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April 24, 2007 > Funny Papers

Funny Papers

By Vidya Pradhan

If you need a way to bond with your teen or just get a feel for an ultra contemporary art form, head over to Olive Hyde Gallery's new exhibition, 'Funny Papers'. The exhibition features various representations of comic-book art, from traditional to Manga, the Japanese art of animation.

The Funny Papers exhibition is the brainchild of Gallery Curator Sandra Hemsworth. A very successful Teen Art Expo has been held for the last few years by the City of Fremont at the Teen Center at Lake Elizabeth. This year's teen "expo" coincides with the Funny Papers exhibit at Olive Hyde. While the expo focuses primarily on Manga and Anime, Sandra and Recreation Director Rena Dein developed the idea of an exhibition that would include other, more traditional, styles as well.

Artist John Scharmen is one such traditional artist. He was employed as a videogame designer at Sony before quitting to pursue his dream of comic book illustration. His works are drawn in the style popularized by Bob Kane, the artist behind Batman, and animators at Disney. These intricate drawings are of the fantasy genre, produced by transferring ink drawings to the computer, digitally coloring them.

Another featured artist is Gris Grimly whose wicked illustrations and twisted rhymes are sure to delight the naughty child in all of us. Some of his delightfully bizarre nursery rhyme books are on display at the Gallery.

While some comic art is purely whimsical, like Justin Hillgrove's Imps and Monsters series, others tackle serious issues in this unorthodox medium. One particular work by Nikki Boudreau, a young and upcoming artist in this field, evokes the image of a tapestry while telling the story of bride-napping in Kyrgystan.

"I would like my art to be accessible to all ages and to tell a story," explains PMBQ, a promising graphic artist known only by her initials. She was attracted to the Manga style of this genre because of its emphasis on story-telling and character development as opposed to the typical action-oriented super hero comic.

Extraordinary works by students from Washington High and the Teen Center are also on display. Most are sequential art - they tell a story or some part of it. The vivid imagery makes their message more poignant.

Many other well known artists are included in the exhibition, which runs from April 20th through May 19th. Prints of several of the works are available for purchase, at prices ranging from $5 for children's coloring books by Justin Hillgrove up to $ 500 for Gris Grimly's inventive sketches.

Be sure to check out Michael Paulus' weird skeletal sketches of popular cartoon characters like Betty Boop and Charlie Brown. 'Funny Papers' may make you laugh but you will undoubtedly come away with a new appreciation of this intricate art form.

'Funny Papers'
April 20 - May 19, 2007
Thursday - Sunday, 12 noon to 5 p.m.
Olive Hyde Art Gallery
123 Washington Blvd, Fremont
(510) 791-4357

Manga, Art and Graphic Novel Expo for Teens
Saturday, April 28th. (Ages 11+)
Morning Session - 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Afternoon Session - 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Fremont Teen Center
39770, Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont
(510) 494-4344

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