Hello everyone! So, a couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be able to attend this year’s ELCAF. What’s ELCAF you say? Veterans of my blog will recongnise it from my post on it last year, but for all you newcomers it stands for ‘East London Comics Arts Festival’. Hosted by Nobrow Press, the festival brings together comic artists/illustrators/traders/lovers all under one convenient roof. Whilst I will try not to make too many comparisons between this year and the previous, it’s undeniable that the event has gone from strength to strength. No longer just a hidden gem awaiting to be discovered by comic connoisseurs, it’s looking set to be a must-see summer event.
Enough blabbering though, onto the images! This year the event was held across two venues, The Laundry and SPACE in Hackney, with the bulk of it featured in The Laundry. The day was warm and bright and it was already buzzing when I arrived. However, down the side of the building was where the real party started…
Underneath the building was a fantastic large industrial space which held a wonderous collection of exhibitors. As with the previous year, ELCAF features a nice mixture of independent publishers and household names as well as emerging new talent and international comics.
There was plenty of great work and novels to see and the place was certainly expansive, I always have to be careful and set myself a budget, otherwise I’ll easily blow a sizeable amount of cash within the hour.
It was good to be able to speak to the artists and illustrators directly as many of them were there in person, it also gave me a chance to get everything signed which is always a nice bonus!
Another thing which I really enjoy is the different treatment of stalls from each exhibitor, some are quietly efficient, letting the work speak for itself. Others go nuts and add their own creative flourishes, there were definitely stands eyeing each other up, particularly ones that channeled strong team spirit with matching team outfits. It was hard to choose, but I have to say my personal favourite stall was PEOW! Studios, lovely work, lovely people and lovely outfits!
I also found a nice little interactive activity at the Jonathan Cape stall, I couldn’t resist and quickly scribbled a doodle. There were plenty of other activities and workshops going on, such as dry clay making and toy hacking. Unfortunately I ran out of time for the activities so I don’t have any pictures, however, you can see my Jonathan Cape doodle below:
Most of the other activities such as guest talks and painting were situated in the SPACE annexe, also home to Steven Guarnaccia’s exhibition, Fatherland. Exploring themes of childhood, father-son relationships and family heritage, the simple presentation of mudane objects created a more sombre affair than the feverish atmosphere of ELCAF, but nonetheless striking.
It was also here that I had my meeting with Sam Arthur, co-founder of Nobrow. The ‘Springboard Meetings’, which are new to this year’s ELCAF, allows people to book spaces to meet various people from industry. I was lucky enough to grab a space with Sam and was a complete nervous wreck when it neared my time. However, he was super lovely and gave me great feedback on my work, I hope they continue doing Springboard Meetings in the future.
So, I believe that’s it for now, I would like to thank Tim Stevens from Anti-Ghost and the guys from PEOW! Studio for letting me take their picture, all the kind exhibitors for spending a bit of their time talking to me, Angela for inviting me down and Ashley for taking the photographs and enduring my vague, erratic art direction. Next week I hope to put up some images from my time at D&AD New Blood, but before I leave you what would a trip to ELCAF be without a shameless ELCAF haul photo?
Until next time!