|Inside cover art from the graphic novel Valentia (2012).|
|MuVIM hosts excellent rotating exhibits in the Sala Parpalló.|
|For the "Dibujante Ambulante" exhibit about Roca, they did an amazing job|
putting you the visitor inside Roca's work, surrounding you with it.
|Following the exhibit, I bought a bunch of Roca-related items at the awesome Librería Dadá: |
one of his books, a new Valencian fanzine (brilliantly) called "arròsnegre" to which he contributes...
okay, and I also finally bought a book on my other art obsession, the Valencian street artist Escif.
• Paco Roca, Arrugas (2007), and Memorias de un hombre en pijama (2011)
Paco Roca, a native of my beloved adopted town Valencia, has been producing graphic illustrations since the mid-1990s, though it has only been in the last five years, and particularly with the animated film Arrugas (2011), that he has risen to a certain international fame. The movie, which received high critical acclaim, is about a group of retired "ancianos" who've been put in a retired home. One of them battles with Alzheimer, and the plot centers around his and his friends' efforts to avoid detection of his illness and being banished to the dreaded second floor, where themore troublesome "lost cause" clients are put. The movie, based on Roca's 2007 graphic novel Arrugas (which means "wrinkles"), is a nice example of his ability to blend humor and social commentary together into a sweet story, and animate it with stunning and imaginative visuals.
|The MuVIM exhibit gave me an idea of the breadth of Roca's activities...|
|... and the long, winding history of a graphic artist. People who work in this|
area really have to be creative and open-minded about the projects they take on.
|It is a credit to Valencia's MuVIM that it was one of the earliest to|
feature the Arrugas film, supporting a local artist.
|This drawing by Roca in the MuVIM exhibit explains his motivations|
for tackling the Arrugas project: how the elderly ("ancianos") are ignored
by society and treated as if they are uninteresting and invisible.
But Roca is not a one-hit wonder. Some of his others works worth
|Here you can see an example of how Roca creatively illustrates what it is |
to lose one's memories with the onset of Alzheimer's.
|Pardon the photo's blurriness, but I hope you can still appreciate the wit and playfulness|
with which Roca parodies capitalism and its malicious affects on society.
|These two pages on "tupper" (tupperware leftovers) culture in Spain are why|
I had to immediately buy Memorias de un hombre en pijama. Brilliant!
• VALENTIA: 1 ciudad, 34 autores y 23 historias (2012)
Valentia: 1 ciudad, 34 autores y 23 historias (2012). I cannot more highly recommend this book, especially as a souvenir for any expats or exchange students sentimental about their time in Valencia. ("Valentia" is the old Roman name for Valencia.) As the title explains, it is the brainchild of 34 authors, a mixture of relatively known and unknown writers and illustrators in Valencia. And it is "cien por cien valenciano", which is to say that not only are the contributors "Valencian", but the topics in the 23 different stories all center around the city... stories about falleros, the Turia fountain at the Plaza de la Virgen, the Miguelete tower, the dragón del Patriarca, the "rat penat" of Jaume I, neighborhood tales about Ruzafa and Benimaclet, football-mania and Valencia CF, and (of course) cooking paella. Needless to say, graphic illustrations of Valencia's many iconic sights and city images feature prominently throughout. If you are smitten with Valencia, this is possibly one of the best keepsakes you can buy to take back home with you.
|I love this illustration of all the contributors to Valentia!|
|The story, "La fuente del Turia", by Ana García and Maríá Lorenzo|
is inspired by this well-known Valencia landmark.
|Abraham García and Miguel Delicado's story, "El hombre de los puentes",|
features various bridges along the Rió Turia, such as la Peineta shown here.
|Any truly Valencian creation will have the mandatory paella image stamped|
somewhere on it, though I particularly like this inside cover illustration of paella.
|I was excited to learn about a book signing with the |
Paco Roca and Alberto Sanz signing, or really illustrating my copy!
• Javier Mariscal, Chico & Rita (2010)
Javier Mariscal. He is older and more internationally established than Roca, and works on artistic projects well beyond the world of comics. Long well-known in Spain, I first learned about Mariscal from the animated film, Chico & Rita (2010). Produced by
|Alongside Chico & Rita, this "Bar Cel Ona" logo is probably |
one of Mariscal's most famous works.
As I said, Mariscal has a much longer history than this film. He became famous in 1979 for his now-iconic "Bar Cel Ona" tourism logo. In the late eighties he opened a workshop, Estudio Mariscal, from which he has worked on a variety of projects collaborating with numerous other artists and designers. In 1992 he designed the mascot, Cobi, for the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, an Olympics that were really a turning point for the city and Spain in the eyes of the world. Not all of his projects are international in scope. In 1995, Mariscal worked with school children in Valencia to design a collective mural in defense of the use of the Valencian language in public schools. With the success of the movie version, he's just released a graphic novel version of Chico & Rita (2012), too.
|Cobi, the official 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics mascot|
|Mariscal and the defense of Valencià language collective mural/protest in 1995|
Lightning doesn't strike twice. Mariscal, alongside Paco Roca, is proof that Valencia is clearly an incredible place for cultivating the graphic art imagination. Maybe it's the water. Maybe it's fallas. Or it could be the big bright sun, the vivid light. Whatever it is, it's working!
• ... and beyond: El Víbora and Valencia's Futurama shop
|Paco Roca drew this cover for El Víbora in 2001.|
The first I stumbled upon at the MuVIM exhibit, the provocative graphic art
|Aspiring artists often make their start at the fringe. Paco Roca got going professionally|
contributing to these adult graphic art magazines. It seems like porn is always at the cutting edge.
Futurama Comics. Located across the street from the MuVIM, Futurama is a local institution and been around selling comics to comic fans for decades. If you're in town, help support them by stopping by, browsing their substantial collection of comics, and purchasing some works by local artists such as Paco Roca or Escif (they carry his street art book there).
It's by supporting these kinds of local and (non-local institutions) and art publications (conventional or not) that artists are able to get buy as they grow into their craft, needed especially in an economy like this one. I'm certainly won over to comics and graphic arts. These artists have gained my respect for their creativity and cultural importance, and for the visual magic they've contributed to Valencia, Spain and beyond.
|I leave you with this excellent piece of advice on Spanish moms' secret |
to the perfect "sofrito" from Paco Roca's exhibit: buy tomatoes at the market,
because the supermarket tomatoes "no saben a nada"!