Tag Archives: graphic novel

The Long Weekend – One year on

2 Aug

Tasmania, it’s apology time.

It’s been almost a year and a half since I launched the Long Weekend in Alice Springs into the world at the inaugural Tasmanian Writers Festival in Hobart in March 2013. It’s been quite a year for this little self-published wonder and I thought I’d do a little write-up of its successes and failures … though, thankfully, I don’t know of many failures … or how a book fails … but anyhow.

Photo - Joshua Santospirito

I’m writing this the day after I opened the second exhibition of original art from the graphic novel here in Wintery HOBART. I probably won’t pull out the original art again, my mind has moved on. But it seems appropriate that I reflect on it all. It occurred to me that whilst I was making this book I was living here in Hobart, but mentally and emotionally I was grappling with a project that forced me to not be present, to not be here in Tasmania. I was in Central Australia. Head still in the dust, barrelling down dirt highways in landcruisers.

I was quite distracted by this work of art.

Then, years later, once I finished the book I had to flog it like crazy; I’d put too much work in: it cannot go unnoticed NOW! And so the book had numerous launches in different spots in 2013, which has helped sales along – Hobart, Alice Springs, Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. The Alice Springs launch was by far the biggest, and funnest, and it was accompanied by the first exhibition at the gallery in Alice Springs – Watch This Space – a well-loved institution. It was launched by lots of interesting, wonderful sods – Dr Anne Noonan (who I used to work with in Central Oz), Pat Grant (comic-maker extraordinaire), Bernard Caleo (Svengali of Melbourne comics and great enthusiast of this book), Penny McDonald (NT Film), Lindsay Arnold (Tassie comic-legend), Jennifer Mills (good mate and wonderful author). To share this book with these people made it extra special.

Because of these launches, and because of the promotion that was part of the successful crowd-funding campaign, the book pretty much sold out of its first print-run of 500 within about two and a half months … which took me completely by surprise, so I got it reprinted again in Hobart (again by Monotone Art printers, who are very nice to work with), this time printing 1000 copies just in time for the book to be reviewed by the Weekend Australian Newspaper in their Review magazine. This helped in getting the book into bookstores across Australia, which seemed to be a better place to sell this book than in comic-stores, though it landed in a few of them too. To date I have offloaded a total of about 1250 copies Australia-wide, which I’m chuffed and proud of … given I self-distributed and posted and emailed and whatnot. I had thought that initial 500 would last me a few years, and they would be sitting under my bed.

Whilst I can honestly say that I have no idea how anyone printing a book in Australia can make any money at all – I am very proud to have printed it locally and going to the effort of keeping everything as local as possible. It certainly isn’t a money-spinner, but that was never the point anyhow.

The most exciting aspect about sending a graphic novel into the world has been the responses to it. I had thought that the only people who’d read this would be comic-obssessed people … and I didn’t know if they would get into it, because of the content … nothing against comic-obssessed people at all, I’m certain they would be able to understand such a book, but the book is a little serious and full-on and I wasn’t certain of how it would fit into the genre-focused world of comics … I wasn’t quite sure who my audience was, because I made this book for me … and not really for anyone else. It turns out – there’s lots of MEs out there. Who knew?

What I found was, most people who read the book – WEREN’T comic-readers … most of the discussions about the book that I encountered were NOT even about the comic-form, they went immediately to the content. This surprised me most, because many readers didn’t even seem to really be aware of the medium at all when they read it. Some of my favourite responses have been from Central Australia, where the people who live this content daily can grasp it with their mind and hearts. As is probably true of any peripheral area, the political discussions on the Eastern seaboard about Central Australia have always lacked any real understanding of the problems faced by those who live there. For this reason, to be acknowledged in the Territory was the best: it meant a lot to both Craig and I when the book was awarded the Non Fiction Book Award at the NT Read awards in Darwin in May of 2014.

I am glad that I decided to put on this exhibition in Hobart though, though the content of the book has absolutely nothing to do with Tasmania – but the book was made, designed and printed in Tassie. I couldn’t have done the work in Central Australia. To live in the desert is to live by the seat of your pants, every day surreal things happen, you get swept along by an unusual force. I didn’t even notice until I left. I needed to move away, the distance to clear my mind and digest all the things I had to sift through to be able to work this comic into existence. So I came to Hobart. It was crucial. But the local Tassie community was also crucial with their support and feedback and enthusiasm. Now I have a month-long exhibition which I can show to the Hobartian mob. I can say to them “This is what I did before I truly lived here emotionally and mentally. Isn’t that nice. It’ll be up for a month,”

BUT this is a line in the sand – after this – you and me – we can start dating properly – we can live together in this creative community of Taswegia”

“Sorry I was so distracted before, I hope you understand”

“I’d like to be more present now”

“Hi Hobart”

Sleuth – the delegation

6 Apr

Exhibition at Sawtooth ARI in Launceston, Australia. April 4-26, 2014

Josh-and-Polly-web

Sleuth: The Delegation
Joshua Santospirito

it would seem that sometime in the last 250 years the fire-farming just stopped. The humans no longer see themselves in the landscape, and consequently they no longer care for the trees, the dirt, the spirit. Now the giants have awoken. These strange and large visitors have come to Canberra to discuss a situation: Australian spirituality is all over the shop! The continent’s psyche appears to be diversifying … this mightn’t be such a good thing.

I don’t reckon this is such a good thing.
And where is Amos? Is he always late for every meeting!!

Exhibition review by Patrick Sutczak (April 2014)

Sleuth is an ongoing series that begins with exhibitions, comics and other crosses into other multimedia. It explores what is happening with the Aussie psyche and soul, a nebulous and amorphous thing.

Joshua Santospirito is an illustrator, musician and multimedia artist who lives in Hobart, Tasmania. His main artistic obsessions revolve around language, anthropology, culture and psychology. His main works in comics have been his very rambling Sleuth series, and the award winning graphic novel The Long Weekend in Alice Springs which he published in 2013 through Sankessto Publications.

joshuasantospiritoart.com
sankessto.com
Leon-full---web

Northerner-detail-web

Duo-Polly-and-Sim-web

Sim-web

Margaret-Full-web

Charles-Full-web

Duo-Magaret-and-Leon-web

Waldheimerin-Zoom-in-web

Opening

Map-Full-web

Booklets-web

Trapdoor-web

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.

026

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

San Kessto’s new production

10 Nov

One thing that I should let ya’ll know about – I am ridiculously exciteable to announce that San Kessto Publications’ next little baby in the DOWN THERE series will be 100 copies of Tricky Walsh’s Hoppers 1: the ‘manias.
Promo page
I started the Down There series in July 2013 with my own issue of Sleuth. The general theme of the series is Tasmania, but the interpretation of that theme is pretty vague and with that I have gone to artists/comic-artists and asked them to each produce a medium to long-form comic for the series, to be released up to 4 times each year in runs of 100. Basically … I just wanted to read more comics from those who lived in the same place as me … Tasmania. Tricky’s issue will be the first of … possibly a few … Which I think is bloody exciting in itself. Future artists in the series will be Tom OHern (flippin hell!!), Lindsay Arnold (OMG – Linzee RNold) & Gary Chaloner (cripes!).

The launch of Hoppers will be at the Hobart Bookshop on Thursday the 12th of December – you can buy a copy from the San Kessto website from today – it’ll be sent out to you after the 10th of December. More info closer to the time!! Stay tuned! Or … as Tricky herself would say – “Woo!”
Front cover - web

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