A busy week since the We Are Words + Pictures relaunch. I blogged about my motivation for the change in the announcement, but it’s interesting to note that it ran close to the launch of Tom Humberstone‘s ‘Solipsistic Pop’. Working on pieces for his anthology really helped cement some of my ideas about the market stall project, and they’re both available to view on his site now.
The stall idea was bubbling under for a few weeks, but it took the one-day Field Day festival to really shake things into place. Wandering around their Village Mentality field I was struck with just how easily a ‘zine stall or comics table could fit in, and the fact that such a thing wasn’t already there just seemed to be nonsense. I’ve had, by and large, a really positive experience with small press fairs and the like, but the audience hasn’t changed much, if at all, and that’s a missed opportunity. I’ve said, time and again, that the public needs to see it, not in some crusading/in your face way, just in a manner that normalises DIY printing, gets it into the hands of readers who don’t want to have to hunt it down.
That ‘hard to get at’ attitude is essentially the target of the manifesto that Tom and I wrote. The declarations are, for the most part, some reasonably self-evident statements that an awful lot of established comic book readers and artists will already hold true. But for a new public, and a new group of readers, it articulates very simply what we hope to get out of dedicating so much time to a financially doomed medium. We care about this art, in different ways, and it’s time to show that.
I’m proud of ‘Do Everything’ for different reasons. Since BERG happenings and settling on a much more optimistic outlook for the future, I – somewhat puritanically – thought more and more that the idea of simply ‘doing anything’ with words and pictures sold short the emotional impact – and ambition – of comics: To ‘do anything’ seemed to be to dabble, while to ‘do everything’ had the goal of effecting change. Frankly ‘Do Everything’ is a slushy love letter to my idea of the future, and what I hope my place in it will be. If it succeeds then it’s a justification for optimism, and if not then it’s simply some nice ideas to keep in mind while creating work you care about.
So, in the name of The New Vague, it’s time to initiate Phase One. Starting in Brick Lane on September 27th allows us to, very gently, see what appetite exists for the works among an already artistic/indie community. If there isn’t the interest there by New Year to justify sustaining the project then I’m happy to let it lie for a while, but if we can make a success out of the monthly comics push then I’ll initiate Phase Two of the plan in the New Year. I’m pretty optimistic about what we the stall can achieve, now it’s just down to seeing how the public respond.