If you’ve visited CSI Annex in the past few weeks, you might have noticed some new art adorning the Garden Patio! We were lucky enough to have Jordan Aelik from Canada Comics Open Library (CCOL), one of our Annex members, spray paint a new mural for us. Read on to learn more about CCOL, the inspiration behind the mural, and what’s next for them this year.
CCOL is a volunteer-run organization which focuses on making comics as accessible to the public as possible, all while highlighting work by artists and creators whose voices aren’t often featured in mainstream media. CCOL started doing pop-up library events in 2017 and opened a physical library space in 2019 at CSI Regent Park. Books are displayed to promote intersectionality, and the goal is to maintain a browsable and accessible comics collection through mindful, open principals. They also host a Comics Creators-in-Residence, where they work with artists to help them learn about the process of creating comics and the many genres and styles.
Jordan has been making cartoons and comics for the past 15 years. He finds that the process of making art, and the community of comics, helps him to understand the world and people better. Jordan met Rotem Diamant, librarian and founder of CCOL, at the Toronto Zine Library where he had been volunteering. Jordan worked with Rotem throughout the inception and building of CCOL, and now serves as Library Manager and is a member of their Board.
Inspiration for the mural struck when Jordan was at CSI Annex with a recent Comics Resident who was working on our chalkboard “Why Do You Create”. Veronica, our PECA (Plant Exchange Community Animator and plant caretaker extraordinaire), was nearby caring for our many plants when she asked Jordan if he ever did graffiti. Although he hadn’t, Jordan was inspired to give it a go after looking at the patio space with Veronica. Jordan wanted to showcase “something local, colourful, the animals that we share the city with – something to brighten people’s days”. The mural depicts squirrels and raccoons, an orange sky to represent CSI, some beautiful pink flowers, and a Birch tree to represent Jordan’s hometown of Sudbury.
Jordan enjoys being a CSI member for the ease of meeting people and the passionate community. Pop by CSI Annex’s ground floor for a snippet of their comics collection, and keep an eye out for a CCOL circulation desk at CSI Annex later this year! Want to learn more? Check them out online or on Instagram @CanadaComicsOL.