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 Sabrina Scott.
DWA First-timer: Sabrina Scott
Who are you?
My name is Sabrina Scott and I would say I wear a lot of hats, but I consider myself a bit of an illustrator-philosopher-activist (to be not pretentious at all, ha ha). I’m currently doing my PhD in Science and Technology Studies at York University, where I’m studying horizontal ontology, multi-species affective ecologies, and embodied epistemology. I’m looking at the ways in which the body can be understood as an instrument: as a site of world-making and knowledge production.
I was led to this work through my experiences in Spiritualism and witchcraft (I grew up in the former, and have been practicing the latter as long as I can remember). It may seem like a bit of a bizarre trajectory, but if you go far back enough in the history of science, you end up with magic. It’s been a lot of fun!
Where are you from? And where are you based?
I was born in Montreal, but I’ve lived all over the place. I spent 12 years in Colorado, and I’ve been living and working in Toronto for about 11 years now. I absolutely love this city, it’s one of the first places I’ve ever felt at home. I live downtown, and there are endless skyscrapers, old brick buildings, parks, an island, the waterfront. I love the eclectic mix that is so distinctly Toronto.
How long have you been making comics?
In one way or another, kind of forever with big interludes in between, but I’ve really started to focus on sequential narrative and comics more seriously in the past few years. My work has always been interdisciplinary, so I’ve occasionally taken big swaths of time here and there to focus on really honing one craft or skillset in particular.
What was your first comic?
Oh geeze. The first one with worth mentioning was a 16-pager called Hunter S. Thompson is Dead! It was a kind of stream of consciousness hallucinogenic acid trip about ridiculous teenagers doing ridiculous drugs. It had a lot of “iguanas in Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant” moments, if you know what I mean. It was very thoroughly the kind of thing you make in your first year of art school.
Who are your favourite Canadian cartoonists?
I actually had to do a lot of googling to answer this question! I don’t generally keep tabs on where the artists I like are from. However, I’ll give shout-outs to Michael DeForge, Chester Brown, Willow Dawson, Ramon Perez, Jillian Tamaki, Chris Kuzma, Ginette Lapalme, Patrick Kyle, Guy Delisle, George Walker, and Dmitry Bondarenko.
Is there anything that you think makes your work distinctly Canadian?
Honestly, I’m not crazy about nationalism, or the idea that there is a ‘distinctly Canadian’ essence that can be readily and easily distilled or discerned in a given body of work. That seems to position ‘Canadian’ as a type of singularity, when in my opinion if ‘Canadian’ is anything it must be multiplicitous; it must encompass plurality, the mercurial, the creative, the unexpected, the mystery of not knowing what exactly something ‘is.’
We often try so hard to pin down the ‘other’; to label in such a way can be to deny something/someone(s) their lives. I think it’s important to remember that Canada is a country built on the back of colonialism and the displacement and disablement of the Indigenous peoples of this land. Much territory in what we call Canada is unceded and/or was acquired in ways that disrespected the sovereignty of Indigenous nations. I am very much aware of my role as a white settler and an uninvited guest on this land, and that awareness permeates all creative work that I do, be it creative writing, academic writing, illustration, comics, whatever. I try to walk with care and reverence, and a mindfulness about the history of the land that I walk on, the land that holds me and nourishes me.
When did you first hear of the Doug Wright Awards?
The first Doug Wright Awards event I attended was in 2012. Chester Brown was nominated for Paying For It. I absolutely loved that book and was totally crossing my fingers for him! I knew a few other talented folks nominated that year (Patrick Kyle, Michael DeForge). It was a fun event and I always try to make it out.
Will you be at TCAF? If so, where can people find you?
I will be at TCAF! I have a space in the Toronto Reference Library, on the second floor, table #268. Come say hi, I don’t bite! If you miss me at TCAF, you can purchase my book and get it delivered to your door at http://witchbody.com/book
Finally, which do you prefer Nipper or Doug Wright’s Family?
Sabrina Scott is nominated for the 2016 Doug Wright Spotlight Award (a.k.a. “The Nipper”) for Witchbody. You can check out more of Sabrina’s work at www.witchbody.com