Friday, 24 June 2016

Ambient Zero on INSTAGRAM + birth of the next project

This week, I finished the final pages of THE CLIFF, Book 5: "The King"... it will be released of THE COLLECTED CLIFF, Books 1-5 next year by Editions TRIP Comix of Montreal.

THE CLIFF, Book 5: "The King"
final page (49)

Meanwhile, I've been kicking back and forth what the next project will be.  I finally opened an Instagram account and had the idea of posting a drawing a day --

Instagram Post #1: "Poopstar"

 Instagram Post #2: "Polite Houseguest to the Darkness."

Instagram Post #3: "LIFE IN THE CITY - Early Summer"

Instagram Post #4: "Triad of Influence."

 After a few iconic drawings implying dizzying heights of lateral connections amid a flurry of funny animal word games, it seemed a better idea to do just one story per day, starring a beloved character who elicits reader response: Poopsie the Penguin.

Instagram Post #5: "Poopsie the Penguin, in: 

Instagram Post #6: "Poopsie the Penguin, in: 

There was mild response, but not the avalanche of hilarity I had hoped for.  Now it seemed a better bet to do just one panel per day, which continued as a serial in a known and beloved default genre: the private detective story.  (I also transferred to more polished posts, scanning and adjusting the original drawings in Photoshop... a sort of "lo-fi to hi-fi" transition, although the drawings retained their savage incompetence and splinteriness around the digital edges.)

Instagram Post #7: Poopsie the Penguin, in 
(Episode 1)

Instagram Post #8: Poopsie the Penguin, in 
(Episode 2)

Instagram Post #9: Poopsie the Penguin, in 
(Episode 3)

However,  almost nobody was reading it.  Maybe one or two ardent admirers of the absurd, or dedicated devotees of the deranged, were "liking" it on Instagram or Facebook.

Instagram Post #10: "The Escalation of Euclid."


Instagram Post #11: What is Meditation?
(page 1, rough outlines - on the drawing board)

Then yesterday, I settled on the next project: a graphic novel called "What is Meditation?", in the confessional autobiography / documentary format, with a regular nine-panel grid, inspired by Harvey Kurtzman's "Hey Look!" pages from the 1940's-1950's... except for the fact that I can't draw nearly as well as him; yet the project is tempered by the inclusion of the metaphysical.  And I married this new graphic novel in development to the Instagram idea of posting at least one page per week... also, I am not typing a script as I did for the CLIFF series and ARCHITECTURE DEPARTMENT.  I'm drafting the script by sketching on note paper, then drawing directly in ink onto the large final paper.  So this new project is retro in its nod to the American comics master Kurtzman and the great meditation teachers of Buddhism and Advaita, current in its semi-real-time sharing via social media, and forward-looking in its ambition to unite the three prominent paths of my life: comix, meditation and teaching into one potent, redolent, fraudulent package.

Please join me!

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

ARCHITECTURE DEPARTMENT live graphic novel reading - May 28, 2016 video

ARCHITECTURE DEPARTMENT, Book One: "The Waters," live graphic novel reading at Victory Cafe, Toronto with musical accompaniment!  It was quite an event.  Thanks to everyone who participated!  Check it out...
Actors (in order of appearance): Matthew Krist, Brian Speagle, Jacob Pendergrast, Sarah Goodman, Morgan Phillips, Tova Epp, Colin Matthews, Liyat Benchetrit.
Musicians: Mikhial Gurarie (bass & stick), Paul Swoger-Ruston (guitar), Adam Reich (treatments), Matthew Brown (drums).

ARCHITECTURE DEPARTMENT live graphic novel reading - May 28, 2016 video link

The merchandise! Lovely display by Quyen Tieu.

Mikhial Gurarie struggles with sound and vision in the foreground, while Claudio Ghirardo grabs himself a libation in the background to help the whole thing go down.

Youngsin Park, teacher and artist with her cute daughter Kylie dropping by to join the fun!

Flannery Fielding discusses deep topics with Jacob Pendergrast, while Brian Speagle cajoles Liyat Benchetrit and Tova Epp speaks to an offscreen source.

Prof. David Lieberman, the man who shepherded this project through the Master's of Architecture thesis process -- a gentleman and a scholar, to whom I am perpetually grateful. And in the background, Matthew Brown on drums.

Madness by quorum! The talented ring of actors doing their rehearsal - Brian SpeagleMorgan PhillipsJacob PendergrastSarah GoodmanColin MatthewsLiyat BenchetritTova Epp (hiding) and Matthew Krist.

One microphone, 8 great actors. Result: magic. Brian SpeagleMorgan PhillipsJacob PendergrastSarah GoodmanColin MatthewsLiyat BenchetritTova Epp (still hiding!) and Matthew Krist.

The music begins! On stage, Mikhial Gurarie on stick, with actors in the foreground - Brian SpeagleJacob Pendergrast,Liyat BenchetritMorgan PhillipsTova Epp and Colin Matthews.

We have lift-off! On stage are THE CLIFF Ensemble - Mikhial Gurarie on stick and bass, Matthew Brown on drums and Paul Swoger-Ruston on guitar. Actors reading in the foreground - Liyat BenchetritMorgan PhillipsTova EppColin Matthews and Matthew Krist.

After the show, Matthew Brown signs a few books (conspicuously like yearbooks back in high school!) while actors Colin MatthewsBrian SpeagleLiyat Benchetrit and Sarah Goodman kibbitz about how it all went down and what will come next? Flannery Fielding's shoulder to the left.

More post-show gossip and tidbits - Flannery Fielding's shoulder, Matthew Brown's elbow, Morgan Phillips's right ear, Colin Matthews's face, Jacob Pendergrast's laughter and Brian Speagle's left ear and cheek.

Actors signing books - this is the big time. Morgan PhillipsJacob Pendergrast and Liyat Benchetrit.

Special thanks to Prof. David Lieberman and to my lovely wife, Quyen for all their help!

Aspiring architect Bagel Blue is plucked from the periodic destruction of the world by flood and commissioned to design a new world, from the safe haven of Varanasi—a city mysteriously perched in the nexus of our collective archetypal subconscious outside of space and time, on the tip of Shiva’s trident.   Featuring the agony of architectural education, the contributions of love, sex and anger to the design process, inspiration, despair, the interpenetration of the sublime with the mundane, and the origin of the bagel, this graphic novel is a manifesto, a satire, a complaint, an apology, a celebration and an exploration.

Artist Bio:
Matthew Brown was part of the underground Montreal comix scene in the early 1990’s and returned to self‐publishing graphic novels in Toronto in 2012 with THE CLIFF series, from Ambient Zero Publications. The Complete CLIFF, Books 1-5 coming out from Editions TRIP Comix (Montreal) in 2017.  Matthew has studied Architecture, Education and Theatre (Spec. Playwriting.)  He has traveled and researched extensively in India.