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October News

5 Oct
Hiya !

Upcomings and Goings
* 13th Oct -> 5th Nov HOBART *
I’ll have some art as part of a group exhibition of comic-art at the Rosny Barn in Hobart named Follow Your Shadow (see the image at the bottom). Opening part is from 5:30pm Friday October the 12th. I’ll also do an artist talk with some of the other artists on Saturday the 14th of October at 2pm, All welcome. Kid-friendly.

* Oct -> Nov INDONESIA *
Me and my tribe of graphic novelists will be in Jogjakarta for the second biannual Comics Art Workshop. Whilst we are in Indonesia we will be doing TWO DIFFERENT Read To Me comics reading events:
1) At Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Bali (if that pesky volcano doesn’t blow it’s top), and
2) At Biennale Jogja, in Jogjakarta, Java.

Whilst I am in Indonesia I’ll also be manning the @Sawtoothers Instagram account if you want to follow and see all the great art things that catch my eye. Sawtooth is wonderful artist run gallery based in Launceston in Tasmania’s North.

* 16th November, Thursday -> MELBOURNE *
Talk (see the above promo image) – I’ll be in Melbourne to give a low-key talk about Sydney/Purgatorio at Squishface Studios in Brunswick at 8pm after their drawing class.

Sydney/Purgatorio
I feel like I should tell you a bit about my graphic novel project … but not too much, cos it’s going to take me a very long time to complete and if I talk about it too much you will be sick of it by the time it comes out … in maybe the year 2023 or whenever. This is the project that I’m taking to the Comic Art Workshop to get feedback on.

Comics take a long time … they truly do. And this one is more complex than any one I’ve ever done before. Craig San Roque wrote in “prose form” back in 2010, and it is a published piece in an academic journal. After I launched The Long Weekend in Alice Springs in 2013 I said to Craig “Hey Craig, if you have any short bits of writing, flick them my way and I’ll see if I think they’ll make a good comic”

Craig sends me a piece of writing which is about THREE TIMES AS LONG as the original version of The Long Weekend in Alice Springs …. honestly … what didn’t he understand about the word “short”??

I read it … hated it.

I quite was relieved “Great – won’t waste years working on that super long piece of garbage! … A few months after that I got a bit drunk at home after the Carlton Blues lost badly to someone (2013 was yet another lost year) … and reread Sydney/Purgatorio and realised that it was indeed quite brilliant. DAMNIT Craig!!!

I might tell you a bit more about it in about in another email in a few months time so I don’t take up all your day, the art on this page are from concept sketches I’ve been doing alongside the drafting work that I’ve been doing on it.  You can look at these process images on my Instagram if you like.

Thing to buy if you enjoy buying things
Graphic Novels
The Long Weekend in Alice Springs
Swallows Part One
I wanna be a travella: Sri Lanka (a nice little travel comic/sketchbook from my trip there)

 

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New Book! Sri Lanka travel diary

23 Jan

I am publishing my little water-coloured travel journal from my recent recent to Sri Lanka. It’s very nice.

Buy it HERE

Colour printing is pretty ex-y so please preorder it so I can pay the printer – I’ve made a special lil preorder price for youse.
jxo

Preorder price
AUS $8.50 until Feb 11th (+ $3 postage)
– launching at the Festival of the Photocopier in Melbs on the 12th

Mimili books!

24 Oct

I’ve been quiet for a while because I’ve been slaving away on a great (but huuuuge) job for the Mimili school in Northern South Australia. It’s illustrating 20 kids books in the Yankunytjatjara language. I’m almost finished the illustrations, just the lettering and corrections to do next!! Phew!!!!

Here’s some pics –

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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 OMG

6 Jun

The next element of Sleuth comes together in Island Magazine #137 – out NOW.
Josh will PERFORM the comic (yes, he will perform it) at tonight’s Drink and Draw at the Arts Factory as part of Her Majesty’s Favourite Really Great Graphical Festival
OMG

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). 

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