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Free postage til Xmas

29 Nov

Woop !

I’ve been on big art-adventchas lately, it’s been grand.
But i’m back home now and it’s super nice to be back in my own bed after 5 weeks.

It’s almost the end of the year: it’s always surprising when it sneaks up on me like that. Not sure what you’ve been up to this year, but looking back I reckon the thing that I’ve spent most of this year trying to get better at is being a good friend to the people that mean a lot to me. I’m often away with the fairies in my own head reading books and writing and sometimes forget to tell my peeps that I love them. I’ll probably keep trying to get better at that next year too.

I’m grateful you’ve all been interested in stuff I do. I always hope that people find it interesting. Secretly (shh) I think I make comics because I’m not great at starting conversations the normal way … so I’m always super glad when people talk to me about ideas in my comics. It may not be the most efficient way to start a conversation … but I’m glad it works! 🙂

Xmas pressies
Hey … I just had an idea … perhaps you should get onto Christmas presents right now. By which … I mean you should buy my books and comics for your friends and family. San Kessto publications has free shipping til Christmas on both my graphic novels ->>>>>>>>

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* Swallows Part One (a tale of immigration and family) – $15 (FREE postage)

* The Long Weekend in Alice Springs (has turned out to be a cult hit over the last four years) – $29 (FREE postage)

* I wanna be a travella: Sri Lanka (a nice little travel comic/sketchbook from my trip there) $5 + postage

But now that my overly forthright sales pitches are all done
– I’d like to say that 2017 has been smashing for me and I hope that it’s been pretty damn smashing for you too. Whether it has or not – I hope that 2018 will be a WONDERFUL an super creative year for you all.
jxo

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The Comic Art Workshop

14 Dec

For the first two weeks of November I was taking part in the inaugural Comic Art Workshop. It was held on MARIA ISLAND off the East coast of Tasmania. Technically I was the only Tasmanian at the workshop, but Leigh Rigozzi used the workshop as an excuse to return from Sydney after a decade. So we now have another comic maker in our midst YAY! … and to make things more interesting, I met Eleri Mai Harris at the workshop – turns out she’s an ex-Tasmanian who now lives in Canberra after having lived in the States for a bit – so there was tonnes of Tassie action going on. Leigh’s Dad also works for Parks and Heritage. He came over to Maria and gave us a bit of a talk about the island and the nature and whatnot. Tony Thorne from Hobart also came over on the middle weekend and talked about the history of Indigenous peoples in Tassie and also gave a watercolour Plein Air workshop.

We had Leela Corman and Tom Hart from Florida come to be our master-comic-artists. Go to the Comic Art Workshop link for the full line-up of the amazing attendees.

Here’s some random pics!

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Long Weekend short-films

10 Nov

We have recently managed to find time to record Craig’s narrations (much thanks to Ross Muir at Reddirt Records in Alice Springs for taking the time to do this) and put them to animations of some of the art from the graphic novel. Have a looksee at what we got down here!!

Pt 1 – The Long Weekend in Alice Springs: Manka Maru

 

Pt 2 – The Long Weekend in Alice Springs: Around the campfire

 

Pt 3 – The Long Weekend in Alice Springs: The Hospital

 

 

Pt 4 – The Long Weekend in Alice Springs: Sunday

 

Pt 5 – The Long Weekend in Alice Springs: the weekend is over

Pics from the exhibition

11 Aug

Some pics from the other week at the opening of the Hobart exhibition on a weather-wild night
… it was freaking COOOoooOOOld.
So props to all those who came out.
Nice little opening – Chinotto enjoyed by all.
Suzy Cooper - TLW August 2014

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2014 08 August exhibition print single image

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”

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