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Jan Patience: Almost three decades of Metaphrog couple’s creativity

John Chalmers and Sandra Marrs’ work as Metaphrog includes The Red Shoes
John Chalmers and Sandra Marrs’ work as Metaphrog includes The Red Shoes

In life, John Chalmers and Sandra Marrs are partners. In work, they are also a dynamic duo.

Under the moniker Metaphrog, this creative couple have been telling stories – in words and pictures – for almost 30 years. Chalmers, originally from Greenock, is the wordsmith while French-born Marrs makes the stories sing with lush visuals.

Now, as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories, an exhibition features more than 55 pieces of their original art, prints and archival material.

The Graphic Novel World Of Metaphrog runs until April 17 at Falkirk’s Park Gallery inside Callendar House. It charts the couple’s years as a creative partnership and includes pages from their first comic, Strange Weather Lately, selections from their Louis graphic novels, recent fairy tale adaptations, and a section on The First Men On Mercury, a four-page adaptation of the Edwin Morgan poem of the same name.

Chalmers and Marrs’ story began with a coup de foudre; a meeting of hearts and minds at a party in Glasgow’s Govanhill in 1994. The pair bonded over a shared love of comic books and music. At the time, Chalmers was working as a scientist. Marrs was making her way as an artist, having trained in her native France.

They fell in love and immediately started making and self-publishing comics together. Metaphrog’s Louis graphic novels (2000-2011) received several nominations at the Eisner Awards, the so-called Oscars of comics, while their fairy tale adaptations garnered glowing reviews. In 2009, their comic adaptation of Morgan’s The First Men on Mercury was published on National Poetry Day to great acclaim.

This exhibition will provide a touchstone for fans to get up close and personal with Metaphrog’s original artwork and the creative process behind it.

William Morris wallpaper is instantly recognisable. One look at The Art of Wallpaper in Edinburgh’s Dovecot Studios and you will be transported to an elegant Victorian drawing room. The fascinating new exhibition features reconstructions of period interiors and focuses on Morris and his legacy, tracing his history from the founding of Morris & Co and features some of his most enduring designs, such as Larkspur, Jasmine (both 1872), Willow (1874) and Marigold (1875). It runs until June 11.