Art Appreciation

As a part of Geekade’s Creators Month, I decided to share this piece which originally appeared on my all-too-infrequently-updated personal blog, Painfully Awesome. This version has been slightly edited from the original.

I’ve never really been into visual art. It’s always been words, for me. I appreciate the shaping of a good metaphor or a bit of dialogue the way others do that of a lump of clay. I can look at a classical statue or painting and appreciate that it was done by someone with skill, that it is objectively Good Art, and I may even be able to admire the craftsmanship and talent that goes into it, but I don’t believe I’ve ever been really affected by a piece of visual art. I’ve never been able to spend hours in an art museum and stare at works of art for hours on end. I’m better with photos, at least there the subject is represented in a way I recognize, even if the image is altered.

The art in my home has always been pretty basic. Some Van Gogh prints, because they’re pretty and my husband got them framed for practically nothing when he worked in a framing shop. Some art deco era posters, because I like the style and they usually have some interesting typography mixed in. Movie one-sheets, because I’m a pretty big geek.

Recently, though, I’ve encountered a few artists with whose work I connect. It’s not fancy fine art, but I see myself in it. Presumably, that’s why I like it. I guess that’s why all humans appreciate the art they do. (Whoa, I just got a little too deep there.) Maybe it’s shallow, or maybe it’s just baby steps into the shallow end of the Art pool. Whatever the reason, here’s some art for nerdy girls by nerdy girls.

Karen Hallion

One look at her site and  you will know what she’s all about. The Venn diagram of her fandoms and mine is pretty much a circle. Not only do I love her art, I admire her story. She’s a full-time, freelance artist who’s worked hard to reach that goal and as a former freelancer, I understand and appreciate how hard that is. Go check out her art and then buy some on Etsy, subscribe to her Patreon, or buy a t-shirt from on of a bunch of sites.

Katie Cook

I first became aware of Katie’s art when my husband brought home F You, Box from a comic convention and we laughed about how this book had basically been written about our cat. This stuff is just the cutest. Katie is a comic book artist and illustrator, another whose fandoms and mine intersect quite a bit. She’s fun for the whole family, my son loves the Star Wars ABC and 123 books she’s illustrated and she works on the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic comic. I’m especially digging her weekly webcomic Nothing Special. Buy her stuff here and follow her on Twitter and Instagram, she’s also kind of a riot.

Yaoyao Ma Van As

I came across Yaoyao’s work in this Bored Panda post and fell in love. She’s an illustrator and animator who has worked on some popular shows including Rick and Morty and Bojack Horseman. What I really connect with is her personal art. While it’s clearly influenced by Disney, there are very few elements of fandom in her work. What I see in her work is more feelings and experiences that I identify with, as I believe a lot of geeky women my age would and do. You can buy her stuff here and follow her on Instagram as well.

Call me basic, but I like what I like. And if you’ve been interested in art longer than I have, you probably already knew about these women. Maybe someday I’ll be able to appreciate other art that I don’t see myself in, but for now, I’m gonna go buy some prints for my cubicle and my craft room and make them happier spaces.

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