Saturday at Art Miami

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Went to Art Miami on Saturday with a friend, one of the Art Basel satellite shows on the Miami side of the causeway – Basel is on the other side, in Miami Beach.

Saw lots of people we knew, it’s a big community affair and it’s usually that way.

Lots of famous people attend, but the only one I spotted was Nicole Scherzinger, all dolled up in a fluffy fur coat, just as you would expect to see her.

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Warhol at the Whitney

I finally got around to going to the new Whitney Museum in NYC. They have an Andy Warhol exhibit going on, which I love. But Andy was so prolific, that I have seen so much of his work before in different museums and venues. 

Ironically, I ended up at Union Square after leaving the Whitney – it’s sort of right down 14th Street from one place to the other and while there, I checked out the old Factorys – Andy’s studios. 

Two are at Union Square, I believe there were four in all. There is one at 33 Union Square West and another a block or so away at 860 Broadway, which covered the 1960s and 1970s, up until 1984, I believe for Warhol.

When I stand outside those buildings, I stare at the front entrances and try to picture all the people that went in and out at those very locations. I never did hang out at these places when it was the Factorys all those years ago. I’m thinking I could have hung out right outside and seen who came and went, maybe look like a lost kid hanging out there and be invited inside.

I usually get Mr. Softee right outside the 33 Union Square West location now, there’s usually a truck right on that corner in the summer.

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Charles Addams; mysterious and spooky

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Charles Addams posing with a mural he painted that once hung in a Hamptons hotel. (Look magazine Library of Congress)

The Long Island Press has a nice feature on cartoonist Charles Addams. I didn’t realize there was a Long Island Press. When I was a kid I delivered the Long Island Press newspaper. I like seeing Long Island Press stretched across the monitor, sort of like the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, which has also been reborn as a website. You can read the original Brooklyn Daily Eagle online, the digitally scanned pages are here. The Long Island Press is also printed monthly. I’m in Long Island often, I’ll have to look for it.

I love the names of newspapers. Some I don’t get, like the Hartford Courant and the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

An outtake from the article on Charles Addams says, “When he was 12, a New York Herald newspaper cartoonist said he was untalented and should forget his dream of an art career.” I had a similar experience from one of the syndicate heads, I’m way more than 12 years old now, but it’s interesting how great artists (Addams, not me) are usually turned down until their time comes. How many times was Charles Schulz turned down? 80?

Being told I can’t, makes me work harder to prove that I can, which seems to be the case with Addams and Schulz.

I always liked tv shows based on comics and comic strips, it wasn’t a deliberate thing, but I realize that I love The Addams Family, Hazel and Dennis the Menace, to name a few. Whenever I see them on tv, I stop to watch.

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Why the new Instagram algorithm is a good thing

In my previous post I was talking about Instagram and comics. Many cartoonists were not fans of Instagram and they really should get into it.

They can still post on private websites and other platforms, but I do believe Instagram is the best at the moment. It is defiantly the most popular.

I mentioned the guy who didn’t like the idea of time consuming hash tags (all five seconds of that).

instagram2Another person didn’t like that they had to use their cell phone to upload to Instagram, rather than use the computer. Aren’t people on their phones all day, every day? What is the difference if you upload a comic strip via your phone? There are programs that let you set up the Instagram post ahead of time and have it post the day and time you prefer.

And there was another complained about, “LO-REZ SQUARE F*CKING JPEGS.” I guess he doesn’t realize that the whole internet works on lo-rez f*cking jpgs.

These people are their own worst enemies.

Another was concerned about the new algorithms where in the past when you posted something, it would appear at the top of the timeline and then work its way down as other people posted. But that was a negative. If you posted a comic at 8 am, it was gone and unseen by 9 am. The new algorithm, keeps it moving around, so it doesn’t disappear and that post and others always pop up somewhere.

So many popular comics use Instagram for posting their comics, along with so many other platforms, and at Instagram alone, they have hundreds of thousands of followers. This and the hashtags bring thousands of readers a day – thousands of fans.

Post your comics on Instagram!

Instagram hashtags are the key to new readers and fans

instagramThere was a discussion on Facebook about the best social media platforms for comics. But this applies to everyone who posts on social media platforms. While we were discussing this on Facebook, another platform is better for comics and most things – that’s Instagram.

I suggested Instagram because according to news reports, that is the most popular platform for teens and young adults now. I’m thinking that most people would like that demographic for an audience, along with older folks, of course.

I like the new formatting on Instagram for comics where it allows you to post one comic panel at a time and then the reader can scroll through, reading one panel at a time. It’s perfect for single panel comics, too, but of course, not great for long form comics.

But as usual, many cartoonists are their own worst enemies. They don’t agree with posting on Instagram for the silliest reasons. I guess they would rather continue to post their comics in a black hole where only they see the comics.

In our online discussion, one person claims, “The only gripe I have about it is that it takes a while to type all the individual hashtags for each post.”

Less than smart comment. The hashtags are the key to readers – readers that don’t follow you on a daily basis. People use hashtags to find things on Instagram. If you post a comic strip about bicycle riding, you can use the usual hashtags like #comics #comicstrip #art and so on, but you can also add #bicycles #cyclists #ride, etc. and in that way you are opening up the post to those people.

I live in a seaside community and on my personal Instagram page, I can’t tell you how many boating people follow me when I post pictures of the marina and boats and docks in my neighborhood. They see the hashtag #boats #bay #water and they find my posts. And they end up following me.

I think Instagram makes the best use of hashtags of all the social media platforms, Twitter is probably second, but I’m not sure if it’s good for posting daily comics. I think Twitter is better used for communicating with fans and readers, you know, keeping them up to date on what you are working on, maybe sharing some of your daily life and travels.

Another issue people had in our discussion group was the new algorithm used by Instgram where the posts are not appearing in the order they are posted. But this is a good thing. I’ll explain why in my next post.

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Lots of superhero cosplayers

Day two of New York Comic Con was a madhouse, there were more people than I think I have ever seen before over the years. The weekend will probably be nuts!

I noticed many super heroes this year – lots of Spider-man cosplayers and lots of Batman, there was Superman and their villains, too. Lots of color. Lots of fun.