Sunday, November 4, 2007

The World of Sara Varon

Sara Varon is a comics artist, illustrator, printmaker, teacher, boxer, creator of delicious baked goods, and friend, to name a few of her talents. I have been a fan of her work for about 6 years, and my admiration continues to grow with her work. Her most recent graphic novel, Robot Dreams, published by First Second Books, is my current favorite, with her previous book, Chicken and Cat, a close second.

According to me, Sara's specialty is exploring interspecies friendships-- a relevant theme for all of us on this planet.
Her work often conveys a sweet and peaceful space that can exist between two (or more) creatures when they are having a regular daily experience, or an adventure, or are making something together. Often there is a project to be accomplished, and I love how Sara visually takes the reader through each step: having a sense of Sara's methodical and organized approach to her art-making, I appreciate how she conveys step-by-step processes in her work. I also appreciate (re: love) the expressions of her characters and how she shows their reactions to new, interesting, or upsetting things that present themselves on their paths in life. Here are some examples of this, from a series Sara did for the Walker Art Museum:

But in her world, interspecies relations are not always harmonious, and Sara is not afraid to explore conflict:

In her book Robot Dreams, Sara shows a range of what can exist between two creatures. it is the story of a friendship between a dog and a robot and how their relationship goes through an estrangement-- it is completely pictorial and one the most emotional stories I have ever 'read'. Not having explored too far in the genre of comics and graphic novels, I can't say this with authority, but I feel that with Robot Dreams, Sara has plowed new ground in how she shows the complexity and depth of feelings that can occur on both sides, when a relationship goes through big changes.