POP-UP COMICS CENTER IN ST.PETERSBURG
17.-22.11.2012 The Helsinki Comics Center opened a satellite office in St.Petersburg for a week. We brought our inure concept with us, an art gallery, coffee shop, library, living room and an arts school. Such visits have been done earlier in places like Tallinn, Kiasma (The Contemporary Art Museum in Helsinki), and different squares and markets around southern Finland. And such visits are yet going to be made in places like Kiel and Toronto.
Nearly 700 people visited our center during the week. We were hosted by The Sergey Kuryokhin Art Center in an old cinema on Vasily Island and it’s various different spaces turned into a big Comics Center with the help of the Kuryokhin Center staff. We also had lots of media attention, at least three tv-groups visited our workshops.
See the SPB TV-channels story: http://topspb.tv/news/news12950/
In the gallery, we had two different expositions. First, an exposition of the Finnish Council in St.Petersburg, that was an informative introduction to Finnish comics through out history. And secondly, a joint exposition of Kaisa Leka and Varvara Pomidor, a Finnish and an Russian artist, who both make autobiographical comics of their families travels, but in a very different manner. The exposition will later be shown in Helsinki too.
Our opening party on Saturday evening was a massive drawing concert, with Aavikko and Kim&Buran, a Finnish and a Russian eletro-pop band, with Finnish and Russian comic artist and illustrators drawing live to their music. Even though the illustrators and musician worked together for the first time, some in the audience were wondering how it seems like as if the music was composed specially for these pictures!
On Sunday we had a theme day for animation. As the POP-UP Comics Center was hosted in an old cinema, we took advantage and showed animated films in the huge cinema hall.
Animation is traditionally a big thing in Russia, whereas comics as an art form is more unknown. For us Finns they seem close like two twin brothers. In the workshop we had nearly a hundred people trying out animation. The final animation edited from the workshop material is here.
During the week in daytime we had local school groups learning the basics of comics. In the afternoon were held open workshops for all ages to do different techniques related to comics world. We made pop up books, photo comics, stencils, badges and T-shirt printing! It was nice to see so many so different people participating the workshops, there were small children, grannies and groups of young adults all in the same workshops! In the evening we had more specified workshops for adult audience, like comics for teachers, traveling comics, comics diaries and street art. Many people came back again and again for more workshops. All workshops were free for everybody.
PARTICIPATE IN OUR BOOK!
We are waiting to see if this week has inspired locals to making more comics. In the spring we are going to publish a collective comics book about St.Petersburg, and are hoping to get work of new artist in it. Everyone can offer their stories for the book by sending them to the address firstname.lastname@example.org until the end of the year. It doesn’t even matter if you missed our workshops, you can still offer your work for the book. The common theme tying the book together will be the town of St.Peterburg, but it doesn’t have to be a big deal or specially mentioned in the story. It is quite enough if the story happens in a place, that might just as well be St.Petersburg.
The book is going to be a square cut from A4 (21 x 21 cm) and probably black and white. We hope that everyone makes the story in their own language, may it be Finnish, Russian or something else. We recommend one to six pages length.
Thank you for all who helped us organizing the POP-UP comics Center in St.Petersburg and special thanks for everybody who took part!!!
Lissu Lehtimaja The Helsinki Comics Center