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18 Independent Artists at Comic Con 2012

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Back in 2010, we introduced you to some of the many talented artists at the San Diego Comic Con. So how have things changed in the last two years? For one thing, there are even more talented artists setting up shop at the convention these days. Here are a few of the many amazing artists at the convention.

Jackie Huang of Wool Buddy

While crafting has become more common at the convention throughout the last few years, felting is still a bit more obscure than most varieties of needlework and still hadn't made its mark at Comic Con. That's why I was so happy to see Wool Buddy's booth. As if the adorable creatures weren't cute enough on their own, you could even buy a felting starter kit and artist Jackie Huang couldn't be happier to show viewers how to create masterpieces of their own. He even made an adorable Lorax right in front of me.

Martin Hsu of Crakens

Plushies and tee shirts are pretty big sellers at the convention, but handmade plushies are an entirely different story. Martin Hsu's Puffer Puss toy from his Craken line was one of the cutest designs at the convention and the fact that it was 100% handmade and limited to only 50 creations made it totally worth the $65 price tag. If you happen to like the Crabby Bear shirt in the bottom left, you might want to stop by their shop in a month or so as Martin informed me that he will be the next plush produced by the company.

Diana Sprinkle

Not only does Diana Sprinkle have a fantastic name, she also had some delightful artwork and merchandise. Anyone who happens to love Star Trek puns would particularly like her Beam Me Up shirt with a picture of a scottish terrier in a Star Trek shirt -- you can just barely see it there in the top left.

Shing Khor of Sawdust Press

When it comes to adorable, yet somehow slightly unnerving, sculptures, Shing Khor of Sawdust Press definitely was the best newcomer to the Comic Con scene. Her bizarre creations have such vivid facial expressions and bright colors that they made it almost impossible to walk by her booth without stopping to take a look.

David Petersen of Mouse Guard

If you enjoy fantasy stories like The Lord of the Rings and adorable drawings of mice in people clothes, then you'll certainly appreciate David Petersen's Mouse Guard. I started reading the Black Axe series a while back and I have to say, they are great. I can't wait to get my hands on the final installment.

Jermaine Rogers

While Comic Con and rock and roll might not seem like a match made in heaven, it's important to remember that music geeks are still geeks. That's why rock poster artists like Jermaine Rogers always do pretty well at the convention. While there were a number of rock artists at the convention, Jermaine was my favorite, both because he has mastered an amazing variety of styles and because he used his David Bowie bunny for his sign.

Dave Pryor

Dave Pryor's art is delightful in that it reflects the artist's fun and geeky sense of humor. From his "Bacon for President" to his "Kermit the Gorf," his artwork is sure to resonate with at least one of your interests -- especially if you're the kind of person who enjoys Mental Floss.

Agnes Garbowska

If you're a proponent of the idea that everything is cute when it is made smaller, then you will no doubt enjoy the adorable artwork of Agnes Garbowska. While Agnes has many of her own characters and comics, I personally love her toddler versions of classic comic book characters like those you can see on her table here.

Dane Ault of Monkey Minion Press

Dane Ault's Monkey Minion Press creations are great reminders that pop-culture-inspired pop art should be bright, simple, immediately-recognizable and geeky as heck. Best of all, they sell geek greeting cards, so even if you don't have the space or cash for an art print, you can always get a great card for one of your friends.

Freddy Scribbles of Daydreams & Giggles

As I said before, handmade plushies are always a special treat, and it's even more impressive when you can see the toys being made right in front of your eyes like Freddy Scribbles of Daydreams & Giggles was doing. While she had some really cool prints, her "cubies" plushies were definitely her most popular item at the convention. Of course, with creations this geeky, cute and unique, are you really surprised that they were flying off the shelves?

Brandon Bracamonte and Jonathon Weiss of The Mustache Ride

Yes, the name of the comic is a little dirty, but I promise you that The Mustache Ride, by Brandon Bracamonte and Jonathon Weiss, is not an adult comic -- at least not in that sense. Here's the story:

Deep in the future, where society has risen and fallen many times. ‘Marucs Elroi’ and his Donkey, ‘Kong’ set off on an epic quest for revenge through a western wasteland, where the bigger the mustache the badder the bandido!

See, it's actually about mustachioed horse riders -- and the art is simply fantastic, so that always helps.

Tara Magboo of Adorable Mayhem

Tara Magboo's Adorable Mayhem creations certainly live up to their name between her wonderful jewelry designs and her entertaining glass and metal dioramas that take place inside of unassuming bell jars, like the one below.

John and Shelley Loter

John and Shelley Loter are previous Disney employees who met at the studio, got married and eventually started their own business together -- Loter Entertainment Studio. Their tee shirt and postcard designs are simply delightful, full of the kind of whimsy you would expect to see from two ex-Disney artists.

Patrick Morgan of Whaleboy

While many artists come and go at Comic Con, Patrick Morgan has been a long-time exhibitor at the convention and is widely known for his adorable Whaleboy drawings and vinyl figures -- although he creates plenty of other characters as well, has even released a number of books, and is one of the staff members on Nickelodeon's Fanboy and Chum Chum.

Valerie Hochberg

Valerie Morgan is a fantastic manga-style artist with two online comics, Kick-Girl and Mystery Babylon. Valerie's biggest sellers at the convention though weren't related to her comics, but instead were these adorable prints of some of geek culture's favorite characters.

Roger Barr and Pestoforce of I-Mockery

I-Mockery is a fun site loaded with editorial content, comics and video games, but it's the video games, mostly created by owner Roger Barr, that really earned them a place on this list of artists. In fact, the company even spent all of their marketing budget to make an arcade version of their online flash game Abobo's Big Adventure. Given that the game was in use during the entire convention, I'd say that was a pretty good investment that kept people coming back to their booth. If you're big on classic NES games, then you'll probably fall in love with their games the second you start playing them.

I know some of you Flossers made it out to Comic Con as well, so if you think I left any good artists off this list, tell the world about them in the comments. And for more fun sights from around the convention, don't miss this post on my website, Rue the Day.

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Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
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‘American Gothic’ Became Famous Because Many People Saw It as a Joke
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Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

In 1930, Iowan artist Grant Wood painted a simple portrait of a farmer and his wife (really his dentist and sister) standing solemnly in front of an all-American farmhouse. American Gothic has since inspired endless parodies and is regarded as one of the country’s most iconic works of art. But when it first came out, few people would have guessed it would become the classic it is today. Vox explains the painting’s unexpected path to fame in the latest installment of the new video series Overrated.

According to host Phil Edwards, American Gothic made a muted splash when it first hit the art scene. The work was awarded a third-place bronze medal in a contest at the Chicago Art Institute. When Wood sold the painting to the museum later on, he received just $300 for it. But the piece’s momentum didn’t stop there. It turned out that American Gothic’s debut at a time when urban and rural ideals were clashing helped it become the defining image of the era. The painting had something for everyone: Metropolitans like Gertrude Stein saw it as a satire of simple farm life in Middle America. Actual farmers and their families, on the other hand, welcomed it as celebration of their lifestyle and work ethic at a time when the Great Depression made it hard to take pride in anything.

Wood didn’t do much to clear up the work’s true meaning. He stated, "There is satire in it, but only as there is satire in any realistic statement. These are types of people I have known all my life. I tried to characterize them truthfully—to make them more like themselves than they were in actual life."

Rather than suffering from its ambiguity, American Gothic has been immortalized by it. The country has changed a lot in the past century, but the painting’s dual roles as a straight masterpiece and a format for skewering American culture still endure today.

Get the full story from Vox below.

[h/t Vox]

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“Dissension” by Tobias Rothe. Original image courtesy Fondazione Federico Zeri/Università di Bologna // CC-BY 3.0
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Get Your GIFs Ready for This International Public Domain GIF-Making Competition
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“Dissension” by Tobias Rothe. Original image courtesy Fondazione Federico Zeri/Università di Bologna // CC-BY 3.0

Excellent GIF-making skills can serve you beyond material for your clever tweets. Each year, a group of four digital libraries from across the world hosts GIF IT UP, a competition to find the best animated image sourced from public domain images from their archives.

The competition is sponsored by Europeana, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), New Zealand’s DigitalNZ, and the National Library of Australia’s Trove, all of which host millions of public domain works. The requirements are that the source material must be in the public domain, have a 'no known copyright restrictions' statement, or have a Creative Commons license that allows its reuse. The material must also come from one of the sponsored sources. Oh, and judging by the past winners, it helps if it’s a little whimsical.

The image above won the grand prize in 2015. And this was a runner-up in 2016:

via GIPHY

This year’s prizes haven’t been announced yet (although Europeana says there will be a new one for first-time GIF makers), but last year’s grand prize winner got their own Giphoscope, and runners-up got $20 gift cards. (Turns out, there’s not a lot of money in public domain art.)

Not an expert GIFer yet? You can always revisit the audio version of DPLA’s advanced GIF-making tutorial from last year.

The fourth-annual GIF IT UP contest opens to submissions October 1.

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