Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Exhibition tributes to Valentina by Crepax by international artists inHelsinki comic book festival to promote Fantagraphics Crepax collection

Poster to tributes to Valentina by international artists Helsinki comic book festival 2016 by Portuguese artist Sérgio Rocha 

Organizing an exhibition with some of the best international artists in comic books, illustration, animation and photography isn't an easy task because it requires focus and attention to all the details and several hours comunicating with all of them in different languages and time schedules with a comunication tool as a mere IPad 
I had to focus on myself and the person who's to blame because of all this work is the Portuguese coach Mourinho, since I believe in his strength and how he deals with his own life, with his own words and his way of thinking in his work in all the soccer clubs that he managed around the world and of course to how Guido Crepax dealt with his own life aswell while being a master and one of the greatest ever in comic book form with his main character Valentina (among other pieces of art and storytelling) to whom this exhibition was made to promote Fantagraphics Crepax collection in which i'm freelance series editor of it.

Mourinho seen by Argentine artist Mister ED

I believe that I'm a free spirit and I do try to be pratical and emotional, trying to put all my energy in my work.
I love books, I love working on them, of course that sometimes, being focused on a project such as this one with 82 international artists in a project that took me more than a year takes time and sometimes people were asking me what I did in life or who I was and I always replied them telling them that I'm merely a guy that loves books because they mark history.
Everything that I did in this exhibition and with others at Porto (this year) and Beja (2014) in Portugal, at Seattle (this year in Fantagraphics bookstore and gallery) and New York (this year in Scott Eder Gallery) in the U.S.A and now in Helsinki comic book festival (also this year) was to promote Fantagraphics Crepax collection.

Thanks to all artists who provide visions of Valentina and were all the time real kind and gentle with me, an humble guy from a city named Porto.   
Of course that this was affecting my personal life, but in my mind and within my memories, I'm conscious that I was doing all this work and other projects not only to me (like I did in the past), but to my ex-wife Paula Fonseca who supported some of my ideas but we lost ourselves in comunication (I think) and each one of us turned another book page in our lives (I don't believe in anger or hate), our kitty Ilvie that I brung to our home from the street (it still haunts my dreams as my muse), my friends,my brothers,nieces and nephews and my family, because they are and were the ones who gave me support in my ideas.
I believe that sometimes if people give you stones you must make fire with them to keep you warm and healthy.
A pity that i couldn't be at Helsinki comic book festival to talk a bit about it, but health and personal problems made it impossible to be there, but I continue to thank all the organization of this comic book festival: Kalle Hakkola, Maura Manninen and Aino Sutinen for how well they treated me as a person.                     
Some of the artists that are exhibited in this exhibition were artists whose books I've read or that I've met while surfing the world wide web and that believed in this project to all of you, I never forget your support aswell (I know that I couldn't put all the artists that made Valentinas in this exhibition, but I'll try to see what I can do in the near future)   

4 Tributes to Valentina by Crepax by Sid Jung from South Korea, Rune Ryberg from Denmark and Walter Minus and Baudoin from France.

8 tributes to Valentina by Crepax by artists Peter Kuper, Olivia de Berardinis, Jeffrey Alan Love, Michael Gaydos from U.S.A, Patricia Breccia and Quique Alcatena from Argentina and Apollonia Saint Clair from France. 

3 Tributes to Valentina by Crepax by artist Stanislas from France, Sandra Hernandez from Spain and Nicolas Mahler from Austria

11 tributes to Valentina by Crepax by artists Tim Sale, Arnold Pander, George Pratt and Roberta Gregory from U.S.A , Ana Biscaia from Portugal, Chris Chalik from Poland, Dave Mckean from UK, Nicolas Krizan from Sweden, José Luis Ágreda and Felipe H. Navarro from Spain.  

14 tributes to Valentina by Crepax by artists Caterina Crepax (Guido Crepax's daughter) and Thomas Campi from Italy, Danijel Zezelj from Croatia, Sami Makkonen from Finland, Carlos Nine and Alejandra Sanguinetti from Argentina, Magdalena Minko from Poland, Emil Gunnar Maxen and Peter Bergting from Sweden, Brao from Brazil, Kelley Jones and Sam Henderson from U.S.A and Ivila Caballero and Ruben Pellejero from Spain.

6 tributes to Valentina by Crepax by artists Bill Koeb and David Lasky from U.S.A , Mike V. Derderian from Jordan, Hunt Emerson from UK, Sonia Pulido and Santiago Sequeiros from Spain.
9 Tributes to Valentina by Crepax from artists Brian Bolland and James Harvey from UK, Joanna Joka Karpowicz from Poland, Paulo Pinto, Sérgio Rocha and Derrade from Portugal, Gustavo Rico, Fidel Martiñez Nadal and Chema Garcia from Spain     

12 tributes to Valentina by Crepax  by international artists such as Dylan Horrocks from New Zealand, Simon Davis, Rian Hughes and Steve Yeowell from Uk, Tommi Musturi and Marko Turunen from Finland, Carlos Dearmas from Argentina, Ben Marra and Jude Harzer from U.S.A, Alex Baladi from Switzerland and Spanish artists Kosta and Pedro Espinosa  

2 tributes by American artist Richard Sala and Brazilian artist Alex Korolkovas that were hidden in the previous photo.

10 tributes to Valentina by Crepax by artists Bill Sienkiewicz, Gilbert Hernandez, Michael Avon Oeming and Brian Biggs from U.S.A, John Kurokawa from Japan, Doug Lobo from Brazil, Kolbein Karlsson from Sweden and Javier Olivares and Miguel Almagro from Spain

1 Tribute to Valentina by Guido Crepax by Argentine artist Santiago Caruso along 6 pages of First Crepax Fantagraphics book

During 2015 and 2016 I also started thinking on doing stories as tributes to Valentina by Crepax to promote also Fantagraphics Crepax collection and some artists supported my ideas, to whom I'm in debt to them: Pedro Espinosa, Sandra Hernandez, Felipe H. Navarro, Fidel Martiñez Nadal, Ivila Caballero from Spain, Magdalena Minko from Poland, John Kurokawa from Japan, Brao from Brazil, Mister Ed from Argentina, Paulo Pinto from Portugal, so I must see what I can do with them. I was listening to a lot of music while writing them, particularly from the swiss band Young Gods (whose lyrics and music reminded me a lot of Valentina's dreams) and I've contacted the vocalist from the band Franz Treichler to ask him for permission to use some of his lyrics as inspiration (which he gave me) for the pace of all stories with key elements in each one that I think connect with my memories of each city from what I've read, listened or saw and paid some tributes to artists and comic book characters from each city and from Fantagraphics artists that I love and chose to put some words in the original languages of songs from Swiss band Young Gods or quotes from writers to create a sort of movement in the stories throughout the cities where the stories were set (that are translated into english).

Tribute pages to Valentina by Crepax by Felipe H.Navarro from Spain, Mister ED from Argentina, Magdalena Minko from Poland and Paulo Pinto from Portugal


The first photo on the left is the first page of a story set in Madrid - Spain with a XXI century Valentina that loves soccer and searches for Mourinho who coached Real Madrid against the powerful Guardiola's Barcelona drawn by spanish artist Felipe H.Navarro.
The second one is drawn by Argentine artist Mister Ed has a quote from Julio Cortazar with him describing life and time through a wrist watch and a Raymond Carver quote aswell describing love, this story is set in Barcelona - Spain and Mourinho coached barcelona aswell for a while.
The third one is set in Warsaw - Poland and drawn by Polish artist Magdalena Minko with some elements that link to the other stories, like a tribute to Hellblazer character and British band My Bloody Valentine songs.
The fourth one is set in Porto and drawn by Portuguese artist Paulo Pinto with Mourinho as a link, since he coached Porto aswell and because Caterina Crepax was in my hometown in december 2015


Tribute pages to Valentina by Crepax by John Kurokawa from Japan, Pedro Espinosa, Fidel Martiñez Nadal and Sandra Hernandez from Spain and Brao from Brazil.

The first photo is set in Kyoto - Japan where the portuguese have roots and I've decided to start it here with drawings by John Kurokawa.
The second one is drawn by Spanish artist Pedro Espinosa and it's set in London - England, Mourinho also coached Chelsea there and I've decided to put as a key element also english writer Aleister Crowley who faked his own suicide in Portugal with the help of Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa who was a personal friend of him.
The third one is set in Le mans - France and it's drawn by Spanish artist - Fidel Martiñez Nadal, I thought on putting there some key elements like french writer Antonin Artaud, Hugo Pratt's Corto Maltese (who has a link with Valentina and France) and my personal life in it with my nieces and nephews on the story.
The fourth one is drawn by Spanish artist Sandra Hernandez and it's set in Milan, Mourinho also coached Inter Milan and Crepax was a Inter supporter, so I've thought that it would be a good idea linking him on this story with a quote by Italian writer Pier Paolo Pasolini and Valentina watching a soccer game at San Siro.
The fifth one is set in São Paulo - Brazil and it's drawn by Brazilian artist Brao with lyrics by Young Gods and a reference to Mourinho aswell.

Organizing exhibitions or book collections isn't easy. Writing stories isn't easy aswell since you must be in sync with the artist and focused on what you're doing and since I'm a pratical and emotional guy, I was trying to show the love that I had regarding my ex-wife, (She gave me support through almost eight years and I also supported her in all her good and bad times as a couple should be until 10th July 2016, perhaps we were never in sync regarding the way that we saw life differently or could be that we lost comunication and feelings which I find normal sometimes in couples or even about the working environment and people that surrounded us and can influence our behaviour, but I will always remember our excellent moments throughout the years that we passed together), because in human nature nothing is eternal concerning feelings and emotions and we make good things and mistakes in it, being worst if somebody lost a father like my ex-wife did in Februrary this same year, being her father last words to me that are still stuck in my mind: "take good care of my daughter if something happens to me", which I tried to do until the date of our divorce (and even after it), our kitty Ilvie, (my muse and warrior), my hometown Porto and Portuguese people as a Nation with what I knew from History books (being us famous sailors all over the world throughout world History, being my country the oldest one in the world) what I've read of us as a country and also the History of my hometown (which is awesome), books that I've read in several languages from several international writers, movies that I saw also from international directors, songs that I listened to from international bands since I was a mere teen and some cities that I've visited and others that I didn't, stories that I've imagined in my mind, so the main character (a modern Valentina) in the stories that I was creating was always my ex-wife and I'll never deny the fact that I was creating a love story to her because she was the person that I loved and trusted my life with, the cats that appear on all stories are what our kitten Ilvie meant to me and my nieces and nephews aswell.
 So now, all I see in these stories are some finished pages to be solved as a puzzle and to be transformed into a mere origami with the idea of building a book while turning a page in my life.

My opinion is that past, present or future always mix themselves because I believe in my heart that all of them collides in this thing called life, that's why I remember in my memories a conversation in my favourite movie Mike Leigh's Naked between the character named Johnny with a watchman: "has nobody ever told you, Brian, that you've got this sort of gleeful preoccupation with the future?" and several advices from my grandmother, my grandfather and my aunts and uncles.

Special thanks as always to Caterina Crepax, my family, my ex-wife Paula Fonseca, our kitty Ilvie, my friends and Gary Groth   

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