Comic-Con Union Tribune Interview +Details

The following is an interview conducted by the San Diego Union Tribune in reference to Comic-Con 2012 and the Cartoon Network 20th Birthday Exhibition takes place July 11—15. Wordy goodness to follow: (Bwana Spoons, Rui Vitorino Santos, Johnathan Bergeron)

S Myrland : This is the (4th?) time you've put together an exhibition tied into Comic-Con. Have the shows or the audience changed in any way over that time?

mM : This is my 13th exhibition as curator, promoter and cultural instigator in San Diego. The shows have evolved in theme from Western SuperHero Cowboy, SuperHero, Survey Select, Lucid Dreams and onto Cartoon Network’s 20th Birthday Celebration and Art Show.

S Myrland : Do you see any trends in the types of art that people are buying? What is hot now in comics art?

mM : People acquire art at all levels, and typically connect with work that speaks to them the loudest. Hot in comic art? France is always hot, Germany hand prints everything (silkscreen, letterpress, etching), USA makes up great “zine” story lines (small booklets that celebrate everything under the sun) and Japan celebrates “Super Flat” (a Pop inspired mantra introduced by Takashi Murakami). (Jules Julien)

S Myrland : You spend a lot of time in LA as well as San Diego, with a foot in both worlds. What advantages or disadvantages does San Diego have when it comes to showing comics art?

mM : With a foot in both worlds is better described as collector/fan and curator/designer… But alas, San Diego shows comics, LA celebrates animation or visa versa. Both are united this weekend. If you love art, are an art professional or dream of being an artist then you need to carpool and train ride it up north unless you are headed through the front gates of Comic-Con. LACMA and the LA gallery scene is a world-force, game changer and cultural influencer. Blame it on the creative schools located in and around LA (Otis, Art Center Pasadena, Cal Arts, UCLA) or consider it woven into the creative fabric of a city that is always hungry for the next best “movement.” (Jett Gallery, Jules Julien).

S Myrland : Any idea how many comics artists live here? Is there a community of any size to build on?

mM : I would like refer to Comics as “ART.” Yes there is a community in San Diego, good folks cheering on good folks for sure and at a hyper-local level. Generally speaking, building blocks are always available for any community——it’s more about how you leverage these building blocks to build a solid foundation and move good people forward, assisting them to be recognized as an important and influential force in the community. (Neko).

S Myrland : If Comic-Con were more of a fine art event, what would that look like? What would be different? What would we need to make that happen?

mM : Comic-Con is a fine art event. Just depends on how you look upon it, how you look up artists who have traveled here for the week and events that might connect you with artists from around the globe. My belief is this is the densest visiting populous traveling to San Diego to collect art, one-of-a-kind collectibles, sketchbook musings from art heroes and a major assembly of important artists. The audience is real, the collectors genuine and the artists motivated to generously inspire. It’s been happening for years in our backyard, and the Comic-Con culture is whole. In contrast the San Diego fine art culture around town, in my opinion, disparate, the promoters of fine art elitist, and the buyers of fine art sporadic. Community is about consistency, support, elevation and celebration.

S Myrland : How long have you been working on this exhibition? Was there anything that surprised you about the artists' responses to the challenge?

mM : Cartoon Network approached me at booth 4833 one year ago, (this is where I’ll be again this year). The good people at Cartoon Network invited me to Atlanta to discuss their milestone 20th birthday. Cartoon Network presented curating an exhibition inviting select artists that could freely interpret Cartoon Network programs and characters. One year later, Jett Gallery is hosting the results and the Cartoon Network 20th Birthday Exhibition takes place July 11—15 from 11AM—5PM daily and extended hours on Saturday 11AM 8PM. For all of those who stop by this FREE exhibit at 989 West Kalmia Street in Little Italy, you will receive a 36 page collector “zine” designed by Mark Murphy and featuring the sketches, studio photographs and paintings captured for the exhibit. (Above and below, Cartoon Network mini zine).

It took Madison, Jillian and I, seven-straight hours to carefully unpack 90 boxes and 2 days to hang all of the artwork on the walls. You’ll not want to miss, all ages welcome, and street parking is available. P.S. I spent quite a bit of time archiving Hanna-Barbera’s cartoons, in their super secret vault over 3 months, for a book created with Jerry Beck, that provided some street cred to jump in the game. More information here.

Kind thanks for the opportunity to exchange. Looking forward to all of the events, friends and artists who gather for our most unique event of the year. Looking forward.

Mark Murphy, based in Southern California, is an accomplished author, designer, filmmaker, publisher of living artists and owner of Murphy Design, (22 years and counting). Mark is an active resource in the fine arts industry and assists museums, high-end galleries and collectors with critical information key for acquisition of major and emerging contemporary artists. Clients have featured inventive creative work for Brandon Boyd, Cartoon Network, Clayton Brothers, Ray Caesar, Clint Eastwood, Green Day, Hanna-Barbera, Jeff Soto, Martin Wittfooth, 101/exhibit and many more. You can see more when you get all “www,” at, (Mark’s blog serves up the latest). (Mark Murphy, bring Pluto back, 40 page mini zine).

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