Quit Your Day Job

So after about 15 years of working I go a hefty amount of leave and I quit my job and took it as a lump sum so I could take possibly up to a year off from work and make art.

Whenever I told people what I did for a crust the most common response was “Oh wow, that sounds really full on” which I always found a little difficult to respond to really. I must admit I’m a little burned out, not because the work I did was difficult, I was good at it and I enjoyed the clients and my colleagues … the main reason was the management. The Public Service doesn’t always have the best support structures. I’m sure you know this, it’s not a revolutionary statement. I mean … if your colleagues and management are good and supportive then I think most of us could do really shithouse jobs. Nursing and health is subject to human-frailties as much as anywhere. In the last few years we got a doozy of a manager and it took its toll … so when my long service leave came up I guess I decided to look after myself.

I might post from time to time about the shift in my life from working person to artist. I don’t think I’ll be making much money-making art over the next year, perhaps I’ll take on a few jobs … not sure yet. My main focus will be to work on my favourite projects - Sydney/Purgatorio and Swallows. Both are graphic novels. I think I can complete Swallows and maybe make a reasonable dent in Sydney/Purgatorio before the end of my year off and need to return to making money again.

Wish me luck!

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Island magazine 157

I was recently asked by Jude Abell, art editor at Island magazine if I’d like to be their art feature for the June 2019 issue as she was aware that I was working on a couple of graphic novel projects. We decided an excerpt from my work in progress Swallows 2 might be a good fit. I cheekily said that Island should ALSO let me do the art for the cover of that issue and so I made a basic mock-up of what I might do. To my surprise the editor-in-chief at Island Vern Field said she was interested. And now I get to reveal the cover!

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Storygraph - Darwin exhibition

Storygraph - an exhibition in Darwin of the Northern Territory's comic art 

Exhibition opening 3rd May 6pm
Exhibition ends 1st of June

If you're lucky enough to be up in Parap, Darwin, then head down to the Northern Centre for Contemporary Art to see an exhibition with three artists: Beth Sometimes (a multimedia artist Alice Springs), Jonathon Saunders (an animator from Darwin) and myself. Here is Hamish McDonald's curatorial rationale 

StoryGraph brings together three Territory artists working in the area of graphic storytelling. You can call them zines, comic books, graphic novels, and in the film world, animations, cartoons, or any number of terms, but in all instances artists are using visual means to convey a narrative as much as they are using words - whether their own, or those of other writers.

These forms are enjoying an explosion of popularity at the moment, from Japanese anime through to Hollywood adaptations of Marvel comics, and Art Spiegelman’s ‘Maus’ series. But while these might be the titles that leap to mind in the mainstream consciousness, graphic storytelling is happening everywhere and on every level, and its moving way beyond the aesthetics of the comic book.

In 2013 Joshua Santospirito illustrated Craig San Roque’s story, ‘The Long Weekend in Alice Springs’, which drew on the author’s experience of working as a psychologist in Alice Springs. Taking us on a journey from Alice Springs to ancient Sumeria, and exploring the Jungian notion of the ‘cultural complex’, this extraordinary work delves into the lives of a cohort of Indigenous characters as they gather in Alice for a weekend of footy and family. Santospirito’s black and white illustrations can be haunting, exquisite, and confronting, but at all times they are visually engaging and propel the narrative forward with powerful force.

Darwin artist Jonathan Saunders has created his own Indigenous superhero, Zero-Point. In a post-human world, a superhero from Darwin emerges to fight government conspiracy and masked foe who proclaims himself to be the king of Australia. Supported by Screen Australia and Screen Territory, and drawing on a team of talented locals, Saunders has created four episodes of his superhero’s story as a web TV series.

Born in New Zealand/Aotearoa, but now based in Alice Springs/Mparntwe, Beth Sometimes is an artist working across many media and practices. Her zine,’The Tender Unravelling’, is a refreshingly non-linear and poignant meditation on a series of incidents and interactions in Alice Springs over a few days.

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