Monday, October 1, 2007

This Is Not Art - Newcastle rocks out

Ok, before I forget, here's a link to Chewie's photos from the Sydney Kinokuniya gig.

I'm just back from Newcastle, and the carnival of delights that is the This Is Not Art festival (TINA). Once a year, Newie is overrun with crazy Young People - scribblers of all kinds, zinesters, music-merchants, performers, ranters, thinkers, bloggers, electro-gadgeteers, spectacular costume-wearers, and every other flavour of artist and fancier you can think of- and the result is... kaleidoscopic. Sadly, I took very few photos - too busy having fun.

This year TINA was organised by a very talented crew (Tom Doig, Nic Low and Kelly-Lee Hickey were the big three, I believe) who packed the program with an amazing array of fabulous stuff. Just as exciting was the social buzz of the fest - at every turn you end up bumping into old friends or making new ones. In amongst some much-needed aimless drifting in the sunshine, I caught some great panels. A real stand-out was one called "Untold Stories", featuring (among others) super-author Anna Funder (of Stasiland fame), super-sharp-penned writer/journo Anna Krien and super-dooper artist and writer, Shaun Tan.

Speaking of whom, in the photo above you can see Shaun and me, revelling in an exhibition called Taking Eye-Candy From Strangers. It was in a little shopfront-turned-gallery, packed with amazing comic art, much of it painted directly onto the walls, and I believe we are pictured having a good laugh at a piece by the highly talented Pat Grant. Shaun is speaking, which generally means that he is saying something fascinating, and opening up a previously undiscovered door in his listener's head - in this case mine.

Shaun and I did an "in conversation" panel on Friday, titled A thousand pictures tells a million words, and I found it a fantastic experience. It's quite rare that Shaun and I get to sit down for an hour together and have a proper talk, because we're often both rushing in seven different directions at once. So it was a real treat to have this chat, and share some thoughts about the interaction between words and pictures, the structure of strips and pages, language, suggestion and symbols and the process of working on a long, long graphic novel. I always learn something when I talk with Shaun, and this was no exception. We had a friendly, appreciative crowd, and the conversation felt almost as natural as if we were just yakking together over a cup of tea.

There was a very healthy cartoonist contingent at TINA, including such luminaries as David Blumenstein (whose latest Nakedfella comic is so hilarious, I made a complete fool of myself reading it in a cafe), Jo Waite, Pat Grant, Matt "Stikman" Huynh, Leigh Rigozzi, Sarah Howell, Ben Constantine and Mel Stringer. The promised event involving a comics jam with images projected live onto a wall never happened, but there were plenty of opportunities for impromptu jamming. Must admit that I didn't draw much at all. Mostly I was just chilling out after a pretty hectic few days!

On Saturday night the phenomenally energetic Tom Doig hosted the "Mega mega launch" in which 30-something (that's number, not age) participants launched their book or other baby into the world. I gave Gatsby its second launch, without any tears this time! The Mega mega launch was a great event, and it was fabulous to see how enthusiastic and generous and encouraging the TINA crowd was. Everyone got lots of applause, and there was a feeling of genuine celebrations of works of all shapes and sizes. Fuzzy warm glow all round - which pretty much sums up the mood of TINA.

Sunday was the zine fair, which is shorthand for "massive festival of cool art stuff on trestle tables". The zine fair was spread out in the park, with a stage for music, lots of picnicking on blankets (TINA was amply supplied with delicious vegie food at all times) and... zombies! Oh, joy! Those who know me, know that I looooove zombies. Those who don't, check out some of my zombie comics here. And here are a few of the stylish Undead, out for a day in the park:

And thank YOU, nurse!

1 comment:

Jinja said...

Who can say no *brains*?