Finally, I made my way uptown to the brand new comics shop in town, Jack’s on Queen. I bought some bags’n’boards for the comics package I have planned for the Springwater ‘Autumn Equinox’ Studio Tour (PDF) later this month.
The plan is twofold:
- to offer some ‘market separation’ between my comics work & framed, gallery-worthy fine art prints, &
- to do my part to help the SGAA cross-promote with local businesses.
Local government encourages the latter; it–huzzah!–has been very supportive in recognizing local artists & artisans as vital to local culture & economic growth. I feel it’s an important part of social responsibility.
The former is a possible overthink in terms of my engagement with public. I’ve had three conversations during the past week about the focus of one’s body of work, & I don’t feel it’s a coincidence.
The first was with a fellow cartoonist with whom we share mutual respect for each other’s work. She declined a collaboration b/c the theme doesn’t fit into her overall theme, & she’s taking care to curate her projects & what her name is attached to. I contrasted that consideration with my aspirations to writing as my focus, with illustration as necessary byproduct, & my eagerness to indulge in a variety of genres, as a kind of jack of all trades – not out of desperation, though, but simply when projects interest me.
Then I enjoyed a brief conversation with a local painter; she was present when I picked up my latest framed piece. She had seen two other pieces of mine that were thematically similar & asked if it was the thread that ran through my work. This caused me to reflect on the idea of broad appeal of higher-ticket items (framed artwork) versus the (sometimes very) controversial nature of the stories I write & cartoon into comics.
Last came the convo with the comics shop owners. They, like me, find it encouraging that the Guild & government have embraced a cartoonist as a ‘fine’ artist. The graphic novel has made great strides toward acceptance as literature in larger centres, but I feel like a bit of an ambassador for comics in my rural area (er, not to sound too pretentious, eh?).
As an artist whose work generally runs contrary to convention, I’m encouraged.