Dating a comic book writer has given me plenty of opportunities to attend cons. Yes, I did go to the Comic Con and no, I did not wear a costume. Today was the San Francisco Alternative Press Expo. Most cons have heaps of standard super heroes and ass kicking girls in tight clothes, but the APE is a little different. Its focus is on small independent press. This means there are a lot more indie comics, literary graphic novels, and twee crafts. Oh are there twee crafts. There are treasures to be found among the racket, though.
One of the biggest draws for me was the Hi-Fructose booth. The alternative art magazine had a new anthology out, and damn was it beautiful. Much like Starving Art Historian favorite Mark Ryden’s The Tree Show book, however, the price was a bit too dear. I ended up with postcards from Ryden’s Snow Yak Show. Ryden is one of the few contemporary artists that I flat out love. His paintings are characterized by eerie dreamscapes and a seemingly flawless finish. Snow Yak pairs his famous childlike, vacant eyed figures with perturbing cartoonish animals.
It struck me that Ryden would be very controversial in another time. His figures remind me on one level of Egon Schile’s vulnerable and explicit orphanage girls. My boyfriend assessed the postcards and decided that Ryden’s girls were more about complimenting the dreamscape and less about sexual connotations. Sometimes, something even pops up in his work that would be beautiful and simple in any time.