A few weekends ago we braved the spring snow, headed down to Denver, and attended the first ever DINK (Denver Independent Comic and Art Expo) convention at the Sherman Street Event Center. It was the first ever convention in Denver that was dedicated to small press and independent creators so I would have kicked myself if I'd missed it.
It was a really fun show filled with independent comics, artists, authors, and musicians. Everyone was doing their own personal thing and there wasn't a table filled with prints of mainstream characters anywhere in sight. Being a lover of personal work I have to say that this is the first convention I've ever been to where, if I could have, I would have bought something from everyone's table and felt like it was well worth my time and money.
There were five floors of exhibitors and we were set up on the fourth floor mezzanine above the main floor. It gave us a great view of all the fun and a really neat place to set up. The building was eclectic and had some really nice character to it.
Charlie La Greca, who put on the event, did a wonderful job and he, his family, and the team they put together really made the whole event a lot of fun.
It was a great weekend and we had a great time. We got to sell some books, see some old friends, and meet some new ones. I will definitely be doing this event again when it comes around next year. If you're into art, cool stuff, and personal work, this is definitely the convention to go to and, hopefully, Denver's newest independent convention will someday rival both the west coast's APE convention and the east coast's Small Press Expo.
My fingers are crossed!
Oh, and while registering for the event I was asked to submit a questionnaire about who I was and what I do. I figured it might be cool to share some of those answers. Enjoy!
First comic you ever read and what you remember about it:
I had a variety of comics growing up like Richie Rich and Lil Hot Stuff (my parents thought the super-hero stuff might be too scary for me) but the first book I bought for myself was The Amazing Spider-Man #227. Previous to buying this issue I wanted to be an animator for Disney when I grew up but this book changed all of that. Comics were now a big part of my life and I am still amazed at the stories you can tell just sitting by yourself with a piece of paper and some simple drawing tools.
What is your favorite thing about making art or comics:
My favorite thing about creating art and comics is that supernatural sense that you are channeling something bigger than yourself. Sure, you can work on your style and technique and hone your skills as much as you want to get better but, when things are flowing, no matter your skill, you've tapped into some energy in the universe and you're relaying all that information that is being transmitted to you in the best way you can. And even though it doesn't happen all the time, when it does, nothing beats that feeling.
As to why I like creating my own art and my own comics, I love having the ability to tell MY stories MY way without any editorial interference from anyone else. There is a huge freedom to being able to control your own art.
Tell us why you should be considered for the DINK FELLOWSHIP:
I am sure there are many other writers and artists who deserve the fellowship much more than I do.
All I can say is that I love doing art, I love creating comics, and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. I have somehow successfully set myself up in a way that it doesn't matter if I have no audience, no publisher, and no money, I can still do my comic. Nothing can stop me now but myself. To put myself in a position like that where I've taken away every single external obstacle is something I am very proud of.
I just love making cool stuff and showing it off. And I just hope someone else out there in the world likes it as much as I do.
As much as I've loved working for various professional clients my heart always returns to personal work and a DIY attitude. I attribute it to seeing books like Jeff Smith's Bone and Terry Moore's Strangers in Paradise at a very formative time in my life and once that bug bit me it never let go.
Please describe the various genres and style of comics or art you have published or created:
I've previously worked for Marvel Comics as an airbrush painter and inker. I self published my first comic, Exit 6, in 1998 which was a mix of humor and horror. My style is cartoony with a touch of anime. The book I am working on now, OilCan Drive, mixes science fiction, humor, and rock and roll.
I have been a freelance artist for the past 25 years working for a variety of clients such as Marvel Comics, Sports Illustrated, Time Magazine, multiple ad agencies, and I've illustrated over 60 children's books. I gradutated from the Joe Kubert School in NJ and even taught there for a few years before moving to CO. I've self published my own book, Exit 6, and am now working on my new book, OilCan Drive, which mixes web comics, print comics, music, video, and rock and roll.
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