Vessel

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Kristyna Baczynski, one of my favourite comic makers/illustrators/storytellers, has a new book called Vessel. It actually debuted (and understandably sold out) earlier this month at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival but happily it’s now available from her Etsy shop.

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Vessel tells the tale of Nova, who realises life is passing her by and sets off on adventures of discovery in strange lands.

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As with all of Baczynski’s work it’s beautifully drawn and realised, with her usual blend of existential and otherworldliness, that’s easily relatable.

The book itself is A5 and 24 pages, with high quality full colour printing with a thick cover.

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Check out Vessel and more of her fantastic work at www.etsy.com/uk/shop/kriski

Home Zine Issue 2

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After my review of Issue 1, Tallulah Fontaine, co-curator of Home Zine kindly sent me a copy of Issue 2. It follows on from the previous issue where the umbrella theme is musings on the word Home: thoughts, feelings, spaces and people.

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Issue 2 expands on this by looking at belongings and physical objects that make up one’s home. There’s nine contributing artists as well as the front and back cover by Talulah and includes an illustration by co-curator Carla McRae.

It’s another fantastic issue from the talented group of illustrators. Each artist has interpreted Objects in their own unique way: from everyday items in a domestic scene to ordered, catalogued fragments of existence, to the more mystical.

Issue 2 has been Riso printed this time and I love the quality that printing technique has given the zine, it’s added a denseness and extra tactility to the quality, heavy paper.

The zine is Riso printed in the US by Tiny Splendor and in Australia by Caldera Press in Melbourne. The edition shown here is the US version with a magenta and blue cover, the Australian version is blue. The US run has already sold out with more on the way.

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Visit the Home Zine Tumblr at www.home-zine.tumblr.com and buy Issue 2 HERE.

Zines with Harriet Alana

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Interested in tabling at your first zine fair? Illustrator, skateboarder and zinester Harriet Alana shares her knowledge, experience and love of making, selling and swapping zines.

Tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been illustrating, skateboarding and zine making?

I’m originally from the Midlands and I now live on the South Coast, a breath of fresh air after residing in London for five years – the beach is just 10 minutes walk! I graduated from Camberwell in 2012 after studying illustration. Since then I have done various freelance jobs alongside skateboarding coaching and youth work.

I’ve been drawing all my life, skating for about six years and through meeting punk skaters at art school, I was first inspired to make zines. My first zines were tiny slit zines about how fascinated I was with skateboarding: ‘A little zine about how scary skateboarding sometimes is’  is about arriving at the skate park for the first time and being the only girl there, as well as all the usual stuff about falling off ya board. And then it progressed onto Brash.

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Tell us about your zine Brash; do you still make it and what other kinds of zines do you like to make?

Brash is a skate/art zine about the scene that surrounded me at the time, which consists of contributions from loadsa artists, skaters, writers and photographers. Issue four was the whole she-bang; packed with skatey/arty goodness, photocopied and risograph printed pages with a screen printed cover. It is currently on a hiatus as I put my heart and soul into it for my final project and I still haven’t figured out where to go from there.

Currently, I am trying to get a travel zine done about my time in Europe last year. I did manage to pull together a zine in time for Sheffield Zine Fest earlier this year in the form of a humble photocopied publication. Conexiuni is simply a collection of various drawings; skateboarding pictures, Buddhist patterns/imagery, collaged mountains and drawings of the children I worked with whilst volunteering in Romania.

I often get fed up with my work because I feel there’s too much variation in style and content, and I can never settle on something. As I was putting the zine together, I began to realise that whatever I do – my illustration work, making zines, skate coaching or volunteering in Eastern Europe, that it is all connected and comes under the umbrella of what I do as an artist.

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Photography Visionaries

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As I mentioned in my last book review – compilation books can be a tricky business, and the excellent Photography Visionaries by Mary Warner Marien for Laurence King Publishing is no exception. This book may well raise the odd heated discussions, wholehearted agreements and impassioned disagreements, which is the typical and correct response for all art related topics.

Photography Visionaries is an anthology presenting the most influential photographers “whose work came to define the medium,” from the early innovators to those working in the field today.

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Each individual is featured chronologically with four pages dedicated to each, with an insightful overview of their life and career and examples of some of their most lauded works. There’s also a handy timeline for each photographer which points to professional highlights of note.

Featured photographers include Brassai, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Man Ray, Weegee, Lee Miller, and Cindy Sherman to name but a few.

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Zine: If The Wind Won’t Serve Take To The Oars

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A new zine/artist book by Chris Bourke has just been released. If The Wind Won’t Serve Take To The Oars is a series of images of linocuts that can be viewed individually, or taken as a whole as a wordless story of a journey across the sea.

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It’s printed on nice smooth, thick paper with a card cover and an abstracted endpaper design, taken from the waves of the sea. Every single page is an image of an individual, handmade lino print, which is no mean feat to create. There’s 28 pages in total with 26 images.

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The journey involves seeing whales, sharks, pirates, birds, sunsets, rain clouds, shooting stars, aliens and more. Each time there’s danger present the little man in the boat is rowing his way out of there.

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The title works nicely for the story and metaphorically for a wider meaning, in keeping with Chris Bourke‘s other work on the trials and tribulations of life.

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If The Wind Won’t Serve Take To The Oars is £5 and available HERE. There’s currently some super deals to get a book and an original print of an image from the book, for just £25 – more info at www.chrisbourkeart.com or www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ChrisBourkeArt

Indie Business: Stay Home Club

I’m not sure who coined the phrase Introverts of the world unite, separately in your own homes, but whoever they are they could’ve added ‘via instagram’ to the end of that and they would definitely be a fan of the Stay Home Club.

Self confessed Designs For The Disgruntled, SHC is a unisex clothing brand that pioneered discontented designs with popular T-shirt slogans such as: The Worst, Awful and Recluse to name a few.

SHC has provided a well needed morose alternative to that hollow, chipper, twee-er, wear of recent years. It reflects a growing distain for aspects of modern life that has resonated with buyers worldwide, and as part hermit by choice, I can definitely relate to their disgruntled sentiments and straight up admit I’m a fan.

Stay Home Club is the brainchild of illustrator Olivia Mew and I’ve been following the rapid rise of her small business on Instagram for the last few years. I caught up with Olivia from her home in Montreal to chat about all thing SHC and the ins and outs of running an indie business.

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Hey Olivia! Is Mew your real surname? I always thought that was cool and very fitting that you had a surname that’s also the sound a cat makes! 

Hi! It is, I was literally born this way. Blessed, really.

How did the Stay Home Club begin, what were your plans when you first started? 

Stay Home Club started with a small line of pillow cases designed by a handful of artists I was lucky enough to collaborate with. In 2012 I exclaimed “there are too many t-shirt companies out there! I’m gonna do something different”! The plan was to stick to homewares, but after people started telling me how much they loved the logo I decided to print a few tees after all and the rest is kinda history. The moral of the story is that people sincerely, really love t-shirts.

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100 Great Children’s Picture Books

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Compilations of anything are always going to be subjective and open to criticism of omissions and additions. Add an element of nostalgia to that as 100 Great Children’s Picture Books does, and people could get downright angry.

This is something author Martin Salisbury acknowledges via his introduction and amusingly explains he ‘is anxious to make a few things clear in my defence at the outset’. Salisbury goes on to state that ‘having had the great impertinence’ to make his selection, he has done so with good art and design as the remit for this particular collection.

Having compiled books myself, I understand only too well the difficulties of putting your own compilation out into the world and waiting for the backlash, but Salisbury’s Intro explains his selection perfectly. Plus as he’s Professor of Illustration at Cambridge and leader of the UK’s first Masters programme in children’s book  illustration, I’m more than happy to put my personal nostalgia aside and take his word for it!

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The book covers 1910 to 2014 and various countries of the world. It’s explained that the book doesn’t set out to give an even coverage across the time periods or geographical areas, but are presented in chronological order. The books have been selected for inclusion on artistic merit and those showing excellent examples of design in print, often reflecting the popular styles of the time and aimed predominately at young children.

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There are plenty of old favourites amongst them for nostalgic Brits of all ages. You’ll find Moomins, Babar, Orlando, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, as well as plenty of famous authors and illustrators: Edward Bawden, Eric Ravillious, Edward Gorey and Maurice Sendak to name a few. But be forewarned: it’s not always the most well known of the authors’ work included here, which is bound to ruffle a few feathers with some readers.

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It’s a fantastic book, a true feast for the eyes for anyone with even a passing interest in illustration and great design, and it certainly tickles the nostalgia bone in just the right place for people of a certain age. It’s also ripe for arguments discussions on your own choices, reminiscences and favourites of the genre.

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100 Great Children’s Picture Books by Martin Salisbury is out now and can be purchased from all good bookshops and direct from Laurence King Publishing Ltd Here.

Mini Kuš!

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Kuš (pronounced Koosh) the comics anthology from Latvia, have recently released a new batch of Mini Kuš! small, individual comics, one story/artist per book.

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As with their larger compendiums, the work is varied, presenting unique works told in a variety of media and styles by Latvian and international artists. There’s 33 in the series so far with four new ones being released last month. They range from the unusual, the funny, the subtle, the bizarre and the wonderful.

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One of the stand outs from the new collection sent to me is  ‘Logbook’ (above) by Terhi Ekebom. It’s a haunting, surreal tale of loss told through lovely coloured pencil drawings. I also really enjoyed Lala Albert’s ‘R.A.T’ (below) a tale of internet spying and spying on your spy. Great stuff!

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Kuš are a great independent, small press comics to support. They’ve been bringing comics to Latvia and promoting Latvian comic artists internationally since 2007. To buy these Mini Kuš! books click HERE.

Skate Girls of Kabul

Skate Girls of Kabul is an exhibition of photography by Jessica Fulford-Dobson opening at the Saatchi Gallery in London on 15th April 2015. The exhibition includes the award winning portrait ‘Skate Girl’ – above.

If you haven’t heard of the work of Skateistan then do look them up. They’re a non-profit organisation working in Afghanistan, South Africa and Cambodia, to empower, educate and provide opportunities for young people through skateboarding.