Fresh Meat 2011: student comics at SVA

Last Friday night, “Fresh Meat” was held in the School of Visual Arts student lounge.  No, it isn’t whatever bizarre, pseudo-sexual event you’re imagining (though the bodies were packed almost as tightly).  It is a small comics convention organized annually by the school in coordination with Cartoon Allies, a union of student cartoonists.

Energy ran high this year as strangers and vendors alike struggled to make their way through the low-ceilinged maze of tables (a record-breaking 27 in all), each sprinkled with an array of decadent eye candy.   Despite the crowd and clutter, everybody managed to keep spirits high.  A light tension hung in the air as artists, eager to leave a mark and make a buck, watched potential customers and fans silently browse their work. But this was expected, and did not dampen the mood.

“I made one hundred dollars at Fresh Meat,” exclaims Hanh Nguyen, a junior, “and then I bought pie and mashed potatoes.”

New to Fresh Meat this year was a refreshing touch of performance art.  Ben Mendelewicz and John Gutierrez’s comic manifesto Butt Dilly was accompanied by the artists themselves, lying on a mattress in mint julep facials.  The artists themselves declined to comment and motioned only to their comic.

Notable attendees included Heidi MacDonald, author of the online cartooning blog ComicsBeat, Calvin Reid, of Publishers Weekly and a man who may or may not have been Dean Haspiel.  SVA faculty members, Joe Cavalieri, Tom Motley, Seth Tobocman and department coordinator, Keith Mayerson all made appearances to lend their support, and took much joy in seeing a year’s worth of their students’ blood, sweat and tears culminate in such an explosion of cartooning, camaraderie and comics.

“I feel like a total dork for having missed it,” – Tom Hart.

–reported by interns extraordinaires  JP Kim and Hilary Allison

See JP’s minicomic picks here.


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