VENUE: UNSW GALLERIES
Darkly humorous and comic auto-fictions of hospital life and the day to day, visceral grind of living with chronic illness.
No Visitors (vols. 1-4), Sonogram and Incision, 2016-2018
zines and hospital diaries
Oscillating between the darkly cartoonish and humorous auto-fiction of his ongoing comic series, No Visitors, and the viscerally stark, day to day illness diary series Sonogram (& it’s follow up Incision) Jonathon exposes the realities of chronic pain. No Visitors is a demeaning, monotonous, hilarious and heartbreaking re-telling of his personal life through the main character (and Jonathon’s avatar), Little. In contrast, Sonogram & Incision, written as a direct, relatively un-edited diary zine during his worsening hospital stays, feature many realistically drawn selfies of other disabled people (submitted via social media to Jonathon), revealing that the waves of pain radiating across his days are not rare or unique, but ubiquitous to the disabled experience. Wandering from No Visitors to Sonogram one realises the acute connection Jonathon draws between the things we live through and how we remember them.
Grant Jonathon is a 31-year-old visual artist from Melbourne. Grant’s story is as follows: He grew up sick and poor in America, a terrible place to grow up sick and poor. As is typical of the US, Grant was constantly denied medical care. In 1998, Grant, his little brother and his mother fled to Australia with what little money they had. Eight years later, he dropped out of high school to make comics, and he’s been doing it ever since.
The brutality of the American healthcare system left Grant and his family robbed of time, money, and health. Now, governments worldwide – including the American and Australian ones – are attempting to create structures that will make healthcare even harder to access. Grant’s life expectancy is 35 years of age. Across decade plus collection of his comics, zines, art showings and writings he has been trying to make one point: Medicine for pay is eugenics.