Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Whazamo! Profiles: Tin Can Forest

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Baba Yaga and the Wolf, by Tin Can Forest (source: http://tincanforest.com/indexframe.html)

Open Book is celebrating the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! profiles, contests, videos and a series of original literary comics curated by Vepo Studios. Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long to keep up to date.

In today's Whazamo! profile, artists and film-makers Marek Colek and Pat Shewchuk of Tin Can Forest tell us about their new book, Baba Yaga and the Wolf (Koyama Press), and the wormwood, chamomile, pine cones and vodka that infused its creation.

Open Book:

What is your most recent publication, and what are five words you would use to describe it?

Tin Can Forest:

Baba Yaga and the Wolf, published by Koyama Press. Five words to describe it are…wormwood, chamomile, pine cones, vodka and Satan.

OB:

When you're working on a project, which comes first — the words or the images?

TCF:

The nightmares come first, then the cold sweat, then the fever, the visions, and as soon as we start hearing voices, that’s the time both words and images materialize simultaneously and must immediately be exorcized with the help of ink and paper.

OB:

What do you do to get the creative juices flowing?

TCF:

Wormwood, chamomile, pine cones, vodka and Satan.

OB:

What does your work space look like?

TCF:

The interiors in Baba Yaga and the Wolf are kind of modelled on our work space.

Rugs on walls, ghosts on the ceiling, three resident domovois, shrines to ancient deities, feral piles of books, records and comics.

OB:

What medium do you most often work with?

TCF:

Animation, comics, Madame Blavatsky.

OB:

Why do you think graphic novels are finally gaining popularity?

TCF:

A few generations have now grown up with the graphic novel — it's an established part of the broader culture. Some would argue that the graphic novel is still maligned, but being the underdog engenders a certain passion among its proponents. Graphic novelists, cartoonists, are not only concerned with their own work, but are often dedicated to promoting the medium in general.

OB:

Who is your favourite graphic novelist?

TCF:

We don’t have a single favourite, but here are some we dig a lot: Rutu Mordan, Gabrielle Bell, Vanessa Davis. Dame Darcy, Julie Doucet, Milada Marešová, Kaz, Los Bros. Hernandez, Adolf Born, František Skála.

OB:

Where can we find more of your work?

TCF:

Our previous book Pohádky is published by Drawn and Quarterly, and please do visit tincanforest.com.

We'll also have a new comic titled Wax Cross coming out this fall.


Pat Shewchuk and Marek Colek are Toronto-based artists working in film and print under the name Tin Can Forest. Their work has been screened and exhibited at festivals and galleries internationally, including the Ottawa Animation Festival, The Tokyo International Film Festival, The San Francisco International Film Festival, The Kyoto Manga Museum, The Edinburgh Art Festival and The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

Pat and Marek have worked as directors and designers of animation for broadcasters including Cartoon Network, Teletoon and PBS. In 2009 Marek was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for his work as designer and art director for PBS & WNET Thirteen's Artopia, an animated television show about art for children.

Tin Can Forest's work has appeared in print in publications such as The New Yorker, Communication Arts and Oaken Throne. In October 2008 Drawn and Quarterly published Tin Can Forest's first art book, Pohádky. Koyama Press published their second book, Baba Yaga and the Wolf, in 2010. For more information about Tin Can Forest please visit their website.

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