Toronto Comic Arts Festival 2014


See mag ad. Check website. Find book of interest. Travel to event, sadly, on mother’s day. Get what I planned. Leave for home. Flowers for mom. The end.

It was really that simple. I don’t know why I decide to muddy it up in explanation. Compulsion.

Detailed Account:

So, it was Mother’s day yesterday, and I guess you could say, I bailed on her. Not entirely, although for most of the day. That was not my intention, I wanted to go there and come back. I didn’t realize that when I planned to attend this event that it coincided with Mother’s day weekend. I worked Saturday so I had to go Sunday. I mean, I wrote her something quick, but genuine, and I did make clear that I was planning to go to this event in advance. She didn’t contest, but I take it she was none to happy nor surprised. In the end I do try to make it up, but for now, let me focus on preliminary details.

I had no idea about the existence of this event. I chanced upon it when I received a magazine in the mail. My friend, another subscriber, received the same magazine at which point told me to check out the ad for a comic arts festival. Cool. I like comics. I searched the website. It looked interesting and it was FREE. Then I searched further and found that certain comics were debuting and being sold there. So it’s mainly a sales event, but that’s what these artists need. It’s a good thing.

Now as I’m looking at all the books debuting, I’m attracted by one cover in particular. When I saw it, I knew immediately, that this book spoke my language and I must make the trip to buy it. It’s titled Detrimental Information, written and illustrated by John Holden & Luke Holden. Not even knowing what it was about, I made my mind up. I was going to get that book.

Moving along, about a month, it’s Mother’s day. I make my way down to Toronto. Hit traffic, and accidentally, someone else’s bumper. A minor scuff that had me worried. This has never happened to me before. Luckily everyone in both cars were fine. Not the sort of present she needed for Mother’s day. The misadventure continues when I’ve taken the wrong exit, which left me driving all the way down Bloor until I hit Younge.

Well wouldn’t you know it, I didn’t even think about parking. What was I thinking? That it’s like home and you can park at the venue you’re going to. Nope, of course not. Welp, I spent another 30min driving around and deciding where to park and if we’re even near the venue. Finally parked, settled and ready to amble, we needed to withdraw some cash. Crap, don’t see anything. Well let’s just go to “the spot” and we can ask someone in there.

Where is it exactly? Right in front of us… Where inside do you think they are holding it? I don’t know, but let’s follow the people carrying the comic books. I quickly grabbed myself a festival guide and tried looking up who I wanted to see. Even though there were a multitude of extremely talented people, I didn’t have the time, nor the patience to acquaint myself with their perspective and style.

I find what I’m looking for, but we still didn’t have cash. Shit. Okay, so we ask a library staff member where the nearest ATM is. She says it’s down the street on the corner. Sweet. Made a quick bolt to the machine, got my meager monies, and headed back to the show.

I cautiously approached the table and asked to whom may I make this purchase  from. The one guy said he’ll handle the money, but there’s the author. Really? Cool, do you mind if you sign my book? I don’t think he knew what to write. I told him put “have a nice fucking day,” if he felt so inclined. I didn’t care. During his attempt at signing the book, I told him about the distance I traveled, solely for his book. Why? Because of that absurd front cover. I was honest with him,  I had no idea who he was nor what he was about. I just felt an instant and overwhelming connection by most superficial part of a book, the cover. Which, by the way, was conceived during a dream his brother had.

After our mildly awkward and short exchanging of words, I left feeling gratified and happy I was able to help him and his brother out. Their form of expression seems to resonates similarly to my ideals.

Feeling that the trip was a bit short, I did however peruse the other artist tables. Sadly, the other tables I gave only fleeting glaces at their work. There were just so many great people and perspectives, I was overwhelmed. And I didn’t really plan out questions for anyone. Not that questions are necessary, but it helps, a lot. I would have loved to stay longer, but time was bearing down on me, the thought that it’s Mother’s day and I’m  being a bad son weighed heavily on my mind, and the shear amount of talent in one place threw my head for a spin.

I just needed out. Grab some food, have a smoke, recompose and make my way home. Stopped off at this little place across the street called Crepes A Go-Go. Nifty little joint.  They were polite, knowledgeable, pleasant and were reasonably fast. Space was tight, but that was okay.We were just going to eat it while we walked in the sun, back to where I’d parked. And it was priced fairly. Overall a neat little place to venture to.

As the day progressed, I finally made my way home. But before I went home, I made a quick stop off a Zehr’s and picked up budding/blooming lilies. I was going to get her a money tree, but I don’t think she’d have seen the humor in it. And no need to be wise cracking now. In the end, the lilies were the better choice. I buckled up my flower in the passenger seat. Made sure it wasn’t to restricting on the flower. Left it some room to breathe. Drove the speed limit, cautiously, because I didn’t want to spill and ruin my mom’s gift.

I got home and gave her the flower. I think she liked it, but I think she felt like there was something still missing. It was probably me.



Big life in small words

Being raised in a small city of approximately 200,000 people is comparably different had I grown up in a large city, let’s say for example Toronto. Thankfully for me, I’ve had the experience of living in Toronto for a year. I was a student at Humber College’s graphic design program. What lead me there was my failure to get into where I am today, a graphic design student at Conestoga College.

There are many comparable differences to the life I’ve experienced in both K-W and Toronto. For one, and most obvious, is the amount of people are vastly different. I feel constricted by the numbers of K-W, but in Toronto, I, myself, was consumed. One could almost say, annihilated. In some respects, though, the shear amount of people in Toronto made me feel, surprisingly, more free.

Another difference greatly evident is the amount of activities to be had or to be done. It makes sense, to accommodate all these different people and their interests, a generation of varied activities must be created. That is not to say that K-W doesn’t have things to offer. It’s just not as varied as one would find in a larger city. You could say the activities are more mainstream, to say the least. The specialized or unique is generally not a common sight in K-W unlike Toronto. It still exists, but the search is a bit more laboured, especially for specifics.

Public transportation is another crucial difference, especially to those without an automobile. The transit system in Toronto is great because buses missed can be caught in the next 5-10min. Again, there are more people using or needing use of such a service, so it only makes sense that the transit runs more frequently.

I could go on, but essentially, if I had to give a general summation on the differences between student life in a small city vs big city, it would be: with more people, comes more things.

I’ve asked a prior graphic design classmate, Joseph Nowak, we were in the same class in ’09-’10, about his experience with big vs small city. Now, I was assigned to ask another student, but since student was not specified, and he is technically a studying student of Art, he has his own comics, I figured his opinion is relevant and valid. The following is an unedited response he made to the question I posed, “How do you feel about being in a big city, Toronto, as opposed to a small town, K-W?”

“I am not exactly sure what it is you’re looking for in a response but i’ll do my best.

Three main differences in my experience have been as follows:

More Artists/groups in my area
More job opportunities
Greater number of venues and events for displaying my work.

Toronto may not be the most artistic city, even in Canada (I imagine people would think of Montreal first) but it’s very evident that more people trying to earn a living through art come to a big city like this. I have met them through friends and work and conventions and have seen a bigger percentage of success than from where I grew up. It’s almost like school, being around artists all the time is essential for both development and support.

The fact that the availability and range of jobs is so vast in a big city is ideal for someone like me. Even though I possess some honed skills (welding, baking, etc.) there are enough ‘no experience necessary’ jobs in my vicinity to jump from one to the other as I see fit. For me at least, the fear of unemployment doesn’t exist here.

Cafes and galleries and other public spaces here seem more inclined to help out artists. Even though I didn’t make that much money at my recent art show, the fact that it was organized and attended is evidence of a more thriving community. The places where the riches civilians live are the places where you want to display and sell your work.”

Basically, although his experience is more attuned with that of the art community, it goes back to what I’ve stated, more people, more things, thus more opportunities. It really comes down to the life you wish to lead or where it just so happens to lead. We could argue one being better than the other, but they are different, yet underlying it all, they are inherently similar.