MoCCA is always a fun and unique experience for me. More than any other convention that I go to, MoCCA is more about me being inspired by the ingenuity and creativity of fellow participants than it is about promoting my own work (though that is also important as well). This is the indie comic scene. It's a place where the further from mainstream, traditional formatting of sequential art you are the better. As such it's where I feel most at home. Nothing excites me more than devising methods of reproducing my art in strange and a-typical ways. And nothing gives me more inspiration or foundational ideas than the other artists of MoCCA.
Because of my crazy freelance schedule (and my inability to actually participate in this year's proceedings because of said freelance work) I was finally able to attend MoCCA, for the first time, as a viewer. I had time to wander the aisles and really take a closer look at what other artists were offering. I also had a little bit of spending cash for the first time as well, and so throughout the day I managed to pick up some of the things that excited, impressed, or engaged me the most. The following is a picture walk-through of my "swag":
First up a little, hand-crafted booklet caught my eye. It was lovingly put together, beautifully screen-printed and was a fold-out, japanese-album-esque single image that told a story. The artist's name is Aatmaja Pandya, a (very) recent SVA graduate. I'm excited to see how her career blossoms. She and all her table-mates were a caliber of quality I have come to expect from SVA grads and that will take them far. You can find more of Aatmaja's work at www.aatmajapandya.com.
Next is a book I came across minutes before the show came to a close. It caught my eye due to the funny, beautifully drawn, irreverent insanity of the mish-mash illustrations. And the concept had me laughing out loud. Matthew Swanson (the writer) and Robbi Behr (the artist) were two of the nicest people I met there- they were engaging, funny, and overall awesome people. And what they brought to the table is just brilliant. Working off the concept of an Exquisite Corpse (or those three-panel clothing-swap booklets of yester-year) they created a Karma Sutra unlike any other. And most brilliantly of all when you mix and match the seamless imagery around the descriptions and titles of the sexual positions all change equally seamlessly. It's the kind of literary kung-foo that I doubt my brain could handle. I highly recommend to anyone to check out their body of work. There are more kid-friendly offerings as well! Find them at www.idiotsbooks.com.
Next up is quite possibly the most beautiful (sometimes grotesquely so) book I have ever purchased from MoCCA. Titled "Bicycle" by Ugo Gattoni (a french artist), it is a black-and-white 20-panel continuous image of sheer insanity. And the print-job on this stunningly crafted by Nobrow Press (a publisher I now have a goal of one day working with to create my books). What initially drew me to this work was the fact that it was a Japanese Album (or a "Leporello" as Nobrow has coined for the format) and when I see a Japanese-Album-Style art book that is professionally printed I get incredibly excited in my hopes that I may have found a solution to my own book woes. However, not only did this excite me for selfish reasons- upon further inspection the work printed on its pages turned out to be some of the most amazing stuff I have ever seen. It's like Escher and McBess had a talented baby raised by Salvator Dali who was then asked to make a new Where's Waldo on acid. And apparently the work took over 700 hours to complete (a number I still think is shockingly low). Do yourselves a favor and look this man up!
Last (I was VERY selective this year) but certainly not least is the piece that excited me most this year. Together with Alisa Stern and Shelby Arnold, Simon Arizpe is a fellow Pratt Alum who I had the pleasure of sharing a booth with last year. What he created then and refined (and near-perfected) this year is probably the most unique idea for a sequential story I have ever seen. Taking his background as a Pop-Up Book Artist he took the idea of a hexaflexagon, engineered a three-dimensional working version of it, and then created a three panel story that would then endlessly cycle through as long as you kept pushing towards the center. The result is absolutely genius and has me frothing at the mouth to do a collaboration where he helps me create such a thing with my own work. I cannot WAIT to do so.