Reframe artist statement and work: Daniel Locke

Daniel Locke is a UK-based illustrator. Daniel’s work is featured in the Open Day Book in the USA and A Graphic Cosmogony from Nobrow Press, as well as appearing in many anthologies of contemporary comics. He has just finished work on his first full-length graphic novel, 311 Ditchling Road, which was published by Nobrow Press in February 2014. He is also working with the artist David Blandy and scientist Dr Adam Rutherford on an illustrated history of DNA for The Wellcome Trust.

Like many people in the UK (and across Europe generally), I have close emotional and social ties to a number of other countries; for example, my wife is half Danish and much of her family lives in Denmark. I have dear friends in Poland and Greece, as well as good Polish, Italian, Spanish and French friends living here in the UK. I believe that this communication and movement across national boundaries leads to a greater degree of sharing of ideas and ways of living that is beneficial to us all.

More often than not, I have encountered continental Europe as a tourist, whether that’s as a holiday-maker or on a visit to family and friends. In my comic strip Europa, I tried to develop a narrative around the historical facts of the 19th century Grand Tourist (and associated interest in the classical world) and my own personal experience of visiting mainland Europe. I wanted to get beyond the political discussion of the nature of Europe and consider what being European means to me on a personal, familial level. 

I draw upon my own experience as much as possible in the comics I make; and as a result, memory and family history often inform the stories I write. I’m interested in how personal narratives mediate our understanding of who we are and the world we live in, and how the retelling of a story can blur the line between autobiography and fiction. I like the fact that the act of story-telling can be a way of working out and clarifying what one thinks or feels about a given subject.