In this series, we sit down with teen readers and artists to learn more about what connects them to the comic.
Behind Trinity City Comics is a team of adult and teen artists with a set of shared values, all investigating common questions: How do we take care of our communities, and call out those who put communities in danger? How do people with resources help those without?
Trinity City takes a “hero’s journey” through an Afro-Futurist New Orleans in search of justice, police transformation and a world with human rights for all. Written for youth ages 12-18, this comic tells a gripping story and includes activities and strategies to help youth create conversation about a future of policing that provides safety for all.
In this interview, our Youth Consultant hrilina♡ talked with 17-year-old Blair Augillard, one of three YAYA resident artists currently collaborating on Trinity City. Blair’s preferred medium is digital, including the software Procreate, and his work incorporates influences from graffiti, cartoons, and skate culture. He is also interested in glassblowing and mixed media arts.
Funnily enough, Blair doesn’t hold print copies of comic books in his hands to read them. Instead, he watches them. “I watch videos that explain comic books,” Blair explained. That’s no surprise, considering how Blair became interested in art.
He confessed that whenever he’d watch cartoons as a child, he’d want to change the channel, but couldn’t: “I didn’t know how the remote worked. But if I couldn’t use the TV remote, I could definitely use a piece of paper and a pencil,” Blair remembered with a laugh. “I would draw the characters, but better in my head. Like, if [a character] has a cape, I'm gonna draw him with horns on his back instead.”
With his clear creative vision in tow, Blair worked with our artistic team to develop the character Blake (they/them). In Trinity City, Blake tries to claim their territory by putting art on buildings. The robot police run them off, and tell them they have no right to do so. Blake also lives with severe corneal scarring from an accident during a flood that killed his parents, and they wear thick glasses to help them see. The way they see the world influences their artwork.
“I wanted [Blake] to be a creative person,” Blair said. “I wanted them to be a thinker, and a person who’s open-minded.”
Blair described the process of developing Blake's character and presenting them to Angélique, one of the adult artists on the team: "Here goes the character, and here goes the story we want to tell. And she's like, 'Cool. This is something I can work with.'" Indeed, a core component of the project is the collaboration between the teen artists and adult artists.
“This is the first time in my life I’ve been able to work on a comic book,” Blair told us. “This is an opportunity to make something physical– something real.”