So here's my wrap-up of the trip:
First, Lisbon. It was great, and much better because I was hanging out with locals who took me all over the place. We talked a lot about art and comics and they showed me lots of new work I had never seen. Big awesome to Pedro who was my host (and the curator of the show I was in) for being so generous with his time.
I had learned a little Portuguese and even the tiny bit I retained helped a lot. A few times I was bear-hugged by folks so happy that I had bothered to try. I ate a lot of good food (mostly fish), drank a lot of wine and saw Lisbon from a very non-tourist perspective. My first night there Pedro took me to meet pals in some club. He led me into a seemingly abandoned building, then up rickety stairs, to what looked like a run-down office. Inside was a squatter punk club, and we sat around a table with pals drinking tiny beers and talking comics. But in the corner was an old man cutting hair - with a full barber setup, including mirror, lights, chair etc. Other old man came in and got their hair cut.
One morning we went to the beach and I went surfing. Cold, clear water, chest high strong waves and some really good surfers out. I floundered a lot, but got a couple rides.
The Festival itself was outside Lisbon in a suburb, and was a series of art shows, along with booksellers, artists signing things and an auditorium for panels. The shows were all euro-comics dominated and had original art from a variety of work, mostly commercial and competent if a little boring. There was an "erotic art" show with work from Milo Manara, whose comics were pretty, but whose paintings were horrible.
The show I was in, curated by Pedro Moura, stood out as something different. Go look at my Flickr set to see it, but all of us are definitely doing weird things in "comics". Fabio Zimbres (Brazil), who was there with me, had a wide variety of wonderfully drawn and sometimes painstakingly created pages. Ilan Manouach (Greece )had lovely pencil pages that formed discontinuous narratives. Frédéric Coché (France)had the original etchings he makes his books from, and in a clever bit they showed them on short pedestals, like they were on printing beds. Hye-Rim Lee (South Korea) had her work projected, which was nice to be able to walk into them. I had work from HOW TO BE EVERYWHERE, thickets and Jefferson Forest in frames.
a page from Fabio Zimbres - all the color bits are tiny cut pieces of paper.
I could quickly see why Pedro titled the show Divide et Impera - we all pull things apart and put them together in our work. This is the first show I've been in in a while where I was excited and amazed by all the other artists work. Later I'll write about the books I got from them in depth, but for now I can really recommend anything they have available.
Other than the shows there were bookshops where I bought a lot of stuff. I also sat to sign my books and draw pictures for people - believe it or not there were folks who were fans and asked me to sign things. I drew a lot of trees for people.
Fabio, Pedro and I at our panel. This was just as Pedro began beatboxing and singing Tony Bennett songs.
So, another hearty obrigado to everyone at Amadora for including my work and getting me there. Also big awesome to people I became friends with, especially Pedro and Fabio. Trips like this with people like this are powerful fuel for making work - I came home exhausted but eager to get drawing. I had already been planning some changes in focus for my practice, and the great experience of this trip just reinforced that conclusion.