My early career was in teaching, writing, producing and directing for theatre, comedy and impro shows. Now I'm a professional creative person. Mostly high-end branding, strategy, writing, editing and digital content creation.
An Exhibition of Brisbane Comic Art
A Panel by Peter Young
Sure, it's marvellous to have world renowned comic book art on show at GoMA right now, but there's another show for comic fans that's just as important. Jugglers Art Space is getting set to host Mint Condition: an Exhibition of Brisbane Comic Art from July 21st to August 2nd and it's important because it gives comics fans the chance to see world-class local talent.
The exhibition will feature over 150 pages of comic book art from more than thirty local artists: Giles Kilham, underground artist and co-founder of long running anthology Phatsville Comix; Jase Harper an animator and illustrator who recently published his debut Graphic Novel 'Awkwood' through Milk Shadow Books; Skim Knob makes a hilarious cartoon book named 'POIMS' that you can buy at Junky Comics; Danikah Harrison has a mix of personal and fantasy stories in her mag 'Dtime Comics'; Peter Yong just released his Graphic Novel 'The Rockabilly Plump Corps'; Brad Daniels, who has been creating Groovy Gravy for over a decade; Rob Corless who has been releasing his 'The Resurrection of Anton Fields' when he's not busy presenting his short films at Cannes; and organiser Will Kelly with his evolving series called Heroic Heroes.
Opening night launch will be Friday July 21 and there's no entry fee or need to make a reservation. On the following Sunday July 23rd the gallery space will be transformed into a comic market where the exhibiting artists will sell their publications and prints. Sunday will also feature a follow up micro comic convention in the gallery space. It runs from 1-5pm and is a very casual version of the bigger comic cons. Entry for that Sunday market is by gold coin donation.
The exhibition runs until August 2nd, during which the majority of the comic pages will be available for sale as will the publications from which the works originate. I had a chat online with Will Kelly about the event and its inspiration.
KM: What made you decide to run this exhibition?
WK: I've been making comics for 15 years in Brisbane and I've had various levels of involvement throughout. It wasn't until I started editing ASHCAN Comics (a seven-year-old Brisbane comic anthology) earlier this year that I had a really close look at who and what was in the scene. I counted around 60 individual creators, five comic shops, three massive comic conventions and a couple of medium sized events in ZICS and Comic Street that drew thousands.
I realised that it's the Golden Age of Brisbane Comics. That sounds like hyperbole but I really think we're at the beginning of something special.
When Jugglers became available in July I seized the opportunity to present this show. GoMA is defying the Marvel Films but it feels like there is an opportunity now to show what the medium of comics is able to do and highlight the great work being done by locals.
WK: I grew up with comics. They have helped me to make sense of the world at various points in my life; when I was a kid I loved superheroes like Fantastic Four, as a teen I loved dark fantasy works like Preacher, in my early twenties autobiographical works by artists like Eddie Campbell were important. It speaks to the versatility and potential of the medium. Right now I'm really interested in the utility of the printed object. Ideas around the personal and handmade really appeal to me in a world where stories and images can be easily downloaded and read online. I really like the idea of having physical comic pages available to view in a gallery setting.
KM: Why should Brisbane audiences support this?
WK: Mint Condition is the opposite of the GoMA Marvel Cinematic Universe show. The GoMA show is the result of a group of comic book artists that came together to make a successful franchise. The Marvel comics universe was created by a group of New York Comic book artists, what you are seeing in this show is a group of Brisbane Comics artists on the verge of something that could end up being just as big.
The comic pages in this show are presented as artefacts of a creative process. These are Mint Condition artworks from what I think will be viewed as a golden age. This is free and local and the encouragement will make activity around comics snowball. The more events like this, the more comic creators push their ideas forward.
KM: What kind of people will enjoy this event most?
WK: I've used the language of comics, Mint Condition and Golden Age as an 'in' for comic book fans but there really is a broad audience for this. It's not about nostalgia it's more about what's happening right now. There are many different genres here, underground, autobiographical, experimental and good old fashioned adventure. The creative process is on show here too, so I would encourage artists and art lovers of all stripes to come and check this out. There is a system of representation in comics that deals with time and characterization that other forms don't have. This show is a bit like going to the engine room and seeing how the machine of comics works.