Broken Pencil’s 10 To Watch in 2015!

by Alison Lang and Jonathan Valelly

Here at Broken Pencil, we encounter inspiring, self-motivated and brilliant DIY creators every day who are encouraging conversations and broadening perspectives all over the country. In this issue we wanted to highlight 10 people/groups in particular who we suspect will be making big waves over the coming year in their respective mediums. Check out the full list below and get familiar!

WOO DUNN

 “Making erotic art has always been part of my life,” says Woo Dun, an illustrator based out of Montreal. Taking after the steamy, masculine, musclestrapped male figures prominent in the work of gay manga creators Gengoroh Tagame and Jiraiya, Dun’s style is distinctly influenced by fine art. “I’m a fan of classical painting techniques such as chiaroscuro..." (the high-contrast style made famous in Italian Renaissance art). Dun told Broken Pencil. Dun has already garnered a significant online following, and fans can look forward to a long-term project that may potentially turn into a graphic novel. All of his work is available at woodunart.tumblr.com. (JV)

“Making erotic art has always been part of my life,” says Woo Dun, an illustrator based out of Montreal. Taking after the steamy, masculine, musclestrapped male figures prominent in the work of gay manga creators Gengoroh Tagame and Jiraiya, Dun’s style is distinctly influenced by fine art. “I’m a fan of classical painting techniques such as chiaroscuro…” (the high-contrast style made famous in Italian Renaissance art). Dun told Broken Pencil. Dun has already garnered a significant online following, and fans can look forward to a long-term project that may potentially turn into a graphic novel. All of his work is available at woodunart.tumblr.com. (Jonathan Valelly)

 

 DAMES MAKING GAMES

Founded in 2012, Dames Making Games (DMG) is a member-based feminist gaming non-profit devoted to supporting women, trans and queer game-makers ranging from beginners to professionals. In addition to monthly socials, game jams, workshops, and educational programming, DMG is also dedicated to social justice. This year, they’re not only sending 25 dames to the massive industry gathering GDC but also teaming up with Indigenous Routes to produce Indigicade, a gamemaking program for adolescent Indigenous girls. At the core of DMG’s approach is a simultaneous commitment to equity and excellence. “When you have a diverse group of people making games, you can break down barriers, and make the industry better,” explains Gabby DaRienzo, an indie gamemaker and DMG volunteer. Follow their work at dmg.to. (Jonathan Valelly)

Founded in 2012, Dames Making Games (DMG) is a member-based feminist gaming non-profit devoted to supporting women, trans and queer game-makers ranging from beginners to professionals. In addition to monthly socials, game jams, workshops, and educational programming, DMG is also dedicated to social justice. This year, they’re not only sending 25 dames to the massive industry gathering GDC but also teaming up with Indigenous Routes to produce Indigicade, a gamemaking program for adolescent Indigenous girls. At the core of DMG’s approach is a simultaneous commitment to equity and excellence. “When you have a diverse group of people making games, you can break down barriers, and make the industry better,” explains Gabby DaRienzo, an indie gamemaker and DMG volunteer. Follow their work at dmg.to. (JV)

 

THE FACULTY OF HORROR 

In the increasingly crowded medium of podcasting, there’s no shortage of horror-themed entries — but surprisingly few are produced by and for women. Torontonians Andrea Subissati and Alexandra West are changing this landscape with their excellent DIY podcast The Faculty of Horror, which approaches themes and ideas in horror films through an analytical and feminist perspective. Each episode brings out challenging ideas, whether they’re tackling eating disorders in Black Swan or the influence of Marshall McLuhan in Pontypool. Despite the sometimes-heavy topics, the conversation between these two smart-as-hell ladies is always funny and lively: never pedantic. Make no bones about it: The Faculty of Horror is a ghastly game-changer. Catch up at facultyofhorror.com. (Alison Lang)

In the increasingly crowded medium of podcasting, there’s no shortage of horror-themed entries — but surprisingly few are produced by and for women. Torontonians Andrea Subissati and Alexandra West are changing this landscape with their excellent DIY podcast The Faculty of Horror, which approaches themes and ideas in horror films through an analytical and feminist perspective. Each episode brings out challenging ideas, whether they’re tackling eating disorders in Black Swan or the influence of Marshall McLuhan in Pontypool. Despite the sometimes-heavy topics, the conversation between these two smart-as-hell ladies is always funny and lively: never pedantic. Make no bones about it: The Faculty of Horror is a ghastly game-changer. Catch up at facultyofhorror.com. (Alison Lang)

 

FAKE INJURY PARTY

This comix-drawing, video-making, performanceperforming trio of dudes can’t stop and won’t stop. Paul Tjepkema, Derrick Guerin and Scott Leeming have been making hilarious, weird, and somewhat impenetrable works across many media in Toronto, New York, and across Canada for a few years now, but they’re just getting started. Coming off of a performance at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s First Thursday in March, screening at the Feelings Film Festival and a weird tape release called “Successful Musician,” FIP are collaborating with Team Macho for an upcoming CBC website installation, finishing their long-delayed feature-length video, Nose Hose, and put out a new batch of comics. Don’t sleep! Visit fakeinjuryparty.tumblr.com. (JV)

This comix-drawing, video-making,  performing trio of dudes can’t stop and won’t stop. Paul Tjepkema, Derrick Guerin and Scott Leeming have been making hilarious, weird, and somewhat impenetrable works across many media in Toronto, New York, and across Canada for a few years now, but they’re just getting started. Coming off of a performance at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s First Thursday in March, screening at the Feelings Film Festival and a weird tape release called “Successful Musician,” FIP are collaborating with Team Macho for an upcoming CBC website installation, finishing their long-delayed feature-length video, Nose Hose, and put out a new batch of comics. Don’t sleep! Visit fakeinjuryparty.tumblr.com. (JV)

 

 JASON LOO

The Pitiful Human Lizard may not be the first-ever superhero comic set in Toronto, but creator Jason Loo has ensured that it’s certainly the most loving and accurate. “I wanted to make it as authentic as the old Marvel comics setting their stories in New York City, by drawing every setting as recognizable as possible,” Loo says. Our hero — mild-mannered office clerk by day, latex-suit wearing vigilante by night — clambers atop the 501 Neville Park streetcar, thwarts evil in Yonge-Dundas square and battles a portly villain, Rabb the Malevolent, as he tries to take down Honest Ed’s. (It’s worth mentioning that Rabb bears a certain resemblance to a notorious Toronto politician who made headlines a year or so ago.) The comics are gorgeous and Loo has created a funny, relatable and very human protagonist — we can’t wait to see what happens next. Issue 4 will be out for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival in May: Issue 5 appears in August. See more at looharvest.com. (AL)

The Pitiful Human Lizard may not be the first-ever superhero comic set in Toronto, but creator Jason Loo has ensured that it’s certainly the most loving and accurate. “I wanted to make it as authentic as the old Marvel comics setting their stories in New York City, by drawing every setting as recognizable as possible,” Loo says. Our hero — mild-mannered office clerk by day, latex-suit wearing vigilante by night — clambers atop the 501 Neville Park streetcar, thwarts evil in Yonge-Dundas square and battles a portly villain, Rabb the Malevolent, as he tries to take down Honest Ed’s. (It’s worth mentioning that Rabb bears a certain resemblance to a notorious Toronto politician who made headlines a year or so ago.) The comics are gorgeous and Loo has created a funny, relatable and very human protagonist — we can’t wait to see what happens next. Issue 4 will be out for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival in May: Issue 5 appears in August. See more at looharvest.com. (AL)

 

LEAH HORLICK

Saskatoon-bred, Vancouver-based poet Leah Horlick brings a deep compassion and consciousness to her writing and her community. As cofounder (with Esther McPhee) of the REVERB Queer Reading Series, Horlick helped raise funds via Kickstarter to set up an artist-in-residency program, provide childcare and pay all readers. REVERB continues to provide an anti-oppressive safe space for writers in a rapidly gentrifying city. Horlick’s second poetry collection For Your Own Good (due out in April from Caitlin Press) unpacks an issue that’s rarely addressed in queer communities — domestic violence in a same-sex relationship — and weaves it through with a deep sense of symbolism and narrative. Horlick describes it as “a magical re-telling” of her own experience, and says the book has been a huge component in her healing process: “The silence I encountered at first has since been drowned out by the incredible support that this work has received,” she says. “I needed this book.” And we think the CanLit poetry scene desperately needs this brave and gifted young writer. See her work at leahhorlick.com. (AL)

Saskatoon-bred, Vancouver-based poet Leah Horlick brings a deep compassion and consciousness to her writing and her community. As cofounder (with Esther McPhee) of the REVERB Queer Reading Series, Horlick helped raise funds via Kickstarter to set up an artist-in-residency program, provide childcare and pay all readers. REVERB continues to provide an anti-oppressive safe space for writers in a rapidly gentrifying city. Horlick’s second poetry collection For Your Own Good (due out in April from Caitlin Press) unpacks an issue that’s rarely addressed in queer communities — domestic violence in a same-sex relationship — and weaves it through with a deep sense of symbolism and narrative. Horlick describes it as “a magical re-telling” of her own experience, and says the book has been a huge component in her healing process: “The silence I encountered at first has since been drowned out by the incredible support that this work has received,” she says. “I needed this book.” And we think the CanLit poetry scene desperately needs this brave and gifted young writer. See her work at leahhorlick.com. (AL)

 

KATIE SLY

Katie Sly has come barrelling through the queer performance and theatre scene in the last few years, having worked with the Buddies Young Creators Unit, Straight Camp Theatre, Insatiable Sisters, and organizing the Bi Visibility Cabaret in Toronto. Both playwright and performer, Katie merges the two practices through collaboration with others: “As an exhibitionist, I am deeply grateful for a set of eyes watching what I’m doing,” says Sly. In May, Sly will be presenting her solo show Charisma Furs at Videofag, the result of a residence at lemonTree creations, and in June will be presenting In The Dark, an experimental collaboration in which artists invite the audience to share in the desires, experiences, and promises of the dark. And During Pride, Sly remounts Too Queer: A Bi Visibility Cabaret at the Gladstone Hotel. “Is an authentic expression of identity possible when that body always exists in opposition to power and privilege?” she asks. It’s a big question, sure, and we need artists like Katie Sly to take it on. (JV)

Katie Sly has come barrelling through the queer performance and theatre scene in the last few years, having worked with the Buddies Young Creators Unit, Straight Camp Theatre, Insatiable Sisters, and organizing the Bi Visibility Cabaret in Toronto. Both playwright and performer, Katie merges the two practices through collaboration with others: “As an exhibitionist, I am deeply grateful for a set of eyes watching what I’m doing,” says Sly. In May, Sly will be presenting her solo show Charisma Furs at Videofag, the result of a residence at lemonTree creations, and in June will be presenting In The Dark, an experimental collaboration in which artists invite the audience to share in the desires, experiences, and promises of the dark. And During Pride, Sly remounts Too Queer: A Bi Visibility Cabaret at the Gladstone Hotel. “Is an authentic expression of identity possible when that body always exists in opposition to power and privilege?” she asks. It’s a big question, sure, and we need artists like Katie Sly to take it on. (JV)

 

WHITNEY FRENCH

We first encountered writer/editor/zinester/poet/ activist/educator Whitney French when we came across the first issue of the brilliant and beautiful zine she founded and co-edits, From The Root, which collects art, writing and testimonials from women of colour across Canada on various themes (the first issue was about hair, while the second — published in April 2015 — is themed "Body.") French is as gifted a communicator as she is a writer — warm, funny and armed with a razor-sharp critical mind, she approaches all her projects with an insatiable desire to educate, advocate and empower marginalized folk from within and outside her community. So far in 2015, she’s led workshops for young women and at Ryerson University’s Racialised and Indigenous Women’s Symposium and she’s leading a series of Toronto-workshops titled Writing While Black, which she says encourage participating black writers to “discuss literature, identity, struggles and triumphs.” Oh, and she’s also writing a sci-fi novel called O. Follow her work at writinginatree.com and fromtherootzine.com. (AL)

We first encountered writer/editor/zinester/poet/ activist/educator Whitney French when we came across the first issue of the brilliant and beautiful zine she founded and co-edits, From The Root, which collects art, writing and testimonials from women of colour across Canada on various themes (the first issue was about hair, while the second — published in April 2015 — is themed “Body.”) French is as gifted a communicator as she is a writer — warm, funny and armed with a razor-sharp critical mind, she approaches all her projects with an insatiable desire to educate, advocate and empower marginalized folk from within and outside her community. So far in 2015, she’s led workshops for young women and at Ryerson University’s Racialised and Indigenous Women’s Symposium and she’s leading a series of Toronto-workshops titled Writing While Black, which she says encourage participating black writers to “discuss literature, identity, struggles and triumphs.” Oh, and she’s also writing a sci-fi novel called O. Follow her work at writinginatree.com and fromtherootzine.com. (AL)

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