Dragon*Con by Heather Goldstein



Once a year, all of us nerds come out of hiding.  Although there are tons of conventions similar to this, there is nothing quite like Dragon*Con. 


This past weekend, I attended my first “Con.”  I couldn’t help but call my friends back home to say, “I found my people!”  From Hell Girl to Quail Man, to Waldo, and Robin high-fiving a Jedi, Con was a circus of super heroes and make believe!










Fans from all over the country come to talk about their “geekdom.”  My first day, waiting in line for my badge, I was asked, “so, what kind of nerd are you?”  There were panels for aspiring writers and artists, artist trading card sessions, robot battles, and lectures from famous actors, artists, and writers.

Spanning four hotels, Dragon*Con took over downtown Atlanta.  And for once, the freaks and nerds outnumbered the “normal” people.  Sitting outside the Marriott, a group of men in khakis and long sleeve blue button down shirts judgmentally stared at everyone in costume, but quickly changed their glare when they realized that they were not the norm in this crowd.  And on another occasion, LSU fans in town for the LSU vs. UNC game had the same reaction.  But hey, this was our weekend!

The diversity of the crowd was amazing and I loved the energy of the event.  There was so much appreciation and adoration for the artists and writers who created these iconic comics, movies, books, and TV shows.  Aspiring manga and comic book artists came to show the people they look up to samples of their work and sincerity and positivity for the most part.

I will never forget my time at Dragon*Con.  There is something to be said for finding others that share your passion.  This is true in all art forms and life.  To go back to the LSU fans; they are no different from the attendees of Dragon*Con.  Dressed in their favorite players jersey, sometimes face paint, or team colors at the very least, sports fans have their own costumes to express their fandom.  Although we look for ways to express our individuality, we also yearn for acceptance.  At Dragon*Con I got the best of both words: acceptance of individuality.

Friends I met in line:





Inspiration vs. Imitation by The Me Nobody Knows

I have been inspired by a host of artist's both living and dead, whose works made me stop and think about my creative process, or how I might create art a bit differently than I had before. My work at different stages/periods  have reflected the influences of artists such as Picasso, Romare Bearden, Francesco Scavullo, Keith Haring, Basquiat, and even my friend and at times collaborative partner AVONE. I have a voracious visual appetite, soaking up everything around me like a sponge, but then spitting it out in my own unique vernacular. For Instance, recently I have been doing works on brick panels, but the inspiration came from some new works I saw from AVONE. Imitation would have been to copy the central theme of his work, the medium, and executional elements and showcase them as my own. Instead, I drew from, got inspired by what I had saw, and began creating images that resonate with my own unique voice.

Imitating, on the other hand is, well, simply replicating that which already exists, and offering little new to the conversation. Imitating is allowing the words of another to come out of your mouth as if they were your own. I have heard countless times for instance that my work "imitates" Basquiat's  (perhaps because of liberal use of the crown symbol.) Yet, I'm quite confident that a close examination and comparison of our works will show them to be quite different.  I may be a nobody, but I don't imitate, I innovate. Inspiration, pays tribute to, builds upon and advances independently in a new direction igniting new ideas and expanding the conversation along the way. Whereas imitation, simply seeks to take the path of least resistance, mimicking the already spoken, lazily reproducing the already seen. History has always shown us clear examples of both.

I hope that my career and work will show that I have walked along the path of innovation, being inspired and leaving inspiration in my wake. For history always attaches a certain nobility an honor to the innovative and creative minds who have risked failure and contempt as they've shared their own unique vision with the world. As for the imitators and imitations they produce, the history books and landfills have a special place for them as well.







September Artist of the Month - Nicholas Rocco

My name is Nicholas Rocco and I have been painting since 2003. I have been illustrating in various ways since i can remember. Art has been my outlet for my entire life. Art is not my professional life. I make very little money doing it, and keep at itbecause it makes me happy. My goal with anything i make is to be smiling at the end. When other people see my art, i just want them to smile with me. It is not my intention to use my art to express my opinions, or make some sort of statement. There are plenty of great artists using their abilities to demonstrate the possibility of deeper thought through creation. Those artists have my respect and admiration. I personally don't feel equipped to make bold or intelligent suggestions through my work. I'm just looking for a smile. No one can ever smile enough. We should all smile more.








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