Klaas Op De Beéck


I couldn't miss a caricature event just because it is financially out of reach. I haven't been able to work legally since I moved to Canada from the USA. I've only been able to perform small freelance jobs. In order to obtain residency, my Canadian husband, Nick Cross, and I had to hire a team of lawyers and endure the long and expensive application process. After a year of patience, I finally received my Visa just last week. (now I will return to teach university, and work in animation like I did previously) The one advantage to all of this down time, is that I was able to work on a series of large paintings.
I thought, there has to be a way to get to the ISCA Japan mini-con. Nick suggested starting a fund raiser because he's had so much luck obtaining money for his indie films. So, I released one painting for sale as a print, which helped raise funds for this trip, (Please stay tuned for release of the rest of these paintings!) as well as commissioned drawings. Fortunately, this worked! (see previous blog post)

Thank you to all who purchased or shared. There is always a way, so surrender to your dreams!!

Due to an Air Canada error, my luggage was stuck in Tokyo.
I had no clothing or art supplies. This did not matter, because I was thrilled to be there! I wasn't worried, I guess I was just happy to survive the flight, ha. The next day, I took the train (I asked bystanders for help in broken Japanese) to hotel #2 at Osaka Castle where I met my friend Klaas. There we did some sight seeing, window shopped and got stared at by the local inhabitants. I found a couple dresses on a sale rack, which I had to re-wear several times. The food in Japan is incredible and not expensive like I expected. Art is everywhere and is very respected. I learned useful phrases before the trip, or the first few days would have been impossible.

Wilfred Lee

ISCA MINICON (July 4-7, '11)
When we got to the convention, we had to pay hotel and registration with cash and the only way to get cash was to get on the subway back to the airport and use the international ATM there. This ate about 5 hours out of the day, causing me, Klaas and Wilfred to miss the dinner and opening ceremonies. That night, I gave myself a break and started drinking heavily which resulted in a serious hangover. Somehow, I recovered and was easily able to do my caricature seminar the next morning, which turned out really well! I did a live caricature demo of a surprise subject, a local news reporter. My drawing was filmed and broadcasted on a large plasma screen. I did an intro in Japanese, but thanks to Chihiro for interpreting! The reporter subject interviewed me earlier, and assumed that I was not an artist but my friends were. I made sure to show him that I was indeed an artist by giving him a good "beasting."

The luggage arrived 5 hours after the competition time ended. (thank you to Tomo, Derek and Chihiro etc for your help) I think my competition work was okay considering my situation and lack of supplies. I pre-mixed all my colors and tones in labeled tubes and have specific supplies in mind, but I was without them. So, I managed to do an oil painting with only burnt umber, burnt sienna and white. I did some ink drawings with only a few colors. Thank you to those who offered their supplies: Wilfred Lee, Derek, Tom, Tomo and especially Klaas. The days went smoothly without my little suitcase because I am a minimalist by nature anyway. I ain't no hoarder. It was like camping in a way.

There were a couple really cool seminars. My favorite was with Kenichi and his portraits performed at hospitals of people who are terminally ill. It was so beautiful to watch filmed reactions of people who have lost hope, but seeing themselves in paintings gave them a sense of self again.

If any of you have ever been to a Caricature convention, you'd remember the beautiful kimonos the Japanese attendants wear during the awards dinner. To my surprise, I was offered to wear one on loan. All the women changed in a dressing room and I was wrapped up. This was a very special experience. Thank you to those who helped!

I managed to place in the top 10 caricaturists, which I could not believe since there are so many talented and hard working artists there. (nothing was mini about this con) My work was limited, but I won anyway. However, just going to Japan by myself, on a budget, with no stuff was the achievement in itself. I even stayed chill the whole time. (BTW, the banquet food was unbelievable!)

I did some more drawings, but the photos are out of focus. Maybe I'll post them later. I also have some commissions to post.
The convention itself is a very low price. The hotel was only 40$ a night, imagine that room shared? I strongly recommend attending the next one!!
The best reason to attend these conventions is to see old friends and make new ones. I was in Japan for 9 days, which was way too short. I will miss you all and I hope to be back soon! Thank you to all the members of the Japan ISCA board for making such an amazing experience for everyone and doing such a wonderful job, and also your personal assistance. Thank you to Chihiro, Tomo and Derek and many others. You have all my love and respect. This was the most dream-like and exotic experiences of my life, and I can't wait to return to Japan. Hopefully I will attend the Korea and Japan cons to come. Wa-shoi!

-- Marlo Meekins


Vincent Waller said...

Not a lot of people make me jealous of their abilities. Your work always does. Great stuff.

Emily Byrne said...

so happy for you! love the photos and commentary. i want to go to the next one!

Kristen McCabe said...

Wow! That's one hell of a blog post! I loved seeing all your artwork and reading about your trip.

When do you start teaching university and what will you be teaching?

Marlo said...

Hey Kristen, I used to teach cartooning and fine art basics in Philadelphia, so I hope to again in the Toronto area. I really love teaching.

Marlo said...

thank you Vincent and EMily!

Aaronphilby said...

The fundraiser and the art and everything is awesome and more.

Marlo said...

thanks, Aaron. I'm your biggest fan. in mass

carlo guillot said...

Nice reading and nice experience. I'm happy you enjoyed your trip and fulfilled one of your dreams. A nice peson and exquisite (and dedicated) artist like you, deserve this and more.

Marlo said...

thank you, Carlo. You deserve everything and more for the same reasons. love, Mcarlo

Todd K said...

Looks like you had an awesome time. I loved seeing the "Engrish" translations in some of your pics...

Dylan said...

This post alone is worth the 25$! that klaas drawing with the "under a bridge" quote is likeness perfection and all the other ones are so cool and beautiful. love love love.

Marlo said...

Thank you Todd, there was a non stop supply of engrish

Marlo said...

thanks Dylan, I did 6 of Klaas total on my wall... I guess he's easy to draw

Seo Kim said...

Oh I hadn't seen this post until now! Wonderful :) Ditto @ Dylan, haha Klaas. Love the Chihiro and Kuni.

Evham said...

I'm a big fan Marlo, love your stuff! When is the next con in Japan? And where the heck is this hotel at 40 bucks per night?