Borin Van Loon

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Borin Van Loon is a freelance illustrator (since 1976). He is an author, collagist and surrealist painter and has worked for a wide variety of clients in editorial, publishing and promotion. He has created an eclectic collage/cartoon mural on the subject of DNA and genetics for the Health Matters Gallery in London's Science Museum.

Van Loon published The Bart Dickon Omnibus of his hero's derring-do in 2005 comprising a surrealist collage graphic novel. Roger Sabin, a writer about comics and lecturer at Central St. Martins in London, England, said of the Bart Dickon series: "Van Loon’s dapper, nay sartorially gifted, creation Bart Dickon is ostensibly an affectionate homage to the boys’ heroes of the 1930s-40s story papers and comics. But look closer and you begin to see that the wonderful collage style of the stories hearkens back to a different period – namely, the high-water mark of underground experimentation in the 1960s and 70s (think Oz/IT/Cyclops) – and that Dickon is a very different kind of hero, again with echoes from that Hippie era (his intra-dimensional adventuring is pure Jerry Cornelius, and his left-wing politics certainly don’t fit the 1930s-40s template). Dickon may be a delightful mish-mash of influences and styles, but call him ‘postmodern’ and he’s likely to want to ‘teach you a lesson’ – without getting his Jermyn Street tailored shirt creased, of course."

Van Loon's entries in the Introducing... series of books (in eclectic documentary comic-book format) are published by Icon Books in the UK, and include: Darwin and Evolution (dealing with the extraordinary legacy of Charles Darwin) written by Jonathan Miller; Genetics written by Steve Jones; Cultural Studies, Mathematics, Media Studies and Science written by Ziauddin Sardar; Buddha, Eastern Philosophy, Sociology, Critical Theory and Hinduism. Introducing Psychotherapy by Nigel C. Benson displays a typical irreverent, but relevant approach to an abstruse subject by making it accessible to the lay reader in cartoon and design. Van Loon also illustrated Capitalism for Beginners written by Robert Lekachman; also DNA for Beginners by Israel Rosenfield and Ed Ziff.

The collage comic strip approach to story telling relies almost solely upon found images, serendipity in research and the use of a narrative to bind the images, speech and thought bubbles and text boxes together. The roots of collage comic-strip can be found in the sound-collage experiments of Ron Geesin, the animations of Monty Python era Terry Gilliam, the surrealist novels of Max Ernst (Une Semaine de Bonté and 'La femme de 100 têtes), the agit-prop visuals of the Situationists, the psychedelic posters and graphics of Martin Sharp and the satires of Biff.

Borin Van Loon has written, designed and illustrated two model-making books: DNA - The Marvellous Molecule which enables the reader to build a colour model of the double-helix structure discovered in 1953 by Francis Crick and James D. Watson with Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin; and Geodesic Domes where the models celebrate the pioneering work of Buckminster Fuller. He also painted many oil studies and designed the diagrams for the Letts Pocket Guide To The Weather.

/blankpage was a collaborative project with sixteen other artists belonging to Freelance (which Borin chairs) created for Ip-Art 2004. It consisted of a book as an art object with pages in widely varying media, all put together by a bookbinder. This now has a permanent home in the Suffolk Record Office, Ipswich.

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