On Sunday, April 11, I attended the MoCCA Festival at the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. This was a huge fundraiser for the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art. I was assaulted with a wide array of talent from the world illustration, cartooning, graphic novels, and comics.
In the course of going up and down rows chock a block with booths overflowing with new works by hundreds and hundreds of artists I came upon the Static Fish booth of Pratt Institute manned by my intern, Maritsa Patrinos. We chatted for a time and she pointed me in the direction of several booths featuring Scandinavian artists... really great, inventive stuff. I lingered to talk with Niklas Asker who was signing copies of his new release, Second Thoughts.
Niklas stood out to me because his technique was different and memorable and he has a very strong and individualistic point of view that set him apart from others. I made sure to get his contact information in Sweden and have recently followed up with a 45 minute skype call. The upshot of this chance encounter was that after looking at more samples and our skype conversation we have agreed to begin working together.
It's interesting to note that I didn't have an agenda when I went to MoCCA. Often times I will be at the Society of Illustrators or the Academy of Art in San Francisco or a gallery opening, etc. and something attracts my eye. One never knows where you will meet great talent in this world and I make it a habit to go to as many illustration/art events as I can. I find that when you're looking for a particular style at a particular time, it tends not to work. But if you're just hanging out something may pop up that really talks to you, or an artist may come up to you out of the blue, introduce themselves, begin a conversation and hand you their card. Believe it or not, this happened recently to me, I was at the Society of Illustrators and I was introduced to Jason Seiler by my Art On A Grand Scale artist Herman Mejia. He said to me: this guy is really great, you should see his work. Well, obviously if it's coming from one of my own... I figured of course. Jason took out his iPhone and started scrolling through his online portfolio. I was blown away with his stuff because he was the freshest caricaturist I had seen in a long time. Super tight, but he captured the real essence of the person he was drawing. His George Lucas and Donald Trump were real killers. We began a dialogue, the upshot of this conversation and chance encounter was another edition to our growing group.
It makes you think that fate plays a big role in our lives. Don't stay home!