I’m not the biggest comic book fan. Sure, I used to daydream about adamantium claws and mutant healing powers as much as the next kid. It’s just that comic books never had that staying power for me.
But I loved the Pencils and Pixels exhibit going on through the end of this week at the Max L. Jackson Gallery. It helped me to see comic book art in a whole new light.
‘There’s something about the power of the comic book right now that is just so zeitgeist and all of the arts are finding a way to get into that,” says co-curator Mike Wirth, a professor at Queens University where he heads up the New Media and Design major. “There’s something magical about that.”
Wirth co-curated Pencils and Pixels with fellow artist and friend Brandon Padgett. The show features over 100 pieces from 21 local artists and is an incredible opportunity to check out a small sampling of the artistic talent here in Charlotte. A lot of the artists came from local group Sketch Charlotte.
“The art community in Charlotte is tight knit,” says Padgett. “There are a lot of great artists here who are not getting recognition, and this was just a perfect opportunity.”
The Max L. Jackson Gallery is the ideal space for the exhibit. At the heart of Queens University’s campus, the gallery has an inimitable coziness and charm, which comes from the century old historic Watkins building where the gallery is housed.
“As an art show, where it succeeded is it brought people from the ‘high art world’ to a ‘pop-culture’ type of art scene, because the gallery as a place frames the situation to make it high art,” says Wirth. “And then you see these types of pieces — it’s a breath of fresh air.”
“A lot of the artists there (in the exhibit) have training. They’ve been through the gamut of traditional art. So they have put their time in. And they are being true to themselves,” says Padgett. “So it’s coming off as fun. It’s coming off as vibrant, it’s coming off as lively… Because it’s who they are.”
Pencils and Pixels opened on January 11, and on January 28 they held a Comic-Con style event: 15 artists came out and were able to meet with guests, create drawings and sketches on the spot and sign works. John Hairston Jr. and Mike Wirth were on the scene live painting… the whole night was a huge success.
I hate that I missed it, but I’m glad I at least had the chance to experience this exhibition.
You can too, but you’ll want to hurry. Pencils and Pixels will only be running through this Saturday, February 6. So make your way over to Queens to check out some incredible Charlotte artists.
The gallery is open during the week, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free.
Artist: Brandon Pagett