Pondering Nerd Lance and I (Meke) trekked to East Williamsburg for the Pop Culture Art Show, 2016. We were stoked to spend some time getting to know various local artists keeping the NYC comic book and illustration arts scene alive and fresh. We crave new material and creativity in our art and entertainment and we were not disappointed at what we found there.
The first person we got to interview was Dwayne Mendez. What a character!
You really got how passionate he is about his work, and we were happy to meet and find out about him. I enjoyed hearing about his influences: 80's culture, storytellers that are extreme in their style and feel (Pat Lee, Wes Craven, Heavy Metal), and the many conventions he frequents.
Like Mendez, Pablo Martinez is a frequent convention attender.
Martinez is a persistent artist. He perseveres, and when the going gets tough he keeps on truckin'. To connect with him you can find him on Twitter at @pabmarti.
Sheek Visual Art is the creation of Shanequa Thompson, a HS teacher by day and an amazing illustrator and cartoonist by night.
She's been making art since 2nd/3rd grade, is a graduate of SVA, and finds inspiration from events like the NYCC. I was impressed by her use of the Wacom tablet. I don't usually see convention artists embrace technology for their media. But Thompson loves using her hands. Kudos to an experiential process!
Agent name: Ruben Bermejo - Tag name: Rico - Volunteer with Guardian Angels - Homie ofJoey B. Art - Amazing artist! - On the web he's incognito... For now.
Dude... We met Chris Batista.
Ok chill out son, don't be jelly. He's a fellow dork btw (self-described), a lover of 90's culture, and a fan of the usual suspects that he later got to work on: Spiderman, Justice League, and Teen Titans for example. Guess what prompted him to do his art: Artists who suck! He joked with us about how in the 90's many artists were doing well but the quality of their work was so surprisingly bad that he figured "Wait, why shouldn't I make art? Why NOT me?!" The threshold was low and Batista pounced on the scene.
The more we spoke with the artists, the more we heard some commonalities: being graduates of SVA, working in their respective mediums since they were young, loving to work with their hands, tremendous patience and an acceptance of the solitary efforts their work entails, and an appreciation for their fan bases.
Overall the event was a great initiative and IMO a great start to an emerging network of NYC illustrators, writers, and publishers. Joey B. Art, applause from the PN camp, and keep up the good work. Holy cow I could've written a LOT more but I will spare you. You'll just have to reach out to these artists on your own. Oh, and BUY SOME STUFF. Just leave the toys for me.