Traces of my chalks (IV). XXI century
The epoch of the Graphic Work with magnificent grounds, where Miguelanxo Prado, in addition, will develop what he considers his novel culmen, to date, Ardalén.
The Galician Architects Association (Colexio Oficial de Arquitectos de Galicia or COAG) asked me to make a storybook which dealt with both topics the town planning uses and the territory occupation; in order to be used as work material within their educational project PROXECTOTERRA.
The result was the story of the Pampín´s inheritance…
“Three reasons led me to Belo Horizonte. The first one, the explicit promise of its name. The second one, the wage rise due to the movement. The third one, my conviction that this trip would mean a turning point in my tedious mining technical engineers life, anchored in a middle job, in the gray offices of a multinational of the sector.“
In 2001, I was proposed to make a book about Belo Horizonte by the Brazilian publishing company Casa 21 together with the participation of the Prefeitura (council) of the city. One of the Jano´s books about Rio de Janeiro had been recently edited in those days.
I didn´t want to make a “card book.” And I proposed to develop a story whose scenario was the city; so as to make the reader feel, once the story is over, that Belo Horizonte is actually the main character. As it happens in many of the Woody Allen´s films with Manhatan, bridging the distances.
One of the constant features in fairs and conventions during the after-dinner conversations with friends and colleagues, when you are already unwind with a drink in hand; after long signing sessions and interwiews; is suggesting to make projects together. Then, once the festival is over, everyone returns to their things and the matter is most of the times forgotten.
I met Neil Gaiman in some fairs. And, in one of those dinners, we spoke about the possibility of doing something together some day. Much time went by, I would say that several years; and I forgot about this. One day, I got a message from Neil proposing me a script. It was The Heart of a Star, and it would be the main story of the book Endless Nights of Sandman.
Drawing Morpheus and his brothers was a wonderful experience. Once we?d finished, we both were very happy with the result (and so were the editors, as we believe…) And we told we should make something together again. Some years have already gone by. Maybe I am getting another Neil´s message one of these days…
The film De Profundis or From the Sea has no dialogues, but its script was a text that told the story with slightly different keys regarding the way it was developed for the screen.
Some sketch pages and preliminary designs have been included in the book. Extract from the text
In 2001, I began to consider the possibility of making an animated film “alone.” Immediatly, Nani García; friend, musician, and composer; enrolled in the project. He did it with a careless enthusiasm, as there was nothing but a statement of purpose. We began to work “seriously” in 2002.
Once the project had the first conprehensive script and the first visual planning finished; Chelo Loureiro, who would end up being the executive producer, accepted to jump into the bandwagon. She managed the participation of both Continental Productions as main production company, and the other production companies and entities that made the project viable. And she gave us support and unlimited ambition.
The Symphonic Orchestra of Galicia recorded the sound track and played it live in the two presentations that have taken place up to now.
These were four years of “forced labour” and an unrepeatable experience. And I am absolutely certain about what I mean when I say unrepeatable.
Pierre Christin, scriptwriters master, made a collection of books entitled “Les correspondances of Pierre Christin.” In August 2002, he proposed me to do one of these books locating the story in the Atlantic with him. The Prestige sank in front of the Galician coast on 13th November that year. At the beginning of 2003, Pierre had already sent me two versions of a spendid story. I got mixed up with the book and was unable to finish it until 2008. Unforgivable. So the collection was about to be ended without “Marée Noire,” which is the title of the story, being published.
Dargaud has published a comprehensive edition of the serial with extracts of all the other stories and the complete “Marée Noire” in France; as well as the illustrations by Juanjo Guarnido, Annie Goetzinger, and André Juillard.
Two of the illustrations that, due to design reasons, are split in the book; are now included complete in the gallery.
I don´t usually sketch for my works -just some fitting lines- or make many preparatory studies. But what I certainly do in a compulsive way is drawing a great number of useless sketchings, with no aim at all. On paper tableclothes in restaurants, on used envelopes, on little notebooks, on letter papers from hotels, on the back of the reports, on concert programs, on the road tax bill of the car… Many are lost or, simply, given up.
I have made an arbitrary selection for this book. They are -more or less- grouped by vaguely thematic criteria. I have included, when I remember them; comments on the reason or moment they were made. All they have in common is the fact of being firsthand drawings. Whether they are pencil or ink drawings, they have not undergone any retouching nor there has been a previous sketch.
“Ardalén” is a story about the personal memory. The memory as the essence of our existence, as the perception of our own life.
It may sound philosophical but, in the end, it is about a handful of human beings that help and harm each other, some of them come to love each other, and others cling to their memories to try to avoid the failure.
“Pieces recovered from the deepest of the ocean. It’s a bit a unchaste…as it is to show the photos from the first Communion, or as a baby on the towel with the naked ass”
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