Reported by Mandy Moon.
Cloudscape Comics Society has come a long way from its humble beginnings in the back room of a coffee shop, and is now a force to be reckoned with in Vancouver’s art scene.
Since the City of Vancouver granted Cloudscape a studio space at the Fieldhouse in 2012, the organization has been giving back to the community through volunteering and mentorship. The space was originally granted for only two years, but executive director Jeffrey Ellis believes their involvement has played a key part in keeping the space.
“I think they’re happy to have us keep doing what we’re doing, because it seems to be working,” Ellis said.
Always giving back
Cloudscape’s most recent community project was in conjunction with Van Dusen’s Glow in the Garden, where members carved pumpkins for display.
Last autumn, Cloudscape worked with TransLink to showcase the struggles of Syrian refugees in the joint project Comics in Transit. These comics were installed at bus shelters in lieu of advertisements.
The designated studio space has allowed the society to organize and double their membership. In their coffee shop days, about 10 people would gather on a busy night. Now, attendance often surpasses 20 or more. The society hosts meetings every Wednesday evening and open studio sessions on weekend afternoons, with occasional art and comic classes offered throughout the year.
The society’s current treasurer, Oliver McTavish-Wisden, works as a community arts programmer and said Cloudscape has been effective at providing a consistent workspace for artists.
“Cloudscape has allowed a lot of people to develop their own practice. Around eight to 10 members use the space on a regular basis and have drawing tables set up,” he said.
A local comic artist who’s been with Cloudscape since 2016, James Brandi, said the society has been an invaluable resource for networking and meeting kindred spirits.
“It’s the only thing like it in Vancouver, as far as I’ve been able to find,” Brandi said. “If you are involved in comics in Vancouver, you’ll end up going through there.”