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Westminster Arts Library
35 St Martins Street
London WC1

Admission: By Advance Ticket Only from: WeGotTickets

Most of the uncountable images of London have something fantastical about them – whether it be the earliest crazy birdseye panoramas of the 17th Century, Gustave Dores’s gothic documentary engravings or the aspirational chimeras of the current crop of property developers. But Salon No 17. brings together two imaginary friends: writer and comic historian Paul Gravett and pre-eminent graphic artist Dave McKean, to illuminate the realities of the truly imagined city.

First up, writer Paul Gravett co-curator of the current extraordinary exhibition ‘Comics Unmasked’ at The British Library will take us time-travelling through the history of comics, graphic novels and manga to explore and explain the myriad portrayals of the capital. These range from the Roman Londinium of Asterix and the fear-filled Victorian streets of Jack the Ripper to the futuristic visions of flooded Drowntown and chaotic Brit-Cit of Judge Dredd. Paul’s illustrated talk will embrace both the fantastical and the documentary, and both British and international creators. London emerges through these writers and artists not only as a vibrant backdrop but as a compelling character in its own right.

Then we are very pleased to welcome Dave McKean to the Salon. Described by his collaborator Neil Gaiman as ‘the most artistically talented person I had ever encountered’, Dave is an illustrator, photographer, comic book artist, graphic designer, filmmaker and musician. His work incorporates drawing, collage, painting, found objects, photography, digital art and sculpture. His collaborations with Gaiman on works such as Coraline and Sandman plus countless CD and book covers have inspired many other artists and writers. Dave will discuss London in his work including his collaboration with writer Iain Sinclair on “Slow Chocolate Autopsy” And to conclude, we may have the pleasure of a short audiovisual musical performance..

Paul Gravett is a London based international writer, lecturer, curator, festival director specialising in comics and the publisher of several graphic novels. His writings appear in The Guardian, The Independent, The Times Literary Supplement, ArtReview and Comic Heroes amongst others. His latest books are ‘Comics Art’ and ‘Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK’ co-written with John Harris Dunning. The related exhibition ‘Comics Unmasked’ at The British Library till August 19th is the largest ever staged about British comics.

Dave McKean is an award-winning illustrator whose comics include Arkham Asylum, Signal to Noise and Mr. Punch; a film maker whose works include N[eon) and MirrorMask; a designer of CD covers for artists such as Tori Amos, Counting Crows and Alice Cooper,an artistic director for ad campaigns including Nike and Smirnoff; an accomplished pianist, composer and an all round good guy.