Anyone can make comics, and they are mass produced and traded for cheap.
That’s the message Jonathan Rotsztain brought to Dawson City during his art residency with KIAC.
Rotsztain describes himself as a “graphic designer who makes comics.
“I’m a writer before a drawer, but I never found writing on its own that compelling as a pursuit.”
But, he found when he combines writing with drawing, his creations take on a life of their own — “I find it a much more exciting way to express myself.”
Based out of Toronto and Halifax, Rotsztain shared the KIAC residency with artist Rebecca Roher, but she left early due to “an exciting employment opportunity.”
Rotsztain spent his month in Dawson writing and drawing a fiction and a non-fiction comic. He also creates a comic diary everyday called Dreary Diary. There are lots up about Dawson at DrearyDiary.com.
Roher created a comic about the Trondëk Hwëchin’s scrapbook, Finding Our Way Home. That comic is on display at the Dӓnojà Zho Cultural Centre. She also painted landscapes.
Both artists taught comic making workshops at the youth centre and schools.
The comics created in the workshops will be published in a newsletter Rotsztain is creating called the Dawson Comics Crier.
The workshops showed people how to use symbols to tell stories that they can share. The steps were broken down to essential aspects, to show people they already have the skills required to tell stories with graphic symbols.
The workshops aimed to show that a person doesn’t have to be gifted as a drawer in order to create art. Just as comics are available to the masses, so is the ability to make them. The real intent of the workshop is to “empower people to express themselves,” says Rotsztain.
The only requirement of this residency is to give an artist’s talk, says the artist. Rotsztain will launch the Dawson Comics Crier at his talk on September 27. The Crier is a crowdsourced newsletter, like a “year book of who’s around making art right now.”published
As well as finished products from the workshops, the newsletter will contain art from community members, as well as people who used to live in Dawson City. There will be several hundred copies printed and distributed in Dawson and Whitehorse.
The Dawson Comics Crier launch, and Jonathan Rotsztain’s artists talk, takes place on Tuesday, September 27 at 7:00 pm at the KIAC Ballroom.