Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Show & Tell: 200x class

Grumpy-bear was roused from hibernation this morning; first day of my one week “vacation” (artists never get time off) between semesters that I’ve had to shower and shave. Today I gave a guest lecture show & tell to a 200x class at UAF for a friend Vince Cee, who’s taking a stab at teaching a “Maymester” class. This is a concentrated 5-hour-per-day-two-week crash-course, part of the university’s “core” requirements: this particular one's cross-listed under art/music/theater that ostensibly provides freshmen with a solid grounding in the humanities.

So here was a chance to introduce a fresh batch of incoming students with the possibilities of the wide, wonderful world of art, at least filtered through my brain. Every talk I give involves remixing the selected images (keeping it fresh for me) and slightly adjusting the content for the intended audience. In this case I went back and pulled some really old stuff from the Freeze-Frame days, larded together with the fresh Nuggets and a sampling of editorial panels. Plus there was the usual examples of how I get my ideas, how the process of working up sketches to finished pieces, along with pen & ink works, sketches, figure drawings, logos, posters and commercial freelance projects. This to get the point across how the same underlying skills in drawing are easily transferred to practical, income-generating ones (like Basil Hayden is a universal currency).

Early morning flurry of activity getting back in the saddle with my ongoing self-syndication effort in Anchorage, Alaska’s biggest city, and my toe-hold into a much larger demographic. The idea is to expand my annual book-signing circuit this upcoming holiday season in conjunction with a couple shows, see how well the feature goes over in a new potential market. The Anchorage Press has been sporadically running the Nuggets feature weekly since December of last year, and I got an email last night from my editor that they’ve depleted their stash of funnies since it's been seeing print more regularly now. Not to mention it’s spring (even moreso down there) and the winter gags are out of sync. I might be regional, but Alaska’s a pretty damn big state with many sub-regions; arctic humor might not translate very well into a coastal area for example, or say, bush gags work best in an urban environment.

There’s also an ironic danger here in submitting only the “best-of” panels over the years shuffled into the newer works (the News-Miner has first-time publication rights, so I have to juggle files around in order to stagger distribution): the Anchorage folks will get a distorted impression of my cartoons and think I’m actually funnier than I really am, since they’re spared the torture of enduring the years of really bad shit I’ve inflicted my local audience with.

So this morning I went through the archives of some classic panels, some going back five years, culled and reconverted them, adding a current copyright tag, then exporting the files to upload when I get into town and have access to a faster connection speed than out here in the cabin.

Also had a major “oh, duh” moment when I realized I should also be including a fine-print line of text that pimps the Ink & Snow website address, on the offhand chance a reader wants to pursue linkage for more. Which in turn meant that I formatted a new master template so as to now include this information on all new works for the future, even for the Fairbanks readership. Sometimes I miss connecting the dots and drop the ball on integrating little details like this that in hindsight seem like an obvious networking move.

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