Kendal, 31st May 2016: Working in partnership with The Finnish Institute in London, theLakes International Comic Art Festival is delighted to announce the forthcoming appearance of several top comic creators from Finland – a country steeped in storytelling often inspired by its rich mythology and folklore, and a country with one of the biggest comics readerships in the world.
Joining a growing list of already-announced top international and British comics guests in Kendal in October will be Hanneriina Moisseinen, Virpi Oinonen, Ville Ranta, Johanna “Roju” Rojola and Petteri Tikkanen, along with musicians Niko Kumpuvaara and Aleksi Ranta.
Their visit is part of an extension to the Lakes Festival’s rapidly-expanding Comic Creator Exchange Program with other major comics events around the globe.
In addition to appearances on panels about comics and workshops, the Finnish creators will also be bringing their unique Comics in Concert project to the Festival, featuring artist Ville Ranta, guitarist Aleksi Ranta and accordionist Niko Kumpuvaara, delivering what they describe as “a fascinating new art form”.
Petteri Tikkanen is a rock star in terms of comic art in Finland, performing in all manner of venues, including the Opera House on Töölönlahti Bay in Töölöand. He’ll also appear at the Lakes Festival’s “Comic Fringe” venue as “Black Peider”, a character that is something of a YouTube phenomenon.
Hanneriina Moisseinen is a multi-faceted, multi-media artist who has exhibited in many countries. Her stunning work will form one of two main exhibitions at the Wildman Gallery – an installation featuring hundreds of pages from her most recent work, sound and more.
An enterprise social consultant, London-based Virpi Oinonen has worked as an online producer and campaigner for nonprofits for almost ten years. She’s also worked as a journalist and a comics artist.
Johanna “Roju” Rojola is Finland’s equivalent of Britain’s Comics Laureate. Every five years, the Finnish Comics Society awards the title of Comics Commissioner to persons who have significantly furthered the genre of comics. This year, Johanna Rojola was awarded the title for her relentless work as an artist, producer, publisher, teacher and an activist spanning causes such as feminism, gender equality, global justice etc. She has paved the way for many female comics artists in Finland in one way or the other, being an inspiring teacher and mentor since the 1990s.
“This is the beginning of a new strand in the festival concentrating on Finnish comic art which in many respects is breaking new ground,” enthuses Festival Director Julie Tait. “Per capita, I’m told Finland is the third largest comic reading nation.
It’s a project that is helping make our Festival distinctive and we’re doing similar exchanges with several other countries now, including Japan and Canada.”
“At The Finnish Institute in London, we think comics are a powerful means of creating social change. We are also very proud that Finland has many exceptional, prominent and successful female comic creators,” says Pauliina Ståhlberg, Director of the Institute.
These talented Finns will join other already-announced guests (and many others) for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2016 are – artist Jordi Bernet (Torpedo and Jonah Hex); writer Joe Kelly (I Kill Giants, Deadpool), Bryan Lee O’Malley (Scott Pilgrim, Seconds), top US cartoonists Luke and Steve McGarry; 2000AD artist Mick McMahon; artist Ken Niimura, who has designed this year’s Festival art; Benoit Peeters, Britain’s first Professor of Graphic Fiction and Comic Art, at Lancaster University; and Paco Roca, best known for his award-winning graphic novel Wrinkles.
Many more international and British comic creators will be announced over the coming weeks, joining a host of writers, artists, publishers and retailers for a long weekend in the Lakes crammed with panels, exhibitions, children’s events and other activities. The town will be entirely given over to comics, with business owners lining up to support the Festival’s famous “Windows Trail”, giving over store front space to display comics art created by artists and local groups and school children.
The October weekend is just one of a number of comics projects from the Festival on its way this year, which has included the world premiere performance of Black Dog – the Dreams of Paul Nash by Dave McKean that took place at Kendal Town Hall this weekend.
On stage: Ville Ranta, illustration; Aleksi Ranta, guitar; Niko Kumpuvaara, accordion.
Comics in Concert is a trio consisting of an illustrator, guitarist and accordion player creating a fascinating new art form.
Comic artist Ville Ranta has performed at comic concerts at the Angoulême comics festival in France, sharing the stage with other musicians and illustrators, including his brother, guitarist Aleksi Ranta and accordionist Niko Kumpuvaara. For the past six years, these concerts have ranked among the most popular events at the festival.
The collaboration between the Ranta brothers and Kumpuvaara takes the idea a step further towards a deeper and more experimental musicality.
The trio have performed at musical and comics events across Finland and in Sweden, for example in Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma in Helsinki, Turku Music Festival, Oulu Music Festival, Helsinki Comics Festival and Stockholm’s International Comics Festival.
Accordionist Niko Kumpuvaara
Hanneriina Moisseinen (born in Joensuu, Finland in 1978) has an artistic background in fine arts, especially drawing, sculpting and installation, but she has been drawing comics since the 90’s and nowadays is best known as a graphic novel artist. When she is asked, what kind of graphic novels she does, the answer usually is: “serious”.
Moisseinen’s debut comic album Sen synty (2005) is a collection of illustrated old folktales from the Viena Karelia area. The follow-up, Setit ja partituurit – Häpeällisiä tarinoita / Sets and Scores – Shameful stories (2010), contains more contemporary stories about embarrassing situations in daily life. Four of the comics published in the album won the main award in the Scandinavian Comics Competition of Kemi in 2006. The Comic-Finlandia and Jarkko Laine Literature Award nominee Isä / Father (2013) tells a real life story how a father of a family disappears with no reason, and is never found again.
In 2014 she debuted as a film director with a drawn animation Syntymäpäivä / Birthday.Moisseinen is also the other main character in Selma Vilhunen’s documentary film Laulu / Song. She has also had art exhibitions in about fifteen countries around the world, both in art galleries and museums.
Her fourth comic album, Kannas / The Isthmus, about cows and other animals in the Second World War, was released last month.
Virpi Oinonen has worked as an online producer and campaigner for nonprofits for almost ten years. She’s also worked as a journalist and a comics artist.An enterprise social consultant, London-based Virpi holds a Master’s degree in political sociology from London School of Economics, but also studied in the Aalto University Media Lab. She has a background in online campaigning and mobilisation (for Greenpeace and other nonprofits) and communications in general – including journalism, online marketing and cartooning.
A couple of years ago her job description at her previous organisation changed to include internal communications. As an online mobilisation expert she decided to introduce an enterprise social network (Yammer). Rolling out an internal social network was such an interesting (and at times frustrating) experience that she decided to become an enterprise social consultant. Her focus is on facilitating change from the bottom up (the intrapreneurial approach to internal social networks), and she enjoys both tactical and strategic levels of enterprise social adoption and usage. For bigger consultancy projects she teams up with Betterworking Ltd.
When she’s not thinking about social networks and the changing nature of work I run a visual storytelling company called Business illustrator, alongside artists Darryl Cuningham and Richy K. Chandler, among others.
There is a saying: “Behind every successful female comics artist there is another woman.” In Finland her name is Johanna “Roju” Rojola.
Every five years, the Finnish Comics Society the title of Comics Commissioner to persons who have significantly furthered the genre of comics. This year, Johanna was awarded for her relentless work as an artist, producer, publisher, teacher and an activist spanning causes such as feminism, gender equality, global justice etc.
She has paved the way for many female comics artists in Finland in one way or the other, being an inspiring teacher and mentor since the 1990s.
A graduate of the Angouleme Art School in 1995, in addition to her own albums, her comics have been published in various journals and collections and she has also supplied, produced and organised exhibitions, workshops, seminars and festivals.
Johanna has also participated in World Comics Finland‘s work, mainly as a workshop trainer. She has run workshops in Mozambique (1999 and 2005), Lebanon (2005), and Burundi (2010).
Rojola also edited two cartoon publication: Naarassarjat-lehden magazine, in 1990, and the online magazine Nettinarttu-verkkolehden in 2000.
Petteri Tikkanen is a Finnish comic artist from the small town of Iisalmi, who started out working in fanzines in the mid 1990s.
Early works were mainly based around horror and humour, but by the turn of the century he focused on semi-autobiographical stories about Kanerva (Heather) and Eero (Eric). The albums based on Eero are a classic boy’s growing-up story.
Sometimes, Petteri performs as a Lucha Libre character Black Peider on stage. This character also appears in Petteri’s body of work loosely exploring masculinity and music. Petteri also works as an illustrator and teaches illustration.
The Finnish Institute in London
The Finnish Institute in London is a private, non-profit trust bringing together individuals, communities and organisations. Our mission is to identify emerging issues important to contemporary society in Finland, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.
The Institute encourages cross-disciplinary and cross-border collaboration by creating networks and building new partnerships. “We want to take thinking of social challenges and cultural practices in new, positive directions,” they explain. “To do this, we open up spaces for novel ideas, discussions and trends by bringing passionate people together.
“We believe that a pinch of risk-taking accompanied by the hard work of imaginative people can transform the cultures and spaces we collectively inhabit. We embrace the unexpected while nurturing and maintaining excellence in contemporary social and cultural practice.”
The fourth Lakes International Comic Art Festival will run from 14-16 October 2016 in Kendal, Cumbria, celebrating great comic art from across the world. It is the only one of its kind in the UK taking over the whole town of Kendal, on the edge of the Lake District, for a weekend.
Guests revealed so far are Joe Kelly, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Luke and Steve McGarry, Mick McMahon,Ken Niimura and Benoit Peeters – with more announcements to come soon.
The festival features comic artists from around the world, as well as performance, film, exhibitions, comic trails, workshops, master classes, live drawing and independent retailers and publishers. The events programme is bursting with opportunities to get up close and personal with some of the leading comic artists and writers from across the world – see them draw, talk about their work and bring comics to life.
A free Family Zone provides drop-in activities for all ages, alongside a series of fantastic workshops for kids and teenagers. The Lakes International Comic Art Festival brings the town together for a weekend to celebrate the amazing world of comic art.
Exhibitors in the Comics Clock Tower “marketplace” for 2016 include – to name but a few! – the Cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain, Italian illustrator and cartoonist Silvia Carrus, Buzzfeed illustrator James Chapman, Disconnected Press, Forbidden Planet, the writer and artist on Rick and Morty Sarah Graley, Page 45, graphic designer and illustrator Simon Russell, Soaring Penguin and independent publisher and writer Tom Ward.
Black Dog – The Dreams of Paul Nash
Co-commissioned by the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, 14-18 NOW, the UK’s official arts programme for the First World War centenary and On a Marche sur la Bulle, Black Dog – The Dreams of Paul Nash is a multimedia performance and new graphic novel by illustrator, comic artist, filmmaker and musician Dave McKean, one of the iconic figures of the UK comic art world.
Black Dog explores the work of Paul Nash, one of the most important British artists of the twentieth century, whose First World War experiences inspired him to create paintings of disturbing, lasting power.
The graphic novel is being released in two editions – a limited signed edition, out now, available exclusively from Page 45, and a full publication in October at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival (14-16 October 2016).
• Further performances of Black Dog will be held in France over the summer before the performance returns to Cumbria for the graphic novel launch in October.
Black Dog – The Dreams of Paul Nash is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The commission is also supported by Kendal College, Kendal Business Improvement District and South Lakeland District Council.
Festival Sponsors and Benefactors
CThe Patrons of the Festival are comic creators Boulet, Sean Phillips, Bryan Talbot, Mary Talbot and Emma Vieceli, and Stephen L. Holland, owner of the award-winning independent comic shop Page 45 in Nottingham.