Tuesday, January 19, 2016

2016 Black Comix Arts Festival San Francisco

There is nothing like the feeling of coming home and being greeted warmly, that is what the atmosphere at the BlackComix Arts Festival SF is like but just multiply that by the hundreds as hordes of comix, art and sci-fi/writing/graphic novel fans that converge on Yerba Buena Gardens annually. Still reeling and inspired I can not express how humbled and grateful I am for the outpouring of community support and love. Last year I think I described it as a family reunion and this year was no different as I caught up with artists and writers that I only see at this event but also feel soul satisfied at the black connection and shared understanding of what it means to be black, creative and engaged. There is an ease and sophistication to conversations that do not need explanation or contextualization  which result in  a wonderful in depth exchange about the work that can be had without  pretense or verbal clutter.

I am always laughing at myself at these events as I try to keep a professional countenance while inside fan girling out, squeeing as comic and art legends walk by or check out my table. It is really still mind boggling when other artists compliment my art or young artists ask me to review their sketchbooks. This year was truly special as I ran into a family friend that I hadn’t seen since I was maybe 10 or 11 years old. A former high school friend and classmate of my older brother came by and took pictures and bought a few of my items. Truly amazing and heart warming.  

The Black Comix Arts Festival coincides with the Martin Luther King Jr. Day rally, train ride and MLK day panels.  The expo was held in the Theater this year along side the auditorium so that artists tabling overheard much of the days programming. It made for an intense mix of people and gave the event a heightened sense of community building. It was fascinating to people watch and listen to table discussions in between folks stopping by my table. I was set up near Jason of One Nation comic book series, Malik and Karen Seneferu of Black Love Matters series and the Black women is God movement.  I was happily able to pick up Day BlackGraphic Novel from Rosarium publishing as well as the Brotherman REVELATIONGraphic Novel from Dawud Anyabwile and Brian McGee. I wish I had more time to talk with folks but I did have an opportunity to visit with Eugene Randolph Young, Channing Joseph, Bill Campbell, John Jennings and Kofi Ra Brown. I must admit there were a few fan girl moments when I was able to talk to artists like Dawud Anyabwile and  Nalo Hopkinson. I did not audibly squee or do the  cabbage patch dance in appropriately not even once.

Pretty tired but feeling super grateful afterwards and inspired as well as motivated to make more art. I can not express enough the awesomeness of sharing what you love with those that appreciate it and support you both with kind words of encouragement, spirit and commerce. Thank you to the organizers and volunteers and art and comics enthusiasts. Big shout out to Shawn Taylor and John Jennings,the NorCal MLK organization for all their hard work bringing this event to SF.

  I did manage to take a few photos. You can find more on my flickr page too at storm1sky.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Eastbay Alternative Book and Zine Fest 2015

There are a number of reasons why every year I look forward to the Eastbay Alternative Book and Zine Fest. EBABZ for short. I'll just blog about the top three or four.  

4. Location. The Eastbay Alternative Book and Zine Fest is held in Berkeley Ca. downtown at Berkeley City College just one block from major public transportation both B.A.R.T. and AC Transit. BCC is also about 15 minutes from my apartment and with the amount of stuff I cram into my rollie bag this is just awesomeness.

3. Timing. I make both crafts, textiles and handmade dyed clothing and accessories and to support that I sell at several in-person fairs and festivals throughout the year. By the time EBABZ rolls around I’ve pretty much wrapped up all of those type of vending events so I can breathe just a little bit as I prepare for the holidays. The Eastbay Alternative Book and Zine Fest becomes more of a celebration and a fun event because I’ve exhausted myself pushing during the earlier part of the year.

2. Diversity. I did mention that EBABZ is held in Berkeley right? Also known as Bezerkly, lovingly of course. This is because you are liable to meet and see just about any and all types of people in Berkeley. Race, color, creed, religion, orientation, ability, identity and or named species and I love it. Everyone is welcome and the event is a safe space for all folks and it’s not just in word but you can feel it and it feels wonderful to see peaceful gathering in action. Someone once said peace is not just the absence of conflict and that is not better exemplified than at the EBABZ. Diversity is not tolerated but celebrated. Thanks organizers and volunteers. Respect matters.

1. Artists. I am new to zines and comics and I still have a lot of fan girl moments. A lot. I may hide it but I still get super geeked up and juiced when I meet zine and comic creators that I admire. There are many zine makers unique to EBABZ and I can only get my fix at this show. I wait for it and revel it because it only comes once a year. The best part of the zine and comics community is meeting other artist’s  in-person as well as zine and comics enthusiasts. It’s one thing to follow folks online but to finally get to have eye to eye conversation and shake hands, give hugs and dap is fuel for continuing to do that one weird zine or stay up all night to finish a drawing. There are just some creators and art you can only get at EBABZ.

I had a fun time. I was honored to sit next to a badass artist Tyler Cohen who makes Primazonia.  Just a few feet away was the super smart creator in NiaLevy King who's podcasts We Want the Airwaves gives me Life! Go check their stuff. It’s funny because it truly makes a difference who you table near. I’m grateful for the support and encouragement from zine veterans like Tyler, Nia, Channing, Maureen, Jennie, Liz, Breena and Ajuan.
Please check out their links below and support! 
Channing Kennedy http://channingkennedy.com/ 
Jennie Hinchcliff  https://redletterdayzine.wordpress.com/ 
Maureen Forys https://www.flickr.com/photos/happenstancephotos/sets/72157594218367013/
Liz Mayorga https://www.facebook.com/pages/Liz-Mayorga-ART/232758100109195
Breena Nunez Peralta https://www.etsy.com/people/Breenache
Ajuan Mance http://8-rock.com/

 Thanks again to the organizers Tomas Moniz and all the awesome volunteers and BCC for allowing
us to use the space. It’s a wrap. Check out a couple of photos of sweet folks who stopped by my table to buy stuff and encourage me with kind words! More on flickr too!

Monday, October 05, 2015

A.P.E. 2015 Alternative Press Expo

The Alternative Press Expo, "The Alternative Press Expo (APE) is a convention dedicated to independent, small and self-publishers as well as artists of all sorts." from the A.P.E. Facebook page.
This year A.P.E. moved to San Jose. There was alot of talk about it in 2014  being moved from San Francisco back to San Jose. You can read more about it on ComicsBeat, but more about that later.

Last year A.P.E. was held at Fort Mason in San Francisco and organized by Comic Con, this year it was organized by Dan Vado and held at the San Jose Convention Center South Hall.

Since I'm new to making comics every event and show is eye opening and I'm excited like a little kid at Christmas so I had no idea or frame of reference around the significance of moving a show like A.P.E. from San Francisco to San Jose and quite frankly still don't, I can only tell you about my experience.
 Thinking about going to San Jose from Oakland meant getting all my comics stuff together and either loading it on a bus,BART or in a car and deciding to stay the weekend in San Jose or not and how to pay for hotel and food or going back and forth both days which sounds fairly easy but it is tiring. Decisions Decisions! The travel time makes for a long day. Day 1 is always a bit crazy because I feel like I'm going to forget something crucial. The show was held in the South Hall of the San Jose convention center and was confusing to find as the Convention center is huge and includes several buildings and parking lots and is adjacent to hotels and retail shops. I'll just stay it. I got lost. I had to change the location on my GPS to the South Hall address to actually find where I was going but once I was there, cool beans! The south hall is big and cool with high ceilings and large vendor rows and seating areas were huge as well. I'm still learning how to set up a booth and I'm experimenting with how to show prints etc. yet set up went well.  I wish I had known how much space I was going to have behind me though as I would have brought another table or a larger stand alone display for prints or tee shirts.
The building did not have any visible signage outside so I'm not sure if the general public was able to tell that anything was going on inside. The foot traffic was light but steady initially and seemed to pick up as Day one progressed. I started asking folks how they had heard about A.P.E. this year and most people said it was already marked on their calendar.

By about 3 in the afternoon I realized last year I had been more busy but I had some very sweet yet crazy dudes tabling next to me so I was laughing all day at their jokes. Check out their blog and comic A Minor Spell. Big shout out to Mike, Winston,Jef and Ryan! You made Day one very memorable and fun.

I also got to table across from Zachary Sweet who has been tremendously supportive and encouraging of my comics and art. He is a very awesome artist so check out his work.
It was good to talk with Ryan Hungerford go check out his art on his site. Great stuff.

I was also pleased to talk to Michael Manomivibul whose art I bought last year and wish I'd found his table and gotten more! Also go check out his work! Very dope artist and super nice guy and I appreciate his advice and generosity spending time talking to me about digital art soft ware programs and such.
I had a good time chatting with Eileen Alden Kaur of Super Sikh.
Again I am so new to comics that it is really all joy and happy times for me even if I'm not making my table fee back. I am truly humbled when folks like Mark Thompson of MONSTARK, Jose Angeles of CrudeDude and Shayna Why creator of OverShare Party come by just to chat! Amazing! Please click on their names for the links to their web sites and check the art and comics.

I walked around on day two but still didn't get to see everything. Thank you to Daniel and Xio of Pochino Press for coming by and helping out so I could walk around. They have a book release party happening October 24th at Amor Eterno Art and Tattoo space!
It is nice to just fanboy out and look at all the freaking awesome talent all in one room.

I'm always surprised and humbled by return visitors and so pleased that a few folks came back to get the new issue of my comic book Nuthin Good ever happens at 4 a.m. I was even surprised by folks that came through wearing my tee shirt or asking me to sign their comics. I love this stuff.
Good times. So even though I think the move to San Jose made a difference in foot traffic the venue was great and the logistics of setting up well organized once I found the right building. All the volunteers were very helpful and accommodating. I met some new people and talked to some outstanding folks who I hope to work with at a later time so I'm actually looking forward. I can't wait to see what happens next year. Thank you A.P.E. organizers and volunteers. I  have more photos from A.P.E. 2015 on my flickr page, storm1sky and I am also doing Inktober again this year so please check out those photos if you are into Inktober drawings.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

My Trip to MECCA CON 2015

I kept hearing about MECCA CON and the Motor City Black Age of Comics, year after year I couldn't seem to make the event fit into my schedule,until now.
"Midwest Ethnic Convention for Comics and Art, aka M.E.C.C.A, are large comic book and artist conventions held annually in Detroit, MI."
From the MECCA CON Facebook page.

I submitted an application to MECCA CON and quickly received a reply from Maia Crown Williams that my application was accepted so I booked a train ticket. Maia suggested a Detroit Air BnB that was very reasonably priced so I booked a room. Super excited I looked forward to meeting new people and all the amazing artists I follow and interact with online.
I've traveled to Chicago on Amtrak before so I knew it would be a long yet beautiful ride. I have been considering a few concepts lately around fear and doubt and ways in which negative energy becomes manifest in action and behaviors of others and myself because of these emotions. I am working on being more present,mindful of how "thoughts become things" and how to navigate forming boundaries which enable my self care and deflect others psycho-emotional trauma and negative energy. I consciously and deliberately allow myself to be,safe and prioritize my health and well being. This trip to MECCA CON was much needed.
I expected to take a few photos,draw and be silent for 2.5 days. I did not expect to meet Joseph a young brother who had packed a bag and ditched California for Denver Colorado. We laughed and chatted all the way to Denver. I was blown away by all the scenic views and sunrise and sunset as well as all the colors. The ridiculous colors so vibrant and vivid even through the train windows. I was amazed by the lush greens,blues and the low hanging white voluminous clouds and speckled red rocks outside of Denver. I took photo after photo of clear dark olive water and black brown rocks with rust colored bushes and butter yellow tall reeds of grass flowing into beige sandy shores and pale salmon mountain vistas.
I sketched a bit and slept alot and laughed as people stomped and wandered up and down the train aisle like drunks.
Oh and I even managed to almost get left behind in Granby. Funny now and funny then as I ran from the station bathroom and even funnier now as I write this, even with the assistant conductor screaming, "YOU LAUGH BUT WE WOULD HAVE LEFT YA!"
I could not help but laugh as my new friend Lorraine stood in the door of the train making sure the other conductor did not indeed leave me and as we giggled she says," I WASN'T GON' LET THEM LEAVE YOU GIRL!"

By the time we pulled into Chicago I simply felt a huge amount of relief and anticipation. I had also chatted up Barbara who was going from California to Detroit to visit her sick brother. We laughed and talked about how hungry we were and how her family was having a barbaque and how good real food was going to taste verses the crap on the train.
I was picked up from the Detroit train station by Kemit from the Air BnB and we immediately hit it off and spent the next 2 hours talking and eating at a place named Coney Island a chain of eateries in Detroit. After I got to the Air BnB I showered and jumped into bed not really even looking around just grateful to be able to relax in a real bed.
In the morning I showered for a long time trying to wash off 2.5 days of train. Breakfast was included in the fee so I made way to the unit where the owner was cooking which was easy to find since the aroma emanating from the house was herby and heavenly. The food was divine. Vegetarian home cooked yummy food from produce grown,picked and prepared fresh all right there on the property. Delicious food. I had arrived a day early to chill before the event so I grabbed my sketchbook and art supplies and looked for a place to work on some drawings.
The place is breathtakingly serene and so peaceful. Detroit gets a bad rap much like Richmond and Oakland and of course some of it is warranted but no place is all bad. I found a little Oasis of cheer,warmth and genuine loving, welcoming peace. I sat and drew in my sketchbook just hung out watching the care-giver water the garden. I was able to take in cool sweet deep breathes of calm and exhale quiet bliss with the faint tinkering of wind chimes surrounding me on all sides.
Breakfast was included in the fee but not lunch or dinner so I jumped on a city bus and went to find food. I walked around downtown but ended up going back towards my accommodations and got a quick bite to eat and as I returned met the other guests arriving for MECCA CON. I met Maia or "Crown" and made it an early night as I was extremely excited for the next day of activities.
Daniel of Pochino Press picked me up Saturday morning and we took off and he quickly showed me around bits of Detroit before pulling up to the Detroit Public Library.

I prayed that I wouldn't geek out at meeting Anthony Piper  or  other comics superstars.

Set up was smooth and Jonathan one of the many volunteers was super nice and helpful. Daniel and I set up next to Bill Campbell of Rosarium Press who I'd met at the Black Comix Arts Festival in January. He made me laugh alot with his sardonic and dry humor. The crowd was friendly and happy to see us and very excited. I met so many of the coolest people, ones that I follow online and finally got to meet in person. Too many to name. I was humbled to have a couple young artists ask me to view their sketchbooks and spend time with fellow artists talking about the creative energy and positive energy of being around like minded melaninated individuals.The after MECCA CON dinner conversation was memorable and fun as I had a chance to sit and talk with Imani Lateef of Peep Game Comix.
Huge thanks to Maia "Crown" Williams and all her volunteers. Great event! Lots of laughs and much needed community building. Big ups,Thank you and blessings to Diane Hoye of the Hoye family garden and Air BnB. Lovely space and even sweeter and awesome people.

The train ride home seemed so much shorter than the ride out? One highlight was meeting Sarah who rode from Chicago to Colorado. We laughed and slept and laughed even more at people falling and actually drunk or high? Not sure which. She knits and made several hats on the ride. I was able to buy a couple. We exchanged cards and maybe we will talk again sometime soon. Funny the day after I arrived in Detroit Kemit was leaving for California, maybe she will visit me here. Now that I've showered 3 or 4 times and looking over the awesome photos and comics haul, I'm already dreaming of next years trip to MECCA CON! It's not good bye Detroit it's see ya later!
Enjoy some photos and,
As always you can view more photos on my flickr page here,

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Creative Weekend, SF Zinefest and Oakland Creates!

Hey folks! This weekend was amazing. Ah where do I begin?
I learned a few months ago that SF Zinefest one of my favorite shows was going to be reduced to  one day. I was not only saddened by that but also concerned about my work not being distributed to as many folks as I'd like during this weekend.
I had been thinking about having an art show pop up thing for myself for about a year so it seemed now was the perfect time. If you know me personally then you know that I tend to be very generous even some say to a fault. Well I can't help but share and this circumstance was no different. I wanted to share  the possibility, the opportunity. So I did. I imagined Oakland Creates, a comics,zine and art pop up show. Maybe to have a follow up next year or six months. My first task was to put down on paper exactly what my event was to be and to how to express that to other artists and the general public. I'd worked with Daniel Zarazua before briefly after meeting him at the Black Comix Arts Festival in January as he'd asked me to come to his high school and speak to students. So I reached out and Daniel and I started putting together a new event for the Labor Day weekend.
Let me tell you I had no idea of what I was getting myself into. Trying to find a venue and connecting with artists and deciding on what kind of event this was going to be,who was going to be our core audience to the mission or purpose of the show I was flaying around there for a month or so but then I realized that I need to really personalize the event and create something that me myself would want to attend. So that's what I did. I invited artists that I wanted to see that aren't normally represented in larger more commercial art spaces in Oakland and the SF bay area but are so talented and have something worthwhile to say and show us all.
The response was tremendous and shockingly so cool. I mean cool like the other side of the pillow. Folks attended the event and gave such good vibes and all the vendors seemed quite busy. Oakland creates is like my baby and wow! I am so grateful for all the help and encouragement, the expertise and professionalism of Daniel and Xio of Pochino Press. Thank  you to them and all the artists and guests for a wonderful day and I'm already thinking about next year. Stay tuned. Hey but that's not all. Of course SF Zinefest was the same weekend on Sunday and oh by the way I spend the previous month working like a mad woman completing my latest installment of the comic book Nuthin Good ever happens at 4 a.m.
I always make the SF Zinefest event the deadline for completing my new issue. This year was no different. I had to finish it! and finish it I did. I had a blast drawing,inking and killing folks on paper.
Oh yeah I also agreed to read my comic at the Cartoon Art Museum the night before my event and man again I was so humbled and honored to be asked to do it that I could not say no.
Thanks to Liz Mayorga for reaching out to me and Channing Kennedy also for offering to promote Oakland Creates. I am sure that is why so many people came out to Oakland to check us out and I am forever grateful for the love.
Once again here are some photos from all three days and I also am in the process of posting all the pics on my personal flickr page here is the link,

Please stay tuned for more Oakland Creates even info for the upcoming months!
Here are the social media links with more to come,
TUMBLR - http://oaklandcreates.tumblr.com/
INSTAGRAM - https://instagram.com/oaklandcreates/
FACEBOOK - https://www.facebook.com/createfromhere
Oakland Creates guests
Eugene Young with a guest viewing his zine
Nia King with her book

Monday, July 13, 2015

2015 Temescal Street Fair

The fourth of July is not really a big holiday in my household especially since the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776 and the Emancipation proclamation was signed in 1863. Ah but that is not what this post is about! The 4th of July weekend the Annual Temescal Street Fair is held on Telegraph Ave. in Oakland Ca.
I had a good time last year so this year I registered for a booth and had an even better time!
As usual I have many irons in the fire and didn't get to do all the things I wanted to in order to make my booth better but as it turns out nobody is really there for how cute my booth set up is or isn't or how I've organized the stacks of tie dye items.
Again I'll say, next year I'll have better signage! Next year I'll have a easy way for customers to browse through all the clothing and accessories!
Because I sell so many different items the day turned out great! I have items as inexpensive as $5 dollars and as expensive as $100 dollars so a bit of something for everyone.
My friends mentee was available to help me set up and help watch the booth for the day which is always a plus for buying food and taking nature breaks!
My next tie dye event hasn't been planned yet but I will post more the closer it gets and I always try to book Holiday Shows and this year will be no exception! I really have come to love in-person events and meeting and talking to customers! I'm not ready to have a brick and mortar yet but it truly is eye opening to meet those that are into tie dye and fashion.
You just never know who you might meet!
Here are a few pics from July 5th and again there are more images on my flickr page under storm1sky! Here is the link,
Temescal Street Fair Photos!

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Life Drawing Marathon at the College of Marin

It's not often that I get to spend the whole day drawing anymore. Typically I either spend about an hour in the morning before work or 20 to 30 minutes at lunch or an hour or two after work to draw.
Even if I am able to draw for an extended period of time during the week it almost always means I have to rearrange something in my schedule to accommodate taking the time to focus on drawing. Most of my dedicated drawing time is during the weekend when I can draw for at least 4 hour chunks of time. Out of the blue I was invited to participate in the Life Drawing marathon which is an all day drawing event where nude models are available for sketching in various poses for varying lengths of time. 1 to 5 minute poses, 10 to 20 minutes poses and 1 hour to 3 hour poses and usually several models in different rooms. Artists can move around to draw not only different models but get warmed up before setting up to draw a long pose which is my case is truly a great disciplined way to start any drawing session.
This Drawing marathon was at the College of Marin in Kentfield ca. The models were from the Bay Area Modeling guild. Other drawing marathons in the past have been held at Merritt College in Oakland ca. and Fort Mason in San Francisco. This was a good test for me since I don't usually draw the nude human figure in my personal work. Most artists feel drawing the nude human figure is the best way to learn how to draw. While I agree with that I also think it's one of the hardest ways to learn. It takes years or decades to learn human anatomy along with all the other skills required to render the human form in any convincing manner.
Drawing the human form is not only about capturing the likeness of the person infront of you but also about how the proportions of the body work together with perspective and fore shortening of the different limbs as they move in various planes depending on  the angle or where the artist is in the room and or distance from the model. To add to that lighting,shading and line quality,gesture and in some cases color palette as well as simple drawing techniques to create an accurate depiction of flesh tone,texture,hair and body language or expression.
I had a great time and had the pleasure of drawing some tremendous models and met some fantastic artists.Since the drawings are of the nude human form I will not post them here but as per usual you can find more images on my flickr page under the user name storm1sky.
Enjoy and please feel free to leave a comment or feedback! The pics from June 7th drawing marathon are at the bottom of the album approx 14 pics.