Oct 102007

Detail from Chris McCawley’s Swimmin HoleA lot of artists I know have great ideas for videogames, but no programming skills. A lot of videogame makers I know wish there was more creativity and innovation happening in the field, but don’t know how best to foster it. I started the Artsy Games Incubator to try to address both issues.

We just had our first prototype set of sessions, with four of us meeting once a week for four weeks, and I kept notes. Using point-and-click game creation tools we made games and game elements for the sessions and invited feedback and discussion from the other members. It’s based on the writer’s-circle model that I’ve also used for movie making, but I wasn’t sure it’d work for games — but when the other members were playing and talking about my game Space Invader I was getting feedback as useful as I did with those other groups.

There’s going to be another iteration, so whether you’re a Toronto artist looking to get into the next group in January or an interested party who would like to get involved in some other way (Metanet and Queasy sponsorship are what made starting this possible), read more about it here.

Apr 042007

Marc Ngui's PMR iconThe Perpetual Motion Roadshow was a project I started four years ago and has since sent a hundred people on tour. Three indie artists, usually strangers, would bring their vaudevillian-inspired variety show acts to seven cities in eight days, sharing costs, crashspaces, and camaraderie. Two circuits, both going to Canada and the US, meant that people could tour each month of the year.

Last month, the final tour took place
. To be honest, I expected it to finish years ago after I decided to stop coordinating it, but a succession of previous tourmembers took over the coordinating duties and kept it going for two more years.

While it’s fresh, I figure now’s a good time to compile some of the things it’s taught me.

10. Dependency can be a good thing. Continue reading »

Mar 042007

Expozine 2006 posterartRevolver #2, which consists of an excerpt of Salgood Sam and my upcoming graphic novel Therefore Repent!, has been nominated for the Expozine Alternative Press Award for best comic. It’s an offshoot of the awesome Montreal zine fair, one of the more successfully bilingual events I’ve been to. This is the second time they’ve done the award and, although I have fairly ambiguous feelings about prizes and competitions, I think the attention it draws to underexposed artists is definitely a Good Thing.

Case in point, a nominee in last year’s Expozine competition The Hero Book by Scott Waters.

Scott’s a pal, and the book is great, but he’s a curmudgeon. Not likely to tour, or do readings, or talk to people, he’s not exactly a media magnet. But awards like the Expozine Award give a context in which to talk about him. Or, in this case, interview him. Continue reading »

Jul 192006

Click to see page from Therefore Repent!I’m excited to announce that my fifth book will be a graphic novel: Therefore Repent! is set in the Chicagoland area after The Rapture and continues the story started in the 24 page webcomic I did last year with Michel Lacombe. Salgood Sam is illustrating this one and and we’re working towards a summer 2007 publishing date — check out a rough page from it here to get a taste of his amazing talent.

In the tradition of The Book of Revelation, it’s a pretty wild dark fantasy tale filled with demons and swords and blood. Continue reading »

Jul 032006

No Media Kings ServicesA lot of people assume that in an ideal world, they’d be working on their own projects 100% of the time. As someone who’s been in the lucky position of being able to do just that, I discovered a few years back that it can drive you a little crazy. Thinking about yourself all the time — realizing your vision, considering your place in the world — can actually be too much of a good thing. I noticed that when I worked on Other People’s Projects and took on another role I found it invigorating.

I’ve always been involved with a number of projects, giving people feedback and suggestions, but I’ve decided to formalize it a bit and open it up to people beyond my immediate circle through something I’m calling No Media Kings Services. Hang a shingle outside my virtual door, as it were, that reads CONSULTANT. If you’re so inclined, check out what I’ve done for the clients I’ve worked with so far and the webhosting and site design services I’m also offering.

Feb 142005

Click for a better look.In the last issue of This Magazine there’s a nice profile on me and the Perpetual Motion Roadshow. Audrey Gagnon even dug up an old piece I wrote on frieghthopping to frame the origins of my indie touring circuit. I quite like the picture of me, which is unusual–I credit it to the photographer Stephen Gregory indulging my request to get one of Queen St. West’s great old poles in the shot. They’re thickly layered with staples and scraps of posters, and the texture’s always seemed to me representative of the organic nature of underground culture. Click the thumb for a better look.

This issue of Exclaim also has a review of my Novel Amusements, where Liz Clayton describes it as an “artsy, accessible treasure trove.” I thought it was cool that the subheading for the review section identified it as a DVD zine as matter-of-factly as it identified “Book” and “Videogame”. And DVDzines are, happily, appearing here and there. Electrical Tape does offbeat and engaging interviews with Toronto indie bands–my favourite piece was a day in the life of the faux-Francais Ratsicule. Lev also sent me his DVDzine Tales of Mere Existence II, who imbues his lo-fi cartoons with deadpan humour and bittersweet personality.