Saturday, April 2, 2011

LA arts collective makes ´heat and noise´promoting member´s works

Circus T-shirt, Garette Johnson

“We have formed our own art collective called Latchkey Studios. While this seems to be an accepted path for fine artists, there is almost nothing out there for commercial artists: Those who make movies, comic books, etc. need a place to go, too. I agree with all of this post.”

Emily McGuiness, comic book artist, illustrator, 29 March 2011

"Kitty," acrylic  on paper, Sara Richard.
Writing on LinkedIn from Los Angeles, McGuiness commented on my 25 March blog, advocating artists´ collectives or communes as one means to survive and market your work.

This is not only her story but an evolving one affecting 22 artists from Los Angeles, Tokyo, New York, Ohio and Brazil. About half are comic book artists and most of those are also fine artists, she said.

A year ago, the idea of an artists´ collective for commercial artists “sprang forth from inspiration,” McGuiness added.

"Tor Zom," hand-sewn felt by Rick Marson
When she hatched this idea, she thought of her own predicament and those of her art school friends, working full-time day jobs.

McGuiness until January worked as a film producer´s assistant, with little time or energy left for her real passion, illustration.

Like others in Latchkey Studios, she couldn´t afford to get her out there and make some heat and noise.

"LA Bear", Daniel Birch, print on canvas

 “Now, we are able to promote ourselves together, making sure everyone who participated in any event or gallery show, received the same exposure,” she said.

About 10 – 12 artists participate in each Latchkey event, sharing costs equally. 

Any money from art sold goes to the artist, less any gallery commissions. It´s simple and McGuiness said so far, it works.

Latchkey has sponsored three events has two more on the drawing table.

Two comic book conventions, one in Long Beach, Ca., another in Seattle, Wa., plus an exhibition in an LA underground graffiti gallery,The Basement.

The next event would have been in Dubai but it was pushed back to the fall.
Instead, another gallery show is set soon for the Qusqo Restaurant on Santa Monica Blvd. in LA.

Steampunk Magnet by Patty Garcia, acrylic and found parts

What´s the feedback from members?

Generally, quite good, she said.

At the Seattle show, everyone participating sold something.

“If we do shows over and over, we can develop a free-lancing career and not focus on our day jobs.”

Out of traditional work temporarily, McGuiness focuses on finishing her graphic novel, “Ties.”

Ties cover by Emily McGuiness

McGuiness is optimistic about Latchkey.  But it also involves the right kind of human chemistry in the group.

“It´s definitely a process to find the right people; there are periods when people aren´t producing, the day job´s overwhelming them, funds are tight and cannot participate,” McGuiness said.

Here are participating artists and their media:

Megan Levens - comic books - illustration
Emily McGuiness - comic books - Film - Illustration
Steve MacDonald - comic books
Manoj Rao  - comic books
Owen Ratliff – BlackSalt - comic books and film
Ian C. Stuckhoff - comic books
Malcolm Wong - comic books
Patty Garcia - painting
Rick Marson – “plushies”
Jose Pimienta - comic books
Azure - knits
Brian Meulhaupt  - illustration
Lance Axt - audio comics
Joe Miles – actor, comedian
Garette Johnson - fashion and illustration
Kim Flynn - illustration, comic books
Sara Richard - illustration, comic books
Daniel Birch - tables, “plushies,” illustration, watches
Skipper Martin - comic books
Mike Brown - comic books
Nico - painting
Jason Givens – hand-sewn bags, wallets, purses
Peter Coro - handmade “steampunk” buttons, pins, etc.
Rock on and practice peace and love.
Stefan, the ArtTraveler ™

Art travel to Andalusia for a week-long mosaics or sculpture workshop, or a walking holiday in our mountains along ancient trails. See: and

"Imagine," photograph by Stefan van Drake (2008)
You may reach me at or by calling (34) 951 067 703 or from the UK at BT landline rates, 0844 774 8349.

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