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Applied Context

Kevin Sezgin

I see myself as a sequential illustrator, I mainly work around stories and narratives. Most of my stories are dealing with the relationships we have with traumas. If anything I like to convey the idea that we don't end up becoming who we are, "thanks" to the bad things that happen to us, but rather, "despite" of them.

When The Dust Settles

When I decided to make a picture book, I realised that a book would only be as good as the story. Unfortunately I am not a writer, but that does not mean I don't have anything to say. The stories I can tell are very personal in nature. When I look back at my childhood, I can tell stories about a difficult upbringing. Themes about wanting to escape my environment, about being misunderstood, about longing to fill a void left behind by a missing parent, about repressed trauma's... etc.

To tell these stories I relied on my own recollections, thousands of family photos, heavy conversations with people I grew up with, and even old journals. However none of these things seemed to bring me any closer to a coherent story. But then I remembered, When I was a kid, I was removed from home. I was kept in observation, diagnosed, medicated and followed. These things tend to leave a paper trail. So I dug up my own family archive and managed to find my own medical logs. There I found the story of my childhood told back to me by people who seemed to care very little, yet ended up deciding so much about my life.

In there I found out that as a child, I was diagnosed with a verbal IQ of 80. I also found out that I was born with the umbilical cord stuck around my neck. Through my own research I found that the 2 often are related. Children born with a mild oxygen defficiency tend to develop a bit slower. Eventually they do catch up. Most notably, speech development is what tends to be most affected. Now, in English we have this expression "to choke on your words". I found it interesting how my own life line, that choked me out at birth, quite literally made me "choke on my words" later in life.

I had this idea for a story about a child with a litteral knot around his neck, squeezing his throat so tight, he cannot express himself verbally. It is a story about trying to find your own voice in an unforgiving environment. Passages in the story, are based on passages from my medical logs. For this project I didn't only want to reinterpret my past, I wanted to reappropreate it. The result is an open ended work in progress, where you can find my thought process and workflow.