Hypnotism and jellyfish have more in common than most people realise. Discovered this being recently seduced by a sunset snorkel, but my freewill(y) knew it was surface time when I was overwhelmed with desire for a cheesecake seeming to bob in the waters ahead of me. Swim, swim, but not too fast or your lungs will pop like a batman caption. And who better to talk about the surface of comics, than Diana Ward founder of Melbournes’ Digital Media Collective who produced the most excellent C.Run seedy-rom? Jean Poole takes up the bait.
What inspired the Digital Media Collective?
We were all friends and doing different multimedia art projects around each other. I guess it seemed like a natural progression to band together and all contribute to one common outcome. We had big plans for a new breed of comics that could be more involved and multilayered than just something that was printed.
Why self produce digital comic compilation rather than turn to artworld for funding?
We spent about 2 months looking into the grant thing and writing proposals and statements of purpose and so on and we looked into heaps of funding bodies and what their criteria was. We actually came to the conclusion that there weren’t any funding organisations out there that were willing to fund a collective in the way in which we operated. We decided that trying to bend over backwards and change what we were on about to please the arts funding people would just end up bastardising our work. We eventually decided that the best way to say what we wanted to say in the way we wanted to say it, was simply to try and get the money together ourselves.
How well does digital media tie together your different creative interests?
I only really began to be interested in computers when drawing and design programs became common and easy to use. I have been cartooning since I was small, as well as producing electronic music. I guess digital media ties them all in very well. I use a wacom tablet so now I just draw straight into the computer. Since working with digital media I have got heaps more into animation, because there are so many tools out there for animators, it is the obvious next step.
What do screen based comics have going for / against them?
Well I guess when you get right down to it, it’s the content that is important and the medium could be anything. Screen based comics allow for more elements to be incorporated into the mix, like sound, animation and interactivity. For the web the advantages are more about ease of delivery- you bypass all of the bullshit involved in looking for a publisher, distributer and so forth. If people know where you are on the web, you have the ability to reach a huge global audience.
Against the screen based delivery is the fact that I think people like to have something tangible to hold and own. It’s instant satisfaction, opposed to all the various drawbacks from computer hardware such as memory issues, download speeds, compatible systems and all that. Also you actually have to own a computer, or have access to one, to be able to view the work, which is a big financial issue for many people.
How has C.Run been received?
We’ve had great responses so far. We are actually planning a second run pretty soon.
How do you think the surge in digital media has benefited the arts community?
I believe it is just art evolving. Art is always evolving and new movements are born and growing. It’s just art catching up with technology or technology catching up with art.
Do u think the popularity of South Park, The Simpsons & Flash technology has opened up animation possibilities for comic makers?
Definitely. I think that heaps of comic makers out there aren’t concerned with making comics simply for “kids”. Shows like the Simpsons and SouthPark prove that comics and cartoons have much more of a universal appeal, and aren’t just restricted to the Saturday morning kids slot. I think that tools like flash have taken away a lot of the painful grunt work involved in animating. It has enabled someone with a modest budget and a computer to potentially create a show that can be received by a large audience.
Digital Media Collective
If you’re ever in this part of town, you’ll find acool collection of comics and animation by some of Melbournes best independent comic makers. Nice interfaces too, these kids know what’s goin on.
A wikkid collection of comics which explore digital terrain well, including a recently added ‘Apocamon’ series, looking at the apocalypse pokemon style.
Just So you Know…
More info to stuff in your mental filing cabinet for later. Did you know a jellyfish is 95% water, hypnotism is banned by public schools in San Diego, and Donald Duck comics were banned from Finland because he doesn’t wear pants?
Where the elefants regain their hitpoints. Browse through various mp3s, electronic art uploads and read about the latest elefant news.