Throughout April, The Lowry is celebrating Julian Gray in his ‘Stories For Us’ exhibition.
Julian Gray has taken a modern twist on comic books creating stories that address heavy topics including depression and love from an LGBTQ perspective. Gray discusses modern-day stories, discussing what he believes the media misses out on telling. He describes his work as
“Comics for people who don’t see themselves reflected in the media. People like me.”
Not only do his comics address these issues but they also focus on the stories of their character, with deceptions of the hardships through romance and fantasy.
Stories include one of a female knight who falls in love with the witch she is sent to kill. Other comics in the exhibition include Witch & Warrior, a Sapphic medieval fantasy and the queer Victorian romance The Invalid’s Valet, featuring trans knights and disabled aristocrats.
“I create my comics and the stories within not just for myself, but also for people like me, people who don’t see themselves reflected in the media around us.”
The most essential and important element of Gray’s work is that he talks about and shines a light on those who have been inadequately represented by the media. Immersing an audience in the stories, Gray has created work that reflects on what he and people like him have been through.
Gray is a trans, queer, disabled, and mixed-race artist. Gray takes us on his own personal experience to create characters that represent marginalised groups in society through his beautiful and unique illustrations through fantasy and incredible narratives.
He strays away from the perfection of Disney animation, adding his own unique touch to his work, it reaches out to an audience who may not think about or look at artwork surrounding these topics.
Through his exhibition, Gray hopes to encourage conversations about the representation of minority groups and those who get negative and not a lot of coverage in the media.
Throughout the exhibition, pictures on the walls show pages from his comic books which reflect significant moments within his stories. On the side, he has physical comic books ready for people to read.
His comic books are colourful and a fun way to interact with his work, which he uses with great effect through his narration and beautiful illustrations.
Within the gallery, you can show off your work with small stations open for people to create art and pin-up. It can be about what you’ve seen within the gallery or your own experiences.
At the end there is a section to recommend books that have similar topics to what has been shown throughout the exhibition, this can help educate people, spread awareness, and create conversation about books similar to the struggles that Gray has portrayed.
Throughout the exhibition, there are multiple events including a conversation between Julian Gray and fellow comic creator Olivia Hicks.
The Stories for us exhibition will be at the Lowry until May 2nd with free entry.