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Chester history comics for learning

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IMAG0903Talk20 is a great idea run by a great group of artists in Richmond, VA. It borrows from a national movement to mix many genres in a casual setting in a rapid-fire way — think fresh vegetables in a Cuisinart in your kitchen packed with friends. With the top of the Cuisinart off. Each artist gets 20 slides (great!) and only 20 seconds to talk about each slide (AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!)

I was honored to be invited to this week’s Talk20 at The Corrugated Box Building. But I was nervous about making any sense with only 20 seconds per.

Yes, yes, I’ve spoken in public plenty. It’s a big part of my business! But speaking to elementary school students for 45 minutes seems much easier — there’s time to recover a flub or to cruise through some well-practiced patter or to follow an idea that pops up because of a student question or suggestion. A 45-minute talk is a like a wandering walk with my dog. This was going to be a rollercoaster ride.

They tell me the crowd laughed. I couldn’t tell because the wind was whipping by as I crested the coaster hills. Five minutes? It felt like 60 seconds max.

Here’s what I meant to say (and maybe I did make these points; who knows??! We’ll have to see what the video shows once we post it): It’s taken me 33 years to build this wonderful life I have and to get a mastery of the white space I use. People assume it’s easy for me now after all that practice, but I’ve picked an artform with real tension built into it. The historian part of me wants to add MORE WORDS all the time, but my artist part has to resist and remind the historian that it is always better to SHOW THAN TO TELL. I’m glad I’ve had the chance to explore that fight between word and picture. I’m glad I can make money by communicating ideas through art. Rarely was there a lightning bolt moment that showed me the way. I’ve gotten here by a long, patient exploration of doors — some were wide open, some only cracked a bit, some were closed completely until I turned the handle. It’s not easy to make a career of being an artist, but it can be done. I’ll keep exploring that blank space again tomorrow. 😉

Hmmm, I think that was another 5 minutes right there . . .

The good news is that when I wasn’t speaking I learned a lot from the other artists — muralist Ed Trask reminded me of bold artists that used to hang out at my house because they were my Dad’s students, and culinary artist Ellie Basch reminded me of my sister! And many of the 102 people in attendance seemed glad to get the free comix I handed out and signed for them after the event. And I can’t wait to be in the audience for the next one!!!

This entry was posted on Friday, March 25th, 2011 at 1:19 pm and is filed under Author's Purpose, Comix Creation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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Chester crab comics