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Ottawa’s Digital Arts Resource Centre and Comics Creator Von Allan team up for an Exhibition

Photo of the Von Allan display at DARC

Von Allan, an Ottawa-based cartoonist and comics creator, will be exhibiting artwork from his ongoing comic book and graphic novel series ‘Wolf’s Head’ at the Digital Arts Resource Centre (DARC) in Ottawa’s historic Arts Court building. The exhibit will run from September 22nd through to October 20th and will take advantage of DARC’s 2.13m (7ft) LED display. Rather than being a static display of artwork from ‘Wolf’s Head’, the artwork presented at the exhibition will be animated, transforming ‘Wolf’s Head’ into a unique and altogether different format that readers of the series have never experienced before.

“Presenting artwork from the ‘Wolf’s Head’ for the LED exhibit was a wonderful opportunity to experiment and play with artwork from the series,” said Allan. “It gave me a chance to not only animate some of the characters and sequences from the story, but also to recombine my art in a way that is very different than its original presentation in graphic novel form. That part was exciting, but also a challenge: could I reconstruct disparate elements from the story, present it to viewers of the LED display, and still create a narrative flow? That took some thinking and experimenting, but I’m really pleased with the result. I think it will give viewers a chance to see my comics in a unique way. The LED display is different than the ‘normal’ experience of reading comics and I think the reaction of passersby will be fascinating to see. And, of course, the sheer size of the LED display is a big part of the whole experience; no one, including me, has ever seen my art presented that big.”

Wolf’s Head’ features Lauren Greene, a young woman who quits her job as a police officer in Metro Detroit after becoming frustrated with growing police violence. At the same time as Lauren is quitting, a secretive corporation across town has managed to create a seemingly perfect AI for war and profit; however, before the corporation can use the AI, Lauren’s mother, Patty, a janitor at the corporation accidentally finds it. Patty is literally the kindest person the new lifeform has ever met and, as a result, it bonds to her, rejects its purpose and creators, and orchestrates a huge accident to cover an escape. Patty, overwhelmed, asks her daughter Lauren for help. Despite being broke and a bit lost herself, Lauren agrees to help; two humans, an AI, and a dog versus a warmongering corporation.

“One truly unique aspect of the exhibit is that it’s presented without sound,” added Allan. “And so I had to be sure that all of my artwork and storytelling could be followed without sound. In a way, adapting my art to the digital format felt like a bit like it must’ve felt for artists adapting work for the old Silent Film Era. As part of that adaptation, I also got to experiment with the use of intertitles to help connect various aspects of the narrative. In a way, I’m familiar with the idea of intertitles; comics and graphic novels often use words to do exactly this when it comes to panel and scene transitions. But, doing it for the LED exhibit meant that I had to be careful about the number of words used and the amount of time each sentence would show on the screen. The project was a really fun challenge and I’m thrilled to be able to see it on display.”

Von Allan's Wolf's Head Logomark

About Von Allan: Von Allan was born red-headed and freckled in Arnprior, Ontario, just in time for “Star Wars: A New Hope.” The single child of two loving but troubled parents, Von split his childhood between their two homes. Additional information about Von Allan can be found at https://www.vonallan.com/.

Von was featured in “I Am Still Your Child,” a documentary film (http://iamstillyourchild.com/); was the recipient of the Corel Endowment Fund for the Arts Award in 2014 and the CBC Trailblazer Award in 2019; and was a finalist for the 2020 Peter Honeywell Mid-Career Artist Award. Von also received two separate rounds of grant funding for ‘Wolf’s Head’ from the City of Ottawa (a $4,000.00 grant in 2020 along with an additional $4,000.00 grant in 2022, both in the Literary Arts — English category).

Digital Arts Resource Centre (DARC) logomark

About Digital Arts Resource Centre (DARC): Digital Arts Resource Centre (formerly SAW Video) is a not-for-profit, artist-run media art centre that fosters the growth and development of artists through access to equipment, training, mentorship, and programming. Our mission is to support a diverse community of media artists empowered by technology, programming, and the exchange of ideas.

Our core principles are independence of expression, affordable access to all, and paying artists for their work. Digital Arts Resource Centre values diversity and actively promotes equity for all artists regardless of race, age, class, gender, sexual orientation, language, or ability.

The Digital Arts Resource Centre is located at 67 Nicholas Street. Additional information about DARC can be found at https://digitalartsresourcecentre.ca/.

Cover of ‘Wolf’s Head’ Book 1 in hardcover:

Cover of the hardcover of Wolf's Head Book One graphic novel by Von Allan

Wolf's Head by Von Allan

Link to Von Allan's Wolf's Head comic book series

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Von Allan Studio gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the City of Ottawa.

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I Am Still Your Child Trailer

Documentary Film Excerpt