The “Fight Club of art,” Secret Walls, is going down in Melbourne this Wednesday night, with literal battle lines being drawn by the mean hand of local comic talent Katie Houghton-Ward versus illustrator/street artist Jack Douglas.
Not only is it refreshing to see the girls put in the same weight division as the boys for once, it’s also nice to think that we might be going into this one with a fighting chance, as in, serious enough that I would bet a bottle of vino on it (and I do not toy with booze). Houghton-Ward is edging towards global recognition for her own comic series, Khulan, which has been optioned by Heavy Metal magazine, one of the US’s most serious science fiction mags. She also has some bangin’ work experience credits for her time spent behind the scenes on comics like Laughter of the Damned and Deckheadz. I would be shaking in my boots faced with the prospect of trying to out-draw this chick, although maybe not, because of the amount of Valium I’d be taking also.
Although she looks intimidating on paper, Katie was kind enough to do an interview for us pre-Wednesday night, where she supplied some refreshing advice for all of you who are thinking about a career as an artist, as well as some fightin’ words for her competition. Don’t forget that you’ve got ’til 9pm Sunday night to win tickets for two to the battle. If you’re going to be in Melbourne that is. Then you can get a chant going. Fight…! Fight…! Fight…! Fight…! It’s gonna be an ink-and-paper smackdown.
Are you from Melbourne?
I’m actually English-born, but raised here in Australia.
When did you start drawing comics and why?
I started drawing comics when I was 19 years-old, after I moved to Sydney and met a friend of mine who was training to be a comic artist. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of doing that before, as I was an avid drawer and a massive comic book fan.
What are your favorite things to draw?
My favourite things to draw would be my own comic Khulan, which is set in many dimensions with all kinds of crazy, mystical beasts and wonders, and lots of fun to let my imagination run wild with.
What’s it like being a lady in a male-dominated industry? Obviously you want to be judged by your work the same as anybody else, but are there any little things you notice?
It’s been my greatest advantage and greatest set back being a women in a male dominated industry. On the one hand you’d get invited to all the right parties because of the novelty factor but you’d have to fight hard to be taken seriously when you do get through those doors.
What’s been your favorite project so far?
Working on my own comic with an amazing creative team: Simon Morse from Verotik Comics and TMNT on inks, and Christian Krank (Tank Girl) on colours, which got published in the world’s leading fantasy magazine, Heavy Metal, last July.
What is Khulan about? Where did the inspiration come from?
Khulan is about a pan-dimensional aid worker who basically travels through the universe resolving intergalactic crisis and tension with her amazing abilities.
You’re living the dream of making a living off of your art. What advice do you have for anybody who wants to succeed as a full-time artist?
Be prepared to go against the grain. It’s all very cool to be following your art or music passions when you’re in your early twenties, but when it starts getting a little later on in your age people will roll their eyes and say, “Get a real job.” This is the true test. Just dig your heels in, put your blinkers on, and say to yourself, “I finish what I start.”
Have you ever done any/thought about taking up graffiti?
All the time. Most of my friends are street artists and I feel it’s definitely on the horizon.
What are your plans for Secret Walls?
Let’s just say the weak dare not enter. :))
What can we expect to see from you in the future? Plug away!
I’m just two panels off finishing my next Khulan comic for Heavy Metal and I have a group show in the works with some of the AWOL crew with guest Heesco (last Secret Walls winner) and Drew Funk. The show will be in the States later this year so stop by my Facebook page for updates or my website.
Secret Walls Australia – Melbourne Round 3 – Jack Douglas V Katie Houghton-Ward
Wednesday 25th July, 2012
The Order | Level 2, 401 Swanston Street, Melbourne, Australia