Friday, August 27, 2010

Proposed: Houston Should Have a Comics Art Festival, part 4 of 4

Great job--you made it this far! We're almost done.

(If, however, you have not read part 1, part 2, and part 3, go back and read them now!)

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Why have this festival in Houston? Houston is off the beaten track for comics-as-art. None of the important publishers are here, and few comics artists of note are here. There is a small scene, but it is pretty fragmented. But these are not disadvantages. We want people to travel to Houston for the festival. High quality out-of-town guests will make Houstonians more excited about coming to check out the festival. And artists who travel to Houston to participate in the critique portion spend money in Houston's hotels and restaurants.

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Also, Houstonians have a love of oddball, noncanonical art. We demonstrate this every spring at the Art Car Parade. We embrace things like The Orange Show and Cleveland Turner, The Flower Man. Comics is an artform that has stuck its big toe in the door of art, but it isn’t all the way there. The unrespectable, slightly funky odor of comics might be just the thing to appeal to a Houston audience.

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And once we get the “public”, whoever they may be, into a festival, we start doing something really wonderful. We begin show them comics as art. Comics as a means of personal expression. A very different conception of how they may have thought of comics before. We expand their aesthetic horizons. We blow their freaking minds with amazing examples of comics art. This is the goal of the festival.

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A truly successful comics festival will create inspire people to read more comics, and for experienced comics readers, to try something different. It may inspire a few local artists and writers to put pen to paper and create their own comics. If it could help catalyze a local comics creative scene, that would be mission accomplished. It might encourage critical and scholarly work on comics from local writers and the academic community here. And I’d like to see the art collecting community in Houston embrace this artform as something worth collecting--and in doing so, encourage local galleries to sell comics art and local museums to display it.

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To sum up, what I propose a festival devoted to comics-as-art, structured around art exhibits, critiques, and slide shows, using FotoFest as a general model. This is an idea I want to launch out into the public and see what other people think of it. I welcome your feedback. Thank you.

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