by Mike Rhode
Paula Bannerman doesn't consider herself a cartoonist, but her display at Artomatic revolves around a cartoon character: "Hello Kitty Gone Wrong is a series of iPad drawings that puts Hello Kitty in Action, Suspense, and mostly Horror situations." She's kindly answered our usual questions anyway.
What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?
I'm unsure how to answer this question because I never thought of myself as a comic artist. I like to use bold colors. Everything depends on what I'm using to create.
How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?
It's drawn on my iPad. I usually draw while riding on the Metro, especially the red line. I get some much done during Safe Tracking.
When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?
Late 70's, Washington, DC
Why are you in Washington now? What neighborhood or area do you live in?
The Washington, DC-area has always been my home. I do love traveling to other places, but I always love coming back to home, even with the changes.
What is your training and/or education in art?
I have been doing art since I was five years old. I managed to stay in art classes from elementary school to high school. Right now, when I go to the Portrait Gallery’s Open Studio, they have each week a different lesson which is great.
Who are your influences?
My family, my friends, Andy Warhol, Yayoi Kusama, and my art teachers: Roland Colmus, Annette Cross, and Jill Galloway.
If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?
I wouldn't make any changes over because I am here right now for a reason.
What work are you best-known for?
I think I'm more known for usually drawing on my iPad while riding the Metro (trains and buses); outside of that, I think I am known for one of my first iPad drawings, "In Her Eyes," where you see a red decorated face with a yellow eye. And recently, I think my Hello Kitty's Gone Wrong series is becoming popular because I started receiving Hello Kitty toys, stickers and other merchandise from friends.
What work are you most proud of?
I'm proud of finishing a piece than just one work.
What would you like to do or work on in the future?
Ever since I started getting involved in the STEM/STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) movement, I would like to work on having large scale pieces with more of a strong emphasis on technology. Then with the pieces, I would love to inspire others to create something amazing as well.
What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?
I go to the Portrait Gallery, spend time at my friend’s store in Union Station, travel somewhere, listen to music like the Cirque du Soleil soundtracks or just start doodling.
What do you think will be the future of your field?
In the past three years of drawing on the iPad, I went from just doing small sketches that I thought wouldn't go far, to now creating work wondering what other possibilities can I do with it, then going to conventions and showing others to create more. I feel that within drawing and creating there will always be a need to promote the importance of art, and with that, I see my field as always growing, even with opposition. Art is everywhere and is a powerful force that can't be stopped.
What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, Awesome Con, Intervention, or others? Any comments about attending them?
So far I have done Awesomecon (taking a break this year), Tee con, T-mode, CreatorCon, Makers Day Nova, National Makers Faire, and Girl Scout Makers Day.
My comment about them is regardless of if you are a vendor or visiting, it's always good to have a comfortable pair of shoes and snacks. As well as map out the bathrooms and the cheap restaurants inside and outside of the convention.
What's your favorite thing about DC?
My favorite thing about DC is the fact there are so many opportunities out there to be able to do whatever they dream of doing for little or to no money. For example, I wanted to learn the coding language, Python. So I went to Hear Me Code, and I was able to get three free Python lessons. Don't get me started on the DC library and their amazing resources!
What monument or museum do you like to take visitors to?
The Portrait Gallery because they have the free open studio on Fridays and they have art challenges in the Luce Center on Tuesdays. Also on the weekends, they have free coffee in the Luce Center.
How about a favorite local restaurant?
Do you have a website or blog?