The 12th Annual Doug Wright Awards ceremony will be held at Toronto’s Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel this Saturday May 16, 2016 starting at 8:00 p.m. (a feature event of the Toronto Comics Arts Festival). This time around there are seven first-time nominees, many of which may not be well-known to Saturday night’s crowd.
So in anticipation of the Big Night we decided to take a closer look at this year’s new-comers, in a series we’re calling “DWA First-timers”. Basically we emailed them some question designed to help you get to know them better, and this is what they had to say. Next up is Luke Ramsey.
DWA First-timer: Luke Ramsey
Who are you?
My name is Luke Ramsey.
Where are you from? And where are you based?
I grew up in England, moved to Victoria, traveled around the world for a few years. I am now based in Powell River on the Sunshine Coast of BC.
How long have you been making comics?
I have been making comics since I was a kid, and made my first zine in high school.
What was your first comic?
My wife and I ran an artist residency on Pender Island. It was called Islands Fold and we published art zines and comics.
Who are your favourite Canadian cartoonists?
When I was a kid I mostly collected Dark Horse comics: Aliens, Terminator and Predator. As a teenager, my Uncle Paul worked for Raincoast Books who distribute Drawn & Quarterly. He sent me a box of D&Q books and I instantly became a fan. My New York Diary by Julie Doucet was in this box. It had an impact on how I thought about comics.
I have lots of favourite Canadian cartoonists, fellow nominees Tin Can Forest have stood out for years. When I lived on Pender Island they invited me over to neighbouring Saltspring Island. Had a lovely stay with them: genuine people. When Marc Bell’s Shrimpy and Paul came out with Highwater Books it opened me up to new forms of drawing and comics. Marc traded me an original page from that book. It was such a wonderful gesture at the time, because I was much younger and just getting into art zines and collaborating.
My experience with the comics community in Canada has been very positive. Annie Koyama comes to mind too. She was very supportive when we were running the artists residency. I love all the books and artists she publishes with Koyama Press.
Is there anything that you think makes your work distinctly Canadian?
Is my work distinctly Canadian? Intelligent Sentient? includes artists I invited from around the world, so maybe that’s Canadian of me, to be inclusive and embrace diversity. That section of the book also alludes to collective oneness. Maybe that’s Canadian too, I don’t know. I love the people of this beautiful country, but I don’t like borders and nationalism. I do however like The Doug Wright Awards for recognizing cartoonists in Canada.
When did you first hear of the Doug Wright Awards?
I discovered the Doug Wright Awards when I attended the ceremony two years ago. Scott Thompson hosted, it was awesome.
Will you be at TCAF? If so, where can people find you?
I am unable to attend this year, but have asked fellow artist Gareth Gaudin to accept the award if my book wins. All the nominees in the Pigskin Peter category are great artists I enjoy. It’s such an honour to me.
Finally, which do you prefer: Nipper or Doug Wright’s Family?
Doug Wright’s Family.
Luke Ramsey is nominated for the 2016 Pigskin Peters Award for Intelligent Sentient? (Drawn & Quarterly). You can check out more of Luke’s work at www.lukeramseystudio.com and on Instagram @lukeramseystudio