Being Gone With Ephameron

Posted by on October 15th, 2010 at 1:29 AM

Eva Cardon, better known to the outside world as Ephameron, wears many faces, artistically speaking: illustrator, webdesigner, photographer and freelance artist. Already proven herself in the small press market with her screen printed art zines and art books featuring her illustrations, she has recently set out to explore the graphic novel market. The ephemeral – pun intended – Gone (read the review at TCJ) was created with writer Pieter Van Oudheusden and features the trademark Ephameron style; emotive drawings that suck you in, a dreamy atmosphere that leaves ample room for interpretation for whomever is watching. I talked to Ephameron about the leap into sequential imagery and the formation of the project.

TCJ: For a first graphic novel, this is pretty unique book. What is the origin of the project, of the collaboration between you and Pieter?

EPHAMERON: Pieter and I have been trying to launch projects together for almost ten years now, collaborating on short stories and children’s books together, but never being able to publish anything for real. After a while we decided it was time to take things seriously, and we started to discuss this book… Everything continued organically from then on, as if this was the project we were supposed to do all along.

TCJ: How did the cooperation go? Was there a lot of interplay or did each work on his section?

EPHAMERON: Over the years, a lot of meetings took place where the storyline of both text and images were discussed profoundly between the both of us. We changed course all the time, and eventually found a way to make things work perfectly. Text and images are interacting on a deeper level than what you see at first sight, so it was very important that we had a say in each other’s work. And we didn’t mind, either! It’s great to be on the same wavelength when you collaborate as long as this.

TCJ: How did the presentation of the book come about? From where came the decision to split text and drawings?

EPHAMERON: At first we wanted to tell just one linear story, but after a while it became apparent that it just worked better to split them up to subsequently find a way to make them work together again, enriching both text and images. This way it demands more from the audience, and you can read a lot between the lines. It’s really become a book for attentive readers and we like that it demands that attitude from the reader. I love life the hard way.

TCJ: Up until now, you have mostly done art and illustration work. How was the leap into sequential imagery? Was it difficult to stay true to your own style?

EPHAMERON: It was hard to find a technique that works fast enough to fluently make this many pages. I’ve started them all over many times and that’s why the whole project took over three years to finish. In between commissions and exhibitions, I tried to work on the book with intervals. I also had difficulty accepting that the lead character doesn’t look like the exact same person in every drawing, but that’s what it ended up like and it works. I’m such a perfectionist that I just had to persuade myself that it was possible to let go for once…

TCJ: How would you categorise Gone? Do you think the term graphic novel is appropriate or do you prefer to call it an illustrated book?

EPHAMERON: Pieter and I like to call it “beeldverhaal” in Dutch, which literally means an ‘image story’, a story in images. I wouldn’t mind describing it as a ‘graphic novel’, but according to some people, apparently there’s a bigger volume of book expected with that term.

TCJ: Artistically speaking, what lies on the road ahead for you, Ephameron?

EPHAMERON: I’m working on a couple of exhibitions all over the world and am preparing to start on my next book about my father’s detoriation from a brain disease. It’s a very emotional subject but I can’t wait to get it going. We’re also rehearsing a play by the Antwerp theatre company MarthaTentatief that premieres in February 2011, with 100 of my drawings as the scenography. Extremely exciting stuff to look forward to.

Gone is a 48  page full colour graphic novel. It is published by Bries and is available at their website for € 16,50.

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