Too early to tell, too late to listen ~ Andrea Innocent
When I was nine years old the man next door decided to cut down the three willow trees at the back of our houses. He said their roots were coming up through his lawn. My window faced out on these trees in an otherwise urban landscape. I was heartbroken and wanted to protest them so I asked my mum if there was anything I could do.
‘Not really’ she said. ‘You could write him a letter I guess’.
I used a fountain pen and scratched out some pictures; a girl crying, some poems about the beauty of the willows’ long arms reaching down to caress her face, musings on how I had spent summer evenings laying under them and dreaming of my future. All very earnest, hopeful and sincere.
My first comic was born.
The trees were removed the following week.
“Too early to tell, too late to listen” is a series of 3 comics and a real life adventure.
Each comic features illustrations and poems about one of the artists’ favourite trees in the Dandenong Ranges, a reflection on when they were born/planted, how old they are, their species and who they share their space with. A unique character, a guardian, will be assigned to each tree to speak on its behalf. Andrea will invite the audience to seek out the trees in their real life locations (via clues revealed in the comics) if discovered will receive the tree’s custodian as a gift.
Influenced in part by Ukiyo-e and Japanese folklore as well as Japanese character design and fine artists such as Yoshitomo Nara and Murakami. Innocent mixes this up with a childhood exploring the Australian bush. Creating unique characters that are loaded with humour and charm.
Over the last 16 years Innocent has worked as an illustrator for various clients on a wide range of projects from ad campaigns to children’s publishing.
Juggling parenthood, co-owning indie fashion brand Chiba Ghosts with her partner,writing and drawing her first graphic novel as well as personal exhibitions and commercial projects from her home in the hills of the Dandenong Ranges, Victoria.
When she’s not drawing you will find exploring her forest garden with her young son and snappy Corgi’s Pickles McGerkin and Penny Sauce.
page image credits:
Banner image: Screenshot of Andrea Innocent presenting for Open Universities 2020
Illustration: Page from Andrea Innocent's activity pack "Otoshimono: the story of the lost and found".
Photo: Artist in studio, for Open Studios 2018, photo by Cathy Ronalds