Saturday 9 June marks the launch of the third issue of Purgatory magazine created by Bill Van Cutten. It is published by Les Pas Sages editions.
Bill Van Cutten has a keen eye for the world around him. The author lives in Nîmes and works there as a visual arts teacher. But what really drives him are graphic novels. He uses screen printing, a technique that uses stencils, a neglected process that he brings back to life.
The artist Bill van Cutten, an anagram of his real name, is not his first attempt. This is Purgatory magazine’s third work to be published from 9 June. The first, released in 2019, left readers in suspense. The second jokes that the first part reads quickly and is ironic about the cost of the graphic novel set at 30 €.
It’s pink chosen to follow up on the plot: did Virgil really kill his companion? The author makes self-mockery and criticizes his own work. But in the end, the flashback makes it possible to understand that everything was thought out from the beginning. Bill draws inspiration from the techniques of filmmakers such as David Lynch and David Cronenberg.
“There is real enthusiasm”
The creative process has evolved. While the first part, more improvised, was more advanced page by page, for the second he decided to write the screenplay to know where he was going from the start. What attracts him is to give multiple versions of the same event and to shed light on multiple points of view.
“The three parts follow each other and understand each other”, the author explains. A fourth could arise and in this case the next three would serve to understand the first. And he does not forbid himself a fifth.
To bring the project to life, Foa, an artist, assisted him technically. Bill van Cutten started on paper, he now makes his drawings on a tablet. As a major consumer of comics, he turned to graphic novels because he believes they are about… “a perfect compromise” † And to supplement this appendix with having objects left over: “Today there is real enthusiasm. People of my generation want to have beautiful cultural goods. We grew up with beautiful illustrated children’s books. It is the same generation that follows.”
The costs of paper are skyrocketing
But the real problem right now is the cost of paper for publishers and authors who self-publish. “In economic terms, it’s almost suicidal.”, announces the artist. So to be visible, no more flyers, social networks including Instagram are the place where the productions can be seen.
An indispensable visibility to bring other projects to life. A fourth opus is in preparation. Ultimately, the four volumes could be printed in one book.
In addition to writing, he also has a vinyl record project that is to be screen printed. But also music. And this summer he should be working on a cartoon project that will illustrate a clip of an English singer. Because, he made the bills, it takes at least 1,000 drawings to produce it. Enough to continue exporting a currently neglected format.
“I like confrontation, things out of the box”
Bill Van Cutten studied Fine Arts. “I come from contemporary art and underground comics, two niche media that touch each other.” But he chose to give up contemporary art to weave “a link with the narrative image”† Video games also inspire him, a graphic universe bathed in monsters, which shaped his way of illustration.
He grew up in Paris. His parents owned a bar-restaurant that sold all kinds of magazines. Seeing all these magazines, he came up with the idea to create a new and never-before-created magazine: Purgatory magazine. But the reader should not expect a classic review. It is indeed a graphic novel.
“I like confrontation, things out of the box”. What also inspires him are car fictions such as those of Emmanuel Carrère. He does not hesitate to draw himself and his companion in certain signs. But the risk, he says, is that “fiction is subject to interpretation”† A risk and an added value to stand out in the publishing world.