The Art of the Narrative @ The Stranger Factory
By Stephen Jules Rubin
In the spirit of comic book craze, the Stranger Factory hosted a one-time exhibition curated by Jimmy Palmiotti featuring the art of well known comic book aficionados like Gilbert Hernandez (”Love and Rockets”), Amanda Conner (”Power Girl”), Geoff Darrow (”Shaolin Cowboy”) and many others. Palmiotti, a respected figure in the graphic arts/comic book universe, put the event together to celebrate the artistic camaraderie that permeates the medium. The Stranger Factory will host a new opening on the first Friday of each month.
Their latest exhibit, “The Art of Narrative,” attracted a diverse crowd ranging from darkly-dressed comic book fanatics to the more typical “gallery crowd,” demonstrating the diverse appeal of comic book art.
Palmiotti and Conner have achieved commercial success by drawing and penning for high-profile characters like Jonah Hex, Hellboy, Wonder Woman, Batman and others, but also through the creation of their own graphic novels, which they work on together to self-publish.
Conner said she always dreamed of being in the arts. “My dad was a frustrated comic artist, so when I said I wanted to go into it, he supported it.” She spent time working in advertising before making her way into the comic business. She encourages aspiring artists to show their portfolios to her and to anyone else who is willing to look.
Conner drew a piece specifically for the event: a colorful and humorous piece featuring an atomic bomb and Wile E. Coyote-esqe storyline. That’s what people think of when they picture New Mexico, she mused.
Palmiotti got into the business as a collector. He began buying cells and originals in the '80s and used them to learn how to draw. Since then, he has been a freelance artist, contributor and writer.
“Making comics was a hobby,” Palmiotti said. “I always had love for the story telling medium.” Like Conner, Palmiotti left a career in advertising and was able to earn a living in the comic book industry—in part with the support of crowd-funding models like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. He says it's a great way to connect with and test your audience, and allow fans to show their support by contributing. He also loves looking at others’ work and offering feedback and guidance.
Each month, Brandt Peters and Kathie Olivas will launch a new exhibit at The Stranger Factory. The public is welcome.
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