Northwest Arkansas is becoming an area rich in business and all kinds of arts. A shining example of that is the Art Pop Comic Expo, which attracts a wealth of big names in the comic book industry as well as local and national artists looking to show off their skills in a more personable setting.
Last weekend (June 9-10) at the Jones Center for Families in Springdale, both casual fans like myself and more dedicated fans alike jumped at the chance to meet artists from DC, Marvel and several more from different comic book companies. The event, originally created by Jon and Jackie Woodard, was to create a personable atmosphere for fans of art and comics to interact with the artists directly.
After years of going to Comic Cons, Jon and Jackie Woodard felt that the large events were not focused on comics. The resulting idea culminated into two successful years of events in Jonesboro before the Art Pop Expo found a home in Springdale this year.
Not only were artists from the comic book industry present, but also those in the film industry such as Vernon Wells whom has worked on more than 52 films and Keaghlan Ashley who is famous for her talent in special makeup effects as well as several different kinds of art.
One of the more important parts about the Art Pop Comic Expo is that it gives local artists the opportunity to show off their craft. Northwest Arkansas natives such as Emily Gardner and Marissa James whom set up shop before the start showed off their work with a smile alongside other artists.
Gardner has lived in Northwest Arkansas for years and is skilled in multiple mediums including that of sandblasting. James, also a resident of Northwest Arkansas, is talented in digital designs and draws several different well-known characters as well as those of her own making.
As the name of the event also implies, comics and merchandise of varying kinds were sold along with the art. Comics both old and new were sold in a similar style to that of records in a vinyl store.
The Art Pop Comic Expo and events like it give local artists the chance to make connections through their skills they bring. Comic and merchandise traders found a chance to meet individuals with similar interests.
Through events like the Art Pop Comic Expo, Northwest Arkansas residents can experience a more intimate Comic Con experience in the comfort of the Natural State. More dates for the event will be announced soon, but until then, see you at the next Art Pop Comic Expo!
Article and pictures by Wayne C. Hahne|Writing Intern at Jamie’s Notebook