Category Archives: interview

Taking Virtual Field Trips with Google Cardboard

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Google Cardboard and a smart phone, a package for VR trips. All Images: Rick Tate

The Google Expeditions Pioneer Program has been visiting classrooms nationwide to help students and teachers learn more about incorporating the immersive learning opportunities of the “virtual field trip”

The program utilizes the Google Cardboard viewers to help students bring abstract concepts to live and give them a deeper, more personal understanding of the world beyond the four walls of the classroom.

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Human geography teacher Chris Kapuscik leads his students on a virtual field trip.

This includes a sort of virtual travel kits, with a tablet for the teacher and cardboard viewers and phones for reach students. My husband, Rick, requested to be part this program when we first purchased our own Google Cardboard device earlier this year. His high school was one of a handful of schools in the West Texas area chosen to receive a visit from program’s representatives, and get a hands-on test drive of Google Expeditions’ educational options.

These “field trips” come in the form of 360° photo spheres, 3D images and video,  and ambient sounds. These are annotated with points of interest, and other details that make these virtual trips easy to incorporate into the curriculum already being used in schools.

To make the experience even more memorable, entities like The Wildlife Conservation Society, PBS, the American Museum of Natural History, the Planetary Society, and the Palace of Versailles helped contribute to the program’s curriculum development.

One of the things that have made Google Expeditions so popular is the enthusiasm not just in the classroom, but also from the parents.

Google product manager Jen Holland said the feedback from parents for this program has been “stellar,” and may parents have signed up for the program hoping their son or daughter’s school would be selected.

“Many parents are volunteering on the day of the visit and after the visit are looking for ways to incorporate Expeditions further,” Holland explained. “Many PTA boards have also asked our team to run Expeditions at their monthly meetings so parents can check Expeditions out.”

In many communities, including my own border region, the multicultural landscape in schools is growing more visible, and Holland feels the immersive Expeditions experience gives students a better way to share their own cultural backgrounds with each other, not to mention learning more about their own nation’s history.

“Expeditions allows students to get a deeper and more personal understanding of cultures and historical events,” Holland said. “With Expeditions, students can immerse themselves in the 360 degree panoramas and explore in a totally new format.”

This is an experience, she said, that just isn’t obtained via other learning resources alone.

“Videos and textbooks don’t have the same immersiveness that Expeditions provides; students get the opportunity to ‘walk in someone’s shoes,’ and can get a glimpse into the various rich cultures that are out there,” Holland said. “They can explore museums, parks, city centers all from the confines of the classroom.”

One of Rick’s colleagues, geography teacher Chris Kapuscik, said the students’ response to the experience was phenomenal.

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Physics teacher Austin Campbell gives his students a look at the Hadron Collider in Switzerland, via Google Expeditions Pioneer Program.

“I was fortunate enough to bring two of my classes to the Google cardboard simulations, and the students reactions were priceless when they first put on the Google Cardboard glasses,” he said. “The room instantly filled with positive noises as the students were visually transported to another world.”

He said one of the ways he knew the demonstration was successful, was the student were still talking about what they saw and experienced when they left the presentation.

“As a teacher what I really like about it is the capabilities of bringing something to life for the students,” Kapuscik said. “I saw students for the first time this year seem to be really into the class, and students that didn’t normally talk were talking. The interactions that they had with each other were unique.”

What Kapuscik personally liked about using the Google Cardboard is teachers of several different subjects can be able to use these visualization techniques to supplement a lesson. This ability extends to students’ ability to use this program in their own homes. Even if students or school districts, don’t have the means to physically travel to other places in their country or around the globe, this program can help bring the world to them.

“In the home, kids can learn about new places and gain a sense of curiosity that would reflect on their education,” he said. “It would kind of be like they are learning without knowing they’re learning. I could already think of several ways I would use this in my class if I had my own set.”

Kapuscik said he hopes to see immersive visual experiences like this become a more frequent tool in the classroom.

“If they don’t become more common, then we need to find a way to make it more common because technology like this is only going to benefit the whole educational experiences,” he said. “As a teacher, not only would I be able to teach about a place but if I can bring them there it would help students internalize their learning.”

To learn more about GeekMom Lisa’s family’s experience with this program, see her post How Does Google’s Cardboard Hold Up?

Story originally ran in GeekMom on Dec. 20, 2015.

 

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Bouncin’ With the Billion Jelly Bloom!

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Billion Jelly Bloom takes over the dance floor during the Chalk The Block Street Festival in El Paso, Texas. Image by Rick Tate

(Original article in GeekMom.com)

FamilyOne Halloween night in San Francisco in the mid 1990s, Rob Lord was impressed with the simple innovation of one woman’s costume—a jellyfish made from a clear plastic umbrella with bubble wrap strips for tentacles.

A few years later, he crafted six similar jellyfish, adding broomsticks and internal flashlights, allowing him and five friends to carry these jellies throughout Downtown Santa Cruz, California as performance art. Since then, this concept of taking large glowing jellyfish to the streets, beaches, deserts, parade grounds, or stage has blossomed—or “bloomed,” rather—into the Billion Jelly Bloom, a dance theater and large-scale puppet participatory art event the Lords call the “original crowd-surfing, dance partner-sized, Burning Man-ifested, luminous jellyfish bloom.”

Rob and Patricia Lord officially founded the Billion Jelly Bloom in 2010, a name created for a 2010 trip to the Burning Man Festival in Black Rock Desert, Arizona.

The term “bloom,” refers to the state where jellyfish congregate together in large swarms, sometimes consisting of thousands of jellyfish. These blooms have been attributed to everything from population density among the animals to climate change, but whatever the reason the sight of countless jellies together is impressive to see.

The Billion Jelly Bloom consists of several 600+ lumens bright, performer-articulated jellyfish available to be part of any occasion.

Patricia Lord, who serves as lead jellyfish designer, said the blooms have been a part of events throughout the United States, including one of the most eccentric art and free expression-centered events, Burning Man Festival.

“So far we’ve choreographed participatory civic blooms at Burning Man, over the Brooklyn Bridge, and across The High Line in New York City, and during the holiday shopping frenzy in Union Square in San Francisco,” Lord said. “We’d love to take these blooms to every major city in the world, and I have preliminary route maps for Paris and San Paulo currently on my desktop.”

The Jellyfish blooms have been so popular at events, a successful crowd-funding campaign, the OMG Jellyfish Kickstarter project, was recently created to produce “home versions” of these giant invertebrate sea denizens.

The design of these jellyfish vary slightly from the ones used in the Lords’ own events, as they are created to be more easy-to-handle and portable for private use.

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Jellyfish handlers of all ages enjoy these jellies. Image by Rick Tate

“Since we launched our OMG Jellyfish Kickstarter project a year ago we have distributed nearly 500 OMG Jellyfish to 30 states in the Union and six countries beyond,” Lord said.

She said she has been extremely pleased with the creative uses people have found for their own jellyfish. This includes OMG Jellyfish being used in stage productions in Latvia, at museum gala events in Houston, and at morning dance raves in London, New York, and San Francisco.

“In our backer survey folks told us they were planning to use them as a light in their children’s bedroom, at Coachella music festival, and as costumes,” she said. “One backer planned to surprise his retirement community by blooming the neighborhood sidewalk at night.”

Lord admitted she expected no less than “amazing creative” uses for the big performance art jellyfish, but has been especially thrilled to find the joy she has experienced “blooming” is consistent with the experience of other proud new jellyfish owners.

Lord, herself a mother of two, hopes the blooms inspire young and emerging artists to try something new themselves. Her advice to those wondering where to start is to throw themselves into new participatory art projects, such as an existing art project, dance troupe, flashmob, or other opportunities to become part of this interactive, communal blend of visual and performance art.

“Pay attention to those moments that you can’t stop smiling and do more of that. Then find a way to share this experience with others,” Lord said. “If you stumble onto something that is super fun for you and others then start thinking of ways to expand, either by open sourcing the idea, product, or project, or working internally to expand your events, production, et cetera.”

Lord said for her, every new bloom includes a moment of surreality, whether it’s at the playa at Burning Man or heading up an urban side street.

“I think these moments emphasize the beauty of the jellyfish swarm more than the epic fun in a dense festival environment,” she explained. “Our High Line bloom had a magical intersection with another participatory group called Decentralized Dance Party. They had a troupe of (more than) 200 participants all carrying boomboxes and dancing their asses off.”

“We had 25 jellyfish who know a thing or two about shaking their tentacles,” she said. “It was off-the-hook fun for two hours!”

A Talk with New Tenth Doctor Comic Series Scribe Nick Abadzis

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Doctor Who Adventures with The Tenth Doctor Issue, cover art by Alice X. Zhang.  © Titan Comics.

My GeekMom interview with Nick Abadzis, originally published July 22, just prior to the release of the new Titan Doctor Who comic series.
 

Since the first announcement of Titan Comics’ new ongoing Doctor Who series, the anticipation for the July 23 release of the series’ first issue has been heavy among Whovians and comic fans alike, especially since the comic will introduce a brand new companion for the Tenth Doctor.

Eisner Award-winning Nick Abadzis penned the first 5-issue story arc for the Tenth Doctor’s adventures, with art by fan-favorite Elena Casagrande. Abadzis’ accomplishments include the celebrated comic Laika, a fictionalized account of the dog who would be the first living creature in space. As a lifelong Doctor Who fan, he jumped at the chance when Titan Comics Senior Editor Steve White offered him the book.

“I’d written the Tenth Doctor once before, a long time ago for Doctor Who Magazine, before I’d even seen David Tennant in the role on TV (it was his debut comic strip),” Abadzis said. “But now I know the character much better, so this is an opportunity to really add to the mythology, expand on what we know about him.”

Abadzis said his favorite aspect of The Doctor was when he found himself in unfamiliar territory. He recalled watching the show as a kid and how he loved it when The Doctor went places and figured out how things work, be it an alien planet or ancient Rome.

“Sometimes he’d land somewhere and just ‘know’ things, and could be a bit insufferable for it, and sometimes that’s necessary to get a story started quickly. But I liked it when he got caught out or was shown something he didn’t know, and he was delighted by that,” he said. “That’s the core of the character for me, a traveler who is curious about the universe and wants to see amazing things.”

He said The Doctor does battle evil when he finds it, but he is also on a mission of discovery, sometimes taking his friends along for the ride.

“He’d bring the best out in people that way. I like The Doctor as a character when he’s an empowering force, someone who helps a local population deal with an invasion maybe, but someone who gives them confidence in themselves, too, which is something he also does for many of his companions,” he said.

Abadzis is already several issues in the current series, and is planning further adventures. He said writing Doctor Who is a natural fit. He said he never thought too hard about how he would take on the Tenth Doctor, and feels to a certain extent he is “recreating” a character that Tennant, writer Russell T. Davies, and other Doctor Who writers evolved over the course of the show. He hopes to remain true to that character, as well as add his own something special. That includes the new companion.

“I really liked the Tenth Doctor on TV, so you have a head start with the mannerisms and cadences of speech and so on, but you want to add to that, expand it further, cast some new light on his behavioral tics and traits,” he said.

“The Doctor is the ultimate cosmopolitan, a traveler and cultural observer as well as a hero who fights evil and injustice, so I knew I wanted to have him traveling with someone who would enable me and other writers of this series to show new aspects of his character; things we haven’t witnessed before, and that’s how we came to create a new companion for him, Gabriella Gonzalez,” Abadzis said.

Abadzis is breaking new ground with Gonzalez, a Mexican-American, as the first Latina companion of The Doctor’s. Abadzis said his editor, Andrew James and series co-writer, Robbie Morrison, were very receptive to the idea.

“She is an individual who, although she’s proud of her background and loves her culture and traditions, refuses to be completely defined by it, either by her own family or the country she’s grown up in,” he explained. “She’s American, she’s of Mexican origin, she’s modern, but she’s very much her own person and is ready to explore that and is chafing a little against family expectations.”

Gonzalez resides in the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn, which has the largest Mexican population in New York City. In the story, Sunset Park is about to celebrate la Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) when an alien invader uses the celebration as cover for its own nefarious ends.

“When he lands in Sunset Park and meets Gabby, The Doctor thinks at first he’s rescuing her—and he is—but he’s not quite prepared for how useful she makes herself, by being brave and smart and thinking of possibilities he overlooks.”

At this point in the Tenth Doctor’s timeline, he has already lost companion Donna Noble, and didn’t think he’d find a companion to match her stature.

Admittedly, it takes a period of adjustment for both Gonzalez and The Doctor.

“Gabby responds to the best in The Doctor, and, uncomfortably at first, he does likewise. He’s the best character in the world to write, and hopefully Gabby is a great foil,” Abadzis said.

“She’s smart, a little bit tough in a self-protective way but she’s emotionally intelligent, she’s got good empathy. She draws, too–I don’t think there’s been an artist on board the TARDIS since (Fifth Doctor companion) Vislor Turlough.”

Abadzis said Gonzales should be the Tenth Doctor series’ companion for at least a year, but with The Doctor there is always a possibility to explore new, interesting companions in the future.

“There’s nothing to say that there might not be other companions who come along later, who might indeed be from other regions on Earth, or maybe they’ll hail from an alien world,” he said. “It’s Doctor Who–anything can happen.”

For those worried about the comic stories interfering with the television or other continuities or wishing to see some more familiar faces, Abadzis said he is aware of the pitfalls of writing in the gaps.

“I think little continuity references can be fun most of the time–they needn’t affect a story but it’s easy to drop them in and it’s a laugh for longtime fans,” he said.

“On a larger scale, you have to come to it with the right sensibility–it’s when you do it for gratuitous reasons that it can become something you can trip up over. Bringing back a companion for the sake of it rather than because you’ve come up with a great story and they’re the ideal character to help some aspect of it smacks of gimmickry.”

He also feels filling in continuity gaps is “a great pastime, but doesn’t necessarily make for original storytelling,” and creating a new and original story is something writers should always be pushing themselves to do.

“That said, I’m as big a fan as the next person, and if I come up with a brilliant idea for a story featuring Nyssa or Ian or Sarah-Jane, I’m gonna have a go at making it work,” he said.

He promised there would be plenty of surprises, including one returning foe in the first year as part of a story written by Robbie Morrison. There will also be many all-new threats.

“While we’re trying to recreate the general feel of the Tenth Doctor’s era, we want to make the comics must-reads, their own thing, a book you’ll really want to pick up and enjoy every month,” Abadzis said, “You can certainly expect some crazy happenings, some fun character dynamics, some unexpected twists and turns of events. I like to keep myself amused, so you can be sure I will be surprising myself whenever I have the opportunity–and hopefully the reader too.”

As for other incarnations of The Doctor, the first Eleventh Doctor Adventures issue by writers Al Ewing and Rob Williams, with art by Simon Fraser, will be released alongside the Tenth Doctor’s series, and the Twelfth Doctor’s series will follow later this year.

Titan Comics’ Doctor Who Issues #1 for both the Tenth Doctor and Eleventh Doctor Adventures come out Wednesday, July 23.

Abadzis doesn’t know what his editors at Titan Comics have planned for the other Doctors but he said is petitioning to write stories for the other incarnations. Hopefully, he said, this will be only a matter of time.

The “Witty Little Knitter:” A Talk With Tara Carstensen

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Tara Carstensen (aka Witty Little Knitter) works on one of her Fourth Doctor scarf creations at El Paso’s Sun City SciFi. Photo by Rick Tate

Since she was 15 years old, Tara Carstensen has been watching Doctor Who and knitting Fourth Doctor scarves.

Like many Whovians, she intensely studied photographs and videos to create patterns for her early attempts, although she said the results were “crude and totally incorrect.” As her work began to improve, she received her first official BBC pattern from John Nathan Turner, producer of the series from 1980 to 1989.

By 2005, she begin studying the scarves even closer. She even had a chance to examine what she calls the “Shada” scarf (the pattern used in the famous episode from Season 17 that didn’t air until 1992), as well as the Season 18 variant scarf. From there, she begin to design patterns, find colors and yarn types, and create scarves that would be as close to accurate as any fan-made scarf available.

Today, many scarf knitters consider her the “go-to” site for the best patterns. They visit her site for pattern downloads of scarves from classic Who seasons 12 through 18, as well as the Shada scarf, a “blue variant,” and the Seventh Doctor’s sweater vest.

She also teaches knitting classes for those with some knitting experience at conventions throughout the country. Upcoming classes will be held at L.I. Who in Long Island in November, as well as at the world’s largest and longest-running fan-created Doctor Who convention, Gallifrey One, which is coming to Los Angeles in February 2015.

For American Doctor Who fans, the Fourth Doctor’s scarf is arguably the most popular and recognizable costume prop in the history of the show, but Carstensen said, from her experience, that it is primarily a U.S. Whovian obsession.

“In the UK, it has a bit of a negative connotation,” she said. “People who wear them are often branded as ‘nutters.’ I’ve worn a Who scarf several times in the UK and received a not-so-warm welcome among other Who fans.”

She said United Kingdom fans are warming up to the scarf today, as it is getting a little more love in its home nation. She feels the reason for the scarf’s American popularity likely comes from the Fourth Doctor being many American viewers’ first peek at the series.

“(In) the States, most people’s first Doctor was Tom Baker,” she said. “He had a seven-year run and PBS stations could often get a deal on it with other British shows. So, most people before the reboot in 2005 think of the scarf when they think of Doctor Who.”

Even the Doctor himself has taken notice of Carstensen’s work. Baker owns one of her scarves, as well as actress Daphne Ashbrook (Grace Holloway from the Eighth Doctor movie) and talk-show-host and proud Whovian Craig Ferguson, among other famous customers. The Seventh, Eighth, and Eleventh Doctors, Paul McGann, Sylvester McCoy, and Matt Smith, have also worn her scarves for convention photo ops.

“Well, of course, Tom Baker receiving one of my scarves was a high point,” she said. “When two of my scarves appeared on the same episode of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson—one was Craig’s the other was Nerdist’s (Chris Hardwick)—that was another high point.”

It takes her about 40 hours to knit the “basic” Doctor Who scarf.

“I once cranked one out for a last-minute charity auction in a week,” she said, “but that was eight hours a day of knitting, every day, for a week.”

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Carstensen’s full-size TARDIS replica and its official transport are a hit a Who events and conventions everywhere. Photo by Rick Tate

While scarves may be what she is best known for with crafters, her other favorite creations include a full-sized TARDIS some friends and her former husband built in 2008. The nine-foot-high, half-ton police box makes its home in her living room, but has traveled with her to conventions and events from Los Angeles to Atlanta, where thousands of people have gotten the chance to take their picture with it.  It also has a webcam, working lights and sound effects, and has been known to play music. The TARDIS’s transportation of choice is her TARDIS Chase and Recovery Vehicle (aka THE TRV), a custom Toyota Tacoma she claims is run by a Gallifreyan Flux Capacitor “jiggery-pokeried” for her by the Tenth Doctor and Back to the Future’s Doc Brown.

She has other projects in the works, as well.

“I’m currently working on building a Dalek, “ she said. “I’m always collecting small TARDISes and I finally have my collection of TARDIS keys.”

Her autograph collection is another continual work in progress.

“I have a book I’ve been collecting Who autographs in for 30 years,” she said. “I have nine of the 13 actors who have played The Doctor sign it, plus close to a hundred companions, authors, directors, producers, and other people directly responsible for keeping the show going for 50 years in it, and it’s one of my most prized possessions.”

Carstensen encouraged knitters to not be afraid to tackle their own Fourth Doctor scarf and offers some words of advice for those reluctant to get started.

“Join a knitting group.  Look in local coffee shops and libraries or start your own,” she said. “Ravelry.com is another great recourse, if there simply aren’t any other knitters in your area.”

She said setting reasonable goals helps as well.

“(Say to yourself) ‘Today, I’m gonna get through three stripes’ or  ‘Today I’m going to sit down for an hour and knit,’” she suggested. “Once you’ve mastered the garter stitch, knitting can be quite relaxing, even a form of moving meditation.  I read or watch TV while knitting.  I also knit in the movie theater, in lines, anywhere I’m stuck waiting on something.  It’s a great way to feel like you’re accomplishing something when all around you is chaos.”

She said the effort is certainly worth it when she sees how much people love the scarves.

“I know how happy they make people, and then they make people who see them being worn happy.  So knitting one spreads a lotta happy around,” Carstensen said. “That gives me a great sense of accomplishment and makes me feel that I’m adding some random happiness to the world.”

To see more of Carstensen’s work or download her patterns, visit wittylittleknitter.com.

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Some of the pattern downloads found on Carstensen’s “Witty Little Knitter” site.

A Look at Lone Star State Artists Scott Zirkel and Andy Perez

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Texas natives have a reputation of maintaining strong work ethics, and this holds true with the talented comic book artists and writers residing in all corners of the state. Here’s a brief look at two Texas artists who are definitely worth looking out for in the future:

Among the Hills: Scott Zirkel

"Rave Girl" by Scott Zirkel

“Rave Girl”
by Scott Zirkel

Texas Hill Country artist Scott Zirkel has been “making stuff up since 1977” and his sense of stylized humor flows through his work, including his original comic book “He-Guy and the Guys of the Universe” as well as his writing talents to Viper Comics’ graphic novel “A Bit Haywire” and Arcana Comics’ “Wonderdog, Inc.” Zirkel has also contributed to graphic novel compilations by both Viper Comics and Penny Farthing Press.

He has contributed sketch cards to such sets as “Empire Strikes Back 3D,” and “Indiana Jones Masterpieces,” “Zombies vs. Cheerleaders” and “Hack/Slash,” just to name a few.

Zirkel’s work and wit reflect the artists who have influenced him through the years.

“I’ve always been drawn to the more animated styles,” he said. “The artists that have inspired me the most are Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, Bruce Timm, Bil Amend, Gary Larson, and Mike Kunkel.”

He finds himself comfortable working in both the world of pop culture and fantasy, and with commissioned portraits for “real” people. He has different reasons why he enjoys working with each.

“I like the fictional characters because I can show my own versions of those characters, but I enjoy the ‘real’ people because I enjoy the challenge of trying to capture the likeness of the person,” he said. “I don’t know that I’d say I have a favorite, it just depends on what mood I’m in when I put the pencil to the paper.”

"He Guy" by Scott Zirkel

“He Guy” by Scott Zirkel

Zirkel maintains a diverse workload ranging from commercial graphic arts work with The Alara Group of Kerrville to his comics and illustrations. He said he tries to keep his graphic arts as professional and straightforward as possible, separate from his work in comics. As such the audience between the two is fairly diverse. His comics audience in itself makes up a diverse group, particularly as he offers something all ages can appreciate.

“For the comics, I generally produce all-ages materials. I don’t have any books that would be considered PG-13 or R,” Zirkel said. “I do have some art books that are more risqué, but I don’t have those in stores, just at conventions and online.”

He said his book  “A Bit Haywire,” (featuring art by Courtney Huddleston) seems to receive the greatest feedback from readers of all ages.

“Kids and adults alike have enjoyed it and it’s been really fun to hear from them over the years,” he said.

See more of Zirkel’s art and writing at scottzirkel.com.

Along the River: Andy Perez

"Dia de la Page" by Andy Perez

“Dia de la Page”
by Andy Perez

El Paso artist Andy Perez has taken his West Texas hometown’s cultural uniqueness and infused it into his prints, comics and other works with impressive results.

Perez is best known as co-creator and illustrator for the indie comics “Lonely in Black” and “The Afterlife Chronicles of a Zombie,” but he has contributed digital color work and art, sequential art, sidewalk chalk art creations and pin-ups for titles for several projects. His art has even been featured in the San Diego Comic Con Souvenir Book, and he has created sketch cards for “Hack and Slash,” “Lady Death,” and “Painkiller Jane.”

Perez said having picked up a pencil as a kid and “never putting it down to this day,” his list of influential artists is long and still growing.

“My early work was driven by rad comic artists such as Jim Lee and J. Scott Campbell because comics were my first introduction to art,” he said. “Fast forwarding to more recent years, the art beats of Jim Mahfood, the awesomely gritty art of Ben Templesmith, the cheesecake eye candy from Adam Hughes, the beautifully colorful art of Tara McPherson and the storytelling imagery from a James Jean piece all lend something to my work as an artist.”

He said two works in particular have really struck a positive chord with people of all backgrounds: the dreamlike black-and white portrait, “BOOM!” and the Day of the Dead-inspired “Dia de la Page.” He said both pieces have not only been a big success with the comic con goers, but have made the successful crossover into other venues as art showpieces, not an easy feat for any work of art, he admits.

“With ‘BOOM!’ people have noted that they have enjoyed getting lost in the calmness and flow the piece offers along with the colorful idea of having music follow you as balloons,” Perez said. “‘Dia de la Page’ has been a great conversation piece for those that are unfamiliar with the culturally rich Dia de Los Muertos or the pin up queen Betty Page.”

As one of a growing number of El Paso artists working to make his mark outside the region, he hopes his work will help comic readers and collectors, and art lovers in general, see how diverse and trendsetting the Sun City’s artists can be.

“I think the misconception is that it’s all southwest art with landscape paintings, which it really isn’t,” Perez said. “It’s been very exciting for me to see my hometown energetically jam art and creatively raise the bar artistically in so many mediums.”

See more of Perez’s work at artedeandyperez.com.

"BOOM!" by Andy Perez

“BOOM!”
by Andy Perez