Good Bye Gatekeepers.
Ever since the completion of my book I have wanted to take on another personal project. I have had an ongoing blog post entitled “Monster Mondays” now for almost a year and the response has been wonderful. One of my good buddies, a teacher in Delaware, has even brought the concept of Monster Mondays into the classroom! Each Monday I have been posting a piece of artwork featuring some sort of creature or monster, even robots. I have a LOT of ’em.
I got to thinking about some of the buzz around my artist friends, young and old. There is a general consensus that it pays to have “your own thing.” Sure you work for clients, collaborate on ideas and jobs, but you should have your own creation, something that is entirely yours. A few months back I was extremely fortunate to meet two amazingly creative people, Tony Auth (Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist) and Neil Gaiman (New York Times best selling author). They were both part of the UArts Commencement this year, I had the honor of presenting Mr. Auth with a HDFA. In talking to them both they agreed that the creative world as we know it has changed and is continuing to change. Neither of them said this with an ounce of fear or disgust. They stated it as simple fact and both relished the idea of change. Auth acknowledged his excitement of making his cartoons not only move but speak, with his voice. Gaiman spoke of the gatekeepers no longer guarding the doors to your audience and went on in his commencement speech to encourage graduates to just “make good art.” Talking with these two icons of creativity was one of the greatest days of my life and a seed had been planted.
Like I said when I finished the book I wanted to do something in the same vein, I needed to do it. This is that something. The Monster Mondays comic is a comic strip that will update every Monday. One of the things about “I Put the Can in Cancer…” was that it had to be edited down. I had so many more stories to tell. More stories about how wonderful my friends and family are, more stories of the amazingly strong people I met on my journey, more stories of how my students make me happy to be alive. Simply 112 pages was not enough, so I am going to keep going. Week to week I will use the real estate of the four-panel strip to introduce you to my friends, my family, my co-workers and my students. If you have ever wondered what it is like to be a working artist, a teacher of the arts, a cancer survivor or a cartoonist, this is the comic for you. Talk about your niche audience.
Hanging in my studio is a drawing of one of my heroes Harvey Pekar, drawn by one of my best friends, Jeffro Kilpatrick. Jeffro drew Harvey while he was giving a lecture here in Philly. At the top of the page is a quote from the lecture. “You can do anything with words and pictures.” Words to live by.
Above: One of the first self-portraits I created for the Monster Mondays comic strip.
Below: A quick little slideshow of some of the “characters” in my life.