One of the most vibrant creative scenes at last year’s Comic-Con International took place in the shadow of the San Diego convention center, at a small wine shop across the street.
The first annual Tr!ckster lounge — a pop-up gallery, retail store and clubhouse of sorts celebrating the spirit of DIY and creator-owned art – held workshops, screenings and late night, DJ’d cocktail parties where indie-minded artists mingled with fans and weary convention-goers rested their feet and enjoyed sushi and custom-cocktails. Its founders — Pixar story artists/independent cartoonists Scott Morse and Ted Mathot, and puppeteer Anita Coulter – estimate several thousand people streamed through each day of Tr!ckster’s six-day “residency.”
An expanded Tr!ckster will set up shop at Comic-Con again this year from July 11-14. The event will be nearly twice as big, with 40 creators added to last year’s lineup of 50, which included Mike Mignola (“Hellboy”), Dave Gibbons (“Watchmen“), Jim Mahfood (“Marijuana Man”), Mike Allred (“Madman”) and Jill Thompson (“Scary Godmother”).
Programming will be streamlined, with an eye toward blowing out the most popular elements from last year, like storytelling workshops and life drawing classes. Even the new space – Wine Steals/Proper event complex, a few blocks from the convention center – is bigger with a full restaurant and several bars.
“This year, we’re focusing on what was really good and doing it better,” Coulter said. “No signings. People liked discovering an artist sitting out on the sidewalk with a beer and sketchbook. You know, come, discover new work.”
Coulter says the bulk of new participants are artists she discovered while trolling convention floors, like Wizard World in Chicago, over this past year. She especially took to the work of Seattle artist Royden Lepp (“Rust”) and L.A.-based Brianne Drouhard (“Billie the Unicorn”), both of whom will be showing at Tr!ckster this year.
Last year Tr!ckster had a handful of sponsors, but the majority of the event was paid for out-of-pocket by its three founders. Tr!ckster 2012 (a.k.a. “Tr!ck2ter”) has no sponsors as of yet. Instead, it has launched an online fund-raising campaign on the website Indiegogo. The goal is $35,000, close to what the event cost to put on last year. It’s an interactive approach that’s in sync with Tr!ckster’s mission.
“The whole point is to keep it small,” Coulter said. “In a sense, with this model, everyone — even if they’re not an artist — is a creator. A creator of Tr!ckster.”
Tr!ck2ter runs from 3 p.m.-1 a.m. July 11; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. July 12-14. At Wine Steals/Proper event complex, 795 J St., San Diego. http://www.trickstertrickster.com.
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