Art & Design

   

SquishFace Studios and their comic community

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Brunswick’s Squishface Studio is a hub for established and emerging comic artists. The door to their little Victorian shop front is always open for you to pop inside and find a handful of illustrators working hard to create stellar graphic novels, weekly cartoon strips and digital projects. Opened in early 2012, Squishface recently celebrated their first birthday with the community of comic artists they’ve helped create.

“Melbourne’s comics community is becoming much more integrated,” says Sarah Howell, one of seven artists who reside at Squishface. “The different scenes are aware of each other, partly because of us. Having an events space means we can bring together artists and their different styles.”

Sarah has helped make the studio interactive and community-based, holding after school cartooning classes with kids on Monday nights and forums where female cartoonists talk about their work on the last Thursday of every month. The Ladies Drawing Auxiliary, as the discussions are called, are free events aimed at encouraging young women to pursue their passion in a male-dominated scene.

By pushing their desks to the edge of the room, the studio can be easily transformed into an open space for these collaborative workshops. On the first Wednesday of the month they welcome in all friends and budding cartoonists for an open night of drawing. These spontaneous scribblings are head honcho Ben Hutchings’ favourite thing. “They have such a nice atmosphere; Ben gets excited when there are people in the studio and everyone’s drawing,” says Sarah with a laugh.

As well as having a booth at the Brunswick Music Festival, annually holding solo shows for each artist and a comics’ retreat weekend out in an abandoned 1930s communist camp, the team are planning a second tour of the US nd Canada this year. Their work will feature at the Toronto Comic Arts festival and for audiences in Vancouver, Montreal, Portland and Seattle.

The past 12 months at Squishface have been exciting to say the least. They have not only set up a studio to develop their art but also to established a permanent place where young people who are just starting to be interested can express themselves and meet like-minded individuals.

SQUISHFACE STUDIOS is at 309 Victoria Street, Brunswick
Drawing Night, first Wednesday of every month from 6pm – 9pm
Ladies Drawing Auxiliary, last Thursday of every month from 6pm – 9pm
For more info visit squishfacestudio.com


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