Tuesday, March 26, 2019

EXHIBITION: Anti-Heroes: The Art of Conscious Cartoonists and Comic Book Creators

Above: An image from the animated movie, My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea by Dash Shaw. Copyright Dash Shaw 2019.

Tauranga Art Gallery is bringing comics and pop culture back to the art gallery in 2019, with Mega World - an international exhibition exploring the expansive universe of illustration. The show transports you to an unknown landscape populated by strange creatures and unlikely heroes. Shown across all five exhibition spaces, the Gallery’s signature show gives life to contemporary illustration in its many forms. From comics and graphic novels to underground illustration, animation and contemporary art.

The first exhibition in the Mega World series is, Anti-Heroes: The Art of Conscious Cartoonists and Comic Book Creators. Curated by Craig McClure, this exhibition celebrates comic books and cartooning, and the powerfully empathetic way cartoonists have of representing the world. This exhibition is the first installment of Mega World, the Tauranga Art Gallery's 2019 signature show, and features work by Ryan Heshka (CA), Dash Shaw (USA), Ron Regé Jr (USA), Tommi Parrish (AU), Tom Scott (NZ), Mardo El-Noor (NZ) and Dylan Horrocks (NZ). 
Anti-Heroes is on now and runs to the 9th of June. Here's the exhibition statement: 
'Comic books are famously known for their Amazonian warriors, supermen from Krypton and cave dwelling billionaire playboys; Superheroes who violently defend the world from mastermind criminals and world domination.The artists in Anti-heroes resist this archetypical genre of comic books and use the medium to tell real human stories. Their characters are inspired by real people, human relationships and are often autobiographical. The comic book has been dominated by the superhero but as an art form it is a unique way of telling stories with both words and pictures simultaneously. Anti-heroes is a survey of works chosen by the curator that gives insight into the creators process, including original comic book pages, concept drawings, digital paintings and animation. Elements not usually seen by the audience are exposed and the craft of comic-book story-telling is revealed'.

Above: The poster for My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea by Dash Shaw. Copyright Dash Shaw 2019.

The exhibition will also include the Australasian premiere of the instant cult classic animated film My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea, by Dash Shaw. The animation comes hot from the Toronto Film Festival and includes voice-overs with; Jason Schwartzman, Lena Dunham and Susan Sarandon.  

There are also several special upcoming events associated with the exhibition:

Curator Talk: Craig McClure with Keeli McCarthy

When: Saturday 30 March, 10.30am
Where: Tauranga Art Gallery

Join Craig McClure, curator of Anti-heroes, as he discusses the world of comic books with US-based designer and editor Keeli McCarthy. McCarthy’s portfolio includes work for Fantagraphics and Walt Disney.

Entry to this events is free, but please register HERE to help the Gallery manage numbers.

Artist Talk: Dash Shaw

When: Saturday 18 May, 10.30am
Where: Tauranga Art Gallery

Dash Shaw is a US comic book writer/artist and animator, whose most recent film animation, My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea, is showing as part of the Mega World exhibition, Anti-heroes. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear from an international artist at the fore of comics and animation.

Entry to this events is free, but please register HERE to help the Gallery manage numbers.

For more information and updates, visit the Tauranga Art Gallery website HERE.

- AK!

Friday, March 22, 2019

New Zealand Cartoonists Respond to the Christchurch Terror Attacks

Above: A cartoon by Shaun Yeo. Copyright Shaun Yeo 2019.

A week ago on the 15th of March, Christchurch, New Zealand was shocked by a senseless, violent gun attack on two mosques in the city that left 50 people dead.

The media was quick to respond, with live televised updates as the tragic events unfolded. Within 30 minutes of listening to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressing the nation on live television, Invercargill cartoonist Shaun Yeo produced a cartoon to express the sorrow he felt in the immediate aftermath. "I had a blank sheet of paper on my desk. It took me 20 minutes to draw the Kiwi...I was trying to convey the sadness", Yeo told the Stuff News website. The Cartoon was soon shared on social media and within hours it had gone viral, shared and viewed millions of times around the world. Currently it has 42 thousand shares on Facebook and reached more than 3.4 million people. You can read Yeo's full interview with Stuff HERE.

Above: Artwork from This is Us by Toby Morris. Copyright Toby Morris 2019.

On March 18th, The Spinoff contributing writer/cartoonist Toby Morris (The Pencilsword and The Side-Eye) expressed his feelings regarding New Zealand's complicated history of race relations and intolerance in the cartoon, This is Us. You can read the full comic at The Spinoff HERE. The cartoon was widely circulated - both local and internationally, and Morris was subsequently interviewed by the BBC, which you can view HERE.

Rod Emmerson produced the following cartoons for the NZ Herald March 15th, 18th (cover and cartoon), 19th, 20th and 22nd edition. Copyright Rod Emmerson 2019.

Sharon Murdoch produced the following cartoons for the Sunday Star Times March 17th edition and the Dominion Post March 20th and 22nd edition. Copyright Sharon Murdoch 2019.

Chris Slane produced the following cartoon for the NZ Listener. Copyright Chris Slane 2019.

An illustration by Wellington artist Ruby Jones was shared internationally in the wake of Christchurch attack, and she has since been commissioned by Time magazine to illustrate its international April 1 cover. "This cover image symbolises the strength that I am seeing and feeling right now in the world. And how tragedies like the terrorist attack in Christchurch do nothing but bring us closer together as a society," Jones told Time Magazine of her new piece. You can read her interview with Time magazine HERE.

Copyright Ruby Jones 2019.

Artwork from Jem Yoshioka via Twitter: she also has a hi-res version available for people to share HERE.

A cartoon by Fu Fighter Arts via Facebook (inspired by this cartoon by Cathy Wilcox):

Artwork by Miriama Grace-Smith via Facebook:

Bill and Adele Geradts, the Christchurch organisers of the Armageddon Expo have sensibly responded to the events by banning military attire cosplay from all future events. Armageddon spokeswoman Courtney Collins informed Stuff News,"as a Christchurch-based business and being Christchurch residents ourselves, this felt like an appropriate response to ensure the peace of mind of the general public, as well as our event attendees." You can read the full article on this HERE.

If you would like to offer your support for New Zealand's Muslim communities, The Spinoff have produced this helpful list of events, places you can donate and volunteer HERE.

My thoughts are with the Muslim community and my comics friends and family in Christchurch - look after each other.

- AK xx

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Pickle #11: The Lost Issue available at last!

Above: The cover of Pickle #11 by Dylan Horrocks.

In the early 90's, Dylan Horrocks began making waves in the international comics community with the publication of his comic series Pickle, published in the US/Canada by Michel Vrana's Black Eye Comics. From 1992-1997, 10 issues of Pickle were published, in which Horrocks serialised his main ongoing story, Hicksville. By 1998 finances for Black Eye Comics had become increasingly tight, and Dylan was offered two options: they could either print Pickle #11 (which would feature the conclusion of Hicksville), or they could print the graphic novel collection of the completed story. He chose the graphic novel and the rest was history. Or was it...?

Above: The colour proof to the front and back covers of Pickle #11, from 1997.

Over the years many fans have asked Horrocks about the lost issue, and late last year he revealed on his Facebook page that he still had the cover proof for the issue produced in 1997. This inspired publisher Vrana to check his own archives for any printing proofs he may still have had on file. While his search was ultimately fruitless, Horrocks had digital scans of all the original artwork - and between them they had all the material needed to rebuild the lost issue! Together they have agreed to restore and publish Pickle #11, for long-suffering fans and collectors of the original series.

Coming in May, 2019, Pickle #11 will retain the unpublished original final page of the Hicksville story! The printing is been crowdfunded via a FundRazr page (think Kickstarter) pre-order campaign that rund until April 6th. There's several options available, starting at $10US per copy (including free shipping worldwide). So head HERE to pre-order your copy of this long-lost comics artifact today!

- AK!