What is GASP?

GASP is an art collective project currently aimed at providing work to comic book artists in Bosnia-Herzegovina in general and in Sarajevo in particular, by publishing and distributing their work locally and abroad.

GASP' first project is the production of a collective album called "Sarajevo Side Stories", comprised of six 8-page graphic novels created each by a different artist from Sarajevo. The album will be published in Sarajevo in the local language as well as in French and English and will be distributed at the International Comic Book Fair in Angouleme, France, in January 2002.

In the short term, GASP is providing work to six local artists while offering them a specific opportunity to have their work published and distributed internationally. In the long term, GASP will introduce these artists to established publishers and distributors worldwide, thus increasing their potential to live from their art. In addition, by exposing the work of these artists to a foreign audience, GASP will promote the image of Sarajevo as a creative and dynamic cultural environment.

"Sarajevo Side Stories": Enabling the rebirth of the Sarajevo comic book art

1- Background of Graphic Storytelling Art in Sarajevo

For the past 10 years, local graphic artists have found close to no opportunities to distribute their work abroad. An important European publisher, SAF, was established in Sarajevo before the war. Its outfits having been destroyed during the Sarajevo siege, it relocated itself in Slovenia and has no more connections to Sarajevo. Despite the relative isolation of the city from the international cultural scene, locally, a few initiatives have emerged, with some successes, like an exhibit called "1h59" organized in Angouleme to which participated a few Bosnian artists .

2- Current Situation

As a result, the graphic storytellers of Sarajevo are not able to live from their creative work. Their only choice is to work as illustrators for various local institutions or businesses, as well as for the International Community. A cartoon explaining the election system, for instance, was done for the OHR by one of those artists.

Meanwhile, Sarajevo has been the theme of several graphic storytelling publishing successes. Best sellers like "Fax from Sarajevo" from Joe Kubert, "Sarajevo Tango" from Hermann, or "Soba" by Joe Sacco, have all sold well in Europe and the US, but did little to promote the local artists.

Fortunately, the Sarajevo Academy of Art is producing local artists that have the potential to become internationally well known, thus promoting the image of a vibrant Sarajevo art scene.

3- GASP, the Graphic Art Sarajevo Project

GASP is a project created and directed by Benjamin Herzberg, a French citizen currently residing in Sarajevo. A long-time graphic storytelling aficionado and accomplished businessman, he is connected to the publishing scene in Europe and the US. His strong experience in international business, marketing and sales enables him to organize local artists, conceive publishing products and distribute them abroad.

GASP will provide a way for six artists to live from their art for this specific first collective album project. Furthermore, by exporting their art while creating a local Art Collective, GASP will enable those artists, as well as future ones, to keep producing quality work locally in Sarajevo while representing the city abroad on the cultural scene.

4- "Sarajevo Side Stories"

The album "Sarajevo Side Stories" is the first work of the artists to be distributed and sold outside the Balkans. The distribution of "Sarajevo Side Stories" in Angouleme is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the authors to break up on the international comic book scene.

You are interested to hear more about GASP?

GASP is French 1901 law association with its headquearters in France and a branch office in Bosnia and Herzegovina. If you wish to receive more information about GASP, please contact us by clicking here.