This blog is going to be on hiatus for a while, as I will be travelling quite a lot around Italy to promote Neurocomic. In case you miss my comics, here is a list of the various places and festivals where you will be able to find them (and me).
The trip to New York is mostly an holiday but if you’re around and want me to sign some books or simply have a chat, why not, just let me know.
I’m looking forward to meet some new friends as well as to catch up with the old ones.
See you around.
Today has been exactly 5 months since the opening of our exhibition at The Cube. Our last event was all about memory so I made this special illustration of the Hippocampus patiently working away in his cave. The theme seems particularly relevant now, since September will also mark the first anniversary of Neurocomic, published by Nobrow in September 2013. Boy, what a year this has been… I never expected so many good memories could be packed in such a short time, my hippocampus feels giddy!
But let’s not linger too much on the past. Even if our exhibition in London will soon be closing, you will be able to find some of the original drawings during the Treviso Comic Book Festival. I will be there as well and at many other festivals. More news are about to come, always remember to check out my blog or follow me on Twitter @matteofarinella.
Here is my copy of the month, a tribute to The Magic School Bus (in particular The Electric Field Trip episode). I have to admit that while writing Neurocomic I was totally unaware of this pioneering work in scientific adventures. Only recently I have been given some of the books as a present and I have discovered the art of Bruce Degen and Joanna Cole. If – like me – you missed it when you were a child it’s never to late to catch up with Ms. Frizzle!
I have recently finished reading The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick and I haven’t been so excited about a non-fiction book for a very long long time. More than 400 pages about the history of science may be off-putting at first glance but Gleick is simply a master. He carefully blends the history of the scientific discoveries with the personal life of the scientists and the society around them, until you truly appreciate the ambition (and sometimes the loneliness) of their visions.
I’m not in the business of writing reviews but I really wanted to recommend this book somehow, so I decided to draw an illustration inspired by the 4th chapter of the book. Here Gleick tells the story of Charles Babbage and his colossal Analytical Machine. This tragic character – definitely one of my favourites – somehow dreamt of a modern ‘computer’ in the midst of the industrial revolution. He spent most of his life trying to build one, with little support besides the passionate letters of Ada Byron, daughter of the famous poet and pretty badass lady herself: self-taught mathematician and basically the world’s first computer programmer.
I am seriously thinking about turning their story into a short comic…
With this very simple GIF (my first one ever) I am proud to announce a very exciting collaboration with Susan McGregor, from Columbia University. Susan is Assistant Director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism and has been writing a paper about Digital Security For Journalists.
Who can read your emails? How to prevent it? What’s the difference between http and https? How does encryption work? These questions are becoming increasingly relevant for all of us, not only for journalists. This is why she asked me to draw some cartoons to illustrate the paper and make it more accessible. Exactly the kind of project I love.
You can read the online version as a Git Book or buy a printed copy from Lulu.
I hope you like it because we are planning to do more!
A few weeks ago I visited the William Morris Gallery and it was for me a great revelation. I had seen his work before but I didn’t know much the great man behind it. Despite his privileged life Morris was a social activist, advocating – amongst many other things – for a new form of art which was affordable and hand-made. He wanted to raise the artisan to the status of the artist, against the rise of industrial manufacture. This is why I have decided to draw one of his famous patterns as my monthly copy. To make it more interesting I added also a portrait of him and his lifelong companions: Gabriel Dante Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones (who inspired with him to the Arts and Crafts Movement) and his wife Jane Morris, discussing the teachings of John Ruskin’s The Stones Of Venice.
“Brother Rabbit,” design registered May 20, 1882 (printed 1917–23) (detail) Designed by William Morris (British, 1834–1896); Produced by Morris & Company, Merton Abbey, England Printed cotton; 106 1/2 x 37 1/2 in. (270.5 x 95.3 cm) Purchase, Edward C. Moore Jr. Gift, 1923 (23.163.5)
Morris famously said:
“I do not want art for a few any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few.”
I couldn’t agree more, and I would would follow up saying that I do not want science for a few any more than art for a few. Art has become a much more ‘popular’ during the past century (although probably not more affordable), while the appreciation of science has mostly remained a privilege of a few academics. I think it’s time to apply Morris’s revolutionary spirit to the sciences: to make them much more accessible and democratic. And since we’re at it, why not create science-inspired wallpapers, fabrics and patterns? The intricate structure of biology would lend themselves perfectly to beautiful designs and many artists are already working in this direction. We should have public commissions for scientific designs, to incorporate in our public schools and hospitals, libraries and museums.
Is it just a dream?
Great news! From tomorrow you should be able to find the beautiful Italian edition of Neurocomic by Rizzoli Lizard.
As you may know, I have been living abroad for most of my adult life and I am not particularly inclined to nationalistic sentimentalities, but I can’t help feeling some pride in seeing this book translated in my mother tongue. So I have decided to indulge in a little celebratory drawing: here is Luigi Galvani, pioneer of neuroscience, losing his experimental subjects in a dark and stormy Bologna (our common hometown). The comic geeks amongst you can also have some fun spotting a couple of hidden references to popular Italian logos.
Thanks to all of you who supported me. When I started working on Neurocomic two years ago I would have never imagined this day would come.