CO/MIX PAVILION @ Grahamstown Festival

November 23, 2010 § 2 Comments

In other news, Grahamstown Arts Festival will this year have a..


“CO/MIX 2011 is a multilayered programme of visual art events clustered around the disciplines of comic art, book art and toy art. The programme, to consist of an exhibition of approximately 15 artists, an outdoor visual arts performance event (vape), workshops and seminars, and a gallery shop, is undertaken by a collective of artists pulled together under the auspices of Stellenbosch University’s CCIBA, curated and managed by Words & Images (Andy Mason and Lieve Vanleeuw) and Woomen (Elaine and Pete Woodbridge).

Watch this space for more info on participating artists and details of the programme!!



Trantraal Bros in the Cape Times

November 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

It’s old news but it’s worth repeating every now and then. Trantraal Bro’s every Friday in the Cape Times with their comic “The Richenbaums”.

“Putting the fun back in dysfunctional”

Published in the Cape Times – 15 October 2010

photograph by christiaan louw

WAITING for the ambulance after he was run down by a car outside his Bishop Lavis home, Teddy needed the toilet, and he couldn’t wait. His dad, Papa, told him to get on with it while he made a sand cross in the road, so Teddy would know where to lie when the ambulance arrived. But the ambulance and police arrived early, and when Teddy returned he couldn’t remember which way to lie. “No, you were facing the other way,” said one family member. “No it was that way,” said another, and a fight ensued.

This is one of many “dysfunctional” tales of what is said to be a real Cape Flats family, launched in a new Cape Times comic strip. Brothers Andre, 30, and Nathan, 27, Trantraal are known for their comic book, Coloureds. Approached by the Cape Times, they wrote a new series, The Richenbaums, based on the odd family – of a slightly different name – that used to live next door to their mother, Charmaine. “Everything is based on fact. Everything,” Andre said yesterday. “Well, maybe we embellished a few things.” “We embellished everything,” his brother butted in. “No, not really,” Andre said.

Nathan told of the day one of the family, now a character called Fonny, attached a cart to the back of a bus, climbed in and whizzed around Bishop Lavis before a policeman spotted him. He evaded capture, dashing home where Papa told him to hide under the bed. “Now Papa, he was the patriarch, but he was this high,” Nathan said, indicating that Papa was very short.

“Fonny really needed to pee, but Papa just played it cool when the police officer arrived and questioned him.” Fonny, however, was unable to contain himself, arousing the policeman’s suspicion as the evidence spread from under the bed. What Papa did to divert the cop’s attention is not appropriate to print, so this episode may not be run as a cartoon either, Andre said, but Fonny was soaking wet when he crawled out.

But most of the family have moved on, notably Papa who, one day on a trip to Knysna, got out of the car to buy cigarettes “and never came back”. “The thing with the Richenbaums was they didn’t think they were funny, but they were delusional,” Nathan said. “The stuff they did was exactly like Charlie Chaplin.” Andre said the tales were told by Charmaine, who spent most of her time at the Richenbaums’ house when young. “Her story-telling abilities are second to none, and she knows a lot of funny stuff. You probably think we’re telling invented myths,” Andre said. “But we’re not that good, I promise,” Nathan added.

Explaining the process of drawing up a script, Andre said: “First we come up with an idea; then we argue about that idea; then the argument gets personal. I start writing; Nathan starts drawing; I start changing the drawing.” “Mother makes the food,” Nathan butts in again. “Then she writes for 20 minutes, and then we argue for six months. We usually work very slowly.”

The Richenbaums is published every Friday in the Cape Times.

Comics and Medicine

October 5, 2010 § Leave a comment

In June, the Wellcome Trust sponsored the first ever conference on Comics and Medicine at the Institute of English Studies in London. Mun-Keat Looi, science writer and comic nerd, went along to see how the graphic medium is helping doctors and patients alike.

Comics and medicine may seem like strange bedfellows. The former you may dismiss as a frivolous medium for children, while the latter is a critically important, serious endeavour. But graphic stories are hugely popular among all age groups and are today seen as a legitimate form of literature. And not just fiction – graphic novels have dealt with all kinds of medical and scientific subjects: substance abuse, depression, HIV, diabetes, epilepsy, mental illness.

‘Graphic pathographies’ provide powerful, personal insights into medical conditions. The visual format can communicate the internal experience of conditions, like depression, and help de-stigmatise and demystify an illness.

Researchers have found how combining pictures and text enhances understanding. The activities of reading and viewing activate different information processing systems within the brain, and the combination fosters connections between new information and existing knowledge.

Comic artist and former journalist Brian Fies says that comics have the capacity for powerful visual metaphors and universality. The spare and stylised use of text and art allows readers to project themselves into the story.

“These powerful images illustrate the patient’s and family member’s experience in a way that standard clinical reportage could never achieve with such economy,” says Dr Michael Green, a physician and bioethicist at Penn State University.

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