Exhibition at Sawtooth ARI in Launceston, Australia. April 4-26, 2014
Sleuth: The Delegation
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.
The Sleuth-world continues to grow and grow with this new story – Sleuth: Somethin’s Rotten on the Apple Isle!
It’s part of the new Tascomic series curated by Josh called DOWN THERE where there’ll be a different artist making each issue – up to four times per year. Part of what Josh likes to call – the comics Rennaissance of the Southern Ocean.
This issue is from Josh’s Sleuth series of stories – which is a bunch of rambling, multi-format comics that vaguely resemble a theme on where the modern Australian psyche has gotten itself to … wherever the hell that is.
Some new characters – including Reverend Browning (who was a real bloke from Cressy in Northern Tasmania).
Some old faves – the potty-mouthed Pademelon comes off the gallery wall and bounces into your cute and cuddly hearts in comic-book form, Andrew “Poppy” Harwood makes a return with an all-new jug of Boags … in this all-Tassie extravaganza.
BONUSSSSS – an extra story with the giant Amos Waistcoat meeting up with anthropologist extraordinaire Teddy Strehlow out in the desert somewhere.
The first in the series (each made by a different artist) will be by Josh – a new comic in his ongoing Sleuth series. Here’s a rough drawing for a new character – Revered Browning.
Some images from the exhibition that is currently in Alice Springs at Watch This Space gallery of the art from the graphic novel along with development sketches and earlier version of pages and other bits and bobs.
Exhibition dates – May 10 to June 7
Some recent media stuff
Also – an Arts hub interview relating to Josh’s work at the MONA FOMA in January 2013.
The long wait for The Long Weekend is finally OVER!
You can buy it now direct from the San Kessto Publications website.
This comic was completed in March 2013 by Josh at Chugnut (comics weekend in Victoria). It was written with major assistance from Katsutoshi Osakabe and Nadine Kessler who helped with translations, I sneakily placed in some people I know, borrowed their stories somewhat and whatnot – thankyous therefore go to Jerome Santospirito, Andrew Harwood, Glen Ewers, Sarah Katz, Sophie Clear and anyone who looks after the Cradle Mountain National Park. This comic is part of the Sleuth series of comics, an investigation into the spirituality of modern Australia. I also stole something from TGH Strehlow.
Installing the Sleuth exhibition has been interesting … and took a lot longer than I thought … but I should’ve known since in some cases I was putting up each individual panel from a comic on the wall separately.
The process of installing (which I suspected from the beginning) would help me edit out those comics that didn’t work. I had 17 comics in total as part of Sleuth … and a few got the cut. One consideration that I hadn’t fully considered which became blindingly obvious when I was in the space was that a few of the comics which I had as part of the broader Sleuth concept were written not for the wall, but for the page. I had written one comic about a giantess called the Waldheimerin (she had been sleeping in Dove Lake at Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, near the Waldheim). It became obvious that pages with a few panels on them just didn’t work in this setting. The ones that were easiest to read across a wall were quite simply – the ones that I had designed to be read that way … perhaps that seems obvious now … but I had simply assumed that it would be workable to place comics that were written for books to be read across a wall if arranged or cut up and rearranged perhaps. So they got the cut. I still had the Long Weekend Intro which I felt had a personal element that I wanted as part of the show but this was also written for the page – my only solution to being able to keep it was to put it on the outside of the Paddy Lyn Memorial space as a lead-in to the exhibition so it’s clunkiness didn’t detract from the rest of the exhibition. The Waldheimerin is still in the zine, which is kind of nice to have some of the comics already part of the ongoing Sleuth project rather than having them all on the walls just for the sake of having them there.
Here’s a photo of one of the versions of God – Stephen Kernahan
One interesting thing I forgot to mention from the process was the fact that since having a comics exhibition is a relatively untried area – I don’t know how much the average viewer is willing to invest in reading a comic. As a consequence I made a decision right from the beginning that this fast drawing comics was the way to go, since I felt that pace had to be relatively quick to keep the viewers interested. It isn’t like a book which they have sat down with and have intuitively committed to reading the pages more patiently – this particular exhibition would have people potentially walking in who have various expectations only to be met with art that requires some attention span, possibly a format that they were not anticipating
… therefore I needed some comics to have plenty of hooks, some humour to keep them interested in staying for longer and reading the rest and deciphering the overall feel of it. I don’t know if I was successful, I’m not sure at all … the larger images of the giants were part of that, the single images on the roof of the footy players may actually give the viewers cause to think that it is a normal exhibition that you just look at single images and then walk out if you don’t get it – they may indeed be confusing to the whole intention of keeping people in. But of course – you can’t always retain every art goer in a room, but the aim was to retain as many as I could. The ARI allows for this experiment to fall a little flat so I went in with full gusto into at least giving it a crack … Most people who went in on the first day said that it was quite engaging, and easy to engage with – which is promising!!
November 2012 – I unveiled the beginnings of what I hope to be a long-term evolving project … which no doubt will change and grow and occasionally drop off the face of the planet for a while. It’s basically my BOOK 2. I probably have enough comics to fill a book … but if I were to make a book out of them – they’d all be different sized pages and wonky and the binder would want to kill me.
As part of this ongoing project I have also made the first SLEUTH ZINE !
Which can be purchased here for $AUD 5- +postage (within Australia that’s only 60 cents, outside Australia please add $AUD 1.50).
At the artist talk – I yakked on about comics-form, content … Sleuth came into being, answered some questions … asked some.
Here’s some photos from the the artist talk at the Exhibition opening from November 3rd, 2012.