tried it with Arsene Schrauwen, a prodigy by which he recounted the invented adventures of his grandfather within the Belgian Congo, and now corroborates it with Flamenco Sunday, whose title is a really free translation of the unique Sunday, in a nod to the origin of the writer proposed by his Spanish writer, Fulgencio Pimentel. From now on, a candidate to high the lists of greatest comics of the 12 months. Where Spiegelman turned the Holocaust right into a fable, Ware constructed a brand new visible structure and Clowes examined the boundaries of unhealthy mood, Schrauwen addresses an entire feat of postmodern narrative: the definitive treatise on tedium, absurdity and human stupidity.

Its nearly 500 pages, initially revealed in several notebooks between 2017 and 2023 and picked up right here in a single quantity, replicate precisely what its title proclaims: a sunday anybody, from daybreak till midnight, within the lifetime of the protagonist, performed by a fictional model of Olivier Schrauwen's personal cousin. In the phrases of the writer of him, “a master at doing nothing and doing it badly. At least on the specific day that the comic reflects, which he also understands as his last day of freedom because he is about to turn 36 and that night his girlfriend returns from a long trip. The case of Thibault [el primo] It is particularly frustrating: the more things you intend to start, the more difficult it is to do it,” he outlines.

The protagonist of 'Domingo flamenco' intends to spend the day at home without interruptions from the outside world.
The protagonist of 'Domingo flamenco' intends to spend the day at dwelling with out interruptions from the skin world.

To the whole lot that occurs in his personal home, from which he refuses to go away all day (which is what his Sunday is for), is added what flows by way of his head and the parallel experiences of these near him: household, buddies. , neighbors, a cat and a mouse; in his neighborhood and hundreds of miles away. What may actually reply to the unique intentions of its writer, that’s, to turn into a sovereign tostón, rises in his virtuous palms and his delirious creativeness in a monument to the epic of on a regular basis life.

Things as banal as deciding whether or not to masturbate or not, buzzing songs, turning over that WhatsApp message a thousand instances, choosing up a e-book and never going past the primary line, gossiping about profiles on the networks, indulging in dipsomania alone, cooking with the very first thing What's cool, watch the worst film in historical past (on this case, The Da Vinci Code) and, above all, avoiding in any respect prices any interruption from the skin world are a part of the collective biography. In different phrases: “The protagonist may be irritating and a jerk, but the truth is that he could be any of us on a stupid day. We all have prosaic and repetitive thoughts. I wanted to observe this, moment by moment, stopping at the small details. That was the challenge: to make the most insubstantial comic possible without being boring for the reader, to start from something very undramatic and force myself to make it stimulating. There is a polarization among readers: there are people who say 'I can't stand this guy' and others who think 'let's keep reading, let's see what this idiot does now.'

The graphic novel 'Domingo flamenco' stands as an ode to procrastination.
The graphic novel 'Domingo flamenco' stands as an ode to procrastination.

Some enthusiasts already point it out as the Ulises of Schrauwen. He dismisses the flattery. “Beyond the fact that everything happens in one day, my work has nothing to do with Joyce's. In my comic there are many more jokes about farts,” he says, honoring the jocularity that comes by way of in his cartoons. “I acknowledge that my humorousness will not be for everybody. But that's okay: should you don't prefer it, you may at all times put down my e-book and spend your time doing one thing else.” And this, which also sounds like a joke, he says very seriously.

Time has precisely been an essential factor in the maturation of Schrauwen's work. She confesses that until her thirties, when she tamed his peculiar style in The man who grew a beard, He did not feel like an 'author', nor even an aspiring to make a living from this. In fact, he points out that his current sales allow him to live in an austere way. “Each project consumes me so much that I always forget along the way the practical part: making money.” He grew up with two posters in his room (of Magritte and Dalí), imitating the lines of the comics that André Franquin, Hergé and Jean Giraud / Moebius collected at home. His parents, an architect and a nurse, watched with concern as he decided to pursue a career in this. “My mother told me: 'Everything is very nice, son, but please, can you make comics that people understand? This way you're not going to get anywhere.' Even today, when I get really upset, I remember his words. Forcing myself to tell a linear story allowed me to deconstruct to become more and more experimental again.”

Olivier Schrauwen restricts the preparation of his pages to the use of just two inks to enhance his creative abilities.
Olivier Schrauwen restricts the preparation of his pages to the use of just two inks to enhance his creative abilities.

Schrauwen's creative method involves, in addition to always looking for inventive ways to include his another self in the stories, by compiling sketches in the notebooks that he always carries with him and printing them in risograph, a homemade technique widely used in fanzine publishing. “I am color blind, I confuse grey, blue and green. Hence it plays with two-color limitations. “This way I have greater control.” His most colorful comic to date, the hilarious compendium of speculative memoirs Parallel lives, It handles only ten inks, the maximum that a Riso printer supports.

After a lifetime of food work, from illustrations in The New York Times to animations for advertising and video clips, he is now working on what will be his first animated series, for which he is seeking financing and for which he does not give up. Meanwhile, he continues to test the effectiveness of his comics by scrutinizing the face of his girlfriend, artist Ada Van Hoorebeke, when she gives them to him to read. Having him so close, it would be fascinating if Schrauwen would one day dare to draw a parody of the art world. He disagrees. “There are already many films that have tried it, but none have achieved it in a genuine way. Those who parody it best are the artists themselves. In any case, I would dare to laugh at the world of comics, which is my field. And I would put myself in the foreground represented as an absolute idiot, of course. I would like to think that the flamenco sunday “He's the final fool I put because the protagonist, however I'd be fooling myself.” Faced with such a declaration of intentions, we can only let the mascletá go so he can continue taking notes on human imbecility.

With 'Damigo flamenco', Schrauwen also seeks to delve into our inability to often connect with others.
With 'Damigo flamenco', Schrauwen also seeks to delve into our inability to often connect with others.

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