Summer 2017 Inbound residency
at the Chicago Publishers Resource
By Célia Marquis, late Spring 2017
Hello Chicago! You know, I had just given my two weeks at my day job when I got the news I got accepted as the AiR at CHIPRC for TRANSIT’s inbound residency. Sometimes, life sends you signs to prove you are doing the right thing.
I was excited to visit Chicago for the first time. I was greeted by Meredith with an amazing gift basket full of Chicago-made goods. I also had the chance to stay at my friend Gab’s for the entire residency, and commute to the Center by bike everyday, which was a nice way to discover parts of the city.
Before coming to Chicago, I had planned to work on a couple short stories, but I always forget comics take a bajillion years to make so I focused on writing and drawing the first 2 chapters (6 pages) of a story about my dead pets. I found myself using a lot of the resources at the center, like the button maker and the Risograph, which I had never printed on before. I use a lot of colours in my work and I’m a super control freak, but it was fun and rewarding to let go a little, learn, make mistakes and work with the limitations of the printer. I wanted to go out and explore way more than I actually did, but I really wanted to use this window of time to produce as much work as I could, and so I spent the majority of my time at CHIPRC. I love what I do so, so much, and I am committed to making a career out of it, so being and working in a creative space is just exactly where I want to be pretty much all the time.
I gave two workshops during my stay, one about documenting and collecting material as alternative ways of storytelling, where we walked around the neighbourhood Ukrainian Village and sketched what we saw and assembled our findings into a zine, and one at CAKE about developing character alter egos for comics and illustration. Both where attended by awesome people who were really welcoming and talented. I dread public speaking but everyone helped me feel at ease and we had fun. I mean, I’m not gonna do a TED Talk tomorrow, but the whole process gave me a lot more confidence about my work and what I have to say about it.
I also got to meet more of Chicago comic artists and writers at Two Cookie Minimum, a reading event at CHIPRC. Seeing Yewon Kwon perform her comic was particularly inspiring. Since i’m relatively new to the comic world, I think it’s really cool to see someone exploring the potentials of comics and its variations, and what they make of it. Reading my story in front of an audience and getting a good response also gave me confidence in my writing (in english, at least).
Chicago’s artist community really seems quite tightly knit. Artists’ Centers like CHIPRC and events like CAKE are essential for the sharing of knowledge between artists (and also non-artists), for the birth of great ideas and endless collaboration opportunities. I’m now back in Montreal with my head full of projects and a willingness to get more involved in my community and for it, I have to thank all the great people I have met during my stay.
I’m currently working on commissions and translating my english comics to french, as well as taking a bit of sun because I look like a vampire. The only thing I regret, is not having more time to do more stuff in and around the city. But this only means that I’ll have to go back, which I promise myself to do!
A million thank yous to Meredith and John, and I hope I get to see you again soon!