Sunday, August 8, 2010

Received - Wanderlust by Megan Speers

Wanderlust by Megan Speers - The Porcupine's Quill

"In Wanderlust, Mega Speers introduces us to an unlikely heroine who embraces a decidedly perilous by fiercely independent life in the early 2000s among the punks of Sault Ste. Marie, the third largest city in northwestern Ontario.

Proponents of similar subcultures typically self-identify in any community, so these fifty panels of images could just as accurately represent events in any small city in almost any country in the world in the thirty years since the advent of the Clash, Johnny Rotten, Sid Vicious, and the Sex Pistols. The images are wood engravings, carved on blocks made 'by scratch' (as it were, in the true spirit of the do-it-yourself ethos) by the artist and her family. The images themselves are then scratched into the surface of the wood, depicting the mostly happy lives that the punks eke out for themselves in the back alleys and the bush surround the Sault.

Bush parties on Whitefish Island, Dumpster-diving for pizza and the anarchist aesthetic, all rendered in the bold, crisp lines reminiscent of Frans Masareel's 1919 classic graphic novel Passionate Journey, which depicts a not dissimilar idealistic individual's struggle with destiny and fate in a life that has know its joys, its illusions, and its disappointments."

Megan Speers was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, in 1986 and lives there in a subcultural mix of punks, modern-day hippies, travellers, and anarchists until she was seventeen. Her mother was a cabinetmaker and wood-worker, which led Megan to a profound appreciation of wood and handcrafted items - a big part of the reason she chose to 'write' her graphic novel Wanderlust in wood engraving rather than the less demanding linocut. Shortly before she turned eighteen, Megan moved to Toronto to enrol at the Ontario College of Art and Design. She graduated in June 2009, after studying English, printmaking, bookbinding, and book arts. In her final year at OCAD Megan received the Bill Poole Memorial Aware (for book arts) and the Diana Myers Book Award.

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