Iro Tsavala

Practice Based discussion/ Iro Tsavala & Henry Martin


I would like to propose a practice based presentation/ discussion between the writer Henry Martin and Illustrator and Lecturer Iro Tsavala. This concerns their collaborative project YAPPO. The project is currently work in progress and would also be treated as such during the time of the symposium.

This project is a first-time collaboration between Iro Tsavala and Henry Martin. One objective of this collaboration is to explore parable and allegory in the book form through the production of a finished artist book, YAPPO. Together we investigate the parallel development of text and images as a new method of constructing narrative and the deconstruction of a direct message with the intention to present a poetic and open-ended storyline. This way we want to allow the reader input in the meaning of the work.

The text-in-development is by Henry. It is a philosophical parable that follows a central character on a journey through a familiar and strange landscape. The initial text prompted Iro to create work on location in the Scottish Highlands, as the landscape chimes with the tone the text creates. The end result, Iro hopes, will retain a strong tactile quality.

The images reflect the theme of journey but both image and text evolve through continued conversation between the artists. Through a series of exchange exercises each alters the direction of the narrative through their medium; Henry responds in writing to Iro’s visuals and Iro then responds back with imagery. The process will continue until the artists are ready to jointly edit the collected material. Surrendering authorial control is a departure for each of us and allows us to develop new working methodologies. We want to develop our ‘narrative’ through mutual influence so both words and images are equal in narrative importance, inviting thus an alternative reading experience between text and image.

With this project we hope to create a cinematic experience through the amount of information we choose to give or withhold, and to use the rhythm and pace of the book to explore the idea of pilgrimage. We see the book as an interactive object where the reader’s sensibility and handling dictates part of the experience.



As an image-maker Iro is interested in the expression of ideas through narrative.
Iro studied Illustration at the Kent Institute of Art & Design, and completed an MA at the Royal College of Art in 2008. Her work embraces the use of found ephemera, drawing and printmaking, resulting in both playful and sometimes enigmatic imagery. She divides her time between her studio in London and the BA Illustration course at UCA, where she works as a lecturer.

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