MoCCA Arts Festival 2014

narutaki_icon_4040 Do you enjoy the artist alley at anime and/or comic conventions? If yes, you should be heading to the MoCCA Arts Festival each year to feast your eyes and empty your wallet.

This two-day convention is run by The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art which was folded into the Society of Illustrators. It is one large, bustling, but not overwhelming, room in midtown which one can easily visit for the low, low price of $5.

The convention is small enough to spend as little as a half-day walking around without missing much. There are a few panels but the main draw is slowing making your way from table to table inspecting various artists styles and offerings. And suspended above our heads was the Charlie Brown balloon from the Macy’s Parade watching over the proceedings.

Creators’ and small press’ booths house everything from hardcover books to original art and everything in between. Many art schools from the East Coast also host a myriad of student work.

Prices vary but I gravitate towards the $1-10 books, prints, and other pieces of which there are many. So one can actually walk away with a lot of cool pieces without breaking the bank. Although you’ll wish you could break the bank on occasion anyway.

Well, it was pretty much a guarantee that I couldn’t pass up anything called All My Anime Boyfriends. This happened to be an autobiographical book by Kali Ciesemier which featured portraits of her anime crushes in chronological order. (I might need to do a post about this myself one day!) Her style has a soft fluidity to it which comes through in a grayscale book like this as well as her full-color prints. Kali was also one of the artists features in the Winter is Coming art show.

In a similar fashion to how I couldn’t pass up the anime boyfriends book, was I really expected not to buy that Girl Gangs Forever patch by Kendra Wells?

Now that I have been bitten by the D&D bug, I find myself picking up little items here and these which remind me of it. Thus I ended up with a set of prints from Arlin Ortiz and Kris Mukai. featuring different monsters done with a Risograph machine. Sam Bosma’s Treasure Chest book had a fun twist to it, the books were bound randomly so each one is in a unique order and not all the books have the same items.

But of course I am a fantasy fan in general so the work of Steen really appealed to me. She had a firm grasp of design and color with a flair for the dramatic.

The supple almost-watercolor look seen in the dragons ABC accordion book I picked up from Cliodhna was simply charming.

Risograph prints were very popular at this year’s festival. Alden Viguilla produced a limited amount of very small books: Lesson #1 featuring a feuding cat and dog with a very important moral at the end.

Matt Lubchansky presented some hilarious comics. I really loved the big poster he had on display about Sexual Harassment. I ended up walking away with a bizarre book called Nature Show.

I picked up some student work from MICA as well as my alma mater SVA. Robert Young’s Occult Wresting Trading Cards had the right balance of macabre humor for me and they even came with a button inside the box! While, Battle Vixen and Warlords by Liz Pulido fit in firmly with my D&D-inspired buying binge.

And the creation of bottlecap buttons featuring geometric imaginings, the one I picked up was a robot naturally, came from SVA but sadly I do not know the artist.

Yes, I saved buttons for last because everyone should know by now I am most excited by them. I didn’t want to overshadow other wares I picked up by discussing the new additions to my collection first.

Greg Kletsel had some nostalgia-inspired works. The style had a cut paper feel which gave them an almost zine-like quality. My buttons came with a Family Matters trading card, Carl Winslow FTW.

Jannie Ho who works in simple and bright designs had Super Cat and Evil Robot buttons. In clever fashion she was keeping a running tally on a board to see which side was winning by how many buttons of each she had sold.

To top off a fantastic Saturday, or rather to start it off since it happened the moment I entered the convention, the uber talented Fiona Staples was there signing. She did the cover for the guide this year. And at a festival this small all of the artists, even her, were much more accessible than a place like NYCC.

Original books to more crafty fare, MoCCA Arts Festival is a great place to discover new artists to follow and pick up lots of great pieces for a collection. This was only my second one, though it felt quite a bit bigger from the last time I went, but I don’t think I’ll be skipping anymore if I can help it.

~ kate

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