If you’ve taken the bus lately you might have spotted comics depicting cities from around the world.
That’s because one-page comics by local artists are being installed in bus shelters as part of Cloudscape Comics’ Comics in Transit project. Cloudscape president Oliver McTavish-Wisden said he’s had the idea to display comics in a more public format since he was studying contemporary art at Simon Fraser University. After finding support from the city’s cultural services department and a grant from the provincial government he’s been able to make the project a reality.
“I was thinking about areas that you could take comics outside of the book format because people only read comics if they feel like going to buy one,” he explained. “It would be nice if they were able to read comics when they were out in the world like so much sculpture already is.”
Cloudscape’s latest project features 20 poster size, one-page comics around the city during September and October. Ten new comics will be featured each month with differing styles and genres. Artists involved include Nina Matsumoto, Colin Upton, Steve Rolston, Chloe Chan, Edison Yan, Jordyn Bochon, John Christmas, Sean Karemaker, James Lloyd and Sam Logan.
The project aims to represent international cities to highlight multiculturalism in Vancouver. Some of the cities featured include Vancouver, Paris, Guadalajara, Copenhagen, Thailand, Japan and Ireland.
“I wanted to do something that would connect with the people waiting for the bus together,” McTavish-Wisden said. “Because it’s such a multicultural city I decided to do stories from cities around the world so that the people waiting for their bus meeting other people would learn a little something about their neighbours.”
He said there’s already been positive reception to the posters with people posting pictures and comments about them on social media.
“A lot of people like the idea of having something to read while they wait for the bus to come and having something they can share with other people,” he said.
Along with a greater sense of community, he hopes that Comics in Transit will foster a greater appreciation for storytelling and comics as an art form.
“I hope to inspire more people to read comics, more people to make comics and more people to get involved with the B.C. comic community,” he said.
McTavish-Wisden has been part of Cloudscape for the last three years. He said before finding the collective through a Google search he didn’t know of anyone else making comics in the province. Cloudscape Comics headquarters is located on the top floor of Memorial South Park’s fieldhouse at 5955 Ross St. and weekly meetings are held on Wednesdays starting at 7:30 p.m.
“Most of our members come to us thinking that they were the only people who draw comics in B.C. because there’s actually just generally not a lot of people who go the distance to make comics,” he said.
Cloudscape Comics is Vancouver’s largest independent, non-profit comic collective that aims to promote B.C. comics. They are currently working on their latest anthology Epic Canadiana #2.
For those interested in learning about making comics, Cloudscape is hosting a mini-comic making workshop as part of Culture Days on Sept. 26. For more information, visit culturedays.ca.