THE DEAD DOG

The Mobile Comics factory is proud to present THE DEAD DOG. A new comic by Alfie from Christ Church Primary Academy in Folkestone.

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Alfie tells the poignant true story of the loss of a family pet in simple words matched with illustrations that  capture the emptiness that grief can create.

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Alfie conveys some very real emotions in his comics and has been able express himself through his work in a way that would perhaps be difficult without art. His comic makes me feel all the more proud to be running the Mobile Comics Factory, as he demonstrates in a very direct manner what we believe about the potential of creativity in kids lives. But at the same time I don’t feel as if I need to special plead for his work to show you how accomplished it is. The work speaks for itself. I was particularly moved by the last page of the comic, see below:

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This final image, unlike the previous panels has no words alongside it, and he also made the drawing much smaller, leaving a chasm of negative space that really makes the moment feel more real and conveys something of the infinite emptiness of moments of intense grief.

I have no doubt that Alfie was to a degree unconscious of how this composition would affect the reader but perhaps that only proves all the more how effectively the arts can express what is otherwise hard to articulate.

To find out more about the MCF including other new publications coming out and the dates of future workshops please find us on facebook and follow the blog.

 

November has been a really busy time for the mobile comics factory. I haven’t posted on the blog for a while as a result and that is terrible because there has been so much news.

From upgrades to the mobile unit, to working in local school twice a week, to some fun new publications it has literally all been going on!

I will trickle out some stories in the coming week but I wanted to start with the photos below…

It has always been an aim of this project to get kids thinking about creativity, comics and culture in new ways. That is one of the reasons why we’ve always been proud to stock our library with artist made zines sitting alongside teenage mutant ninja turtles. One such artist zine by Philippa Wall became the source of some discussion one Friday lunchtime, when the factory visited a group of year 5 and 6 pupils at st Mary’s primary.

The pages of Philippa’s zine contain a precise pattern of coloured brush marks describing tonal gradients. Its ‘meaning’ not as accessible the more narrative lead comics around, so the question of ‘why’ quickly came up.

Rather than answer in any definite way (and I’m not sure I could have answered), I prompted a discussion of what the zine made them think about, what they thought it said. We also talked about if art needed to ‘say’ anything. Which is pretty heavy stuff for a lunchtime. Maybe the zine is just an experiment I posited.

It was a fun little discussion with a couple of the kids and when they walked away I thought nothing more of it. 

But I was delighted when one of them returned a few minutes later with what you see below. 

She told me “I made a zine, but my one isn’t colours, it’s patterns.”

It was so cool to see the ideas we discussed so quickly internalised and to see the work of the artists who have offered their zines having such a direct impact.

Workshop @ Folkestone School For Girls

Another collab with Strange Cargo and another fine Zine workshop.

Working with a group of 10 sixth formers, we were overjoyed to see such a dynamic range of work.  Created during the two hour session were 10 doodle zines, 2 giant concertina style zines and a beautiful collection of collage fanzines on a range of subjects, some serious and some not so serious. I’ll let these pics speak for themselves

Zine Workshop at Harvey Grammar (with Strange Cargo)

*** All Photos Credit Ruby Bolton ***

It has been great to collaborate with Ruby from Strange Cargo to plan and deliver some zine making workshops in secondary schools.

Today we visited the Harvey Grammar School and turned heads as I rode in, right into the centre of the classroom!

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We decided to bring the mobile unit to the workshops today just for the visual impact and it certainly did the trick. Perhaps more confusing than inspiring it caused conversation none the less.

But the main point here isn’t the trike, it is the amazing work created today by both the GCSE groups we worked with, and their introduction to a whole new avenue of creativity and expression.

We freed everyone up with a drawing exercise that we then turned into mini-zines.

With one group we used lining paper to create giant concertina zines (pictured below)

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and with another we got them making their own zine creations using collage, drawing and assemblage. The variety was brilliant, with even the most skeptical getting involved and finding the fun in it. One innovative idea for example was a zine with images sewn into the paper, WOW!

We were so busy with the workshop (and taking the opportunity to make a quick zine ourselves alongside the students) that we didn’t get any pictures of finished work but if you want to see the fruit of their labour you can check out a selection of their zines at Strange Cargo’s upcoming Zine Library. It is not to be missed and (spoiler alert) the MCF will be there running a workshop in making comics too!

Our First Workshop in the Park

Tuesday September 13th

We arrived at Payers Park at 4pm and over the time we were there we spoke to two families, some adults, and a couple of teens. We worked with two boys who were enthusiastic to look at some comics and learned how to make their own zines out of a sheet of A4 paper. We hope to see them again next week and see what they’ve made with that new skill.

We were also able to give out some copies of our new comic “those 2 guys”, a simple comic that demonstrates some principles in order to teach young people about making their own.

It was an extremely successful first week but we learned some things too… We need to arrive earlier! Specifically we will running from 3-5pm from now on so that we can interact with young people as they travel through on the way home from school.

If you haven’t seen us yet come down next week and come back often as our resources change continually + soon we’ll have some more work made by young people available for you to take away.

The original dream for the Mobile Comics Factory involved travelling to Folkestone’s parks to provide our free workshops to any young people hanging about. 
It gives me great pride to have realised that aim, and that what was once my individual ambition is now a reality brought about by many. I have a volunteer working with me every Tuesday, the support of Shepway district council and Payers park management, not to mention the good will of community folk and the financial backing of our marvelous funders. It is still amazing to me that this should have been possible and it only increases my ambition to make this project impact deeper and travel further (both in what we do and where we do it). The MCF is currently run as a project from Harbour Church, as part of a range of activities that exist to serve our community: I am particularly grateful for the nurturing environment in which the project has been incubated, and I’m excited to discover where we will go from here!

Thanks for following the project

We hope to see you at the factory soon.

Below is an image of the new workshop materials being made-

Fundraiser Event

On Wednesday August 24th we’re holding a fundraiser event at the Lime Bar. We want to do something to promote the project on the heart of the amazing Creative Quarter

We’re going to be screening A BUCKET OF BLOOD (Roger Corman, 1959), it is a favourite of mine. Despite its macabre title A Bucket of Blood is a hilarious black comedy, a send up of the art world, and parody of the notion of genius. It was made with a budget of just $50,000 and shot over just 5 days. It embodies a DIY approach to creativity, but loads of passion – Both things that we love and want to build into the MCF project.
The film is about a failed artist who – when his own skill fails him – turns to extreme and gruesome measures to create his art.

One of the ways you can read the film is to see how trivial and meaningless the notion of genius is. I’m on board with that message, too often I meet young people who have cut creative expression off from their lives. Not because of a lack of interest but because what they were trying did not come easily. They become convinced that (for instance) drawing isn’t for them, all because they have inherited this crazy notion that creativity is only for the geniuses. If they can’t draw the way they imagine immediately then it must mean the muse does not rest with them. This state of understanding isn’t the fault of young people, and isn’t because they’re lazy; its because that is what our pop culture teaches them, that broken perception is their inheritance, Unless we do something to change it… That’s why we need your support for the Mobile Comics Factory.

But why do we need your money?

We’ve had a great response from the funding bodies we have applied to, and yes there are still outstanding applications that will go a long way to covering our remaining costs. But why let them have all the fun!

As one works on a project like this there are often new costs that present themselves; from insurance to having to amend a design, there are things that it is hard to budget for. We want to help cover those costs and set up a kitty with which we can make more copies of work produced by young people. Beyond that and more excitingly I want to reach for some stretch goals for this project – I want to install a video screen onto the factory to show clips of comics being put together. I want to expand the library, and I want to commission street artist Squirl to paint the Factory. But in addition to all those aims, this fundraiser gives the enthusiastic onlooker the opportunity to get involved, to be a part of what we’re doing, to take ownership of the project.

So in conclusion,

you’ve got to come to the Lime Bar on the 24th to be a part of this amazing thing and enjoy a classic film.

 

*this event is held at a bar in the evening, it is therefore over 18s only.

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