19 March 2015

mini kuš! #30-33 released

The four new mini kuš! by Terhi Ekebom, Amanda Vähämäki, Lala Albert and Marie Jacotey are out now!

Specs: Each book has 24 pages + cover, full color throughout, offset printed locally in Riga on high quality environmentally friendly Munken paper, saddle stitch binding, handy format DIN A6.

Order: Each mini kuš! can now be ordered from the kuš! webshop separately for $6 each or also as collection for 18$ (worldwide shipping costs already included in the price!). In case you'd also like to get the following kuš! releases, then you can get a subscription here

mini kuš! #30


'Logbook' by Terhi Ekebom

"Where are you? Can you hear me? Are you in pain? I haven’t seen you for weeks, your dear face has disappeared in the darkness. I miss you." Terhi Ekebom’s Logbook tells the eerie tale of losing someone.

mini kuš! #31


'It’s Tuesday' by Amanda Vähämäki

It’s Tuesday in a small town somewhere in southern Finland. Apples are being picked, clothes are being sorted, schedules are being revised, and what else happens or doesn’t, you can read in this everyday story by Amanda Vähämäki.

mini kuš! #32


'R.A.T. ' by Lala Albert

Ever get the feeling you’re being watched? Maybe there is a R.A.T. observing your every move! Read Lala Albert’s comic at your own risk, it might alter your perception forever. 

mini kuš! #33


'BFF' by Marie Jacotey

Marie Jacotey’s BFF is a short story of love and friendship inviting us to follow the intertwined paths of the three characters, Amy, Rob and Stan.

Preview pics of the inside pages you can see in our kuš! webshop, so go there and get your required dose of comics! Spring can start now!

If you're interested in wholesale, contact us via komikss(at)gmail(dot)com
 

17 March 2015

Artist residency in Finland for Latvians

The Rozentals Society (Somijas-Latvijas draudzibas biedriba Rozentals) invites Latvian professionals from all creative businesses to apply for a residence in Fiskars village, Finland. This includes working craftspeople, designers, visual artists, architects, industrial designers, performing artists, composers, musicians, curators, producers, journalists, writers and researchers.


The residency period for applicants is September 2015. The accommodation for the resident artist is free of charge.  The artist also gets support to cover the travel fees from Finnish-Latvian Trade association. Rozentals Society offers a fully furnished apartment with private kitchen, bathroom and work space in a traditional Scandinavian-style house in the heart of Fiskars Village. It is suitable also for a small family or two artists that can share the apartment for the residency period. The artists must finance their own travel to/from the village, their living costs and working materials. Rozentals Society also wishes that the artist is willing to do a presentation of their work to the members of the society.

Resident artist/artists are selected on the basis of applications (work plan, CV and portfolio).

Rozentals Society was founded to promote broader understanding of Latvian social, cultural and economic life in Finland. Mission of residency program is to stimulate the professional exchange and networking between creative professionals of Finland and Latvia. Rozentals Society carries out its own publishing activities, arranges seminars, educational events and cultural activities in co-operation with other organizations.

Fiskars is a unique community of people in creative sector. Permanent residents of the Fiskars village are artists, designers, photographers, writers, musicians, goldsmiths, tattoo artists and craftsmen in many fields. Depending on the field of action, resident will have the possibility to work together with local artists. The co-working possibilities will be planned together with the resident artist.

Please find attached link to the application form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1s4aEt6RtjJKEhopIwJ-rYTOMW9f7rNdQg8bORytYMsM/viewform. Here are also links with more information about Fiskars village and possibilities that residency might bring to the resident artist: www.fiskarsair.fi, www.fiskarsvillage.fi

Additional information:

Fiskars Residence Programm curator Kati Sointukangas, fiskarsair@gmail.com
Rozentals Society info@rozentals-seura.fi

3 March 2015

kuš! spring 2015 releases

Excerpt from Marie Jacotey's mini kuš!

Be nice to each other, winter is over soon! Ok, spring might officially only start on March 21st and here it just snowed again last night, but lighten up, we'll release four new mini kuš! already on March 19th! We offer a stunning line-up of new comics from these outstanding artists: Terhi Ekebom (Finland), Amanda Vähämäki (Finland), Lala Albert (USA) and Marie Jacotey (France). Each of the 24 page books has a unique story to tell - of friendship or losing a loved one, a glimpse into a Finnish small town or a stranger's home....

Pre-Order: Each mini kuš!can now be pre-ordered from the kuš! webshop separately for $6 each or also as collection for 18$ (worldwide shipping costs already included in the price!). In case you'd also like to get the following kuš! releases, then you can get a subscription here

If you're interested in wholesale, contact us via komikss(at)gmail(dot)com

Format: Each book has 24 pages + cover, full color offset print locally printed in Riga on high quality environmentally friendly Munken paper, saddle stitch binding, handy format DIN A6. 

Preview:



mini kuš! #30 'Logbook', Terhi Ekebom

"Where are you? Can you hear me? Are you in pain? I haven’t seen you for weeks, your dear face has disappeared in the darkness. I miss you." Terhi Ekebom’s Logbook tells the eerie tale of losing someone.



mini kuš! #31 'It’s Tuesday, Amanda Vähämäki

It’s Tuesday in a small town somewhere in southern Finland. Apples are being picked, clothes are being sorted, schedules are being revised, and what else happens or doesn’t, you can read in this everyday story by Amanda Vähämäki.


mini kuš! #32 'R.A.T. ', Lala Albert

Ever get the feeling you’re being watched? Maybe there is a R.A.T. observing your every move! Read Lala Albert’s comic at your own risk, it might alter your perception forever.


mini kuš! #33 'BFF', Marie Jacotey

Marie Jacotey’s BFF is a short story of love and friendship inviting us to follow the intertwined paths of the three characters, Amy, Rob and Stan.

Preview pics of the inside pages you can see in our kuš! webshop, so go there and get your required dose of comics!

2 March 2015

"Comics Artventures" E-Book released!


In November 2013 kuš! invited international and Latvian artists to spend a week at the Latvian National Museum of Art. There they each picked a work of classical art and drew comics inspired by it. You can read our blog about the event here.

 Nicolas Zouliamis sketching "Spring Waters"by Vilhems Purvītis.

Now we collected the works and published it in a free e-book! You can download it here and see seven Latvian masterpieces through the eyes of comics artists!

Comics artists:  Emelie Östergren (Sweden), Mikus Duncis (Latvia), Nicolas Zouliamis (Belgium), Mari Ahokoivu (Finland), Ernests Kļaviņš (Latvia), Renata Gąsiorowska (Poland) and Søren Mosdal & Jacob Ørsted (Denmark) based on the artworks of Latvian artists Teodors Zaļkalns, Rūdolfs Pērle, Vilhelms Purvītis, Johans Valters, Janis Rozentāls, Jēkabs Belzēns and Jēkabs Kazaks.

Introductory texts to the artworks by Eduards Dorofejevs

Format: PDF, full color, 74 pages

Download: for free here!

The classical artworks and their new interpretations:


 “Daughter’s Portrait” (1909) by Jēkabs Belzēns (left) and by Renata Gąsiorowska (right)
 
 “Ruins” (1915) by Rūdolfs Pērle (above) and by Mikus Duncis (below)


“Temptation” (1913) by Janis Rozentāls (left) and by Ernests Kļaviņš (right)


“The Pig” (1937) by Teodors Zaļkalns (left) and by Emelie Östergren (right)


“Kazdanga” (1904) by Johans Valters (above) and by Mari Ahokoivu (below)


“Spring Waters” (around 1910) by Vilhelms Purvītis (above) and by Nicolas Zouliamis (below)


 “The Circus” (1918) by Jēkabs Kazaks (left) and by Søren Mosdal & Jacob Ørsted (right)

Lekcijas par komiksiem un muzejiem

Beļģijas vēstniecība Latvijā un Wallonie-Bruxelles International aicina visus interesentus uz divām lekcijām Frankofonijas dienu ietvaros. Abi pasākumi notiks franču valodā ar sinhrono tulkojumu latviski, ieeja bez maksas.  


Lekcija „Ne tikai Smurfi un Tintiņš: BEĻĢU KOMIKSS ŽANRU UN IZTĒLES BEZGALĪBĀ”, ceturtdien, 12. martā pulksten 18.00 kinoteātrī K.Suns Elizabetes ielā 83/85

Briselē, Eiropas kultūru krustpunktā, ir dzimuši vairums kontinenta komiksu varoņu. 1929. gadā Eržē ar Tintiņa tēlu ieviesa modernā komiksa paraugu, kopš sešdesmitajiem gadiem komikss tiek dēvēts par „devīto mākslu”. Sākumā tas ilgi tiecās būt universāls un trāpīt visām mērķauditorijām reizē, taču ar laiku komiksu piedāvājums kļuva aizvien dažādāks un specifiskāks. Žurnāli, mazas brošūras, skaisti albumi cietajos vākos, greznas un dekoratīvas grāmatas, grafiskie romāni… Atšķirīgie formāti piedāvā stāstus visdažādākajos žanros, ļaujot sasniegt visdažādākos lasītājus. Lai arī komiksu tēli un stāsti aizvien biežāk tiek izmantoti kinoindustrijas vajadzībām, komikss galvenokārt ir un paliek dialogs, kur satiekas divas iztēles – stāstītāja un lasītāja.


Lekcija „Muzejs starp vakardienu un rītdienu”
Piektdien,13. martā pulksten 11.00 Mākslas muzejā „Rīgas Birža”, Doma laukumā 6.

2014. gadā ievērojamākais komiksu tematikai veltītais muzejs Rietumu pasaulē nosvinēja pirmo ceturtdaļgadsimtu. Muzeja pastāvēšanas gados pasaule ir stipri pārvērtusies. Ceļošana kļuvusi ļoti demokrātiska, līdz ar to mainījusies muzeju publika. Pirms 25 gadiem internets bija pieejams tikai dažiem, bet mūsdienās ar tā palīdzību notiek lielākā daļa saziņas. No vienas puses tas mazina muzeja informatīvo nozīmīgumu, tomēr ļauj arī daudz plašāk un atraktīvāk komunicēt ar sabiedrību. Kāda būs muzeju loma 2039. gadā, kad Beļģijas Komiksu muzejam apritēs 50? Kas tos apmeklēs? Kāda ir muzeju sabiedriskā un kultūras nozīme šodien un nākotnē?



Par lektoru : Žans Okjē (Jean Auquier) ir Beļģijas Komiksu muzeja vadītājs kopš 2008. gada. Pēc izglītības žurnālists, vairāku tematisko komiksu izstāžu un daudzu monogrāfiju autors, starptautiski atzīts eksperts un pieprasīts konferenču lektors.


Beļģijas komiksu muzejs atrodas brīnišķīgā Briseles jūgendstila ēkā. Vairāk nekā 4000 kvadrātmetru lielā platībā tiek piedāvātas pastāvīgās un mainīgās ekspozīcijas, konferences, lasītavas, radošās darbnīcas, bet arhīvā tiek glabāti zīmējumu oriģināli. Muzejs ir nozīmīgākais komiksu kultūras un mākslas centrs pasaulē, ik gadu to apmeklē pāri par 200 000 interesentu.

26 February 2015

Desassossego


Marcos Farrajota's introduction to Portuguese comics for š! #20 'Desassossego'.  

Disquiet
Marcos Farrajota

Everything we do, whether in art or in life, is a defective version of what were our initial ambitions*.

I’ve spent so much time in front of the computer to write something original about Portuguese comics that my eyes are burning. About this specific form of art we can only say that it will be good to us if we are good to it. And yet comics are silly, a bargain, a form of torture, a useless effort devoid of causes or consequences that offers us neither glory nor any sort of personal reward. In Portugal, as in other parts of the world, making comics is a solitary process, an activity with no class consciousness and with no affiliations or allies—fuck social networks, which are totally irrelevant to someone sitting at a table trying to mix and balance images and text.

Nowadays, the world belongs only to stupid, insensitive, and hectic people. The right to live and to thrive is acquired through the same strategies and processes that qualify someone for internment in a madhouse: inability to think, amorality, and hysteria*.

I asked António Kiala** for his opinion. He answered with his customary rage: “What makes Portuguese comics distinctive from others is the history of their own country, which has always defaulted to states of slavery and colonialism, and which, on account of its peripheral location, didn’t find it that hard to nourish a light version of fascism (everything is light in our country) for almost 50 years. Its mixture of Catholicism and good behavior (without which people would be cast into the Inquisition fires) transformed a docile and illiterate nation into nauseating humus; nevertheless, that didn’t prevent the occasional appearance of some rare talented authors who excel due to their genius.” It has to be this way; otherwise, the word “genius” wouldn’t even exist. The geniuses are few but good! And short. And a bit dark, though the thought of any so-called genetic purity is ridiculous—only the naïve and idiots put their faith in eugenics and thoroughbred horses. As a matter of fact, many of the authors selected for this edition of kuš! are quite tall, and some of them even have blond hair—they could be mistaken for Latvian. What they have in common is the fact that they don’t conform to the cliché of male, heterosexual, Caucasian cartoonists—though one’s color of the skin or sexual orientation is irrelevant when one does not have the talent or the need to express him or herself.

Because I am the size of what I see and not the size of my own height* (Alberto Caeiro).

I was asked to write about Portuguese comics. A pointless task. What’s the use of naming authors or books if not even the Portuguese people know them or give them any credit whatsoever (including the ignorant assholes in the comics scene)? What’s the point in name-dropping if their work is inaccessible to almost everyone? Oddly enough, if you, kind reader, venture into a Portuguese bookshop, you might even find two recently reprinted works from the seventies—Wanya by Augusto Mota and Nelson Dias, or Eternus 9 by Vitor Mesquita—but you will laugh at their naïveté. In the eighties, not a single book worth talking about was published. Only in the nineties did Portuguese comics begin to be published abroad—specifically História de Lisboa by A.H. Oliveira Marques and Filipe Abranches, and Mr. Burroughs by David Soares and Pedro Nora, both in French. Then more books began to propagate at the start of the new millennium, some of them 14 years after their first Portuguese edition, such as the Pedro Burgos’s works, and Pedro Brito’s with João Fazenda, in France, Poland, and Italy.

In Portugal, 25 years ago the popular comics market diminished, but its authors remained well-aligned with the spirit of the times, figuring out homeopathic dosages to track popular styles, and always maintaining irreproachable technical quality. There were great masters of realistic drawing in the 30s (Victor Péon, Fernando Bento), “big nose” manufacturers in the 60s (Carlos Roque, António Fernandes Silva), mass-media political satirists (Nuno Saraiva since the 90s), and artisans of superheroes' underwear (Jorge Coelho in this century). However, I’m not interested in writing about them and their professional dramas—the reader may read about them in Quadradinhos: Look on Portuguese Comics, an anthology published in the context of 2014’s Festival of Treviso.

Life is not worth living. Only the contemplation of things is worth the effort. To be capable of contemplating the world without living would bring us happiness, the same happiness we experience when we dream. Bliss excluding life!*

Portuguese comics have not developed in a linear flow, but rather with constant interruptions that offer no hope of a future and, on the other hand, do not allow the past to build up into a coherent and consolidated narrative. Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro (1846–1905) became the first real precursor of national cartoonists by publishing exemplary newspapers and satirical albums, and he even made an attempt of an autobiographical comics exercise with his No Lazareto de Lisboa (1881). But nobody followed his example… Carlos Botelho (1899-1982) is perhaps the only exception, with his style that mixed up chronicle, autobiography, journalism, and satire, and one wonders how the hell he survived publishing a full-page comic every week in the newspaper Sempre Fixe! Although the New State fascist regime had taken power two years earlier, censors allowed the publication of some of his most subversive drawings, notably including the one representing Mussolini and Hitler, half-naked, being expelled from Paradise. (The Italian dictator plays Eve’s role and his name is “Mussolina.”) Internationally renowned comics experts do not consider these two cartoonists part of the world’s comics heritage, because they didn’t receive any international recognition (that would have been impossible, since they came from a completely isolated country), so: keep playing with Krazy Kat’s (even though she’s female) and Calvo’s willies!

Excerpt from Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro autobiographical comic "No Lazareto de Lisboa"

The magazine Visão (1975–76), open to psychedelia and antiauthoritarianism, appeared shortly after the April 25 Revolution. It prescribed to “light” anarchism (Kiala dixit), with a tendency toward a crabbier version of Maoism, and it didn’t go far… It wasn’t until the appearance of the postmodernist magazine Lx Comics (1990-91) that we fully understood the multiplicity of the form’s possibilities, but nobody cared. Meanwhile, Lisbon’s first institutional comics library (Bedeteca de Lisboa) was founded, leading the “indie” generation of the nineties to an editorial boom, with repercussions in the media, in which, suddenly, everything seemed possible. But that work began to decline to the point that nowadays it is almost completely forgotten, even though the library still holds the largest national comics collection, for consultation and domiciliary delivery, located in the same yellow building since 1996. The Portuguese comics scene has been going through an existential crisis since 2005 which, at least, is a period no longer than the historical transitions and intermissions mentioned above.

This existential crisis shouldn’t be problematic, since by now we’ve long lived in a world without God or any sort of center. It is impossible to aggregate the artists participating in this book in one single affinity group because they all have different ages, aesthetics, and artistic trajectories. Even though I know almost all of them quite well, I wasn’t aware, for example, that Marta Monteiro was doing comics. It was David Schilter who “discovered” this fact, and it was also he who suggested Joana Estrela (ok, she was wandering through the Baltic countries at the time), and, most importantly, it was kuš! that published Amanda Baeza’s first book.

And thus we come across a total mystery: why is this issue full of dissidents? (Is there another word we can use to qualify these authors?) Of course there’s the fact that some them are connected to organized collectives, such as Chili Com Carne (Daniel Lopes, André Lemos, Francisco Sousa Lobo, Rafael Gouveia), Oficina Arara (Bruno Borges) or Clube do Inferno (André Pereira)—a manifestation of a phenomenon, collectivism, that is totally incomprehensible to the Portuguese people —but most of them are “lone wolves” like Cátia Serrão and Daniel Lima. There are “wolves” full of persons inside them, such as Tiago Manuel, who is likely to surpass Fernando Pessoa with his 25 heteronyms project—last year, his Belgian Marriette Tosel was nominated by the Society of Illustrators! And there’s Paulo Monteiro who, despite his institutional work with Beja’s Comics Library and corresponding comics festival, exhales through the pores of his skin a kind of poetry that deeply impresses foreign publishers—he is the Portuguese author with the most foreign editions of his first and only book!

Internationalization is a recent phenomenon. For a long time, Portuguese artists didn’t join the big party of exchange that was the nineties alternative scene; we felt comfortable and happy eating animal fat and potatoes from the countryside and you had to come to Portugal to have contact with the art being done here. The genius artist creates for himself only and waits for the others to ask to see what he is doing… Of course, he is also moved and feels grateful for the interest shown in his work and for the challenges proposed to him. The seclusion to which he is condemned is, after all, equivalent to the sufferings of Arthur Dent,*** who was, for many years, left alone on an abandoned planet somewhere in the universe.

Actually, the answers to everything I was incapable of writing about Portuguese comics are, in fact, hidden in the wise words Dent mutters to the first intelligent creature that appears in front of him during those years of exile, Bowerick Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged. I quote: Whh...? Bu...hu...uh ... Ru...ra...wah...who?

 
*Quotes from the The Book of Disquiet, by Fernando Pessoa.
**Kiala is an Angolan university professor of Sociology, residing between Lisbon and Belfast, and one of the cofounders of Mesinha de Cabeceira, a zine and “think tank” of Lisbon’s underground scene during the nineties.
***Attention! We’re now entering the zone of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams.



Marcos Farrajota works at Bedeteca de Lisboa (the Lisbon comics library). Since 1992 he has been publishing the zine Mesinha de Cabeceira and books of Portuguese and international artists in Chili Com Carne and MMMNNNRRRG labels. His work is published in the form of comics, articles and comics scripts, in zines, magazines, anthologies and solo books all around Europe.


19 February 2015

š! #20 'Desassossego' is out now!

The first kuš! title of the year is out and it bring us to Portugal.

š! #20 'Desassossego' includes a wide selection of alternative comics by Portuguese artists. Some of them are already internationally well known, but as usual, we are happy to feature also a lot of new discoveries. The theme 'Desassossego' is inspired by  Fernando Pessoa's book "Livro do Desassossego". "Desassossego" means disquiet, and the contributing artists provided comics loosely based on disquietness. Pessoa is one of the most significant literary figures of the 20th century, but this issue shows that Portugal is not only a land of literary greats, but it is also the home of many magnificent visual poets!


š! #20 'Desassossego', cover by Daniel Lima 

Contributors: Amanda Baeza, André Lemos, André Pereira, Bruno Borges, Cátia Serrão, Daniel Lima, Daniel Lopes, Filipe Abranches, Francisco Sousa Lobo, Joana Estrela, João FazendaMarta Monteiro, Milena Baeza, Paulo Monteiro, Pedro Burgos, Rafael Gouveia, Tiago Manuel. Featuring an introduction to Portuguese comics by guest editor Marcos Farrajota and a special photo part by Tiago Casanova.

Support: Funded by the Direção-Geral do Livro, dos Arquivos e das Bibliotecas/Portugal.

Format: A6, 164 pages, full-color, perfect bound, English.

Get it:  Order it for $14 from our webshop (worldwide shipping costs included in price) or get yourself a kuš! subscription and enjoy also the upcoming titles of kuš!

Preview:

Amanda Baeza

André Pereira

Cátia Serrão

Filipe Abranches

Francisco Sousa Lobo

Joana Estrela

Marta Monteiro

Bruno Borges


Backcover by Daniel Lima

... and much more! To enjoy the whole comics and discover what's happening in the Portuguese comics scene, you can order the issue here (or by clicking the orange button below). Abraço!



18 February 2015

The Finnish Comics Phenomenon


Excerpt from Marko Turunen's comic in š! #8 'Midnight Sun'

Ville Hänninen will have a presentation of Finnish comics with lot of visual examples of this vibrant scene in Riga!

Monday, 23.02.2015, 17:30, Birojnīca, Berga Bazārs, Riga, free entry (Facebook event)

"Finland, a country of five million people, has never really witnessed the birth of a comic industry. This also means that Finnish artists are never under any illusions about their future. They know that they very likely have to earn their bread and butter doing something else. And as it will not make them rich, they also do not have to care about making compromises.

"The Secret"

Exhibition by Zane Zlemeša and Anna Vaivare from 28.02.2015-12.03.15 at Kalnciema Kvartāla Galerija, Riga. On display will be original artworks from their mini kuš! #28 'Collector' and mini kuš! #24 'Swimming Pool'. Stories about a photo salon operator and a swimming pool cleaner - both with an unexpected twist!


Exhibition poster made by Zane Zlemeša and Anna Vaivare.


Excerpt from Anna Vaivare's  mini kuš! #24 'Swimming Pool'.


Excerpt from Zane Zlemeša's mini kuš! #28 'Collector'.

Find out more and join the event here!

20 January 2015

š! #20 'Desassossego' coming out soon!

After one month, on the 19th of February, we'll release the twentieth (wow!) issue of š!. The title is 'Desassossego'. It's not a usual issue, this time we wandered to the other end of Europe to discover what's happening in Portugal and dedicated the full issue to Portuguese comics.

The theme is inspired by Fernando Pessoa's book "Livro do Desassossego". "Desassossego" means disquiet, and the contributing artists provided comics loosely based on disquietness. All in all a very poetic collection of works from some of the most brilliant Portuguese artists!


š! #20 'Desassossego'

Cover: Daniel Lima 

Contributors: Amanda Baeza, André Lemos, André Pereira, Bruno Borges, Cátia Serrão, Daniel Lima, Daniel Lopes, Filipe Abranches, Francisco Sousa Lobo, Joana Estrela, João FazendaMarta Monteiro, Milena Baeza, Paulo Monteiro, Pedro Burgos, Rafael Gouveia, Tiago Manuel. Featuring an introduction to Portuguese comics by guest editor Marcos Farrajota and a special photo part by Tiago Casanova.

Support: Funded by the Direção-Geral do Livro, dos Arquivos e das Bibliotecas/Portugal.

Format: A6, 164 pages, full-color, perfect bound, English.

Special feature: Darling Sleeper

Get it:  Pre-order it for $14 from our webshop (worldwide shipping costs included in price) or get yourself a kuš! subscription.

Preview Pages:

Daniel Lima

Cátia Serrão