This past weekend I was happy to be part of an art & community event here in Waltham at the Lincoln Arts Project on Moody Street. It was a SERC, a social emergency response center, a one-day popup event to bring the community together to collaborate and heal as we discuss climate change and how it affects us.
I created a zine, called “Many Drops – An Ocean,” especially for this event, and set up a zine-making station at the SERC to show people how to assemble a zine, and encourage them to conversation about what they read in the zine and what information they found useful or helpful.
As the event took place, the pages about self-care and dealing with climate change-related anxiety resonated the most with attendees, which was interesting to me especially as those were the ones I enjoyed making the most. It did seem very telling that people who self-identify as worried about climate change aren’t looking (necessarily) for more information on personal actions they can take to be more green, but rather how they can keep up their stamina to maintain their efforts. A lot of food for thought for me in that realization, especially as I consider future projects.
We distributed the zine for free at this event thanks to a very generous local sponsor (our Waltham main street UPS Store!) who donated the copies for the event, and we did have some leftovers that we’ll have at future events around Waltham.
I participated in Hourly Comic Day this year (which is February 1, every year). This is a fun creative exercise to stretch the cartooning muscle, where the idea is that you document every hour of your day with a comic, as it happens. There aren’t any real requirements, but I try to draw my “hourlies” within the hour I’m portraying, though inevitably I fall behind as the day goes on. This year I tried to incorporate color into my hourly comics for the first time, and for the most part I drew these with pencil on watercolor paper.
Have a peek at what my Hourly Comic Day 2019 was like:
I’ll be part of a group show held by the Cambridge Art Association at the Kathryn Schultz Gallery, called “This Is How It Starts,” running February 7 – 27 2019. The show, juried by Martha Wakefield, focuses on the artistic process and how it all begins in the sketchbook.
My Japan 2018 travelog and sketchbook will be in this show, and if you follow me over on Instagram you likely saw some of my sketches from my trip as I made them:
I’ve now twice worked on artwork for healing. My first time was teaching a friend on how to use acrylic paints to convey something she wanted to make: A picture visualizing her body and her chemotherapy and immune system battling the cancer inside her. The second time I worked on a commission visualizing a friend fighting a part of her body that was causing her pain and was to be surgically removed.
I couldn’t help but reflect that this kind of artwork is so sacred to me. Just as Orthodox iconographers pray and fast when creating their icons to the Saints, these healing artworks were made as a supplication to the doctors, medicines and the fates that hold our health in their hands. A manifestation of our deepest fears, of our bodies working against us, and our non-body selves in conflict with that, trying to vanquish pain, frailty.
I completed a new comic last week called “Have a Good Paradise.” This is a new direction for me as it’s strictly autobiographical, about growing up in the Greek-American diaspora and my relationship with my maternal grandmother. I’m really proud of this story and hope you enjoy it.
The first three pages are below, and you can read the entire comic (for free!) right here: http://photinakis.com/portfolio/have-a-good-paradise/
Read the rest of this comic: http://photinakis.com/portfolio/have-a-good-paradise/
More of a Tumblr person? You can love or reblog the comic here: http://merakimou.tumblr.com/post/140573826535/my-new-autobiographical-comic-have-a-good
While working on this comic, I really pushed myself to slow down and add more detail and texture to my panels. The magic of comics and graphic novels is when you can just get lost in a great drawing and feel like you jump in the panel and explore. A great sense of place and real atmosphere lingers with me long after I’ve put the comic away. That’s a feeling I’d like to capture in my work more and more with each comic that I make.
I need to say a HUGE thank you to Heide Solbrig and the Boston Comics Roundtable, as I took the BCR’s class on autobiographical comics that Heide taught, and her edits and crits were crucial in making this comic come to fruition. Heide’s experience in telling fantastic stories through film, comics and other media was so crucial in helping me understand how to tell an effective story here. I came to this class feeling quite “blocked” and now I feel a lot more confident in knowing how to move forward, how to find the key elements of stories I want to tell, and being brutally honest with what edits need to be made!
And if you are thinking of taking a class via the Boston Comics Roundtable, I say YES! Jump in and DO IT! My classmates were all incredible and I learned so much from each of them. Honestly I’m going to miss seeing everyone now that class is over (though I suppose this is even more motivation for me to show up to the Thursday BCR meetings 🙂 )
I hope to take what I learned from this class and apply it to even more stories — I think I have enough stories about my experiences growing up that I can make a full graphic novel from this. I’m thinking of calling it Benedictions. So if you hear me referring to Benedictions… this comic is just the first chapter, so to speak 🙂
I did this a while ago (last year, when Leonard Nimoy passed away — RIP!) but had the draft sitting, unpublished, for a long while. Yes, I Spocked a Five. And yes, I realize this is no longer legal Canadian money now, but I have it framed in my office. Worth it.
For my third year in a row, I participated in Hourly Comics Day, the first day of February, where you create a comic for every (waking) hour of the day. This year I wanted to make my hourly comics quickly and on the spur of the moment, so my style is even more un-restrained than usual. Please note: Some salty language is in there, if that’s a concern.
You can see the collection of all my off-the-cuff hourly comics below. (It happened to be Superbowl Sunday, for reference.)