The ninth DCAF (Dublin Comic Arts Festival) event was held this weekend (6 April 2019). A quarterly festival for small-press comics, it took place for the second time at the Chocolate Factory Arts Centre.

Organiser Matt Melis spoke to us.

Are you an artist yourself? What inspired you to set up DCAF?

I am an artist myself. I sell my books here. I was inspired by the work that Sarah [Bowie] and Debbie [Jenkinson] were doing at the Comics Lab meet-ups, once a month. When I moved to Ireland, I met Sarah and Debbie at a convention like this, and they were doing the Comic Labs. When that started to wind down, I wanted it all to keep going. Sarah did a market that went really well and I just thought there should be more of them.

I had been traveling to the UK to sell my books and I realised that the money I was spending there, I could spend to set up my own show here.

Is there a market here for comics?

We’re finding more and more audience as we publicise ourselves. As we let people know we’re here, we’re finding there’s a much bigger audience than we’ve ever really had before. Once they find out about us, they are interested in comics. But they’ve never found these comics before so it’s great to give them the opportunity.

Is the strong animation and software industry here a factor?

We’re definitely piggy-backing on that. Animation in Ireland is flourishing. A lot of our exhibitors are also animators. We have had guests from Cartoon Saloon and we have exhibitors from Brown Bag. Cartoons, comics and animation all go hand in hand.

Also at the event was Niall Mac Giolla. An animator himself, he says “I make a lot of animated shorts that are one or two minutes long.” Some of the images on his stall were visuals from his animations.

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“I work in animation. I am just out of college now a couple of months but I do a lot of digital work centred on landscapes of Ireland, places around where I’m from which is Donegal, and places like Glendalough.” You can find more of Niall’s work at www.NiallMacGiolla.com.

There was a huge variety of work on display at the Dublin Comic Arts Festival. DCAF runs quarterly.