Bronte Mark and Annabelle de Paola are the West End based artists behind the Bronte and Annabelle zine series.

The duo take inspiration from suburban living in Brisbane, and take a surreal, yet light-hearted approach to its portrayal in their zines. Artist Bronte and writer Annabelle say their working relationship began organically.

“We’re both very creative. It just seemed like the next step. We spend 90 per cent of our time making each other laugh,” they say. “If I made a piece of art, Annabelle always had something to say about it, like a story to go with it or a great title. If Annabelle wrote something, I just felt very inspired to make art,” said Bronte.

The pair’s work is centred on West End, and has seen them launch numerous editions of their zine at Vulture Street’s Junky Comics.

“I think the West End community is very supportive. Brisbane as well. Brisbane is quite small in the art community, but you find pockets of support. There’s a lot of Brisbane [versus] Melbourne going on.

But you go into West End, you go into Junky Comics, Vlada is always there to hype us up and be supportive. There’s a beautiful collection of art, a lot of local business owners. You’ve got SWOP Shop, Avid Reader, Jet Black Cat. There’s a lot of people [running] independent business and doing their own thing and working hard,” said Annabelle. “It’s very inspiring when you want to make your own thing as well,” added Bronte.

Bronte and Annabelle’s work takes a specific interest in the mundane yet surreal aspects of suburban living. Their zines such as The Great Trolley Conspiracy draw inspiration from their direct surroundings. “Both of us are fascinated by the mundane, and finding the surreal in everyday items or events. When you focus on something ordinary and you look closer you can find something ridiculous,” said Annabelle.“When you work with what’s around you and your own surroundings, that is the most honest work you can make. Every one of our experiences in the world is completely individual and unique and there’s so much beauty in that.

I think a lot of people connect with that suburban scene,” said Bronte.

Bronte and Annabelle feature in Griffith University Film School’s short documentary project on local West End figures. The film can be viewed at The West End Magazine online’s 4101-TV station. The two say they have enjoyed the experience of working with the “wonderful, professional” fellow creatives on their piece with Griffith University, which has provided them with further connections and friendships. They have also had the chance to work on additional content from Griffith’s Film School. “It’s really important for everyone to support each other and be enthusiastic about each other’s work; that’s the only way that anyone is going to succeed,” said Annabelle.

That intra-community support is something that Bronte and Annabelle both value, and consider an important part of strengthening Brisbane’s ever-growing art scene.

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