06 June 2005

2.06am, and at Last some thoughts on TCAF.

so. dear old things. my day went as planned. i did indeed have tea, i did indeed chat lengthily with my friend Patrick in Delhi (i'm sure you're all Very happy to know he's having a Smashing time there.), and did finish the last Last LAST TPM illustration. survey says the site goes up tomorrow, but i'll post that info when i see it.
which brings me to my promise of days now past, to expound for a moment or five on TCAF, the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, held in its second incarnation in this fair city last weekend.
dear friends. it was disorganized, it was frantic, it was fabulous. the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, for which i volunteered (which is to say, i wandered around feeling important and giving people pee breaks) was the creme de la creme of comics makers from ... other places. you know.
i found a new favourite, james jean (WOW WOW WWWOOWWW! check the Sketchbooks, fellow culture mongers, check the SKETCHBOOKS.), got to hear academics talk about comics thanks to miz Gerard's organizational (and Poorly compensated, may i say) acumen in organizing a panel and speakers, got to mingle with comic artists gloriola Willow Dawson,Alana Machnicki, and Tyrone McCarthy and, most excitingly, hear Phoebe Gloeckner speak again, 'bout comics, life, and, this time around, murder victims in Mexico. woohoo!

so here are some tidbits, thoughts, floaty things of some pertinence in the river of pondering. (or the pond of pondering?)

first off, it's all still a boys' club. hands down. i asked the academics (of which two of them were women, Phoebe Gloeckner and Anne Rubinstein) what it was like to be a woman (or what the prevailing opinion was of women) speaking about a marginal genre to the academic world as a marginal gender of sorts.
hear this story.
so Phoebe Gloeckner sells a medical illustration she did of fellatio to a guy by the name of Al Goldstein (yes, the nyc porn king), and they're sitting at the restaurant, and they've finished eating, and he pulls out his wallet and starts counting hundreds onto the table to pay for (said painting), being Ostentatious to say the Least. everyone's watching, and then he looks at her and says "do you feel like a whore now?"
i'd say WHAT A FUCKING COCK. but he'd love that.
which sucks.
(yes, that too.)
she (PG) also points out that the first thing out of peoples' mouths so often is something to the tune of "oh, you're SO lucky you can draw! i can't even draw a straight line!", and it lends credence to this idea that people think of artists as these (and i'm quoting) "idiot savants, born with some sort of gift, instead of the artists and consumate Craftspeople they really are."

and to that all i can say is HERE HERE. and it's the Best skill. Ever. that's what i say. it brings with it this attempt to see things for what they are, to dissect and decipher them, and to record them and revisualize them for other people in a personal and meaningful way. YAHOOO! to Drawing.

and with comic artists, they have to be able to do everything well. draw well, express well, write well.
(clink of my proverbial wine glass) TO COMIC BOOK ARTISTS.

most fascinating to me was the story miz Gloeckner told of being phoned up by Mia Kirshner (sp? some actress famous chick? i don't know) and asked to go to Mexico to investigate the serial murders of a bunch of 20 something prostitutes, to record in a comic. so PG goes to Mexico, (sorry, an appendix for the uninitiated, miz Gloeckner illustrates sex manuals, and Very well, i might add.) she goes to Mexico, gets to know the family of one of the victims, and comes back to illustrate the story and realizes that the same illustrations she was once doing to illustrate other peoples' pleasure, the same ones, are now being used to accurately reflect another person's Pain.
there's this line, and both ends of the spectrum meet there, and it's terrifying.
this fascinates and causes me no small amount of anxiety. THIS is what i have been fretting about, with all my porn concern and thoughts on the psychology of sex. the line is thin, ladies and gentlemen, the line is thin.

and the only thing it's made of is respect and compassion. which is hard to find and to define as well, in this day and age.

anyhow, PG decides she's going to do the Mexico story by photographing dolls. (i'm paraphrasing the following here:) 'coz dolls survive, you know. you can do whatever to them and they are still...dolls."
not like drawings.
which may make sense to noone. but makes Alot of sense to me.

DRAWING: truly one of the Ultimate arts and forms of honesty. Truly Truly. (Madly, Deeply)

and interestingly, PG will no longer be illustrating sex manuals.


Michael Barker said...

Did you know Phoebe has a blog? http://homepage.mac.com/phoebegloeckner/iblog/newblog/B1040083442/index.html

steflenk said...

see, that kind of information (sigh, yes i did) is just begging me to be more addicted to my computer.