See 8 of the Craziest Art-Filled Booths at New York’s Comic Con 2015
Want to see a Warhol-inspired take on Pikachu?
The New York Comic Con may not be on the average art lover’s radar, but the teeming crowds at yesterday’s opening day made Frieze New York look positively underattended. In 2014, 151,000 people showed up to the annual event.
There’s plenty to see at the Javitz Center this weekend, from costumed convention-goers to celebrity appearances, but the art just may be the biggest draw. Comic book artists are creating original works, signing autographs, and selling their art to the masses.
For those looking to explore the artier side of “the con,” your best bet may be to stop in at Artist Alley, where the artists take center stage. There are also artists scattered around the main showroom, amid booths hawking knock-off Lego mini-figures, Game of Thrones-themed jewelry, and Chevrolet automobiles (seriously). Here’s artnet New’s guide to some of the most original and enjoyable art on offer.
1. Art History Mash-Ups by Missy Pena
Want to see Andy Warhol’s take on Pikachu? Cersei Lannister as an Alphonse Mucha masterpiece? Or what it would look like if Birth of Venus was an anime poster for a boy’s swim team? Missy Pena painstakingly recreates her favorite Old Master paintings, and then works in characters from pop culture for a new take on a great work of art. (Her illustration also appears in the Game of Thrones art book Draw ‘Em With the Pointy End.)
2. Mid-century Modern-Inspired Super Heros by Rogan Josh
Rogan Josh’s elegant take on iconic pop culture characters, which he describes as “cosplay for your walls,” may look like they’re straight off the drawing board of a 1960s-era Mad Men-esque advertising agency, but these digital works are created using Adobe Illustrator.
3. George Lucas Approved Star Wars Art by Bottleneck Gallery
Brooklyn-based Bottleneck Gallery, which sells art prints based on a number of pop culture favorites, is actually an official partner with LucasFilm. Mark Englert, who is represented by the gallery, will be featured in the upcoming “The Force Awakens” official Stars Wars gallery show in Los Angeles. Englert’s limited edition prints for the recent Jurassic World movie were previously handed out at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con International.
4. Jelly Bean Mosaics by Kristen Cumings
Spotted at the booth for Jelly Belly jelly beans, Kristen Cumings was hard at work, carefully selecting the perfect colored candies to complete her mosaic of Batman, one of three sugary works commissioned for their event. Each piece takes about 100 hours to complete, with Cumings hand painting each design before painstakingly applying Jelly Beans using spray adhesive. If that’s not enough of a draw, the booth was also giving out free bags of Jelly Bellys.
5. Kick Ass Women by Babs Tarr
Convention-goers were flocking to Babs Tarr’s booth in Artist Alley, jockeying to take a photo with the official artist of DC Comics’s Batgirl. Her tough yet girly illustrations feature everyone from Dragon Ball Z‘s Bulma to Spider-Gwen, a new Marvel comic where Gwen Stacey, not Peter Parker, gets the Spidey Senses. Tarr’s empowered take on the pin-up girl tradition was a breath of fresh, feminist air in an industry known for overly sexualizing its female characters.
6. Crafting for Adults by Kyle McCoy
You may not remember what Perler Beads are, but the childhood arts and craft project, which lets you melt the plastic beads together to create works of art, is all grown up in Kyle McCoy’s hands. His Pixel Art series sells unique, one-of-a-kind Perler mosaics featuring pop culture icons, crafted in both cartoonish and photo-realistic styles. “It’s a medium I never seem to get bored of,” McCoy told artnet News. “I’m always on the quest to find the perfect pattern.”
7. Sculptural Action Figures from Sideshow Collectibles
What is an action figure, after all, but a sculpture that you can play with? The Sideshow Studio, which bills itself as “a modern Renaissance environment,” takes comic collectibles totally seriously. Each figure is carefully sculpted by the waxwork department and then hand-painted. The resulting designs are nothing less than a work of art.
8. Screen Printing On Demand by Tiny Fish Printing
Based in Rochester, New York, Tiny Fish Printing brought four original, Comic Con-exclusive t-shirts to this year’s event, all of which can be printed to order at their booth. The impressive set-up features four separate screens, allowing them to quickly and easily execute the design of your choice, which include Luke Skywalker and a dog that thinks he’s batman.
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