Thursday, July 07, 2016

Ting - Artwork and Programming 2016

The gallery show makes up the focus of the Ting Comic and Graphic Arts Festival. Most of it is for sale, and it's a great place to pick up original art, like this great piece I got below from local cartoonist Megan Arnold.

I'll Never be a Celebrity Cartoonist, Megan Arnold
There is a pop-up shop that features work by the participating artists as well as from local small publishers and Koyama Press (because Koyama Press is Canadian, has supported the Fest from Year One - and is well, awesome).

Photo by Mr. Tristan Clark, from LondonFuse
The festival also has a rich stream of workshops and programs that are held on-site at The ARTS Project, and are FREE and open to all ages. Here's the programming that was presented this year. Planning is already underway for next year!

2016 TingFest Programming

Kids Reading & Creation Zone - Open to all during the Festival
Drop in during our regular hours with the kids and visit our Reading & Creation space. The space featured a selection of graphic novels to read and enjoy provided by the London Public Library. A colouring station kept the little ones busy with fun, comics-related activities they can create, colour and post on our comic wall.

Opening Reception - FREE. April 30 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm
About 200 people attended the opening reception of the festival this year to check out the artwork, mix and mingle with some of our Ting artists, and enjoy our signature “Tingley” martini at our cash bar.

Animation Night - FREE. May 6, 7:00pm
Janine White, Vincent Marcone, Sarah Legault, Bob Klanac
An evening of film shorts directed by Sarah Legault and Vincent Marcone. Sarah is an award winning filmmaker whose stop-motion animation Dear Love was awarded Best Animated Short Film at the 2014 Toronto Independent Film Festival. Vincent is a graphic artist, film director, and musician with the band Johnny Hollow. Firefly, a stop-motion animated short explores isolation and unsoundness of mind, and The Lady ParaNorma is a digital animated short about an eccentric lady, narrated by the godfather of goth music, Peter Murphy. The screening was followed by a Q & A with Sarah, Vincent and Janine White, the composer for both films and the lead singer of Johnny Hollow.
Q&A was hosted by music and film journalist Bob Klanac.

This was an amazing night. The guests showed behind the scenes footage and stories including what it was like to work with Peter Murphy. Here's their short film The Lady ParaNorma below, which is also a beautiful book.

Free Comic Book Day – Meet the Artists! Free. May 7, 11:00am to 4:00pm
The City of London shut down the a block of the main street downtown for Free Comic Book Day.
Dundas Street was closed to traffic between Richmond and Clarence for the 15th Annual Free Comic Book Day, and the ARTS Project is in the middle of the comic book action! Many of our Ting artists had their comics, prints and art for sale at the Ting Pop-Up Shop! On hand were be: Megan Arnold, D.S. Barrick, Doug Rogers, Erin Elston, James Kirkpatrick, Sarah Legault, Tim Levins, Vincent Marcone, Scott MacDougall, Maureen Riley, Aidan Urquhart and Mark Victor Young.

Comic Jam and Mixer - Free. Tuesday May 10, 6:00 – 9:00pm
A Comic Jam and Mixer was hosted by Brahm Wiseman of Heroes. An event for all ages, this was a creative event where artists and comic enthusiasts can socialize, have a drink and collaborate on a single comic. Brahm Wiseman is the owner of Heroes, and was the recipient of the 2013 Harry Kremer Award for Outstanding Canadian Comic Book Retailer at the Joe Shuster Awards.

4-Colour Inspiration – In Conversation about Comics and Art - Free. May 13, 7:00pm
Josh Lambier, Maureen Riley, James Kirkpatrick, Aidan Urquhart
Comic books used to be considered disposable, low-brow entertainment. Today though, artwork by cartoonists such as Robert Crumb, Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware and Seth are featured in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney, the MoMA, and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Aidan Urquhart, Maureen Riley and James Kirkpatrick discussed how comic books inspire or contribute to their work, and the boundaries (if any) between “fine art” and comics. Moderated by Josh Lambier from Arts & Humanities, Western University.

We were fortunate to have Western University tape the talk in its entirety. You can view it below. You may need to turn up the volume on your speaker as the ARTS Project is a beautiful spot, but does have some creaky floors!

Graphic Novel Book Buzz - Free.  May 14, 1:00 – 2:00pm
Have you read all of Jeff Smith’s Bone series? Wondering what to read next? Linda Ludke, Collections Management Librarian at London Public Library spoke about some great graphic novel picks for ages 7 to 12. Get the inside scoop on upcoming releases.

KA-POW! Creating Comic Strips - Free. May 14, 2:30 – 3:30pm
Do the kids in your life love comics? Designed for ages 8 and up, KA-POW! Creating Comic Strips is the essential workshop for kids who want to build their own comic strip from the bottom up. Taught by storyboard artist and cartoonist J.R Faulkner (Knight & Dave, Promises Promises) this workshop coverrd the basics of story, characters, and drawing techniques. Faulkner has been an instructor of animation basics at Sheridan College and conducted workshops at the Toronto Public Library the London Public Library.

Small Press Spotlight - Free. May 17, 7:00pm
Sandra DaSalvo, Executive Director of the ARTS Project introduces Moderator Dan Brown, and guests Mark Victor Young,  Scott MacDougall, DS Barrick and Chris Runciman
Do you have a comic or graphic novel you want to publish? An in-depth discussion on publishing took place with Christopher from Runciman Press, Mark Victor Young from Levins and Young and the team from Lucky Unlucky. Hosted by Dan Brown of the London Free Press where he writes frequently about graphic novels, pop culture and local personalities. Q&A followed.

Bryan Lee O’Malley Signing - Free. May 20, 4:00 – 6:00pm
Moderator Brian Garside Interviews Bryan Lee O'Malley
Straight from Los Angeles, former Londoner Bryan Lee O’Malley (cartoonist of Scott Pilgrim, Seconds and Lost at Sea), made a special visit to the ARTS Project to help close out the Ting Comic and Graphic Arts Festival. The event began with a Q&A moderated by Brian Garside, producer of the podcast Sequential Fiction. Followed by a signing hosted by Brahm Wiseman of Heroes. This was a great cap to the Festival. Bryan was incredibly generous with his time in the Q&A and the book signing afterwards.
The line-up for the book signing went all the way to the door. Bryan stayed until every last book was signed and took selfies with those who wanted one with him.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Ting - 2016 Featured Artists

The centerpiece of the Ting Festival each year is the gallery portion of show. Each year we present framed original art of 10 or so artists in the main ARTS Project gallery. It's always a treat to see original comic art in person and see the craft that goes into making the work.

We try hard to have a balance of "traditional" comic book artists/cartoonists (like Tim Levins' whose work is below), with visual artists whose work is inspired by comics (such as Aidan Urquhart's work - also below).

Mark Young in front of pieces by Tim Levins
photo by Tristan Clark of LondonFuse
Aidan Urquhart
Photo by Tristan Clark of LondonFuse

LondonFuse took some terrific shots of the space from the Opening Reception evening here and it gives a really good feel of what the exhibit space is like (that's where we grabbed the two pics above).

All participating artists need to hail from the Southwest Ontario region, which if you're not from the area is the #7 blue area in the map below.

Southwestern Region of Ontario

2016 Ting Comic and Graphic Arts Festival Artists

Here's the line-up of this year's participating artists.

Megan Arnold
Megan is a London-based cartoonist best known for her illustrative work on the comic Nihilist Dog with writer Maverick Summers, and her intensely personal comics diary, which ran from September 2013 to August 2015. A former prom queen, she graduated from Western University’s BFA program in the spring of 2015, where she explored drawing, printmaking, installation,  and performance. Most recently, she was resident artist at SparkBox Studio in Picton, ON, where she created and silkscreened edition of a new book.

James Kirkpatrick
Born in London, Ontario in 1977, James studied art at H.B. Beal Secondary School before receiving his BFA at Halifax’s Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2002. Kirkpatrick works in a variety of media including drawing, painting, sculpture, comics/zines, mask-making and experimental sound.

Bryan Lee O’Malley
Bryan is a Canadian cartoonist who created the “Scott Pilgrim” series, which inspired the cult classic film Scott Pilgrim Vs The World (directed by Edgar Wright). His most recent book is the Eisner-nominated,New York Times best-selling Seconds. He’s currently writing comic book series Snotgirl, which will be published by Image Comics, while working on his next major graphic novel. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

Levins & Young
Tim Levins
studied Fine Art (Fanshawe College)and Classical Animation (Sheridan College) before breaking into the comic book business in the mid-1990s. Tim is best known for his work on the Eisner Award-winning DC Comics series, Batman: Gotham Adventures. Over the years, he has illustrated many other titles for DC, Marvel Comics, and Archie Comics, and has recently drawn several children’s books published by Capstone Press.

Happily married since 1992 and a father since 2003, Mark Young has been a writer for as long as he can remember. He was born in Toronto and grew up in London, Ontario. He was the first winner of the Lillian Kroll Prize for Creative Writing at Western University, where he also completed a degree in English Literature. He has published novels, poetry, short fiction, feature articles, comic strips and book reviews in various media. His latest novel is The Launch. He lives with his wife and daughter in London.

Lucky Unlucky
Scott MacDougall
is a London-based editor and writer. He’s been a copywriter for over a decade and has recently transitioned to a number of creative projects. He was the lead editor on the graphic novel Jinn Warriors 2: The Fourth Horseman, from author Marwan el Nashar and Marz Publishing. MacDougall is currently working on the second volume of his original comic book series Lucky Unlucky, drawn by D. S. Barrick and coloured by Erin Elston.

D. S. Barrick is a London-based cartoonist and the author or co-author of over 20 mini-comics, including Skulsi Thatcher and The Day I Wrote Watermelon. His fascination with monsters hasled to hundreds of drawings, many of which can be seen on his web site, Cartoon Graveyard, at Barrick is currently working on the second volume of Lucky Unlucky, a comic book series written and created by Scott MacDougall.

Erin Elston is the colourist of the Lucky Unlucky comic book series. Encouraging others to use their creativity to enhance their experiences of life, she has joined and harmonized the ideas behind the written and line components of Lucky Unlucky using colour. Her non-collaborative artworks range from small ink drawings to multi-wall, indoor murals.

Maureen Riley
Maureen has been a full time artist in London Ontario for the past thirty five years. Her work reflects a vibrant palette with positive woman-based images both mystical and earthbound. Riley’s work is in dozens of private collections and her images have been used by many organizations as well as the University of Western Ontario. Riley is currently engaged in creating Kite Dream, a graphic memoir which includes, along with her stories, images from the past three decades. Koktail Kids, a black and white (now copyrighted) cartoon that emerged from Kite Dream has taken on a life of its own. The Kids have a website and will appear later this year in “A is for Albatross: an Alphabet of Murder and Mayhem with the Koktail Kids.”

Doug Rogers
Doug recalls comics he could only have read when he was 8 years old. They were vividly alive and immersive in ways only movies are. Adam Strange running across the desert sands of Samarkand. Well, he grew up. For a time he went to Bealart. For a time he worked in various jobs, and became a house husband. For a time he drew the weekly editorial cartoon for The Londoner under Philip McLeod.

Christopher Runciman
Christopher began exhibiting in galleries as an artist in 1990 has been writing and illustrating books since 2000. He has published with Popular Canadian (Pop Can) Comics, The London Reader and Open Mind Comics among others. He works out of his home studio in London Ontario, manages Heroes Comics and last year, co-founded Runciman Press with his wife, Lori.

Sarah Scope
Sarah is a London Ontario based artist who specializes in pen and ink as well as textile art.  Look for Sarah’s work this year at Back to the Fuchsia, Old East Coffee House and in Carousel Magazine.

Aidan Urquhart

Born and raised in London, Ontario, Aidan was educated at the University of Western Ontario and Fanshawe College in studio and art theory. As an avid observer of the media, internet and television age, he takes an acute interest in the information overload that bombards us daily.  His approach is to cannibalize this information and distill it through works in collage, drawing, mixed media painting, installation and mail art/fax art projects.  His work can be found in numerous public and private collections including the Winnipeg Art Gallery, National Archives-Ottawa, Canada Council Art Bank, McIntosh Gallery-UWO, St. Thomas-Elgin Art Centre and Museum London.

And last but not least - Ting! Each year we select a variety of Ting cartoons from the Western Archives which has a Tingley collection housing a large collection of his work. It's interesting in revisiting these pieces from decades ago, as many of these editorial cartoons could be run today and still be perfectly timely and topical!

Merle “Ting” Tingley
TING was an editorial cartoonist for the London Free Press for almost forty years (1948-1986). Over the years, his whimsical humour has attracted a loyal following, not only in the Free Press but across Canada in more than 60 daily and weekly publications. His diverse body of work includes political cartoons, social commentaries, and his famous cartoon mascot, Luke Worm, who is immediately recognizable and famed among readers of all ages. Tingley has been awarded national and international awards for his work and has inspired generations of comic artists in Southwestern Ontario.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Ting Comic and Graphic Arts Festival 2016 - Media Coverage

The 3rd annual "Ting Comic and Graphic Arts Festival" has wrapped up! This 4-week celebration took place at the ARTS Project in downtown London, Ontario from April 26 - May 21 of 2016.

Named after Merle ‘Ting’ Tingley, the editorial cartoonist for the London Free Press from 1948-1986, Tingfest is a celebration of his work and influence on multiple generations of artists.

Tingfest is primarily a gallery show featuring a number of different artists from the Southwestern Ontario region, but it also features a pop-up shop, panel discussions, screenings, workshops, and more. All programming is free and all-ages friendly.

This year, we seemed to have really hit our stride. Many people in London, Ontario seem to know what Tingfest is all about now and dare I say - even add it to their social calendars as something to look forward to, which is evidence by the great media coverage we received!

Media Coverage

Megan Arnold: Secret Selfie, Watercolour and ink on paper, 9 inches by 7 inches, 2014

London Free Press cartoon from 1975 by Ting is still completely relevant today.
  • The Civic Blessing and Inspiration of Ting, London Yodeller cover story with artwork by Ting, Herman Gooden, May 12, 2016.

    This is a really terrific article that has some wonderful history on Ting and how he came to work at the London Free Press. Extra bonus is that it contains beautiful black and white photographs of Ting on a motorcycle!

    "Our simultaneously nostalgic and prophetic cover image are featured, along with the work of a dozen other considerably younger artists, at the Third Annual Ting Comic & Graphic Arts Festival on at the Arts Project until May 21.

    Ting is the perfect namesake for such a festival because he inspired two or three generations of London artists who pored over his cartoons in the daily paper when they were kids. Whether they aspired to be cartoonists, painters or sculptors scarcely mattered. Here was this very public example of a crackerjack draughtsman with a unique way of looking at things coming up with some sort of pictorial commentary on their world nearly every day of the week."
  • Spidey spins web of lifetime passion for comic book artist, Our London, Whitney South, May 21, 2016. Article about Ting participant Tim Levins:

    "There’s so much talent out there, so much creativity that goes unnoticed, so having a festival like Ting is great way to shine a spotlight on a medium that needs more exposure in a culture dominated by internet, movies, and television,” he said. “Any event that promotes comics and comic book art is a good thing in my eyes.”

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

The Eddy Smet Award

Last fall at the 2nd Annual Forest City Comicon, I was thrilled to be awarded the inaugural "Eddy Smet Award", which recognizes an individual's contribution to the advancement of nerd culture in London, Ontario.

This was a real honour for me because it’s pretty safe to say that if it wasn’t for Eddy Smet, I wouldn’t be the person I am today much less a cartoonist.

That's because as a young girl (who had a penchant for comic books), my Mom would drop me off every Saturday at the local comic book store, The Comic Book Collector, while she did her grocery shopping at Valdi’s down the street on Dundas St. in London, Ontario.

Run by Eddy and his wife Zorka, the Comic Book Collector was a real family business and they always made me feel welcome when I walked through the door. Eddy was a full-time Math Professor at Western University who loved comic books and who opened the store in 1979 (making it one of the first comic book stores in Canada if not North America).

Eddy Smet, circa 1980
The odd time Zorka’s mother (who often worked the cash register), would question some of my choices, but that just me laugh. I distinctly remember her frowning when she rang up my purchase of Frank Miller’s Wolverine #1 – “What’s a nice girl like you doing with a comic like this?”, but the Smet’s knew me and my taste in comics. When family members would come in to buy me Birthday or Christmas presents, the Smets always knew what I had already, and what would be the right gift for me - like a Silver Age appearance of Adam Strange in Mystery in Space.

Eddy Smet and the Canadian Whites
The Smets ending up selling the Comic Book Collector in 1986, but Eddy remained a fixture on the comic book scene. I would see him at comic shows going through the back-issue bins looking to fill in gaps in his personal collection. Dells and Westerns were his favourites. In fact I saw him at the Forest City Comicon, he's still trying to fill in some gaps in his collection.

In 2009, he donated a substantial amount of his personal collection (about 8,000 comics) to Western University to their Archives. At the time, it was believed to be the largest and most valuable collection of comic books ever donated to a Canadian university.

Then just this year, Eddy decided to donate another chunk of his collection including 125 "Canadian Whites" comics, which included Triumph-Adventure Comics #2, featuring the first appearance of Nelvana of the Northern Lights (one of the earliest female superheroes, pre-dating even Wonder Woman).

Eddy Smet and a "Canadian White"
Photo courtesy of the London Free Press

I’ve avidly collected comics for over 35 years now and I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve come across any “Canadian Whites” comic books. The white existed to fill a vacuum created because American comics were banned in Canada during WWII due to restricted trades of non-essential goods. So some enterprising companies opened up their own publishing houses and printed comics starring original Canadian characters like Johnny Canuck and drawn by Canadian creators - like Adrian Dingle, Gerald Lazare and Jon St. Ables.

When trade restrictions were lifted at the end of the war, Canadian publishers of the "whites" soon went out of business.

Thank You Eddy Smet
During my formative years, the Smets gave me a home away from home, where I could while away my time and never felt out of place. That’s a real gift to give to anyone.

Thank you Eddy for opening up your bright four-colour world to a 9-yr old girl many years ago.

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