With over 150 speakers from 31 countries, this year’s UWRF lineup is a literary treasure trove of discoveries. Each week in the lead up to the Festival, we’ll speak to a writer whose work you may not yet have encountered, but who could well turn out to be your Festival favorite. For the seventh installment, we spoke to comics artist Rachel Ang.
What issues and ideas are you hoping to explore during your UWRF17 sessions?
Writing and creating comics are quite culturally specific – not only in the kinds of stories that we choose or feel compelled to tell, but in style, tone, language and the history that informs them. I’m from Melbourne, Australia, and within our (quite small) community there is a lot of variation and different overlapping groups of people who have shared interests and goals. So I’m really excited to meet comic artists from Asia and beyond and find out what they’re interested in and what makes them tick. I’m interested in discussing what cultural significance comics hold in their culture, and who their influences are. What role do comics play in the media landscape where other artists are practicing?
Who do you hope will be in the audience?
Oh wow, I hadn’t thought of that. I get a bit nervous if I think too much about the audience. I’m really excited about the panel discussion I’m doing with Sonny Liew, Rizqi R. Mosmarth and Ary Wicahyana. I assume lots of comics-interested people from all over will come along and hopefully we can open up the discussion to the room.
What’s the most extraordinary place your career has taken you?
I’m going to The Lakes International Comic Arts Festival in Kendal, in the UK, just before UWRF. I haven’t been before but I have high hopes that it will be extraordinary indeed, with lots of scenic vistas and cups of tea.
What’s the best piece of creative advice you’ve received, and what’s the best you can give?
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received is from my mother, who probably wouldn’t describe herself as creative, and who probably didn’t intend for me to take what she said as advice. She said that “people want something really simple, but really good.” Actually we were probably discussing something completely unrelated, but it’s an idea that’s stuck with me. In editing I always try to cut and slice away all superfluous fat, and try to build the most efficient story structure possible. It’s probably a piece of unintended advice that applies to my day job as an architect, as well. Ornamentation and the overly-verbose repulse me.
The best advice I could give is that one shouldn’t try to split your life or personality into Work and Life. I don’t go for a walk for three hours and return to my drawing to berate myself for wasting three hours. I see it as all the same fabric of my day and life. Recently I’ve started taking my weekends and vacation very seriously. It actually helps me be more loose and spontaneous, more disciplined and prolific in my creative practice.
What are you most looking forward to at UWRF17?
Definitely Read to Me! It’s a live graphic story-telling performance kind of thing at Bar Luna. It’s going to be so much fun. I’ll be reading a short story, alongside Sarah Glidden, Rachel Ang, Thi Bui, Campbell Whyte, Josh Santospirito, Sarah Firth, Eleri Harris, Max Loh and Fionn McCabe. I just love comics, and I love comics artists.
Rachel Ang is appearing in Captivating Comics on Day 3 of the Main Program, and Read to Me at Festival Club @ Bar Luna on 28 October. 1-Day and 4-Day Main Program passes can be purchased by clicking the button below.