A.J. Garrett

Who are you?
A.J. Garrett, artist and co-founder of D.I.Y. arts organisation the Peg Powler Gallery. Producer of various art shows, zines, events, and films, often on a budget of £0 or less.

What have you done / what are you doing?
Estelle is a comic book in zine form that I write with Alyson Agar. I do the drawing and that. The story concerns a 90 year old woman who draws a daily comic strip of a New York newspaper and hasn't missed an edition since 1935. She's very under-appreciated and lives in an apartment building populated by clich├ęs, criminals and weirdoes. Her only true friend turns out to be an overbearing ancient spirit that lives in a toy computer. The comic is all done in a very D.I.Y. fashion - cutting and pasting and pens and photocopiers and no computers.

Peg Powler (named after a legendary monster said to live in the river Tees) is a gallery in Stockton-on-Tees dedicated to underground and unusual art. I started the gallery with Rebecca Little in 2010 and since then we've done lots of exhibitions, special events, weird workshops and more, not just in Stockton but all over the country. The aforementioned A. Agar, being a scholar as well as an artist, acts as our consultant, and we've been able to work with all sorts of excellent quirky characters from different places.

Peg Powler has always had a strong connection to zines and underground comics. We have a little comics library, we've held a bit of a table at London Zine Symposium and we've exhibited comic artists such as the lovely Jeffery Lewis.

Why Comics?
It's a question you might ask yourself at when it's 4 in the morning and you're up blu-tacking speech bubbles onto a drawing of a defecating ghost (a heart warming scene from last year's Estelle Christmas Special).

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