I got to have an adventure this week. I went to Ink and Drink and Sweet Art with my good friend Chris Meesey.
I dont often go places by myself to explore and have fun so this is me breaking into a new atmosphere. The last couple years journey has been about mental and physical healing and growth. I travel for work a lot but not for fun and networking.
This was a really important trip for me.
I got to do 3 awesome things that directly contributed to my goals.
1. Ink and drink:
Located in St Louis, Missouri. its a great group of people that take up a whole room in a bar and they draw and enjoy each others company. But thats not just it. The group also puts out 2 yearly anthologies that all the artists involved can contribute too and that ends up being published and distributed by comic shops and at comic book conventions. what is so great about this is that people I meet are always talking about doing hings like this but these guys are getting it done. Im looking forward to writing a story and contributing to the next Ink and drink. My friend Chris who is a STL native is not just doing a story for the current book going to press but also is the cover artist. So you have to check it out as soon as it comes out.
Check them out! http://inkanddrinkcomics.com/press/
2. Chris Meesey: http://meesimo.com/
The next most awesome part of my trip was a person. I got to hang out with multiple awesome artists, but having great company was the highlight! When I arrived Chris had just gotten off an airplane from another trip working a festival as a caricature artist. I literally arrived in STL by car 10 minutes before he walked into his house to put his things down after traveling all day.
Just the fact that he was willing to be out with me despite a long week of work and travel is an honor. I really appreciated it.
When I went into the house to wait for Chris to ready himself, I was greeted by his parents. They really gave me the 3rd degree on what I was doing and how I knew Chris and what I was doing with my life. Then the offered me tea and clementines! They were a very sweet and welcoming couple. Heck everyone was so dog on kind I started wondering if I was being polite enough!
My intention was to go to Ink and Drink that night and then drive back home. Chris, in all his kindness offered to let me sleep on the futon in his studio, which was surprisingly comfy, then grab breakfast at my now FAVORITE ALL TIME VEGAN RESTARUANT! I will drive 4 hours just to eat there every day! lol. Chris made this trip so wonderful.
For a long time I had stopped drawing and stopped being creative outside of being a caricature artist. (healing journey) Because of just going through so many things that made creating lose its joy for me. Being around Chris was like being back in the Kubert School. His excitement to be always creating is the catalyst and energy I needed to start taking my own work more seriously to start pushing myself out of the whole I have been drowning in for year.
He is always offering inspiring things and words and kindness that makes you question if you even deserve to get to be around him. I worry my low energy and self esteem might taint his driven spirit.
In fact, the thing that lead up to this fun little trip was working with him at Wizard World Chicago only a few weeks earlier. I'd been wanting to go back to Sweet Art for a while. Then we got to work next to each other all weekend and talked about me coming to STL for Ink and Drink. When we had previously worked together at Universal Studios, but I rarely got the opportunity to work side by side and even chat with him cause i was always working in a different location in City Walk. Most of the time I had hung with him was outside work hours so it was really cool to get to sit next to him for 3 days and see how he approached airbrushing and even meet some of his friends. Heck, Chris had even supported my Patreon for a very long times, a few years even, despite me struggling to keep it updated regularly. To this day I feel like I definitely have to do something to repay the kindness. It really got me out of a bind on several occasions.
At Ink and Drink we were surrounded by talent. His really cool long time high school friend also dropped in to show off his greatness, as well as, a fun artist whose work looked a lot like wood cuts that told a story and an amazingly talented painter that was doing a western comic with a beautifully painted style that was mind blowing.
The entire time I was sitting there with my Tornado Alley comic pages and hoping they would be well received. I spend a lot of time on my own work and not knowing for sure if it is good enough or if others will like it and worrying about it. It is a habit i want to let go of. It blocks my creative flow cause I start to think there is no reason to show my work to anyone if even I don't consider it to be good enough. And if it isn't good enough then there is no reason to create. (Again, Healing Journey. Years of emotional abuse and narcissism can really hurt a individuals ability to function with esteem for themselves.) It seems so much of what I do is steeped in wanting to create for the sake of others. Other wise I can keep my stories and ideas in my head, whats the point if there is no one to share them with in a positive manner. I use to say I wanted to be a american Tezuka, or the next Rumiko Takahashi. Not for style, but just cause of the sheer volume of amazing work they would produce! The stories that touch other. After Ink and Drink we chilled at Chris house and were up till about midnight just drawing. Chris was working on a comic cover that was really awesome and I was staring at all the amazing art books he had sat in front of me and losing my mind! i wanted to read them all. and draw and do all the things at one time. But I couldn't cause I am only one person and I would had to become 3 people just to draw and read and talk at the same time.
The next day, when I got up we got up Chris was already up and drawing at the dining room table. We got ready and headed to Sweet Art and later to the comic book shop. I got myself the first trade of Tokyo Ghost. I have the second one at home, but hadn't been able to find the first. I was looking for Batman White knight. It wont be in stores until October 3rd apparently. I am a big Sean Gordon Murphy fan. Have been for years. looking forward to seeing his take on Batman. Chis also stocked up on books and soon after I hit the road back to Kansas city. I got a kitty to feed. This was such a refreshing and uplifting experience.
3. Sweet Art:
OMG! I love this PLACE!!
I wish they had more than one location. If I ever get married I want them to bake my wedding cake!
The food is awesome! I had the "Make it Funky" vegan bacon cheeseburger and Kale salad. I LOVE THE DRESSING ON THIS SALAD! I also hit up the baked goods really hard! Fauxstess cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, PECAN BAR THAT TASTED LIKE PECAN PIE!! OMG! I got some vegan chili for the road too.
The food was so good I had to go up to the counter and ask to make sure the cheese was actually vegan and they hadn't made a mistake! It just freaked me out to much! Anyway, I will let it speak for itself. It cant possibly be normal to get this excited about eating! http://sweetartstl.com/
Anyway, thanks for checking out my little journey. I never do things like this but I want to do it more often. after all this is how you grow as a artist.