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Lunch & Learn: Build Your Own Labyrinth: Sparking Creativity Through Rules and Constraints with Matt Madden

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August 10, 2022 @ 10:30 am 11:30 am EDT

Do you think you could make a comic where each panel would only show an extreme close-up of a hand? Or where each panel zooms in closer to a single object? A comic that you can read in more than one direction? Many great works of art begin from willfully perverse constraints or rules such as these. Drawing not just from comics but from literature, film, and music—both popular and experimental—Madden describes the lineage of creativity first identified by Oulipo, a French literary group whose name translates loosely to “workshop for potential literature.”

Matt Madden is a cartoonist and translator who has also taught in art schools around the world. He known for his playful and inventive comics like the metafictional romp Ex Libris Uncivilized Books) and 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style (Penguin), a comics adaptation of Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style which led to his initiation into Oubapo, The Workshop for Potential Comics, in 2005. In 2013 he was named Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government. He has also done translations from the French and Spanish, including Aristophane’s The Zabîme Sisters (First Second) and Edmond Baudoin’s Piero (New York Review Comics). He wrote two comics textbooks in collaboration with his wife, Jessica Abel, and the couple were series editors for The Best American Comics (Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt) for six years. From 2012 to 2016, he and his family did a four-year residency in Angoulême, France at La Maison des Auteurs. They are currently living in Philadelphia where he is doing translations and working on new comics when he’s not looking after his kids or playing guitar. You’ll find more at www.mattmadden.com.

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