David Blumenstein

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David Blumenstein (born 1980) is a service designer, writer, cartoonist and animation director based in Melbourne. He is a founding member of Squishface Studio, a co-share workspace for comic artists.


Blumenstein's film Shit Party was a selection of the 2002 Melbourne International Film Festival.[1]

He directed the short animated film Herman, the Legal Labrador in 2004; it starred Shaun Micallef, Katrina Mathers, Loc Nghe and Santo Cilauro.[2] He later directed the music video The Happiest Boy for The Bedroom Philosopher,[3] segments of the C31 anthology series Take One and the animated series Be A Man.

He worked as a storyboard artist on the children's series Wakkaville and Jar Dwellers SOS, and as an animator on the children's series Dogstar and the adult animated series Pacific Heat.[4]

In 2014 he was one of a group of animators selected for the Designing Dreams Studio, an initiative of ACMI and Dreamworks.[5]


In 2012, Blumenstein co-founded Squishface Studio, Australia’s first open comics studio, which functions as a workplace, retail space and classroom.[6] It supports itself through workshops and memberships.[7] He was also part of the Caravan of Comics, a cartoonist tour of North America.[8]

In 2013, he won an award for Graphic Short Story in Melbourne's Lord Mayor's Creative Writing Awards for a piece called The Bolt Report. Blumenstein wrote the piece in epistolary voice, as his school-aged younger brother, Tristian, completing a media studies assignment.[9] The piece was subsequently attacked by its subject, conservative commentator Andrew Bolt.[10] Blumenstein later continued writing in Tristian's voice for pieces published at Daily Review and The Lifted Brow.[7]

He also illustrated a comics piece written by Paul Owen covering the Australian federal election for Guardian Australia.[11]

In 2015, Blumenstein wrote #takedown: My evening on a pier with pick-up artists and protesters, a book about professional pickup artist Julien Blanc, who was heavily protested, and eventually ejected from the country, while on a controversial tour of Australia.[12][13]

After submitting a piece by Tristian to the Senate inquiry into George Brandis' funding cuts to the Australia Council for the Arts in 2015, Blumenstein was warned that making a submission purporting to be from a non-existent person could find him in contempt of Senate.[7] He withdrew Tristian's submission but made one himself on behalf of Squishface Studio.

Blumenstein wrote Free Money, Please in 2019 and released it simultaneously on Medium and zco.mx.[14] It is a graphic essay about cryptocurrency and passive income.

He is currently serving as deputy president of the Australian Cartoonists Association.[15] In December 2019 a complaint was made against him by member Rod Emmerson following a cartoon/Twitter thread Blumenstein published drawing a link between News Corp's vilification of minorities and the atrocities that follow.[16][17]

In January 2020 The Guardian published Why Los Angeles is Scientology's perfect city – an illustrated guide, a non-fiction comic about the city of Los Angeles and the Church of Scientology.[18]

Other media[edit]

In 2014 Blumenstein was interviewed by comedian/writer Justin Heazlewood for the book Funemployed, which is about the financial challenges that face artists working in Australia.[19] He also appeared on the subsequent ABC radio series of the same name.[20]

Blumenstein co-hosted a podcast in 2017 called Pitchface in which he and co-host Adam Wajnberg pitch creative and business ideas.[21] He has also appeared on podcasts including xDiscipline and Graphic Nature.[22]

In 2020 he wrote about government communications on COVID-19 for ArtsHub.

Design career[edit]

Currently Blumenstein works as a service designer and visual communicator.[23] He was hired in 2015 as a founding designer in the IAG Labs, and spoke about his drawing, prototyping and design work at the UX Australia conference in 2017.[24]


  • Herding Kites: A Celebration of Australian Writing (2008), by Michael Williams (Editor)
  • Sciensatics, Going Down Swinging, no.30, 2010, p. 72-75 (ISSN 0157-3950)
  • Showman? : the Bret Braddock adventures (2011), Nakedfella Productions
  • Showman? : the Bret Braddock adventures. vol. 2 : overtime approved (2013)[25]
  • Tristian Oversees : France, England and America Thru the Eyes of Australia's Youngest Political Journalist (2016), Nakedfella Productions, ISBN 9780987391223
  • #takedown: My evening on a pier with pick-up artists and protesters (2015), Pikitia Press, ISBN 9780987391223
  • What we Tell Them: A story Book by Mr Tony Abbott (2019)[26]
  • š! #37 'Down Down Under' (š!, #37) by Kuš! (Editor)[27]

Personal life[edit]

Blumenstein is married to Squishface Studio artist Sarah Howell.


  1. ^ "MIFF 2019 | Festival Archive 1952-2017". MIFF 2019. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  2. ^ "Herman, The Legal Labrador (2004) - The Screen Guide - Screen Australia". www.screenaustralia.gov.au. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  3. ^ The Bedroom Philosopher (24 July 2008), The Bedroom Philosopher: The Happiest Boy, retrieved 22 April 2019
  4. ^ "David Blumenstein". IMDb. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Designing Big Dreams | ACMI". 2015.acmi.net.au. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  6. ^ "David Blumenstein - UX Australia". www.uxaustralia.com.au. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  7. ^ a b c "Comics and Contempt: David Blumenstein, and Tristian, on Arts Funding". The Australian Comics Journal. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  8. ^ Ziffer, Daniel (22 May 2012). "Comic artists pursue the American dream". The Age. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  9. ^ rules!, My media (18 June 2014). "A Comical Life". My media rules!. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  10. ^ "How to win $1000 from a Liberal Lord Mayor and make Melbourne a "city of literature"". Herald Sun. 2 December 2013. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  11. ^ Davidson, Helen (7 September 2013). "Australian election 2013 - polling day as it happened". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  12. ^ "Cartoonist's #takedown goes behind the enemies' lines". Daily Review: Film, stage and music reviews, interviews and more. 12 May 2015. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  13. ^ TW, Reviewer (20 June 2015). "#takedown". The Saturday Paper. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  14. ^ "Free Money, Please – David Blumenstein". Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  15. ^ "David Blumenstein". NCSFest. 24 February 2019. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  16. ^ "Drawn-out dispute at the Australian Cartoonists Association". Crikey. 3 February 2020. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  17. ^ "'It's making my eyes bleed': News Corp's Knewz on the nose | Weekly Beast". the Guardian. 31 January 2020. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  18. ^ Blumenstein, David (10 January 2020). "Why Los Angeles is Scientology's perfect city – an illustrated guide". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  19. ^ Heazlewood, Justin (1 June 2014). Funemployed. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781922213426.
  20. ^ "Funemployed: The Black Cat". Radio National. 3 February 2015. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  21. ^ "Pitchface by David Blumenstein & Adam Wajnberg on Apple Podcasts". Apple Podcasts. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  22. ^ FM, Player. "David Blumenstein Podcasts". player.fm. Retrieved 28 August 2021.
  23. ^ "SDNOW4 | Past Events". sdnow.co. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  24. ^ "Release the cartoonists - UX Australia". www.uxaustralia.com.au. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  25. ^ "Trove". trove.nla.gov.au. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  26. ^ "The Return of Graphic Nature with a new episode featuring David Blumenstein". Graphic Nature. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  27. ^ "David Blumenstein". www.goodreads.com. Retrieved 28 August 2021.

External links[edit]