Visual poet Aidan Koch on the limitless genre of graphic art novels
Comic artist Aidan Koch would rather have you read your own story into her work than tell you herself. Her newest book, 'The Blonde Woman', is an exploration into non-linear narrative and a dreamlike subversion of the standard comic art form. With sparse speech between unnamed characters to guide you, the plot relies on Koch's languid and painterly storytelling that feels more like visual poetry to explore a meditation on astral traveling. Her genre pushing publications have included 'The Whale', a runner up for the Oregon Book Award for Graphic Novel, and several self published book projects that compliment her multi-faceted art practice.
I collect a lot of reference images and notes all the time which I pool together to start building a story from, panel by panel. It's a very organic process visually, though often the plot will come from more personal aspects of my life
Dazed Digital: How did you start creating this book?
Aidan Koch: I knew I wanted to start a big project again, I just didn't know exactly where to begin. The majority of my work is actually painted, and while I didn't know how I'd be able to print the book, the idea of expanding my process and exploring where a longer, more painterly, approach could take me was very exciting. I started literally with a blank page though. I collect a lot of reference images and notes all the time which I pool together to start building a story from, panel by panel. It's a very organic process visually, though often the plot will come from more personal aspects of my life.
DD: What do you enjoy about working in comic form?
Aidan Koch: It's really a limitless genre. I think it's easy for people to categorise and make a lot of assumptions about what the comic format is or what it looks like. In reality though, any images presented in a sequential form can be considered 'comics.' There doesn't have to be any kind of set style or clear narrative or specific medium used. There don't even have to be words or characters. I just love the idea that a story can form from any assemblage of imagery. I don't know, I guess I'm really interested in the way comics combine book art, visual art, literature, poetry. Especially now that so many people are utilizing the internet as a platform for presenting work, more and more young, experimental artists are popping into the scene. Its very inspiring to be involved within such an energetic network.
DD: What other comic artists do you appreciate?
Aidan Koch: Frédéric Coché, Amanda Vahamaki, CF, Yuichi Yokoyama, Anke Fuechtenberger, Olivier Schrauwen.
You can purchase The Blonde Woman here