The Mary Sue Interviews the Artists of Smut Peddler 2014

22 June 2014 The Mary Sue writing
Excerpt from a piece I wrote about an upcoming erotic comics anthology:

“It’s about an alien who crash lands on Earth and a lonely mechanic from an all boys college who helps him fix his ship,” says Jess Fink of “How You Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm?,” her submission to adult comics anthology Smut Peddler.

Spacecraft repairs might not seem like the setting for your typical porn, but Fink’s story is a perfect fit for Smut Peddler 2014, the latest installment of the erotic collection. Specifically woman-centric, the original Smut Peddler launched on Kickstarter in 2012, earning $80,000 and coming out to great critical acclaim. The 350-page volume proved once and for all that erotic comics focusing on women’s sexualities could sell, and it wasn’t long before a sequel was planned. Smut Peddler 2014 received almost ten times its original goal, clocking in at an impressive $185,000.

The collection, available to Kickstarter backers in August, stands apart for its commitment to giving women a voice in porn, and Fink, for one, believes wholeheartedly in its message of accessibility. “The fact is women like erotica,” she says, “but many feel, as I felt when I first started looking for erotica, that there just isn’t very much of it that is made for women.”

Fink is no stranger to erotic art. She’s the creator of adult comics like steampunk robot-themed Chester 5000 XYV and We Can Fix It!, a tale of time travel. Smut Peddler’s inclusivity is something she’s tried to put forward with her own work. “There should be variety in porn, and the erotica that Smut Peddler proudly showcases is trying to create a safe space for people whose sexual desires are often overlooked.”

REVIEW: Depression Comix

22 June 2014 Bitch Magazine writing

Part of the Tough Issue’s Bitch List:

In the midst of a depressive period in 2011, artist Clay decided on a lark to draw his experience. What started as a personal experiment has now turned into Depression Comix, a thriving webcomic chronicling the intimate details of the disorder. The strips are hugely relatable, as evidenced by the hundreds of comments—not to mention messages, emails, and Tumblr reblogs—he has received. Clay, who has dealt with depression for decades, believes his comics help others put what they’re going through into words. And as an artist, he’s also benefited: “I managed to take something that killed my ambitions and twist it to actually be productive.”

Archeology of the Digital: Media and Machines

22 June 2014 maisonneuve writing
Excerpt from a review of the Canadian Centre for Architecture’s new exhibit:

"But if the exhibit poses a challenge for the viewer, the curatorial team was also pushed out of its comfort zone, with CCA director Mirko Zardini calling the entire process “a learning experience.” In an effort to present the materials native to when they were designed, out of date technology was used. In fact, the projects in this instalment were chosen, according to curator Greg Lynn, specifically for being the most difficult to represent.

Despite the numerous tablets set up throughout the exhibit, Media and Machines seems frozen in the past, a veritable time capsule. One project, Panneaux Objectile, though beautiful, seems unremarkable. But Bernard Cache’s custom, digitally designed wall panels are only unexceptional by today’s standards. Though now a staple of hotel lobbies and public buildings, it was Cache’s original textured work that set the tone, showing an impressive prescience for design trends and their marketability. Cache had, long before such things were common, a website allowing visitors to create and purchase their own panels, a touch of modern-day DIY in a decidedly MySpace age. “If you consider the square meters produced by all the copies of panels that have been made,” says a highlighted quote, “I think we probably are the digital architects who built the biggest amount of square meters, thanks to all the companies that copied us.” The historical importance of Media and Machines is ever-present.

The exhibit’s primary function, then, is decidedly archival. Catastrophe Machine had to be rebuilt specifically for the exhibit, the originals having been lost. Calling it a resurrection, a fitting description that points to the difficulties of safeguarding this work, all that remains of Chu’s original tables is a series of small photographs. Zardini, for his part, writes that “this ensemble of projects forced the CCA to address both technical and critical issues regarding archival and exhibition practices.” The collection challenged the centre’s ability to accommodate new forms of media, and the inclusion of details like digital file names on the works’ title cards stresses the importance of the source material; the “.mov” is clearly of interest, if only to those involved in preserving these pieces for posterity.”

22 June 2014 design Goose Lane
Some design work for Goose Lane Editions.

Some design work for Goose Lane Editions.

Quirk Books roundup

22 June 2014 writing Quirk Books
A old spread for The {Warehouse}'s money issue

A old spread for The {Warehouse}'s money issue

28 December 2013 design
2013 Christmas card

2013 Christmas card

Is Comic Con Worth it for Small-Scale Artists?

09 October 2013 maisonneuve writing

An excerpt from an article I wrote for Maisonneuve:.

Here, the small producers are always at the mercy of the larger fan machine. Melanie Audet, who stands behind a wall of handmade stuffed monsters (creations from her company Curious Little Bird) thinks that this year’s event layout has hurt her sales. Attendees have to pass by the cheaper, mass-produced merchandise before heading over to the Artist’s Alley, where smaller creators are set up. “The toys made in China, that shouldn’t be the first thing people see,” says Audet. When fans make their way to the Artist’s Alley, they’re thrown off by the price.

Adria Lynn Filion of Wasteland Artisan—whose primary wares are handmade leather masks, sometimes featuring long, Venetian-style noses or Cthulu chin tentacles—was happy to be placed in the vendor’s section instead of the Artist’s Alley. “Nobody sees you back there,”she says. But even still, she wishes there was a separation between vendors who resell purchased merchandise and those who, like Filion, make their products by hand. Customers come to her booth and ask her why her wares cost so much. The answer? “Well, because I pay myself almost minimum wage.”

13 August 2013 unfridged design
Logo for my new blog, Unfridged.

Logo for my new blog, Unfridged.

Grassroots Community Fundraising and the Particulars of Location

24 July 2013 maisonneuve writing

An excerpt from my blog post on Maisonneuve Magazine's website. You can read the full article here.

Lau, speaking while putting together floral arrangements, says that she was in the middle of cooking dinner when she got the call about her shop. She biked over in her pajamas to find that “everything was game over.” As she stands in a gutted room with exposed beams and insulation, her plants—the only thing her insurance would cover—are darkened by the plywood-covered storefront.

But things weren’t as hopeless as she thought: News of the fire spread quickly, and local resident Nora Butler Burke and some friends began an online fundraiser—with word spread primarily through Facebook—to help Lau with the rebuilding costs. The campaign reached its ten thousand dollar funding goal in under 24 hours. A Vancouver resident, who hadn’t lived in the Mile End for nine years, felt compelled to help out. The Royal Phoenix, a local bar, raised money as well, and a supportive tweet from the quintessentially Montreal band Arcade Fire certainly didn’t hurt. As Burke told CBC’s Daybreak, Lau is “really institutional to not just Bernard Street, but to the neighbourhood.”