That is the question our Art Gallery at the Museum is asking for the next couple of months with their new exhibition, Dave McKean: A Retrospective.
Opening tonight (Thursday) and open to all from the 24th of January until the 30th of March, the new exhibition showcases a terrific range of work from a local working artist. From album covers, to comic books, to children's illustrations, to movie posters, and everything in between, the broad gamut of styles and talent on show is something to behold.
This is a bit of a departure for the Art Gallery - something a bit different from their more traditional displays of the past. It's a showcase of work that they hope will appeal to a younger and wider audience, and one that will challenge your view of art.
When I got talking to Jeremy and Liz, the two people that helped to get the display into the gallery, it's quite clear that this is something they are all really excited about. Please, if you can, grab either of them when you go along and pick their brains about the work on show, they are both so enthusiastic and knowledgable and you'll get a little bit extra out of the exhibition as a result I promise. Even if you don't though, you are in for a real treat.
As Liz gave me a personal mini-tour I was most taken by the enormous range of techniques on show, particularly impressive were the three-dimensional pieces which were then converted into two-dimensional cover art, later made easier with the advent of Photoshop. Most noticeable of all though was the fact that Dave McKean never seems to stick to the same style or look yet retains that underlying darkness to his work, especially evident in the children's illustrations - tell me that they wouldn't have struck the fear of God into you for your entire childhood. I think it shows the professionalism of an artist working for exactly what a client wants whilst still retaining his own character.
As well as the main exhibition there are some themed events running at the Art Gallery, Library, and Museum over the coming weeks too:
Maus and the Holocaust by Dr Axel Stahler - Monday 27th January - £6. Getting into Graphic Art Career Panel - Thursday 13th February - Free. Women in Comics: Roundtable Talk/Debate - Saturday 8th March - Free.
It's quite an apt exhibition too as a new comic book store, the Comic Café, has opened on Camden Road recently, so if do you get a bit excited by all the graphic art on display then you can pop along there to fill your boots. There are also some of Dave McKean's books for sale in the Museum shop and Waterstones mentioned to me they might get in a few more copies just in case too.
Those lovely people at the Art Gallery and Museum have given me two free tickets to give away to the Maus and the Holocaust talk by Dr Axel Stahler on Monday 27th January. Just leave a comment below to enter, be sure to leave your name. Competition is now closed.
Regardless of whether you are a graphic novel fan or not I heartily encourage you to visit this exhibition, especially if you've never ventured into the Art Gallery before. Oh, and don't forget to fill in the "Are Comic Books Art?" questionnaire after you've seen the exhibit too.