The Print Bar’s eyes are always open to the amazing things that make our city unique. Brimming with new bars, cafes and DIY boutique stores, Brisbane seems to be continuously growing in terms of creativity. Over the last two years, a little comic book shop in West End, Junky Comics, has housed exhibitions for local artists, put on a plethora of gigs, transported artists from interstate for launches and nearly splintered the wood of their ever growing zine rack. Sadly however, this might be the last year for Junky comics due to the hard realities of bravely opening a niche business. We wholeheartedly hope this isn’t the end for this very important local establishment. Of course it’s not! We caught up with Vlada Edirippulige to discuss the store and upcoming fundraiser to keep its doors open.
How did junky comics start?
Well in a way Junky was a farfetched plan that I thought would never come to fruition. I wanted to be able to collect indie work from all over the world and make it accessible to everyone, not just people that were interested in comics. I also found that as an artist, finding a space to launch or exhibit your work was a bit tricky and scary so I wanted to be able to have a space that ran as a gallery where people could do just that regardless of whether or not they have much experience in the way of putting on a show. Also i wanted to use Junky as a space for people to meet and collaborate. We have such a rich art culture in Brisbane and it’s all thanks to the wonderful people that continuously produce work and I wanted to be able to house that culture in some small way.
You seem to run a lot of events, how important do you think collaboration and a creative community is in Brisbane?
In my opinion it is essential! We live in a great city and there are so many like-minded creative individuals and that’s what makes Brisbane great! The motivation to be a part of the community and create stems from people actually doing it and other people watching it happening and then following suit. Its a really wonderful circle of life and what makes the art and music scene in Brisbane really special.
How do you find the current creative climate in Brisbane?
I think it’s thriving and will contuse to thrive as long as we have the facilities and the community to uphold it. I notice people coming into the store everyday and seeing the local artwork, zines, shirts and then are inspired to make their own stuff. It’s a really cool thing to see and be a part of.
Who are your favourite artists and comic book authors?
I am huge Charles Burns fan, he writes and illustrates very thick lined, dark, strange, 70’s pulp horror inspired comics that I am super into. I’m also a big fan of graphic novel autobiographies such as the work of Alison Bechdel and Marjane Satrapi two of my favourite feminist writers that kick ass. Brisbane is teeming with incredible artists at the moment, Sam McKenzie, Niqui Toldi, Phoebe Paradise, Yippywhippy.. The list can go on for a while.
Obviously you can tell stories through comics, so do you think a tee shirt can tell a story?
Of course, its wearable art. It can represent who you are and who you want to be. Tees are also a perfect way to get your work and other people’s work out there.
The print bar and Junky both have an ethos of creating a community and platform for local artists, do you think Brisbane needs more places like this?
I have so many to list so just to make the list a little smaller I’ll narrow it down to just West End. The cafe/bar Betty’s Espresso where I am having my fundraiser is a perfect example of this. Cat is always putting on events for LGBTI groups, she’s had refugee fundraisers and is always engaging with the creative community by having gigs and launches.
Nook on Browning street stock so many local artists work, Shannon at Jet Black Cat does so much for the Brisbane music scene by stocking local bands’ records and putting on shows.
There are so many places in Brisbane that do wonderful things for the creative community, its fantastic!
Tell me a bit about the upcoming event at junky this weekend?
The event is this Sunday the 19th we are having a fundraiser at Betty’s Espresso in West End to raise funds to try and keep Junky open. We are almost at our two-year mark and the going has been a bit tough. We want to be able to continue putting on local shows, local work, supporting and engaging with the art community so we are doing everything to try and keep the doors open!
We will have raffles going at the event, Young Henrys will have delicious beers and we will have books and march for sale too! It should be super fun!