Australian artists create stunning tribute book – Australia Burns
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There’s been some great artwork doing the rounds during the fire season, but nothing quite like this – these images literally made me sit back in my chair and say ‘whoa‘. Australian artists have joined forces to create a stunning tribute book, full of amazing artistry and real-life stories from firefighters – called Australia Burns. But they didn’t stop there, all money raised is being donated back to firefighting and animal welfare charities as well!
I reached out to Australian artist Darren Close about his role in the project.
I’ve been making Australian comic books for 20 years, predominantly about the adventures of a mutant kangaroo warrior, KILLEROO. I’ve written, drawn, and collaborated with other local artists to produce my stories, and Killeroo (or Rufus as he prefers to be called) has become one of the most recognisable Aussie comic characters.
Through this period I’ve built up a network of local creators that I regularly catch up and discuss things with, and when the bushfires really started taking hold in December and several firefighters had died fighting the battle – we thought that we should really try and do something, not just to help people dealing with this crisis – but also in paying tribute to the men and women who were putting their lives on the line to protect others.
The AUSTRALIA BURNS project was created – an anthology book of artworks and short stories talking about the fires from a number of different perspectives – including real-life accounts from firefighters from the frontline – in a hope to educate more people about what they face every day.
The more Darren spoke with other artists and began to produce stories, the more people wanted to join the project. Here’s the kicker – they decided that all work would be done for free and that all profits from the book would be donated to a number of worthy bushfire relief charities for firefighters AND animal carers as well.
Not only that, but the premier printer for Australian comics, Jeffries Printing, came on board to sponsor the book and they too are donating their time, money and resources to publish the book for free. This means that the team will be able to donate every single dollar back to where it’s needed most.
As of right now on the 10th of February, there’s only one week to go until we go to press. I’ve been editing and collating all the submissions as they’ve come in, and the book is really starting to take shape. It’s looking to be 100 pages, full colour, and we’ve been taking pre-orders since January, having already raised over $10,000 in pre-orders for the book. We’re doing an official launch in Melbourne on the weekend of March 6-8 as part of Australia’s largest pop culture expo – Supanova comic con.
There’s some really spectacular artwork and some very moving stories in the book, I’ve been reduced to tears on more than one occasion while proof-reading each story as it comes in.
So, where can you get your hands on this stuff? You can buy prints, digital copies or organise a book store pickup all from their website over at australiaburns.bigcartel.com.
There’s information on there including which charities they are donating to, along with some of the contributors.
This is such an amazing showcase of talent and the fact all money is going back to firefighters and animal carers – brilliant. Thank you to everyone involved in the project, you can be very proud of what you’ve created!
They also have a Facebook page for the book as well.
Shoutout to a few of the artists involved – Aaron Davies, Martin Abel, Camillo Di Pietrantonio, Jon Sommariva, Stuart Black, Gee Hale, Tim Stiles, Jamie Johnson, Queenie Chan, Tim McEwen, Daniel Watts and Dean Rankine.
I founded Flashover to promote Australian Firefighting. I’ve been a volunteer and a paid firefighter but now I spend my time chasing up leads, promoting good mental health and making the occasional Grumpy Firecom comic!