An RMIT student has produced a comic book and exhibition, with help from comic artist Mandy Ord, through a special mentorship program.
Illustrations by Bachelor of Fine Arts student Chris Gooch are currently on show in GasolineEyedrops, an exhibition at RMIT's First Site Gallery.
The comic, which is also available for sale at the gallery, tells an autobiographical story of a young couple whose relationship is affected by the actions of a bully.
"It's based on real life. The narrative has been changed and stylised. It involved real people," Mr Gooch said.
Mr Gooch and Mandy Ord worked together as part of RMIT Link Arts and Culture's annual arts mentorship, which provides funding for a student to work with a mentor of their choice.
Mr Gooch, who first discovered Ms Ord's work as a 15-year-old, said he particularly valued her advice when dealing with the sensitive nature of his story.
"I was very glad to have Mandy's voice and eye over it. I felt safe in a way. I could write what I wanted to write," he said.
Ms Ord's work has appeared in The Age, Meanjin and Voiceworks, among other publications.
The two artists worked collaboratively throughout the month-long mentorship period, swapping sketchbooks each time they met.
"I had lots of ideas about what I wanted to do in terms of being a mentor and what I would do for Chris. But I figured out right away the best thing was suss out what he wanted," Ms Ord said.
The collaboration with an experienced artist is something Mr Gooch describes as "different to the lecturer relationship".
"It runs both ways. I hope she got something out of it too."
Mr Gooch aims to continue working with other artists in the future, as part of a collective or through publishing an anthology.
After graduating at the end of this year, he plans to complete a graphic novel, before returning to RMIT to complete his Fine Arts Honours.
Gasoline Eyedrops is showing at First Site Gallery until Sunday, 10 August.
An artist talk will be held today (Wednesday, 6 August) at 2pm.
Visitors can buy a copy of the comic for $5, or take away a zine for free.
For media enquiries contact firstname.lastname@example.org.