Comic exhibit at the Foster Gallery explores youthful creativity

Foster Gallery exhibit inspired by childhood wonders of comic books

More stories from Angel Vang


Photo by Angel Vang

“Framed: Inside the World of Comics” will call the Foster Gallery in Haas Fine Arts

Comics range from newspaper comedy strips to mainstream Marvel and DC Universe comic books and more. The Foster Art Gallery will feature similar works in their new gallery “Framed: Inside the World of Comics.”

“Framed” focuses on a range of artists and comics. It will showcase mainstream and independent comic artworks created by professional artists in the comic industry. The exhibit will showcase a variety of comic artworks, such as comic books, 2D artworks, 3D figurines, original drawings, models based on characters and videos and talks about model-making and the model industry.

Jill Olm, UW-Eau Claire associate professor in drawing and painting and interim director, said she hopes that with this exhibition the audience will gain knowledge of the comic industry, behind the scenes and making, as well as the reception of how comics have been able to create a fan culture with the playfulness and storytelling that comes along with comics.

Bill Hauser, one of the professional artists who is showcasing their work as illustrator and cartoonist, said he started drawing comics when he was four years old.

He says he loves the comic industry, and illustrations in general, because of the freedom to draw, as opposed to other art forms. He believes comics give you latitude to draw and use your imagination to its full effect and now self-publishes his own comic books.

He will be showcasing his comic artwork “40 Winters.” The original art, printed in black and white ink, will be showcased. It is a record cover for a heavy metal band from Florida.

Hauser said being a part of the comic industry has led him to gain more knowledge of himself and the world around him – to be a better observer so he can use what he sees and put it into a comic or art. He said comics are wonderful in that way.

“I feel passionate that comic book artworks are being recognized as a real art form,” Hauser said. “I hope that from the exhibit, people will see the hard work it takes to put comics together and understand that it’s a real legitimate art form.”

Robert Mattison, a university videographer, will also be showcasing his monster models that resemble comics. He initially proposed this exhibit because he wants to inspire students and others who dream of becoming a comic artist with the work he and his talented friends do.

“If you want to be a comic book artist, I don’t want somebody to say you can’t,” Mattison said. “You can want to be a comic artist, but you’ve really got to fight and work for it because everybody wants to do it … My big thing is inspiring students and letting you know what’s real.”

With this exhibit, Mattison also hopes that the audience will find their youth.

“I want them to understand that we have to be responsible, but we don’t have to be mature about it,” Mattison said. “I have to pay the rent, but I can still be a kid.”

The show is free to all audiences and is open Jan. 28 through Feb. 18.