Take that, world of gallery art

The Paper Jam Comics Collective released their latest anthology, Art ...And That, at a whirlwind evening of arts excitement in Durham last week organised by the excellent people of the DLI Museum & Gallery and Empty Shop.

A proper write up with photos and everything by the illustrious Andy Waugh can be read here.

Art ...And That was commissioned for the event and was put together very quickly (by Mr Waugh with cover by Mr Bainbridge), yet thanks to the increasingly skillful PJCC contributors, it is full of top-notch work. The concept was to talk about a particular fairly well-known artist or piece of 'gallery art' via the medium of comics - and some genuinely thought-provoking work came out of it.

My own piece, 'De/Re-Recontextualisation', was borne of a profound distaste for recent nonsense such as Icelandic "artist" Erro copying Brian Bolland Tank Girl art and claiming it as his own. That kind of thing seems to pretty much sum up a certain segment of contemporary 'gallery artists' and their smug, self-congratulatory, meaningless, creatively-bankrupt attitudes, particularly towards 'low art' like comics. Bolland's riposte (in the link above) is totally spot on and is essential reading for anyone with an interest in the place of comics in the Art world.

It's not always so simple though. I've always liked Roy Lichtenstein's work with its tongue-in-cheek hyper-melodrama (plus I suppose the concept of recontextualisation was more novel in the Pop Art era), but still the inherent imbalances about credit for such work prove difficult to digest. Anyway, enough blathering, you should make up your own minds. Great artists apparently don't need to explain their work, and I won't either. Suffice to say, the anthology is smashing and anyone with an interest in art or comics should purchase it.


Take that, world of aerial toy construction!

Paper Jam, after having been at Durham's EGO Festival of alternativeness the previous weekend, then appeared at the Sunderland Friendship and Kite Festival last weekend.

A plethora of comics were sold at both events, including several copies of the glorious Space Monkey (an anthology aimed at kids, inspired by the fact that at same event last year, the collective had nothing really suitable for a younger audience - so it was satisfying to see the plan vindicated) and, bafflingly, several copies of my own Tales of Extraordinariness and Cat (the poor fools).

The festival itself was good fun, involving kites and crafty activities for kids, plus various things for sale - in the tent where Paper Jam was at, there were vendors selling cacti, cupcakes, and cuddly knitted creatures amongst many other things. Indeed, through this mixture of coolness, links were forged with the Newcastle Craft Mafia, resulting in Paper Jam joining their exciting new shop-based venture Made In Newcastle, which launches shortly - check it out!

In other news, Paper Jam is lining up TWO fantastic new anthologies: History And That, and Art And That, both of which will be marred by the inclusion of work from me. Also Tales of Extraordinariness #2 is pretty much done, and since I've also run out of copies of Cat and Tales of Extraordinariness #1, there may have to be a printing session soon to get this tat made and available to you, the bad-comics-buying public.