Lake Orta Sketchbook

I just got back from a holiday on Lake Orta, in Northern Italy. As has been demonstrated in a number of scientific studies, Lake Orta is the most beautiful spot on earth. It also happens to be where I spent much of my childhood. If I were the kind of artist who devotes a career to trying to capture the essence of a particular locale, Lake Orta would be where I’d park my easel. Since I don’t have the patience for such a life’s endeavour, all I can offer up is these black and white sketches, made on the fly.


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“The Given Note” by Seamus Heaney

“The Given Note” by Seamus Heaney (1939-2013) first appeared in the Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet’s second collection, Door into the Dark (1969).  It was the only one of his poems to be read at his funeral. “The Given Note” takes its inspiration from the legend of the fiddler who brought back the Port na bPúcaí (The Fairies’ Tune) from the westernmost of Ireland’s most westernmost islands, the windswept and forbidding Blaskets. This adaptation of the poem into comics was done at the suggestion of Dr. Marco Sonzogni of Victoria University, Wellington.
thegivennote1old Continue reading

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“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” Comic at the Ellis Library (University of Missouri)

Much to my delight, several pages from my comics adaptation of T. S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” are included in an exhibit currently being held at the Ellis Library of the University of Missouri. The exhibit commemorates the centenary of the poem’s first publication in the June 1915 issue of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse. It was organized by University of Missouri professor and Vice President of the T. S. Eliot Society Frances Dickey, with the assistance of the students in her Modern Literature class. I wish I could make it down to Eliot’s native Missouri to see it! IMG269-2

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“In Flanders Fields” in The Four Quarters Magazine

I am honoured to have my recent adaptation of John McCrae’s iconic WWI poem, “In Flanders Fields” (1915), featured in the newest issue of The Four Quarters Magazine, an online literary magazine based in India:

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“All Right There, Soldier?” by Vincent O’Sullivan

Last April, on the invitation of Dr. Marco Sonzogni, Director of the New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation, and of Dr. Sydney Shep, Director of Wai-te-Ata Press, I took part in a month-long “cartoonist’s residency” at the University of Victoria of Wellington, in New Zealand. As detailed in a previous post, my role in the residency involves the creation of various visual responses to a number of WWI-related texts. On the request of the Canadian High Commission to New Zealand, which sponsored my visit, I created a comics adaptation of Canada’s most iconic poem of the First World War, John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields.” I also created this adaptation of a poem by Vincent O’ Sullivan, New Zealand’s current Poet Laureate. “All Right There, Soldier?” was written especially for this project, and can be read in part as a response to McCrae’s poem.

Hokitika is a town on the West coast of New Zealand’s South Island, and Newtown and Aro Street are traditionally working-class areas of Wellington.

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Duomo di Pioppi – Poplar Duomo

A few months ago I learned that my entry was among the five finalists in an international competition to create the cover image for an Italian graphic novel recounting the history of the city of Milan from an environmentalist perspective. Although I didn’t end up winning, I was pretty happy with my design proposal for “Medhelan: La favolosa storia di una terra” (Medhelan was the Celtic name for Milan), which is why I’m posting it here, along with the required “motivation statement.” The digital colouring was done by Maryse Daniel, whose fabulous artist website you should definitely check out: Poplar Duomo (Duomo di pioppi)
Poplar Duomo – Duomo di Pioppi
Julian Marco Peters
The image represents a row of poplar trees at the edge of a river –a common sight along the banks of the Po River and its tributaries, including the many waterways that once flowed through what is now the metropolitan region of Milan. The rows of poplars are reflected in the water, where they form a reverse image of the façade of the Duomo, Milan’s most iconic structure. Also reflected in the water are the electric wires of the Milan tram system, which crisscross the modern Milanese’s view of the sky from street level.
On the right side of the image, along the riverbank, a wild boar has come to drink. The wild boar was the tribal totem of the Aedui, one of the original Celtic peoples who are said to have founded Milan, and a woolly wild boar sow (the scrofa milanuta) was an early symbol of the city. In this image, the wild boar stands as an embodiment of the primeval wilderness of the Po valley. The approaching rider on the left with a spear resting on his shoulder is a hunter with his sights on the drinking boar. The depicted encounter can therefore be interpreted as a condensed manifestation of mankind’s destructive tendencies regarding nature.
Taken as a whole, this image of the “Poplar Duomo” recalls the forest, sacred to the Celts, on which Milan is built, and the linkages and disconnections between the modern-day city and its natural heritage.

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“Entrenchments 2015″ – Daily Drawings and an Interview with Radio New Zealand

For the past four weeks I have been in beautiful Wellington, New Zealand, where I have the extraordinary privilege of participating in “Entrenchments 2015″, a commemorative project at Victoria University of Wellington. “Entrenchments” is an initiative of Dr. Marco Sonzogni, the Director of the New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation, and of Dr. Sydney Shep, Director of the University’s Wai-te-Ata Press. Along with the New Zealand author and graphic artist Sarah Laing, funding from the Canadian High Commission of New Zealand, I was invited to create visual responses to texts originating from or dealing with the First and Second World Wars. My residency here (funded by the Canadian High Commission of New Zealand) includes the creation of comic-strip versions of John McCrae’s celebrated 1915 poem “In Flanders Fields” and of a poem by New Zealand’s current Poet Laureate, Vincent O’Sullivan, specially written for “Entrenchments”, which offers a poignant and witty reflection on the commemorative rhetoric surrounding WWI. A few days ago, Marco, Sydney, Sarah and I were interviewed by Sonia Sly of Radio New Zealand on the subject of this exciting project, which you can listen to here: In addition to the comic adaptations, I am also involved in the creation of the “daily dispatches”, a fifteen-minute live “visual response” to a daily twitter feed associated with New Zealand’s WW100 project which tweets out entries from the wartime diary of Lt. Col. William George Malone, the commander of the Wellington Battalion of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force during the Gallipoli campaign of 1915. Below are some examples of these daily drawings, which I have about an hour to conceive and prepare, and which are then drawn in whiteboard marker on a glass panel in front of a live audience and a stop motion camera. Don’t judge me too harshly on them! They’re drawn under high pressure conditions!CCMNfLSUIAEdWHT But it’s great fun. You can see all the drawings on twitter at #joinjulian.CChHLHoUwAAwKf1CCtPjImVEAA0ACf

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