The Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco has featured artwork by many of our caroonists from Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez to a future M.K. Brown show. Currently on exhibit is Pretty In Ink: The Trina Robbins Collection from now until August 24th, 2014 (postcard pictured above). We pulled Andrew Farago, curator at CAM, aside for a few quick questions about the process of getting a show ready.
What do you look for when choosing works from a singular artist/cartoonist? Is it a plan to arrange them visually by era or area (like if they did paintings, cel animation, comics)?
"It depends" is my basic answer for that. If it's a career retrospective, I'll find out if the artist has kept most of her originals or if they've been scattered amongst friends and collectors. Sometimes we'll be focusing on a book that's been recently published, sometimes we'll have our own exhibition catalog in the works. Sometimes I work with a co-curator who's tracked down most of an artist's major works. The fewer sources I'll need to tap into to produce a well-rounded exhibition, the more likely I am to pursue it.
Although that's really more of a technical answer. Before I get into any of that, I make sure that we're focusing on a talented artist whose work will make for a compelling exhibition. I show favoritism to established artists with a substantial body of work, and always prefer to work with the artists directly whenever that's possible. It's incredible getting to collaborate with people likeStan Sakai, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, M.K. Brown, Steve Purcell, Eric Drooker, Nina Paley, Jeff Smith, and Dan Piraro, just off the top of my head, when putting together giant solo exhibitions.
Getting art ready for the Pretty in Ink show
Describe the basic layout of the gallery (or if you have a blueprint bird's-eye view of it) and do you aim to have people travel through the show the same way every time? (forgive me, I haven't been before so this question may seem odd)
This particular gallery has two entrances. Visitors will usually enter from the back-right corner entrance, and from there, they'll either wander up to the actual start of the exhibition at the opposite corner of the room, or they'll just start walking through and might end up viewing that particular room a time-and-a-half when passing through. With an exhibition like M.K.'s, which will be more focused on single-panel cartoons than multi-page stories, that won't be an issue for visitors.
Have you ever had an incident where you hung a show and then had to replace/take down art before it opened/while it was open?
Sure. I changed over our Sandman exhibition three times due to late arrivals. The original art for the second issue of Overture wasn't available to us until late March, and I swapped out an entire room to put up the first two issues. Artists and collectors have sometimes sold pieces while they've been on display, to buyers who don't want to wait until the exhibition wraps up before getting their artwork (although that's pretty rare). I don't generally like to change things once a show's up, since that's fairly labor intensive and I don't usually build time for re-hanging into my schedule.
Art matted and framed, ready for a wall
Is work for sale if the creator wishes it to be?
Generally not. We're a museum, so we don't sell art off the walls, but sometimes an artist or collector will ask us to include a note with contact information letting people know that the art's available for purchase through their websites.
How long have you worked at CAM?
I started as a volunteer in the summer of 2000, got hired on as Gallery Manager in the fall of 2001, and eased into the Curator job in 2005. I've worked on a little bit of everything over the years.
Photo by Lani Schreibstein
Are you donation-based? How can people help? Thanks!
There are plenty of ways to support the Cartoon Art Museum. Signing up for an annual membership, making a one-time cash donation (and asking your workplace to match it), donating original artwork, shopping at our bookstore, visiting the Museum, buying books or artwork from us at conventions...Here's a good place to start: http://cartoonart.org/join-support/
Sidenote: the CAM booth at San Diego is a GREAT place to pick up a $10 sketch to support the museum, they feature all sorts of fun cartoonists like Raina Telgemeier, Jeffrey Brown and Sina Grace. Last year, I sketched next to Gene Yang and Zack Giallongo and someone wanted us all to draw Morrissey. What a blast!
Thanks again to Andrew Farago for answering a few questions and carefully, lovingly putting work up on the walls with his crew. If you want to see Pretty In Ink yourself general admission is $8 while students & seniors are $6. Children 6-12 are $4 while WOO-HOO! Members & Children under 6 stroll in through the door for free. Check out Trina Robbin's book Pretty in Ink: North American Women Cartoonists 1896-2013 today.
Casey Stengel had a blunderously beautiful career in baseball. From inconsequential outfielder in the '20s, to worst won-lost record as a mangaer of the Dodgers, to winning five consecutive world championships as Yankees manager.
Drew Friedman, hailed as the most prolific portraitist, captured the 1966 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee in his Bronx Bomber blues, and is selling high quality prints in a limited set. The signed and numbered beauties are available from Friedman's fine are website for only $150. A necessitiy for history and baseball buffs.
As a lover of sports and art, you know that we at Fantagraphics love baseball. The summer nights, picnic pastimes, and hometown pride. Because of our big baseball crush, we have a lot of hardball hardcovers to share our love with readers.
If you're looking to expand your super universe of historical cartoons, the new Friedman portrait collection of those who were involved in pioneering and shaping the comic book industry, with forward by Al Jaffee, captures the inspirational worlds of these sequential warriors. Heroes and Comics: Portraits of the Legends of Comics is currently in pre-order, and waiting for you to add it to your collection.
Seattle, WA: The multi-sensory live performance art show, Gridlords, will be debuting performance #23 on June 21st, a special presentation by the ever expanding independent comic show, Short Run.
What is Gridlords? No two performances are the same, but in essence, this monthly experimental art show based out of Portland combines various artistic mediums built around a narrative. Mediums in the past have included live music, comic readings, animations, and artist lectures. Seattle is honored to host their first show outside of Portland, and Fantagraphics is honored to watch Mome cartoonist, Andrice Arp's presentation of a film that inspirationaly highlights the creative processes, accompanied by live music, and then followed by a puppetry parable in anticipation of her new comic, Occupation. And that's only one part of the night's line-up.
Other guests for the evening festivities include, Theo Ellsworth, Asher Craw, Daria Tessler, Gridlords founder, Sean Christensen, and more.
According to Short Run, "Tickets are available in two packages: $7 for admission-only, or $20 for admission, plus a bonus fun pack containing the Gridlords anthology, Other Worlds (a $10 value), as well as other comics, original artwork, and more from artists involved in the show." An amazing deal to see the most all emcompasing live art production of the year.
The performance will begin at 7 pm, and takes place at Gallery 1412, located at 1412 18th Ave, between Union and Pike. Spend a beautiful summer evening with us, and witness a comic anthology brought to life before your eyes.
Cartoonist and all around badass, Lane Milburn, will be appearing at Quimby's Bookstore in August for his Twelve Gems launch party. August 30th at 7pm, you better have your intergalatic party hats on or ELSE.
Somewhere in the outer cosmos, beyond reckoning or observation, the mysterious Dr. Z has enlisted three space heroes, Furz, Venus, and Dogstar, to search the galaxy for the fabled Twelve Gems of Power. Milburn's book is is full of wall-to-wall humor and action for science fiction fans, adventure-lovers and connoisseurs of the undergroun comix aesthetic. You do not want to miss this rad cartoonist or his debut Fantagraphics graphic novel!
August just keeps looking better and better! Among the dizzyingly beautiful books we're excited to bring to you in two months is best-selling cartoonist Lucy Knisley's newest book, a travelogue documenting her trip throughout Europe in the fall of 2011.
An Age of License follows Lucy as she navigates new countries, new experiences, and new romance, all rendered in an often-whimsical, sometimes stream-of-consciousness style that perfectly captures her moments of introspection between the memories she captures on the road. This part narration, part sketchbook format takes us right into Lucy's thoughts and revelations.
High quality paper stock, full-page color plates, legendary comic creators — that's right, Drew Friedman's finely curated portraits of the comic book pioneers of our time, Heroes of the Comics, is hot off the printers! We are thrilled to give you this sneak peek before its August debut.
Inside, you'll find over 80 lovingly rendered portraits alongside a short essay that summarizes each person's life, work, and contribution to the world of comics. This homage to comic book history is not to be missed — pre-order yours today!
Phoenix, AZ: It's supposed to be 109F in Phoenix, so if you're looking to escape the heat in a large air conditioned convention center, consider going to Phoenix Comicon! Fantagraphics artists Don Rosa (Donald Duck) and Ed Piskor (Hip Hop Family Tree) will be on hand to sign, and chat about their upcoming releases with Fantagraphics! This four day show runs from June 5th-8th. (More details)
Saturday, June 7th
Olympia, WA: The birthplace of alternative everything, Olympia, will host the 2014 Olympia Comics Festival on Saturday, June 7th, and special guests include Jesse Reklaw and Charles Burns! They will be signing books and participating in panels at the various downtown venues. First event begins at 11 am, and the Expo itself is FREE! (More detail)
Sunday, June 8th
San Francisco, CA: The Queer Comics Expo kicks off pride week with a celebration of the history and achievements of queer voices in comics. Held at the Cartoon Art Museum, the wonderful Ed Luce (Wuvable Oaf), is the guest of honor at this event. Art demonstrations, drag queens, and fun! Begins at 11 am. (More details)
We've recently had some new blood join our satanic circle in comics and are proud to highlight them. Meet Keeli McCarthy, one of our designers. She's currently working on many books for us, too many but she's a tough nut.
What other jobs and experiences have you had in comics? I was the first female employee at a shop called Atomic Comics in the mid-90s in Phoenix. I was hired as the "alternative comics" person. I diverted a lot of questions about Image release dates with "um, how about checking out that Julie Doucet book there in the corner?"
What was the first comic you read? My introduction to comics came through the wonderful world of Jack Chick tracts. Mormonism, Satanism, D&D, hippies... I ended up with a childhood preoccupation with hippies because they seemed to be having so much fun freaking out in those densely-drawn panels. I still have dozens and dozens of pictures of hippies that I drew as a child. I was also a big fan of Archie.
What was the first comic that made you want to write, react, something? I really discovered comics when I picked up my first issue of Eightball. It was during the middle of Like A Velvet Glove Cast In Iron, and so I had to scuttle around the local comic shops to put together the back issues. I was so fascinated with Clowes' pastiche of period references, something that definitely influences my work today. I was also hugely influenced by the ghoulishness of Al Columbia's Biologic Show and anything horror from EC.
What can you recommend to Fanta readers? I discovered Carl Barks when I designed the Ghost Of The Grotto collection and I've fallen in love with his stories. His human/animal hybrid characters are a hoot. The gags are great, and the colors in the Fantagraphics reprints are so sunny and beautiful. I'm also excited to sit down with the final printed version of Gast.
Weirdest Fanta experience so far? I would say that the weirdest thing about Fantagraphics is the old house we work in. There is original art, staff art, and just...stuff everywhere. I discover some new little gem each day. Like the Gap ad in which the model's face has been replaced with one from an Al Columbia painting, the whole thing blasted through with a rifle shot. I have no idea how this came about and I will never tire of looking at it.
(note: associate publisher Eric Reynolds shot this many years ago)
Favorite way to wind down? I try to move away from the two-dimensional world as much as possible after work, and cooking is a great way to do that. I love making big elaborate dinners. I am also the queen of improvised soup.
What projects do you have ahead of you outside of your job? I've been working on a series of brush and ink drawings based on observations of people's behavior in public places-coffee shops, dentists' waiting rooms, nightclubs. They're a fun exercise in getting better at inking good solid blacks. Last year, while living in New Zealand, I put together a zine/gallery show of 20 artists commemorating Oddbodz, which were New Zealand's answer to the Garbage Pail Kids. I'm hoping my next project can be that huge and crazy and fun. I'm also planning a trip to Tokyo in the next year with NYC/NZ zinester Erin Fae to write and draw a book about Japanese coffee culture.
Best part of comic conventions? I'm not a huge fan of comic conventions. I usually only go when there is a creator I really need to meet. Then I just field that person's puzzled glances as I hover around their table with a huge creepy smile on my face.
Favorite place in Seattle for food or public place? I recently discovered the giant hammering person sculpture and its history of mayhem, which I rather enjoy thinking about. Food-wise, TNT Taqueria has been haunting my memory with their TWO delicious meatless taco options. Also, this town has a staggering amount of donut eating opportunities, which I find very appealing.
Favorite drink? Black coffee. Preferably accompanied by a donut.
Thanks again for answering questions, Keeli! More soon from the pit where management keeps us at night.
Meet Megg, Mogg, and Owl. Megg is a drug-addicted, depressed witch, and Mogg is her familiar — a cat who doesn't seem to respect her boundaries. Owl is an anthropomorphized owl. This first collection of Tasmanian-born Simon Hanselmann's online comic stars characters struggling with poverty, drug use, depression, sexuality, and their sometimes abusive relationships with each other. Megahex will feature three seasons of Megg and Mogg from the past five years, as well as over 70 pages of new material.
Our downloadable excerpt dives right into Megg, Mogg, and Owl getting high and getting in trouble. There is a party where Werewolf Jones shows off a party trick that results in an ambulance ride to the ER. Afterwards, the remaining party-goers have a "Horrible Feet Contest", which Werewolf Jones returns just in time to win.