25 March 2019

Meet the young writers of Toolkits: Graphic Narratives

Lovely headshots of our Toolkits Graphic Narrative participants
Lovely headshots of our Toolkits Graphic Narrative participants
Lovely headshots of our Toolkits Graphic Narrative participants

Here at Express Media we are the keenest beans to kick off our first ever Toolkits Graphic Narratives program with 8 talented young artists from across Australia. In the Graphic Narrative’s streams inaugural year, we received many applications, making the selection process a difficult one.  For 12 weeks, these young artists will unpack the forms, skills, and ethics of creating graphic narratives , focusing on exploring the possibilities of graphic work and how to pitch your work to publishers.  The program will also span a range of forms including familiar examples like comic strips, graphic novels, and manga.

Toolkits: Graphic Narrativeswill be facilitated by well respected comics artist and editor Mira Schlosberg. Mira will facilitate the programs online sessions and workshops, providing one-on-one mentorship and individualised feedback to each young writer. For more information on our Toolkits and Toolkits: Live program (which you can participate in right now!) visit our website. But for now, say hello to the class of 2019!

Romy Durrant, Melbourne

Romy Durrant is a Melbourne-based writer of memoir and poetry and co-founder/managing editor of Lor Journal. Her writing explores mental illness, family history, sex work, childhood (trauma) and class, and has been published in VICE, Cordite Poetry Review, Voiceworks, The Lifted Brow, and others. She is passionate about inclusive arts, and disability and sex worker rights and advocacy. She is a committee member of Schizy Inc., a mental health lived experience artist collective, and social media officer of Sex Work Law Reform Victoria, a non-partisan group lobbying for the full decriminalisation of Victoria’s sex industry. In 2018 she participated in Arts Access Victoria’s Nexus program for young artists with lived experience of mental health recovery. Romy loves reading graphic literature but is new to the medium in her practice. She would like to use graphic narratives to contribute to honest conversations about confronting and stigmatised subjects. She is excited to learn from Melbourne’s best comics artists and develop her entry for The Lifted Brow & RMIT non/fictionLab Prize for Experimental Non-fiction during Toolkits: Graphic Narratives.

Eliza Berlage, Canberra

Eliza Berlage is a Canberra based journalist and podcast producer with a background in sociology. She currently works in the Parliament House press gallery as a researcher for The Conversation’s chief political correspondent Michelle Grattan. She is also a casual journalist at AAP and has been published by Crikey, Eureka Street and Meanjin. Since moving to the Bush Capital from Sydney drawing quirky political cartoons has been a means of catharsis for her. More recently she has found solace in playing with illustrated memoir. She wants to create works about the imagined and the real, to grow as a writer and further her journalism. Eliza is excited to be part of Toolkits: Graphic Narratives and hopes to use the opportunity to learn more about the medium and develop her craft. She tweets @verbaliza about politics and dogs.

Elmira Cheung, Melbourne

I am Cinder-Elmira: I have no money, no car, no writing awards, I don’t even know if I’ll make it anywhere in life. But even so, will you take me as I am? A 20-year-old Asian girl from Melbourne studying graphic design and painting.

–unquote Cinder-Elmira 2019

I’m a fetus zine-maker and attended Festival of the Photocopier as a zine creator for the 1st time this year. I’m an avid planner but don’t create as many finished works as I’d like because finishing something is intimidating and hard when you feel you don’t know enough. So, I’m pretty stoked and grateful to participate in this Toolkits program: Graphic Narratives. Life is messy and mottled but the only thing I’ve been sure of since the age of 8 or 9 was that I wanted art and writing. I really love observing the world, I love giggling, I love puns, I love music, I love cats. Mochas should be called ChocoLattes.

Ari Moore, 27, Melbourne (Originally Cairns)

My name is Ari Moore and I’m a 27-year-old writer, art model and illustrator. I’m originally from Cairns, Far North Queensland but have lived in Melbourne for seven years. I’ve recently completed my BA(Hons) in philosophy and am hoping to start my PhD in 2020. I have had writing and art published by Verandah Journal, Venefica, Meathaus, Geelong Writers and WORDLY. In 2018 I received the Verandah Journal Editor’s Choice Award and Geelong Writers’ General Anthology Poetry Award. I have also edited for WORDLY, and am a member of Express Media, Writers Victoria and Australian Poetry. During my undergraduate philosophy degree, I’ve encountered incredible but obscure ideas in ethics, politics, metaphysics and aesthetics that have little to no presence outside academia. I’m eager to explore how to translate these obscure concepts into accessible graphic work and hope to interest new groups in philosophy.

Claire Mosley, 27

Claire lives her life inside out and back to front so you don’t have to. In 2019, Claire wore 2 kilos of fancy surgical meccano to upgrade her leg for 9 months equalling a total Frida Khalo immersion. Creating comics became a valuable tool for navigating the experience of carrying so much metal around and the accompanying shocked faces of strangers. Now Claire creates comics to process and relish the more absurd and magical moments of life. Dating in a wheelchair, being interrogated by fake police and negotiating with a 3 year old covered in her housemate’s lipstick. As Claire braces for her Saturn returns, she hopes to use Toolkits to go deeper into her writing practice and explore how it can be crafted to express bigger feelings and experiences such as grief and living with an illness…and the unbearable, being ghosted on tinder. Claire has completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts and Teaching and when not painting, can be found communing the bush, exploring the world with small people and eco-dyeing every white fabric she can get her hands onto.

Shae San Foreman-Sim, 22, Melbourne

Shae San Sim is an emerging illustrator and comic/zine maker from Narrm/Melbourne. Her work explores ideas surrounding mental illness, the female experience, and identity. She is excited to work with the mentors in Graphic Narratives to refine her storytelling skills, develop a more consistent style and learn more about the wonderful medium of comics. Shae has recently started volunteering at Sticky Institute (on Wednesdays) so come and say hi! Or you can find her on instagram @shaesansim

Liv Fay, Melbourne

Liv Fay is an emerging film and TV producer. She produced the short film Great Again, directed by Kirrilee Bailey, which made its premiere at the 2018 Melbourne International Film Festival and screened at Melbourne Queer Film Festival over the weekend. In addition to her work as a producer, Liv likes to experiment creatively. In her visual art practice she works with video, poetry, performance and painting. Liv is most curious about queer love and magic, how they intersect, and the stories we tell ourselves.

Edie Bush, 24, Melbourne

Edie Bush (24) grew up in two regional towns in NSW, and now lives uninvited on the lands of the Kulin Nations. She studied a Bachelor of Arts (Australian Indigenous Studies) at the University of Melbourne, and is now undertaking an Honours in Creative Writing. When Edie was introduced to comics two years ago, she was worried it would just be a passing phase, but so far it is her longest kept good habit to date. In that time, her work has been published in Voiceworks. She mainly draws from life, and started comics as a diary-keeping practice. It has been particularly useful for managing her mental health, for being in her body, for sitting with tangential thoughts, and for sharing some silly jokes with herself and her friends. She is very enthusiastic about comics being a medium for processing and engaging in life, however wide or intimate that scope may be at any given time.