Life, love and Byron Bay

LIFE STORY: Artist Holly English has laid her heart bare in her new comic Byron Bay- A time and Place
LIFE STORY: Artist Holly English has laid her heart bare in her new comic Byron Bay- A time and Place Christian Morrow

BYRON Bay has long been seen as the town where you can live out your dreams of peace, love and understanding, but has Byron Bay lost its magic?

A new 12 page self published comic, 'Byron Bay - a time and place' by Suffolk Park artist Holly English looks at love and loss and just how how much gloss has come off the Byron dream.

She traces her story right from when she first arrived in Byron Bay in 1992 as a wide eyed 16-year-old through to her life here now as a wiser but still hopeful 41-year-old Byron local.

She lays out her own very personal story of love lost and regained against the back drop of Byron Bay changing over the years with the influx of tourists and rising house prices.

"I have really laid out my life in this work. It really is the case that truth is better than fiction and I have had such a big life,” said Holly. "People who have been here for less than ten years just don't know what a magical and special place this was.

"Some people arrive in Byron just see it as one big business opportunity- they just take, take, take and don't respect the land or the specialness of the place.

Despite this Holly is optimistic about her beloved home town, "Its goodness and specialness are still there if you know where to look,” she said.

Holly's career as a graphic novelist had an inauspicious start. She once had a burgeoning career as documentary film maker, complete with a stable relationship, before fate intervened.

In 2004 her friend Linda Tregerthan was killed in a bloody knife attack in her Shirley Lane home.

Two weeks later Holly was seriously injured in a car crash at Tyagarah and shortly after her relationship collapsed.

During her long road to recovery, learning to walk again, Holly commuted back and forward to San Francisco cultivating her interest in art as a kind of therapy.

It was there she first came upon the work of a new wave of women graphic novelists including Gabriel Bell, Julia Wertz and Jillian Tamaki.

Eventually she undertook formal studies studying with highly regarded Australian artist James Guppy at The Byron School of Art.

The two have since developed a friendship with Mr Guppy mentoring Ms English as she produced this first comic.

”Even though my journey has been painful at times I do feel like it has been divinely guided,” she said.

Byron Bay- A time and place is available at Baz and Shaz's store in Suffolk Park or at:

Topics:  byron bay holly english suffolk park

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