From soon retiring as a legend to new beginnings as an artist, people who love to create lead an interesting life path. For few it’s a lifetime career, and for others it’s art that would be done for free though extra money is always welcome. It’s with this artist passion for all things geek that I saw artists close to the end of their careers and others in the beginnings at Wizard World 2017.
Mike Grell, writer for numerous comics like Green Arrow, Aquaman, and even Iron Man was honored with a lifetime achievement award being inducted into the Wizard World Hall of Legends. I could tell he was very happy though simultaneously nonchalant and detached. Although his name will live forever amongst other comic great inducted like Rob Liefield creator of Deadpool, Trinna Robins comic writer, and Jeff Smith creator of “Bone” it didn’t seem to matter much to him. Perhaps that’s because at the end of the day it’s about the work, the art.
Grell grew up with no television, a very important decision his parents made that would influence his life. It would lead to him valuing a simple pencil and paper. In today’s world we’re so saturated by entertainment and moving from random entertainment to random entertainment that few of us ever master one art form. We get bored easy so just having a pencil and paper would bore us compared to the alternative having all types of social media, programs, and Youtube at our finger tips. In contrast, Grell was able to focus on his writing wholeheartedly rather than being spread thin. He put his time and effort into his craft and has become a well know writer as a result.
On the panel of younger people who make a nerdy living were people doing diverse things in comics, cosplay, and writing. They had great advice, and the biggest thing was that most of them actually had a regular day job. Most of them had jobs that allowed them the time to chase their passion. In the case of Mogshelle she was able to remotely work from home, and she had a lot of extra time to create cosplays. Having a regular job helps fund art as well.
Networking was vital to all the panelists making part of their living doing geek related art. Some advice included knowing when you’ve impressed someone of worth with your work. From there you can follow up with questions and ask for a possible collaboration that benefits both parties. Making real friends with people with no real desire for anything from them is also important. From there collaborations do happen, and sometimes there isn’t money involved.
Let’s face it. Most of us who create art would do it for free, yet it’s astounding that many times people refuse to work with people for free. Rather than strike a mutually beneficial collaboration that helps expose each other to new audiences, people can be shortsighted and nix projects altogether if they aren’t paid. In most cases artists just don’t have the money pay another artist so doing an artist trade can work out well.
From the cradle to the grave making art can be a struggle, but having fun along the way and developing as a person is just part of the art process. Wizard World brings the aspiring, successful, and ending artists together in one amazing event. Check out a Wizard World near you to get the experience and inspiration from all types of artists!