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soooo busy!!

3 Jun

Sooo many things happening recently it’s been insane!! But FUN!

Went to Darwin for Wordstorm, hung out with Nicki Greenberg, Bernard Caleo, Simon Hanselmann and Pat Grant – and many other writers and had a merry old time! And I received this prize!

Prize

Then I stopped in Melbourne to talk on a panel at the Emerging Writers Festival about publishing.
Now I’m back in Hobart about to organise Her Majesty’s Favourite Really Great Graphical Festival – which is totes rad! Starts Thursday!

ALSO – I have some pieces in Island Magazine #137 – which is out now. I’ll be performing one of these pieces on Friday at Her Maj’s festival.

Prejudicial Ink – review

21 May
A review by Joshua Santospirito of Fluid Prejudice

Various artists, edited by Sam Wallman
Published by Glass Flag 2014
Cover image Tom O’Hern featured in Island 135

I don’t know if anyone recalls an incredible serialised comics piece published in Meanjin in 2008-09 titled Their Hooks Hold Deep in Our Flesh: written by Kate Fielding and involving artists Clint Cure, Mandy Ord, Ben Fox and Elizabeth McDowell.

It arose out of the context of Rudd’s apology and it detailed a number of histories of the Portland area of the Great Ocean Road since colonisation. Fielding’s foreward stated ‘a generous, critical and impassioned engagement with our shared histories is both the joy and responsibility of all people’. Fielding and co. walked the talk; Hooks sang songs of history in multiple styles, formats and sources to create an unusual critical historical account woven from multiple voices.

Six years is a long time in the small but rapidly maturing world of Aussie comics. It’s 2014 and Melbourne’s Sam Wallman has willed a remarkable anthology of history-comics into existence entitledFluid Prejudice. ‘The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice,’ said Mark Twain. The focus of this anthology is under-represented and marginalised histories. Historical narrative shifts focus, not only because of the stories being told, but because of those who hold the pen. Perhaps the corrective biases of those whose ink flows in these pages will hold the mainstream narratives to account.

For the full article – please go to the ISLAND MAGAZINE WEBSITE (Subscribe while you’re at it). 

IMG_0023

Cover image – Tom O’Hern
Buy Fluid Prejudice at Glass Flag Press

Festival Program – #HerMAJhobart

16 May

Her Majesty’s Favourite Really Great Graphical Festival
The Southernmost Tasmanian graphic celebration in the NATION!
2014, June 5–8

Join us or die – on Farceybuuk & Twotter

Hobart is filled with artists – we know… we all read the census report. We went to the museum and it was very nice (it was very lovely thankyou Lord Berriedale). But frankly, I think we’d all like to bloody well see more cartoons. More kids books! MORE COMICS! Where have the illustrators all been hiding?

Her Majesty has decreed that it is high time that her favourite Australian state, Van Diemen’s Land, celebrated its own zines, illustrators and comic-makers. She has has graciously allowed these festivities to be the fanfare to her own birthday celebrations in the state capital of HobART.

The festival is filled with fun events that showcase some mighty Hobartian artists that don’t often get to see the light of day. Artist talks, performances that combine visual graphics and sound, comic-launches and events that let you all have a crack at drawing things yourself and making your own publications! Jump over the program page to have a look.

Her Majesty’s Artist in Residence for 2014 will be Sir Tony Thorne of Dynnyrne. In honour and recognition for his patriotic fighting in the trenches of artistic endeavour. He’ll be performing, talking and presenting at three of Her Favourite events and sharing his wise wisdom with all. “Hail, Sir Thorne”

FULL PROGRAM

Friday May the 23rdpre-festival event
Arts Forum at UTAS College of the Arts – Josh Santospirito (festival creator/organiser) gives a talk on his award-winning graphic novel The Long Weekend in Alice Springs. He’ll talk about the adaption process and other elements to do with long-form comics. Dechaineux Lecture Theatre, Tas College of the Arts, 12:30-1:30pm. Free, open to the public.  FACEBOOK EVENT

Wednesday May the 28th – Pre-festival special event
Rachel Tribout launches her first picture book
CAPTAIN BLUEBERRY’S – MONSTERS OF TASMANIA
to be launched by Jon Kudelka

@ Fullers Bookshop, 5:30pm – free event. FACEBOOK EVENT
Basically, all you need to know is that this is a very special book. 

Thurs June 5
A Thousand Words- 6pm
Illustrators talk night – great projects and graphics, a great opportunity to have a look at the illustrating process with the artists themselves doing the show and tell. Short animated films will also knock ya socks off.
Featuring Sir Tony Thorne, Sam Lyne, Gay McKinnon, Christopher Downes, Hiiragi, Rex Smeal, Paul Peart-Smith, Tom O’Hern and Sarah Catherine Firth.
Constance ARI, 100 Goulburn Street, enter with a single gold coin donation.
Bar open on the night, proceeds to Constance gallery.

Friday June 6
Drink & Draw – 5:30pm
Graphics … Performances … drinking … drawing … !!
Performances from Tony Thorne & Joshua Santospirito.
Come down to TMAG for a drink and have a crack at some drawing with some of the artists. The TMAGgots will be manning the bar. A TMAGgots event at TMAG, Dunn Place, free entry

Saturday June 7
Blood and Bone by Tom O’Hern – 6pm
Tom O’Hern made a bloody comic. He did it as part of Sankessto Publication’s Down There series of Tasmanian Comics. There’ll be speechies from Tricky Walsh. There’ll be booze, there might be cheese, there’ll be all of youse, and there’ll be meeze. 
Hobart Bookshop, Salamanca Place, free
FACEBOOK EVENT

An Extraordinary Sequence of Events  – 8pm
In a paper theatre, pages come to LIFE. From the heartbreaking illustrations of Tasmania’s favourite masterpiece Last Days of the Mill, to the ecstatic whimsy of Captain Blueberry – you’ll love this night. It’ll be filled with extraordinary events! One might be particularly interested in the matching of fine, popular, fine artist Robert O’Connor with the chaos of Danielle Page’s Noise outfit – Kovacs. The night will be finished off with a macabre and heartwrenchingly bloody tale of murder on the banks of the River Derwent – Downes/Santospirito present a MONA FOMA favourite – The Shipwright & the Banshee!!
* The Shipwright and the Banshee by Christopher Downes & Joshua Santospirito (MONA FOMA 2013)
* The Last Days of The Mill by Tony Thorne & Pete Hay
* Captain Blueberry’s Monsters of Tasmania by Rachel Tribout
* Rob OConnor & Kovacs
at The Grand Poobah, 142 Liverpool St. Entry $8-
FACEBOOK EVENT

Sunday June 8
The Small Press Zine Fair
Bands, zines, comics, workshops, zines, creativity, zines
Imagine a world where everyone made their own publications … imagine it – right NOW! … crikey, I think we’ve DONE IT – All the zine-makers of the Southern Hemisphere are descending upon the Poobah for this afternoon of swap/buy/give/show-off all their zines and publications. They make awesome presents for yourself and for your Mum, and for you brother, and his girlfriends. 
A WALLOPPINGLY fun afternoon, 1-5pm, at The Grand Poobah, 142 Liverpool St. free entry. FACEBOOK EVENT

Information for Zine stall-holders: No registration required, BYO card-table, crate, table-cloths etc. Set up on the day, jump on a table with someone you’ve never clapped eyes on before – AUTOMATIC BFFs!

Adaptations, comics, cultures – The Arts Forum

10 May

Graphic-novel-web copy

Adapting comics from prose -
Lecture, Hobart – School of the Arts, UTAS – open to the public

Joshua Santospirito presents at the Arts Forum on the RIDICULOUS trials and tribulations of adapting prose into the medium of comics, the mechanics of both mediums and the the headaches involved. Hard work. It should prove kinda interesting to those interested in any medium or artform. It will also be presented at the Wordstorm festival in Darwin in May/June.

“The Long Weekend in Alice Springs” is an award-winning graphic novel adapted by Tasmanian-based artist Joshua Santospirito from a complex but beautiful academic essay by Alice Springs-based psychologist Craig San Roque. Published in 2013, and originally launched at the Tasmanian Writers Festival, it has sold remarkably well since then and looks set to develop a cult following across Australia.

This is a pre-fesival event of Her Majesty’s Favourite Really Great Graphical Festival: a festival celebrating Hobart comic-makers, illustrators and zines. Check out the full program at http://hobartgraphicsfestival.tumblr.com/

Thanks to Twitch, the Tasmanian Writers Centre and Island Magazine. Look out for the exhibition of the original art from the graphic novel in AUGUST at the Top Gallery at Salamanca Arts Centre.

The Long Weekend in Alice Springs – graphic novel is available in Hobart at Fullers and the Hobart Bookshop and at www.sankessto.com

- “One of the most outstanding graphic novels ever produced in Australia. Speaks to our cultural identity in ways like no other book I’ve read.” -TheComicSpot

- “a thrilling piece of narrative art” – Ronnie Scott for The Australian Review Magazine.

Check out more of Josh’s art and stuff at http://joshuasantospiritoart.com/
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The other pre-festival event you should TOTALLY go to is this – Rachel Tribout’s launch of Captain Blueberry Illustration‘s MONSTER’S OF TASMANIA - https://www.facebook.com/events/778999665457618/?fref=ts

Translating comics

15 Feb

On Thursday of this week I’ll be presenting a talk in Hobart at the Tas Writers Centre – Adaptation, comics, cultures.

I’ll be showing some bits and bobs about the process of adapting an academic essay into a long-form comic, the trials, tribulations, headaches and successes. I found this process endlessly fascinating – grappling with this difficult beast involves the mechanics of both mediums involved – prose and comics. I’ll have a chat about the various things that you can and can’t do with both mediums, how emphasis changes and how meanings can shift as you reimagine the same content into a different form.

6:30pm at the meeting room at Salamanca Arts Centre, put on by the Twitch writers group with the assistance of the Tasmanian Writers Centre.

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Media – Jan 2014

24 Jan

A few things lately
- David Nixon of ABC Open wrote a very affecting blog response to the graphic novel The Long Weekend in Alice Springs – I recommend you have a read, it’s good.

- Also The Long Weekend was included in Readings end of year list of 5 best GNs (in their opinion) which is exciting.

- Most exciting is that it also won an AWARD!

- On a different topic – I wrote this piece for the Meanjin website

2014 is looking busy … very busy – I’ll keep you all posted.

Blair McFarlane

23 Jan

Blair lives and works in Alice Springs – a local colour. He has worked for CAYLUS for a very long time and has been doing cartoons for a very very long timee. In May 2013, when I held the launch for The Long Weekend in Alice Springs – he came up to me with his sketchbook and showed me some responses to my work – the first one had me in hysterics … mainly because he nailed the experience of working out there so damn well … not certain who is going to get some of these cartoons … don’t care. The last one is about the local Alice Springs dreaming.

Blairius 01

Blairius 02

Blairius 03

Blairius 04

Comicoz Award

4 Jan

I was a bit surprised but very chuffed (I must say!) to find this morning that The Long Weekend in Alice Springs had been awarded the Comicoz Award for Best Australian Original Comic Book for 2013!

Thanks to Nat Karmichael and Comicoz – very much appreciated.

 

ARAS website

18 Dec

The ARAS website is now featuring The Long Weekend in Alice Springs!

The Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (ARAS) is a pictorial and written archive of mythological, ritualistic, and symbolic images from all over the world and from all epochs of human history. The collection probes the universality of archetypal themes and provides a testament to the deep and abiding connections that unite the disparate factions of the human family.

The ARAS archive contains about 17,000 photographic images, each cross-indexed, individually mounted, and accompanied by scholarly commentary. The commentary includes a description of the image with a cultural history that serves to place it in its unique historical and geographical setting. Often it also includes an archetypal commentary that brings the image into focus for its modern psychological and symbolic meaning, as well as a bibliography for related reading and a glossary of technical terms.

You can buy The Long Weekend in Alice Springs at the SanKessto Publications website

The Long Weekend in Alice Springs

This is Craig San Roque’s intro to the graphic novel on the website“From my perspective as a depth psychologist, I see that those who have a connection with story are in better shape and have a better prognosis than those to whom story must be introduced – to have ‘story awareness’ is per se psychologically therapeutic. It is good for soul. Coming early with life it is already a perspective to life. One integrates life as story because one has stories in the back of the mind”
-James Hillman, A Note on Story in Loose Ends.

And what if one lives in a place that has stories already there in the backyards of the town. What if one lives in a town that sits in the midst of stories and at a location that is a site of ancient and sacred stories humming away in the back of the mind. What if the minds, hearts and bodies of the people who dwell there are overshadowed by the mountain, the rocks, the rivers, the trees that are embodiments of the stories, images, myths of the peoples who have lived there for millennia and live there still – under the influence of mythic actions, symbolic trees, rocks, mountains, even if those mythic actions, those scenes, have been shoved to the back of the mind.

Alice Springs, the town where I live, is one such place. It is a border town in arid desert regions in the center of Australia. It is 1,7000 km (1,000 miles) from the nearest cities. It was established maybe 130 years ago as an outpost of the British colonization of the Australian continent. It is built right smack on top of indigenous tribal lands of the Arrerente peoples. Alice Springs, as it is known in English, is also known as Mparntwe or Mbantua in the Arrernte Aboriginal tongue.

Like many other border towns in the Americas, Africa, and Asia where indigenous people meet the incoming rampage of another and different civilization, the original landforms of Mbantua (Alice Springs, Australia) embody the traditional mythological stories of the people. The mountain range surrounding the town embodies a mythic creation story. The rocks and trees and river in Arrernte myth are living presences exerting mental influence. Mythic creatures and stories animate the landscape. You walk out your front door and you can see the story of the Dog embedded in the mountain range; walk out your back door and you can see the trees that represent mythic women dancing in ceremony. The townsfolk live in ancient time and in real time in a most interesting, continuous and yet ordinary way. It is this notion of depicting intersecting realities that The Long Weekend in Alice Spring attempts.

-Craig San Roque

Kieran Finnane – 2013 Lofty Award Winner

9 Dec

I’m super pleased that Kieran has been awarded the 2013 Lofty Award in Alice Springs at Watch This Space artist run initiative. She has been an important arts writer in Central Australia, giving the whole scene such a considered and careful focus. Below is the article she wrote about The Long Weekend in Alice Springs in May of 2013 – the original can be read here. You can see here an example of her poetic criticism which is constructive and positive in a manner which is rare in arts writing.

Haunting excursion into Alice’s psyche

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Review by KIERAN FINNANE

The cover of The Long Weekend in Alice Springs suggests that the story between its covers will be road trip. And it is one, of sorts. You won’t find these roads on any map but they will lead you into the byways of this desert place, reaching back through history into stories of origin, reaching out through darkness, real and metaphoric, into stories of now.

The starting points are several, all at once. There’s the meeting of Joshua Santospirito and Craig San Roque, a young man and an older man, one a psychiatric nurse with a drawing gift, the other a psychologist with a lyric gift. There’s a campfire and in its flickering light, a woman in mourning. Her husband has died but her grief goes deeper than this. There’s a book of quite a different order, Jungian explorations of the contemporary world, and a request for San Roque to make a contribution.

So, setting out from the meeting of the two men, for the sake of simplicity in this text, with its limited means of typed words on a screen, destined for a journalism site. These are limits that The Long Weekend is marvellously liberated from, due to its form as a ‘graphic novel’ or ‘comic’ (words that don’t quite rightly describe it); due to Santospirito’s artistry; due to the soaring and delving of San Roque’s mind and pen. 

Santospirito, frustrated and raw from his experience of working in remote mental health, met San Roque, seasoned by long years of the same, but also resilient from a deep nourishment – as we learn from his essay at the end of the book – by Jungian psychoanalysis, thought and practice. San Roque gave Santospirito some of his writings, including an essay, ‘A Long Weekend in Alice Springs’, his contribution to The Cultural Complex: Contemporary Jungian Perspectives on Psyche and Society, edited by Thomas Singer and Samuel L. Kimbles (Brunner-Routledge, 2004).

There was no sudden illumination that explained everything or showed a way forward but Santospirito found the writings “somehow useful” and began to draw his way into San Roque’s ‘Long Weekend’.

He takes us to the campfire in San Roque’s backyard and in just a few deft black and white images envelopes us in the thickness of this night, the deep well of loss that has brought Manka Maru to this point, by this fire.

He draws ‘Craig’ at his desk, wrestling with the task of writing an Australian perspective for The Cultural Complex, wrestling with the very concept of how a cultural complex operates – easier to detect looking at another culture, harder to detect in your own culture.

Craig’s door opens into the backyard. It’s Friday and Warlpiri family from the bush join Manka Maru. They’ve come in for the footy match; among them, a young man damaged by petrol sniffing, one of many in Craig’s professional care. The visitors interrupt Craig’s concentration but it’s a fruitful interruption: he will find his way into thinking about cultural complexes by describing what happens on this long weekend.

Some of what happens is eventful in a road trip kind of way – like going hunting with the Warlpiri visitors who arrive in increasing number. Some of it is eventful but bleak as Craig, the ‘shrink’, goes about his work, in the court, at the hospital, by the roadside where a man, who believes he is the King of Iraq, is sitting in his car with his three-day dead dog on the back seat. This episode kick starts the deeper journey, a haunting, at times thrilling excursion into our psychological inheritances.

Is the ‘King of Iraq’ a refugee from another time, Craig asks himself. And his mind wanders to the mythical Middle East and the story of Inanna’s grasping, ruthless attempt to bargain with death. (Santospirito’s drawing and mise en scene make the story wonderfully vivid.) The cure for some our ills would be an “assurance of immortality”. It’s part of what Craig knows the King needs. But short of that, what?

Craig remembers his meeting with an old Warlpiri man who told him to mind his own stories. That counsel fell on fertile ground, for Craig / San Roque is deeply in love with story, alive to the unfolding stories around him, to the ancient stories, the ones carried forward in our classical Western culture, the ones from the Aboriginal “dreaming system” (in so far as they have been shared with him). “The human psyche loves processing its own thoughts,” Craig thinks. If we lose the ability to do this, we “fall helplessly out of being.”

This has happened to Teresa to an extreme degree. Craig visits her in the psych ward. She’s trapped in a “cannabis-induced psychosis” but it’s more than the cannabis, more than the petrol that preceded it, and her scarifying life experiences. “Something in the cultural lobe of her brain allows her psychic demise.”

Cultural memory offers resilience in face of the tides of history. Craig picks up a male friend, Amos, to join him on the hunting trip with the Warlpiri women and children. Amos is of middle European and Jewish lineage – a strong bloodline in dispossession. Around the campfire, cooking lizards, Napaltjarri tells the children, black and white, about the travels of Malu (kangaroo) from up North.  Amos and Craig sit to the side – Craig’s still wrestling with his writing task and enlists Amos’ help. They try tracing some travels of their own, the big shifts of people from their lands in Europe. Amos suggests that the Gypsies and the Jews were less vulnerable to the cultural breakdown this caused because they’d “learned to use cultural memory in a special nomadic manner”.

We are introduced to the ancient Arrernte stories of Alice Springs, particularly the wild dog story, inscribed in the local landscape. The dog came through Ntaripe (Heavitree Gap), attacked the incumbent male, ravaged the mother and puppies. The Mount Gillen ridge and much of the land on the western side of the river were formed by the activities of the dog. Alice Springs is built on this mythic event, a dogfight and a rape. “Serious dark men might whisper the details.” This is part of the psychological inheritance of those to whom this cultural memory belongs – as well as those in the “overlap”, as Craig describes it, between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultures: “Sites do things to people.”

When memory is encoded in sites and song-cycles, as it is in classical Aboriginal culture, and the links to these are broken, depression and malaise follows. This is affecting (to greater or lesser degrees) all who live in contemporary Alice Springs – not just in the shadow of broken Aboriginal songs, but in the shadow of non-Aboriginal people’s own cultural disconnections as well as the contradictions between the Christian and colonising projects that are the foundation of our nation. If I’ve understood it rightly, cultural complexes get people stuck in this brokenness and this contradictory space.

“We can save ourselves with imagination.” It’s the closest thing to a ‘solution’ that can be put between inverted commas. And the book enlists us at every page into acts of imagination through the alchemy of Santospirito’s and San Roque’s gifts. Some of Santospirito’s drawings are exceptional in their emotional power, and the multi-layering through space and time that the comic book form allows makes for rich story-telling. Combine this with San Roque’s poetics, the depth of his thought, and the heart of both men, and you have a book, a travel guide for our place and time. Read it and you’ll never think about the town’s ‘social problems’ in the same away again. Read it and you’ll never look at Alhekulyele (Mount Gillen, the nose of the ancestral dog) in the same way again.

At present, The Long Weekend in Alice Springs is also an exhibition at Watch This Space in George Crescent. It shows the comic book in the making, the drawings that appear in its pages and more, as Santospirito worked on his adaptation. Until June 7.

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