MoCCA Arts Festival 2013 RoundupDavid 04.17.2013
Recently, three of our fellow rocketeers attended the 2013 MoCCA Arts Festival right here in New York City. For those who don’t know, the festival is an annual celebration of comics put on by the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in association with the Society of Illustrators. Participants in the festival typically include a mixture of established and aspiring cartoon artists, publishers, and fans.
The festival itself was a “big improvement” from last year, according to our animator Dana Wulfekotte, who was there to promote her webcomic “Leadpaint.”
Highlights throughout the weekend included work from Eleanor Davis, Scott C., Jillian Tamaki, Becky Dreistadt, No Brow, Blood Bakery, and many more. Classic works from the museum’s private collection could also be seen on display in the comic art gallery. There, attendees could view work from cartoonists such as Charles Schulz (Peanuts), and Milton Caniff (Terry and the Pirates, Steve Canyon).
As the festival went on, there seemed to be a number of emerging trends that differed from years past. Our own Jacques Khouri, who attended the fest to sell a number of postcards and posters from his blog ijotalot.com, noticed how many cartoonists are shifting away from the Japanese manga styles that have been popular in recent years, and incorporating more graffiti/street art influences into their work.
Jacques also found that there were less themes concerning violence as in the past, e.g., the superhero archetype, and that there was more of a focus on personal storytelling. This was especially true with younger artists at the fest, who seemed to want to tell more relatable stories about everyday life. This could be indicative of a wider range of distribution options that are now available to cartoonists, such as a greater number of independent publishers willing to take risks, and self-publishing outlets via the Internet. Not to mention, as our art director Robert Kopecky put it, that “underground comix artists are much more ambitious” these days, and bring a level of “cross-platform marketing savvy” into the promotion of their work.
Dana also took note of the rising number of “young women gaining prominence in independent comics,” which she found to be very encouraging.
Overall, the fest this year seems to have been a big success. It was a positive creative environment where appreciation for the craft of illustration and cartooning was able to thrive, and a venue where artists and fans could get away from their computers and connect with each other in person.
Check out a number of featured exhibitors’ work here at the MoCCA Arts Festival Tumblr.