Sam Ombiri is here today with some thoughts on his experience at the Pittsburgh Zine Fair, and then Sally Ingraham rounds up some other happenings in the greater comics community!
The Pittsburgh Zine Fair was a lot of fun, it was a such great environment. There was a constant wave of sound the whole time I was there. I’d try to make out what people were talking about from a small distance, but I guess that’s not how it works.
I like how one person doesn’t see what the other sees – I maybe see person 1 and 3, but because I’m moving along too quickly I totally miss person 2. So I could think I found the coolest zines, but someone else shows me that’s not the case.
This one guy’s book was about being in a place where someone else had previously left their mark there, and his fascination of the ghost like quality that comes with someone else being there before he’s there – but as he said, “I’m trying to avoid being didactic about it.” His name was Alex Lukas. I dig his marks, I wish I browsed more of his stuff, he has really cool work on his website.
I talked to him a bit, then I went back to my table, then I went back to buy a book from him, then I gave him one of my zines (without intention of trading,) to which he generously gave me three, and then I walked away. He wanted to have a lot of ambiguity in the work, so that the readers draw their own conclusions to it – altogether irrelevant from his intentions.
I started to think about what Alex’s intention was for his pictures of, say, rocks with chalk drawn on them by some mysterious people (who we don’t know what they looked like, their way of life, or their concerns – we know about them themselves through the marks that they left).
In my view, the marks on the rocks were fueled by boredom, and the ones who drew it were moving their hands before they themselves realized they were moving their hands, and something else altogether powerful was moving through this, and that power is there in those marks they made.
With that mark they left there’s not too much concern about design or maybe there was concern with design. So, Alex’s work, or at least the book, makes you think it’s design oriented. I guess this happens because Alex has designed the book, but the people who leave their marks not so much. There’s a couple of photographs of graffiti and signs, but he wasn’t taking a picture just because it just looked cool, I think.
This will most likely be the only way we have of knowing them instead of seeing their face or hearing their voice.
Then on top of that Alex copied the pattern on security envelopes and added them to confuse you as the reader, to my understanding it was just for having an effect there, but he said it also served in adding ambiguity.
There was other people I got great stuff from as well – I did not leave dissatisfied, far from it. – Sam Ombiri
Frank, Aidan Koch, and Connor Willumsen made it safely back from the U.K. earlier this week, after a wildly successful trip to The Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal. Frank scribbled some thoughts about the show on the plane home, and we have shared them here on the site. A taster:
“One of the current riffs about comics festivals is that many different shows exist within the show. Meaning, you can go to SPX and not even see everything or miss your friends completely – whereas in years past you could lap the room each hour and see everything and everyone there. LICAF is different insomuch as it is not situated centrally in a hotel or a convention center. So what happens is that one has their interactions in the town of Kendal itself. The Brewery Arts Centre provides ample space to host everyone and the short walk to the Clock Tower is where I found myself most often running into friendly faces – friends and strangers alike. It was very pleasant, I thought, especially because it was so unlike what we are used to in the States and specific to the town of Kendal.” – Frank Santoro
The rest of the team was in Ohio last weekend for Cartoon Crossroads Columbus – Whit Taylor will provide a full report for us soon – meanwhile you can get a taste of the show above!
Ronald Wimberly is the 2016 graphic-novelist-in-residence at the Columbus Museum of Art – over 100 pieces of his art will hang in the museum through this coming February, and he will be staying at the Thurber House through the end of this month working on his own projects and hanging out with high school students in the Young Writers’ Studio program. He got a lot of hype over the weekend of CXC, of course, and the Columbus Dispatch wrote a nice piece about him and the residency program.
P.S. A video about the Pittsburgh Zine Fair by Dan Scullin: