July 29, 2011 § Leave a comment
“The Co/Mix Pavillion was one of the outstanding highlights of this year’s Festival. It helped us significantly to attract a younger and more diverse audience to the Monument.” Ismail Mahomed, NAF Festival Director
After eight months of preparation and five days and nights of non-stop hanging and hammering away at the first ever comic art exhibition at the National Arts Festival, Co/Mix opened its doors on Thursday 30 June 2011. Curated and coordinated by Pete Woodbridge, Elaine Woodbridge, Lieve Vanleeuw and Andy Mason, Co/Mix consisted of an exhibition of 23 South African and 6 international comic artists, 16 workshops, 3 seminars, a gallery-shop, a graffiti mural and a Toon-a-day in the daily Cue Newspaper.
The exhibition represented a mix of established comic artists like Zapiro, Anton Kannemeyer and Rico who have developed a strong critical voice over the last few decades, and young guns like the Trantraal Brothers and Su Opperman who are fast and furiously becoming the new generation of razor sharp critique. However, the exhibition not only represented these critical voices but also a growing contingent of comic artists who are resolutely moving towards exploring different aspects of graphic narrative. Masha du Toit, Willem Samuel, Mogorosi Motshumi, Jeff Rankin and Andrew Mogridge each explored “a narrative” through a different medium: an autobiography, a short story, an installation with visuals and sound, a mini-cosmos in a glass jar. Elaine Woodbridge and Joanne Bloch delved into the dark corners of conceptual art and delivered mind-boggling works. And others added the joy of entertainment and provided a sparkle that made visitors leave with a chuckle and a chirp. Pete Woo’s fury monster was definitely the most photographed and sought after celebrity of the entire show.
JP Kalonji of Geneva received many requests to sell his watercolour works. Unfortunately, he is saving them for the launch of his upcoming graphic novel African Suite (watch this space for more info). Erik Kriek, from Amsterdam, joined Kalonji to facilitate the hugely popular Toonlab and Masterclass aka the infamous Cartoon Boot Camp. Ephameron produced 6 small water colours during her stay in Grahamstown. Also very busy was Maia Matches from Amsterdam whose Crap* workshops where zines are made from scratch to last an eternity in the underground sewers of comic art were enthusiastically attended. The throne – literally and figuratively in the middle of the exhibition – was Joelle Flumet’s Broken Bed, understood by few, enjoyed by many. And last but not least, the esteemed French BD maestro Jacques Loustal exhibited work from his previous travels. He was here on a South African sojourn during which he began a series of works
The combination of a mixed media exhibition with practical workshops, a gallery-shop with small reproductions and commercial art, graffiti art on a wall in town – and a hardworking yet entertaining crew – was the success formula that made Co/Mix 2011 “one of the outstanding highlights of this year’s National Arts Festival”.
The CCIBA, Words & Images and Woomen wish to thank our participating artists, the workshop participants, the NAF crew and especially Adriano Giovanelli , Pro Helvetia, The Flemish Community, The Flemish Fund for Literature, IFAS, the Dutch Fund for Visual Art, Design and architecture and everyone else for their enthusiasm andcontribution to the success of Co/Mix 2011.
May 30, 2011 § Leave a comment
Maia Matches was born and raised in Toronto, presently conjuring up comix in Amsterdam. She studied Fine Arts and Sculpture at the Academy of Arts and Design, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, where she initiated her first DIY comix zine: Crap* in 2002. Crap* still circulates beneath the Amsterdam canals (stuck between an abandoned bicycle and some beer cans) and has since taken new forms of life, most recently the newsprint KAK, written and published in Cape Town, 2011. Maia’s handmade books and prints have been exhibited worldwide, including StripTurnhout Belguim, Ficomic Barcelona and most recently at Greatmore Studios in Cape Town. Her most ambitious project involves the research of her South African grandfather, Bill Hart, of whom she will write the biography in comic form.
Join her for the making of a brand-spanking-new issue of CRAP*zine on July 3 & 5 in the Ntsikana Gallery!
May 28, 2011 § Leave a comment
I’ll be hosting a Master Class on July 9th. First let me say that I’m honored to be asked to host one. I’ve never considered myself to have ‘mastered’ the artform of comicbooks, at least, not yet. I think one can spend a lifetime trying to master it, it is part of the fun isn’t it? That being said: I could be so unmodest as to say I know a few things about drawing comics and making illustrations. Using your art to commuicate an idea, a joke or a story would be my topic of choice to discuss in this Master Class. I will be bringing a lot of examples of my own work for you to look at. I’m looking forward to coming to SA and share my ideas and shoptalk with you. Here’s the cover of the project I’m currently working on. A collection of stories by H.P. Lovecraft, adapted to the comicbook form (in Dutch I’m afraid, working on an english language version). It will not be finished until much later his year, but I’m bringing loads of finished pages, amongst other comics and commercial work.
May 23, 2011 § Leave a comment
Pete Woo seems to be on a major rollercoaster these days. Not only is he contributing to the Velocity Anthology, he is also contributing work to the Co/Mix 2011 exhibition in Grahamstown. Totally deserved if you ask me. I love Pete’s style. I’m convinced that if there would be a way to open up his head you would find a magical world of unknown creatures, prehistoric plants, alien colours and impossible amounts of fluffy stuff. I would gamble my kingdom for even half a day in that wonderous world.
April 27, 2011 § Leave a comment
Free Comic Book Day is a single day – the first Saturday in May each year – when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their stores. Join Readers Den Comic Shop for the 10th anniversary Free Comic Book Day on Saturday 7 May 2011, 9AM to 3PM. Anyone who comes into the store is entitled to one free comic book.
The Co/Mix 2011 team will be hanging out @ the Readers Den on that day so come meet us!
April 21, 2011 § Leave a comment
It all started with this sketch that I doodled at the end of January and quickly coloured up in photoshop.
I called it “The Coming of the Great White Hunters”… and it was for me a creative experiment that combined a homage to some of the old “Lost World” comic stories and visualy playing with an alternative vision of South Africa’s colonial “frontier” of the late 1800′s. The idea of combining images of our colonial past… with a world where dinosaurs roam… and then comes the arrival of white settlers with large and powerful firearms, who come to hunt these magnificent beasts virtually to extinction. The arrival of these “Great White Hunters” is the harbinger of an ecological and human tragedy in an alternative world… that parallels the mess left behind by colonialism, that we are just too familiar with.
The idea took root and wouldn’t let go… and is slowly (some would say too slowly) developing into a series of 6 or 8 pen and ink and watercolour pieces that combine action, comic narrative and the stilted, posed images of early photography… below some of the sketches as I go along groping for the final images and an execution style I’ll be happy with.
When dinosaur hunting… make sure to bring a big gun…and a big moustache…
Crossing the plains of Camdeboo…
Where the diplodocus roam…
A pissed-off charging T-Rex is a dangerous thing indeed…
We don’t need no stinking guns to hunt dinosaurs…
Colonel Edwina Warrington of The Queen’s Own Frontier Light Horse Brigade…
Ok, that’s all for now… yes, I promise to post more in future as I go along.
April 20, 2011 § Leave a comment
Roberto Millan, MPhil student in Visual Arts at Stellenbosch University and participating artist in Co/Mix 2011, shows his sketches of a collaboration project with Zackie Achmat. Roberto has been exploring illustration and comic art as a tool for human rights and political awareness. His final work will be shown at Co/Mix 2011 at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival!
Dompas tells the love story of Mr and Mrs Komani, how they met and their battle to stay together in 1950s Apartheid South Africa. The comic takes the form of a passbook, the very object that prevented the Komanis from being together. The comic forms a translation of a chapter in the documentary film Law and Freedom by stalwart human rights activist Zackie Achmat and deals with how the infamous ‘Dompas’ (‘reference book’) system came to be abolished. The Dompas required all black people in the country at the time to carry a document that dictated where they could work while restricting them to certain parts of the country. This comic represents a collaboration and series of conversations between Achmat and myself while working on the comic version of the film, as well as the translated comic itself. The comic will be handbound, accompanied by a series of removable documents, a few of which include photographs, letters and other illustrations.
For more info, chech the official Co/Mix 2011 blog!