by Mike Rhode
A few years back we interviewed Kathleen Brenowitz about her cartooning. She's currently exhibiting her work at Artomatic, and we checked back in with her.
How did you decide to exhibit at Artomatic?
Oddly enough, through LARPing! (Live Action Role Playing). Wyrd Armories (https://wyrdarmouries.com) - the duo who make up the rest of the room I'm displaying in - are friends of mine I met while LARPing with my significant other. When talking shop, Cynthia mentioned Artomatic, and that we all should try to get a room together - and once I'd seen some pictures of previous shows, I was hooked!
As a sequential artist, how did you decide what to include in the show?
While I'm most known for my comics, I'm also known for my prints - most of them being of characters or worlds I plan to develop as part of my stories. Also I'd been working on stand-alone pieces for a pal's choose your own adventure - the finished "From Out of a Dream" and the current "Back Alive or Maybe Dead". So all the pieces may have been more illustrative than my usual, there is a theme and a story up on the Artomatic wall.
Has exhibiting at an art show been different than a comic con?
It has been wonderful to get out from behind the table, hands down. At the last meet the artist night, it was a delight to wander from small group to small group, answer questions, and generally move around. Cons have you standing in one place for hours, and it's hard to not get ansty. I also felt like less of a carnival barker - I waved to some people who passed by the room, but I never felt the need to shout to slow down a hurried seeker. At a con, you end up with people walking past a row of booths simply because it's more of a market - and you're not the booth they're trying to find; as a seller, you need to catch attention, usually with a loud greeting. I may have nearly lost my voice at the artist night, but it was from chatting, not hailing.
The crowd is also a little different - most of my experience of larger cons has been one of younger crowds and a great deal of shopping. Artomatic has the shopping element (in fact, my pieces are available for sale!) but with the motion of going in and out of each little room, there's a urge to linger that comes from passing a threshold. The Artomatic crowd is also very diverse in terms of ages - teenagers stopped by due to the free admission and curiosity, young couples on date nights, middle-aged artists who wanted to see what new stuff had been made, older folks who had great commentary on ink lines. In depends on the con, but I'm used to seeing fewer families and the age range as tilting towards younger - it was nice to have it flip for a change!
Has it been successful for you in reaching an audience?
Well, half of the art scene in DC knows my day job (art store minion) now, and I ran out of business cards. Time will tell if this brings in more sales/views/general eyeballs-on-my-work overall, but it's been a nice stretch of my boundaries. I'd love to do more long-term shows like this!