Aidan Koch’s LICAF 2016 Report

LICAF opening night #licaf

A video posted by @santoro.frank on

Editor’s note: Aidan Koch participated in a lecture to an “academic conference” on Friday at The Box Theatre at Kendal College (see Frank’s report here) and in the “Comics Workbook Composition Competition LIVE” on Saturday in addition to her on workshop on “the poetics of comics” later that day. Sunday, she signed some books at the Clock Tower and talked shop with the rest of the CW gang at our table there.


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Aidan Koch and Conner Willumsen presenting at the academic conference at Kendal College

Aidan Koch’s LICAF 2016 Report

Apart from having read Frank’s report on The Lakes International Comic Art Festival from last year, I really didn’t know what to expect from this relatively small festival in northern England. My Fall had already consisted of opening a solo show in New York, tabling the NYABF, and spending 10 days down in Colombia for the wonderful Entrevinetas. I only looked at the map to even see where Kendal, England was located the night before I left and was pleased to find it nowhere close to the area of England I’d been before. There’s very little I enjoy more than personally investigating new landscapes.

Coming from New York, I was immediately relieved and relaxed by the town. Its nestled amid rolling green hills speckled in little white sheep, loosely piled rock walls, and thin deciduous forests. The air was fresh and misty everyday with a slight ‘farmy’ smell, which may also translate to ‘sheep poop,’ but in the most pleasant way. Within our first hours I visited the town castle, a short walk from the Castle Green Hotel, and had a .35p >_< energy drink in order make it to the inaugural dinner. I felt fabulous.

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Our first event of the festival combined the latest work of the wonderful Finnish artist Hanneriina Moisseinen and interpretive dance presented by the students of Kendal College. While I greatly neglect dance in my artistic life, I enjoy it and found this piece very impressive. It definitely seemed like a promising sign that they took it upon themselves to encourage such cross-discipline examination within a ‘comics’ festival. As I discovered over the weekend, the scope of the festival, both in the creators present, and the outreach within the town was incredibly inclusive and broad. One of my favorite elements was simply the window displays in the town which were all comics-themed including Moomin interpretations, Deadpool cut outs, and a re-imagining/mash-up of Beatrix Potter narratives.

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Kendal College workshop LICAF UK 2016 #comicsworkbook #licaf

A photo posted by @santoro.frank on

I suppose with an all star team like Connor Willumsen, Oliver East, Jack Brougham and Naomi Nowak, organized by Frank Santoro, it would be difficult to not have a nice time, but really, I had a very nice time. My obligations were rather minimal, the most directed being a workshop I led on ‘poetic’ comics which included some serious life drawing, collaboration, and imagination, all of which turned out beautifully. Most who attended were not exactly familiar with my work, so it was a treat to introduce them and engage so intimately on something creative. The rest of my time was generally spent socializing with fellow creators, organizers, and attendees, eating cookies, drinking plenty of tea, sheep gazing, and attempting to get a normal night’s sleep. All in all A+

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Aidan Koch lives in New York City. Her most recent book is After Nothing Comes (Koyama Press, May 2016). Find more of her work HERE.

Frank Santoro

Frank Santoro

Frank Santoro is the founder of Comics Workbook. He has been making and writing about comics since 1988. He is the author of Storeyville, Pompeii, and Cold Heat (with Ben Jones). His comics have been published in Kramers Ergot, Mome, and The Ganzfeld. His work has been exhibited at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York and the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh. He co-founded the comics criticism magazine ComicsComics, and is a regular columnist for The Comics Journal. He started the Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers in 2011 and the Comics Workbook Rowhouse Residency, based in Pittsburgh, PA, in 2015. He’s considered to be a good egg and one of the most passionate proselytizers for comic books and visual literacy that you will ever meet.
Frank Santoro
Connor Willumsen on LICAF 2016
Jack Brougham on LICAF 2016

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