Friday, November 1, 2013

My stuff at 'Shadow of the Mouse' Art Exhibition, Royal Queensland Art Society Gallery.

Pre-lettered 'Human Fly' pages (with a dash of colour). 
Script by Tony Babinski for 'The New Adventures of the Human Fly #1'

Only part of the large space we took up for two weeks at the RQAS Gallery in Brisbane in Oct/Nov.
Many thanks to Griffith Film School/Queensland College of Art (of Griffith University) and The Royal Queensland Art Society Art Gallery at Petrie Terrace, Brisbane for hosting the 'Shadow of The Mouse' Art Exhibition. I was lucky enough as a seasonal lecturer and a post grad student to have been invited to throw my scribbling up on the walls among some really beautiful drawings, 3D imagery, watercolour, traditional colour work, inking, comic art and sculpture from professors, PhD, DVA, lecturers and seasonal lecturers in the realms of 2D/3D animation and illustration. Included in the exhibition were works from Hadieh Afshani, John Eyley, Darren Fisher, Carolyn Gardiner, Louise Harvey, Leila Honari, Kay Kane, Marianna Shek and Andi Spark.

'Maleficus Seven' concept art

The exhibition booklet contained a fantastic opening essay by curator Dr Peter Moyes, a switched on film and animation lecturer who was a great help to me during my honours year. 

Anyways, thanks also to these lovely people for their help and patience with my disasters in the leadup to getting my stuff on the walls. Black House Comic's Baden Kirgan did a great job on the prints (not all could fit on the walls, but I'll bring whatever didn't sell along to Supanova next week).

Below is the artist's statement I wrote for the booklet (cheers John for the great design too, and Louise & Marianna for a kick ass cover).
“The assembly line method of producing comic books has nothing to do at all with the worth and value of the medium. Sequential art and film both run the gamut from the individual auteur to the collective communal effort. There may be questions about the artistic value and potential of monthly comic books but sequential art as a medium without any doubt deserves to be on the same level as all other art forms.”
- Klaus Janson- comic book illustrator, author and lecturer at the School of Visual arts (New York).

It’s funny that I think when I have to write an artist’s statement of my work, I feel the need to firstly defend my chosen practice to perhaps those that may not be familiar with the medium. But then again, most should be. Who didn’t read the comic strips in the newspaper as a child? Or comic books at home? Heck, Phantom comics were everywhere when I was a kid. Or to go a little further, are the cave paintings on the walls from the earliest human beings not a crude example of sequential art, or “stories told with pictures”? Or the engravings on the tombs of the Pharaohs in Egypt? Bayeux tapestry? Far smarter men like Will Eisner and Scott McCloud have written books about this, and I feel like I’m covering ground in a battle that has already been fought, and in many respects, won. We see comic book art in art museums across the globe. We see comic books and graphic novels in book stores, online stores and best seller lists. Maus won a Pulitzer Prize, Watchmen won a Hugo Award; awards not traditionally for comic books.  We see comic books inspiring multi-billion dollar films and franchises.

In Australia though, this big picture stuff may be known, but the work of the general day-to-day comic book artists and writers here, from professional to hobbyists, remains largely unknown; as comic book scholar Kevin Patrick rightly put it, comics are an “invisible art”. Even comic book readers here, the ‘Batman’ and ‘Spider-man’ comic devotees, will perhaps never pick up an Australian comic book. And yet, some of the best and hardworking artists and writers in the field are making inroads in the national and international scene. At a national level, it’s certainly a niche “cottage” industry here- and with the US comics being owned by multi-national entertainment conglomerates like Warner Bros. And Disney, spreading the “product” across TV, animation, video games and Hollywood films, Australian comics are indeed in the shadow of the mouse.  "

Cheers All, and if you're in Brisbane next weekend for Supanova (7-9th November, RNA Showgrounds), I'll see you there :D First time in 6 months I'll have reprinted stock of 'The Soldier Legacy' trade paperbacks, issue 5, and Strange Tales #1, for those that give a damn. Oh, and the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con folio, which has Human Fly comic pages, and other pinup nonsense. Many thanks again to publisher Black House Comics for their tireless work in getting those books reprinted for any newbies keen to jump onboard with 'The Soldier'.

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