So, it’s time I let out a major secret that I teased on Facebook a few days ago.
But first, as it is with all important things, some background.
As some of you know, my journey into pop culture mashups began almost two years ago when a submission to TeeFury.com resulted in the November 2012 printing of “Choose Adventure,” a “Pokemon” – “Adventure Time” hybrid that sold 1,400 shirts in a single day. It singlehandedly paid for Christmas and so much more that year.
Since that time, not only has every single T-shirt submission I’ve made since then been rejected essentially via form letter, but I’m the only artist I know of who is no longer listed in TeeFury’s gallery of past products.
Seriously, look it up. (It printed the day after the wild Snorlax shirt.)
Still, I carried on.
June of 2013 brought the opportunity to create four pieces that paid loving tribute to 1990s Nickelodeon masterpiece, “The Adventures of Pete and Pete.” It was in the creation of those pieces that I truly drew joy from reliving and recreating the things that I loved in the style of other things that I love.
I’m certainly not a flavor-of-the-week pop culture artist. My pieces draw far more from “Earthbound” than “Titanfall,” and my heart(s) belong to Princess Zelda rather than Princess Amidala.
Turns out I’m not the only one who pines for the finer things of the 1990s.
Very late Tuesday night, I got an email from the art director at Consequence of Sound asking me for permission to include “Little Viking and Strong Man,” a piece that is as much a love letter to “Pete and Pete” as it is to “Calvin and Hobbes,” in a one-night-only art show.
To accompany a live performance by “Pete and Pete” house band, Polaris.
Where a podcast of “The Adventures of Danny and Mike” will also be recorded that evening.
I’m not ashamed to say here that I almost cried.
You see, having someone find and respect my art to the point where they wanted to show it having never met me at all is not something I ever thought would happen.
In fact, the CoS rep called me Peter in his initial email. That’s how little this guy actually knew about me as a person and an artist.
This was a piece selected on its merits, something I’m sure my former art professors would never believe could happen either.
I get plenty of emails about my art. Many are notices from RedBubble about sticker sales and $0.12 profits. Sometimes they’re alerts from RedBubble or Society 6 about someone making a copyright infringement claim against one of my pieces that danced too far over the line for them to consider it my own interpretation of their creation. That’s the artistic path I’ve chosen as a pastiche artist, dancing delicately on a tightrope while wearing lead shoes in order to represent the characters, films, and games that I love in a brand new way.
This is something new entirely.
So, along with sending a high-res copy of my work to CoS for inclusion in the show, I submitted other tributes to “Pete and Pete” for consideration. I’ve also sent them a copy of Lynz’s Nona F. Mecklenberg / Rosie the Riveter tribute to think about. All I know right now is that one of my works have been chosen for exhibition, and right now, that’s enough.
Whatever happens to the other submissions, I now have to navigate the planning phase of making my way to Lincoln Hall on Oct. 26. Airfare is too costly when considering a two-night hotel stay, so I’ll be seeing more of Pennsylvania via Interstate 80 than I ever have before if I can make it.
I maintain a level of cautious optimism that I can not only sell a few prints but expose my work to a larger audience. Capacity at Lincoln Hall is 507, but it’s up to 507 people with as much love in their heart for this show and this music that I have. It could be a game-changing night for me.
I’m reminded of the four words show creators used to describe “Pete and Pete” at the cast reunion I attended in NYC in 2012.
They all fit this change of events in such a wonderful way.
Funny because of all of the times I felt like I was making art just for me, struggling to find an audience, when if just took the time for someone to find my work and smile after seeing it.
Sad because of the cost to get there and enjoy it. I’m a dad and husband first, artist perhaps tenth, and not one to selfishly spend money.
Weird because of the very nature of “Pete and Pete.”
And beautiful because of how amazing the random selection was and because of the description Cap Blackard from CoS gave for the show. He said, “We want to have the best ‘Pete and Pete’ art show possible.”
If that’s not downright beautiful, I’m giving up art tomorrow.