We Want to Make a Thing: Comic Book Art by Beth Hetland and Kyle O'Connell is on display June 30 to August 3 on the 8th floor of Harold Washington Library Center. This exhibit is an exciting opportunity to pull back the curtain of Hetland and O’Connell’s collaborative process and share all the components that go into creating their comics, graphic novels and art.
In our practice, we will consistently prioritize the opportunity to make projects together as it will always be fun. Creating art involves juggling a lot of variables—many of which are bogged down in the two questions Lynda Barry cites, “Is this good? Does it suck?” By making work together and focusing on the process of collaboration, we have eliminated those concerns. At the end of the day, what matters is we made it together.
Making comics allows us to deal with our ideas narratively as well as provides us the space in our collaboration to create the parts that we each like to do—Kyle writes and Beth draws. Our comics manifest as printed objects as a way to highlight what makes comics unique—accessibility. Because these are not one of- a-kind, precious artifacts, anyone can interact with them and have a private relationship to our work.
Our exhibit is very simply titled, We Want to Make a Thing, and that is exactly what we have done, and what we will continue to do.
Kyle O’Connell is a genetic experiment that has escaped from captivity. He was originally designed to resolve the dessert debate between cake and pie. The experiment was ultimately a failure. If you see him, please do not feed him.
Beth Hetland (@bethhetland on Instagram) is an adjunct associate professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, teaching a wide variety of comics classes. An alumna of SAIC and The Center for Cartoon Studies, she’s been making comics since 2006. She’s the recipient of a Stumptown Best Small Press award for her book Fugue Part One, a DiNKY Best in Show award for “Team Work Makes the Dream Work” and the Part Time Faculty of the Year Award from SAIC. She met Kyle at a mutual friend’s birthday party in 2005 and frankly was unimpressed.
Try your hand at making comics or learn more about working with a creative partner at these events on August 3 at Harold Washington Library Center:
- Artist Talk: Beth Hetland & Kyle O'Connell: 11 a.m. August 3, 8S-7, 8th Floor. Hetland and O’Connell reflect on the ways they approach collaboration and creating projects from the very beginning.
- Artist Workshop: Let's Make A Thing Sketchbook Workshop: 1 p.m. August 3, 8S-7, 8th Floor. Hetland and O’Connell deliver a three-hour workshop that combines lecture, hands-on craft and short drawing/writing exercises.