Real life jumps off page at Diablo Valley College comic arts show


Jonathan Butler

Viewers take in art at “In Real Life-A Comic Arts Show,” reception at DVC Art Gallery, A305, 02/07/18

Jonathan Buter, Staff member

A group inside the DVC Art Gallery came to see artworks by “people from,” all “different walks of life.”

The gallery show highlights the power of comic art as a non-fiction storytelling medium.

Made up entirely of Bay Area artists, amongst which include multiple New York Times bestselling authors, the exhibition includes comics that bring to life stories ranging from biographical to research-based works.

According to DVC English professor Adam Bessie the show took about a year to put together.

“The work that’s here in this show is actually a work in progress,” said artist Marc Parentau.

His piece, entitled “Generation Smoke,” chronicles his “experience living and working in Mongolia,” during his time in the Peace Corps, where he “wanted to…understand what was normal for the people” there. A creative impulse towards “stories that are underneath the headlines,” to “the things that describe the contours, and the feeling of everyday,” is what drew Partenau to comics and is a running thread throughout the artwork in this show.

Art gallery wary individuals need not be shy as the exhibition offers a variety of subject matter each as detailed as the last.

Nonetheless, department chair Hopi Breton offered advice to students unsure of their “visual literacy,” as she shared her strategy of “(honing) in on specific details after” grasping the show’s overview.

While the detail of Marc Partenau’s art builds from the fact that healthcare is one of the few areas where “all strata of society have to have some,” interaction, his storytelling gold isn’t necessarily the same as everyone else’s.

For artist Liz Mayoraga, it’s fantastic “to have (her) work validated by community college students,” who she sees as “the ideal audience.” The accessible nature of comics, and their unique “(ability) to cross languages,” and socioeconomic barriers can “break…a lot of stereotypes.”

Inclusivity and collaboration were topics of conversation throughout the gallery space. “When we can get together and collaborate,” Hopi Breton said.

Student viewers such as 20-year-old Danielle Absin, spoke highly of the show, “It’s really impressed me with the professors and DVC as a school.”

Over the course of February, students will have the opportunity to participate in Urban Sketcher events “where we meet here at the art gallery and you… just bring your sketchbook and a pen,” says Arthur King. The events will give students an opportunity to take in locations not typically accessible such as the rehearsal of Grammy winning Matt Zebley’s Jazz ensemble.

If you would like to view “In Real Life-A Comic Arts Show” the DVC Art Gallery is open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Fridays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the art quad’s third floor room, A305. More information about Urban Sketchers can be found on the DVC Art Gallery website.