Andy Oliver and his Hat

Penpals, Penguins & Small Press

Good afternoon kind readers!

So, another week has vanished and it’s now almost December. When did that happen? All these Christmas adverts keep coming out and all I can think about is how I’m pretty sure it was October last time I looked.. Apparently not. It seems to be getting much gloomier day by day, and Manchester is living up to it’s stereotype of raining all the time – which would make you think that I’d managed to buy an umbrella by now instead of getting rained on all the time. Ha. Well. Maybe tomorrow.

A few weeks ago when I first moved up here I was doing some scooting around, looking for different creative endeavours I could get stuck into. Low & behold I re-stumbled across the Salford Zine Libary, who describe themselves as “a unique archive of self published materials, currently housed at Nexus Art Café on Dale Street in Manchester. It seeks to preserve and provide access to zines from around the world, as well as promoting zines and DIY culture through workshops, exhibitions and other events“. They had a call for submissions up for a Penpals themed mail-art exhibition, so in the blues-infested week of getting back from Thought Bubble when I was feeling particularly sorry for myself, I wrote a little love story on an envelope and sent it off! I haven’t managed to get down to the Zine Library yet to see if my work has been selected to be up, but I’ll be getting down there as soon as possible to check it out. The exhibition runs until the end of the month, so if you’re in the area you should pop down and check it out!

Next up, I also spent some time in the recent weeks on a guest strip for Alan Henderson’s Penned Guins, which is his daily comic strip full of dad jokes, bad jokes and everything in between. There have been a few guest appearances in the past, most recently from my good friend of Good ComicsSamuel C. Williams. It took a while to single out a particular pun, but in the end I went with this one.. Which went up on Sunday 13th November!

Ha.. Penguins. What lovable oafs. It was an absolute pleasure to be a guest on Alan’s Penned Guins, and if you want to keep up with the comics you can keep up with them on Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram. There’s a lot to be said for being able to smile at daily gag strips, and I highly recommend you supplement your diet with them.

In other news, if you’ve been on Broken Frontier‘s Facebook or Twitter this week, you may have noticed that a guest piece I wrote for State of the Small Press Nation went up on the site! Andy Oliver kindly asked me whether I wanted to write an article a while back, to which is gratefully agreed and then took way longer than I should’ve done to actually get it back to him. Better late than never, my journey into small press is now up on Broken Frontier’s site, and you can read the article here. It was a bit strange to go back through my old blogs and pick out the highs and lows of my journey into comics, but hopefully my ramblings come of some use to someone.

Probably not, but you never know.

And finally! If you follow me on the array of social media channels then you may have noticed that I’ve released my 2016 Christmas card design! I opted for a more subtle, wintery design this year with the hare and the moon, with the card being available to buy on my Etsy store along with last year’s Christmas robin design, and all the usual comicy suspects. Postage for UK orders runs right up until mid-December, so have a gander and order early to make sure you’re not disappointed!

Anyway, that’s about it for now! I’ll be back as usual next week with more progress on my short stories due for release with Good Comics next year. Until then, I hope you all have a good week – and if you’re in England, keep dry, yeah?

 

x

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Mid-Month Madness

Good evening happy campers!

So, I don’t know about anyone else but I really need a holiday. University work has slowly been piling up to my eyeballs and somehow I still seem to be relatively calm. Ish. This week past week has seen the completion of pieces ready for a University-based exhibition, and also work towards an exciting zine-project I’ve been working on alongside two of my fellow students! More about that later..

I am exceedingly stoked to now have The Red Road stocked in Nostalgia & Comics in Birmingham! Now, for those who aren’t aware, I grew up not far from Birmingham and spent many happy teenage weekend in the city centre around the Oasis Market, or at gigs at the old Carling Academy screaming along to whatever music I was into and getting knocked accidentally on a new ear piercing. Ahh, those were the days. Anyway, any of you West Midland folk can now pop in and see Dave and the gang and Nostalgia & Comics and support the small press scene. Woohoo!

The Red Road – now sold in Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham!

As the two-month mark since The Red Road was released passed yesterday, I am absolutely over-the-moon to have been able to pass so many on to new and loving homes! In fact, as I sit here with only 25 copies left, I may well indeed be looking into a second-run of printing once my stocks get super low. I have been thinking about a second run for a couple of weeks now, and although it’s another scary financial burden (even scarier this time, as family and friends have already purchased from the first run and subsequently filled their family clause agreements) I have some pretty exciting ideas of what bonus material I can squeeze into an extra four pages! Alas, that’s still a little while away yet.. But exciting times are in the horizon.

In other news, the University-based Machines exhibition launches on Thursday! Unfortunately, as the event is in the creaky-old University art-block and it’s not open at any realistic times for non-students, it’s a little hard to get excited about compared to my last exhibition with the Art Day Collective lot in 2013. Though, the work is done and today we all installed our pieces, so my little corner is all ready to go! The theme of the exhibition is Machines, and each of us studenty-lot took on our own interpretation of the word and created a body of work including a sculptural element. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I took a narrative sci-fi approach to the brief, with a dystopian mirror planet being explored by a curiosity rover.. Oooo errr, I hear you all say. Well, if you want to come and see the exhibition, it’s opening night is Thursday 19th March (this week!) with a wine reception from 5-7pm. You can see some sneak-peeks and previews on the exhibitions website here, and more information about the exhibition dates on the poster;

Machines Exhibition - Opens this week!
Machines Exhibition – Opens this week!

I will endeavour to take lots of nice photos of my work up before I have one-too-many cups of free wine, so hold onto your hats for next weeks update (Andy Oliver, as you’re the only person I can think of who wears a hat who I know reads my updates, please make sure you hold onto your hat extra tight on behalf of all the non-hat-wearers).

In other exciting news, this weekend saw the completion of some pieces I’ve been working on for a zine! The zine that is yet to be named is a collaborative effort between my student-friends Zara, Kamala and myself, with the first issue is on the theme of women in the arts industry and feminism. As I’ve mentioned before, I managed to utilise my HOAX: Psychosis Blues contacts and arrange for an interview with Hannah Berry, as I absolutely adore her work. To add to this, I’ve written an article and arranged another interview (which unfortunately has seemingly fallen through), plus made a two-page comic to be featured in the zine. Other highlights from Zara and Kamala include interviews with a female artist and also a lady who has launched her own women’s magazine in London. We’ll be putting the zine together this week and next week ready for deadline, and if people are interested I’ll see if we can put them up for sale on my Etsy store. Once the zine has been DIY printed I shall post up some spreads for you all to gander at, so keep a watch out! For now, here’s a sneaky-peek I put up on Twitter yesterday of part of my comic..

New zine out soon!
New zine out soon!

Finally, I have applied for the Alternative Press Takeover 2015 this week, which is a FREE, one-day event in London on the 9th May from 12pm-7pm! I won’t hear back for a little while, so please everybody keep all fingers, toes and eyes crossed for this, my Thought Bubble application and my ELCAF application! I’m raring and ready to go for a summer of meeting fellow creators, selling works and getting inspired, so the first step is being accepted.

Anyway, I think that’s possibly all for now! I have more upcoming assignment work to show and announce in the next two weeks which are going to be somewhat crazy, so check back soon! But for now.. Peace out! x

 

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