"Communities" is our regular column about just that. It is everything you need to know about a given social organization, group, charity, club, etc. in a convenient, easy-to-read package.
Shaving in the Dark is a collective of illustrators and editors who put together a communal zine, a compilation of their comics. Sprouting up in the spring of this year, the group has published two such zines with the release of the third set for early December. A big part of their community includes a monthly Drink and Draw, which is just what it sounds like; the group gets together at a bar, supplies are spread out on the table, and newcomers mix with regulars to sketch and doodle while sipping beer. Sound super cozy, right?
Can you feel the vibes?
The night kicks off at 7.30pm with slightly awkward greetings but warms as the paper, pencils, and markers are set on the table. "So, why Shaving in the Dark?" A newcomer asks as a small crowd trickles in, shrugging off backpacks and setting their beers down along a large wooden table on the second floor of District. Illustrator and long time shaver Vincente Sivera offers up an answer: "'Shaving in the dark'... it's an expression for people who don't really know what they're doing...that's us, we're just a group that kinda jumped into something."
Zovi Weng, one of the group's founders arrives, cheerily toting a pink roller bag full of drawing supplies. On the table go three-box comic strip templates and communal notebooks half full of sketches, half blank. The feels here recall art classes of the past, chatting while sketching while the guy next to you places his palm flat to his paper to make a hand turkey.
But perhaps it's important to note this isn't a class, it's more hang out. And people in the group use the time differently, some come for the social aspect while others choose to sit on their own, taking the three hours or so to concentrate on their art. The basic philosophy seems to be: Live in your truth.
Who are the Shavers?
The uber talented core group of shavers include: founders Zovi Weng and Steven Chapuis as well as Callum Muzkya, Mark Montgomery, Jay Mark, Jonathan Wilson, Vincente Sivera, Marine Ng Cheong Sang, and editor in chief Alex Gobin. These are the movers and shakers in the underground comix scene, who gather to learn from each other and according to Alex, occasionally attempt flirting. The group is made up of illustrators, architects, designers, teachers, students, full-time artists, and animators.
The idea for Shaving in the Dark was hatched over beers when Zovi and designer Steven Chapuis were reminiscing on the satirical comics of France, Belgium, and Switzerland. They decided they wanted to make their own Shanghai-inspired comics with the original intent of a guerrilla campaign, cartooning bar bathrooms around town; but the idea snowballed and as the group gained momentum, they decided a zine was the move. Since its springtime inception, there have been several events from Drink and Draws to collaborations with Love Bang, China Social Club, and brands like Kaiba and Adidas.
Good Clean-ish Fun
Along with the regulars, you'll find lots of newbies around the table. Some need a little prompting and for that there's Jonathan Wilson, aka J.J., who's teacher by day, games master by night. He spots someone stuck on their 3-square comic and suggests the shape game; he draws three shapes in each square and the novice must find a way to connect them.
As the night goes on the group grows with male and female Seth Cohen types. I half expected the OG of the OC himself to ascend the staircase and join in on the fun. Alas, he never showed...but there in spirit for sure.
Get in on the Party
You can still get Issue 2 online, at SITD events, and some shops around town (they've also got some sweet temporary tatts for sale). The shavers have just started the lay-out for Issue 3, which will have the theme "Apocalypse" and should be up for grabs by the first week of December (zine costs 50rmb). There's also talk of a reprint of Issue 1 and plans for a 1-year anthology next spring.
For now, the Drink and Draw will reoccur on the first Monday of the month at District, from 7.30pm till late. Shaving in the Dark's focusing on Issue 3 before officially listing new events, but the best way to keep up with the group is through their official WeChat: shavinginthedark