SPX (Small Press Expo) is an event where all independent and rising artists come together to share and show their work in the art and comic book world.
Most of them are either from the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area while others are from other states or even other countries. One of those artists is Long Island, New York native Kerin Cunningham. Last Saturday, we got a one-on-one interview with Kerin to ask about her beginnings, how hard work pays off, and connecting with other artists is important.
Gaylene A.: How did you start out? What inspired you to create art and illustrate?
Kerin Cunningham: Oh man, I’ve been drawing since I was tiny… I used to pause Disney movies on TV and then I would draw whatever was on the screen, like 101 Dalmatians or Pinocchio, I loved things like that. When Pokèmon came out and I was all about drawing them. So I saw these things and I was like, “If they can create things, I could make things too.”
“Life on Mars” by Kerin Cunningham, 2016
GA: What would you say helped you branch out with other artists and help get your name out there?
KC: You know what? I’m still working on that stuff. It’s hard and it’s constant, but going to art school helped a lot. You network a lot and the people that are your classmates go on to become other working artists so it’s really great. Going to these kinds of shows and just talking to people whose work is interesting to you, and whom you want to stay connected with, you keep those friends for a long time. It ends up paying off and you can meet people from all over the world that way.
“Astro Cats” by Kerin Cunningham, 2015
GA: Difficult question, what would you say to starting artists? Artists who want to start out but don’t really how.
KC: Don’t stop making art! Because I’m someone who made that mistake. I graduated college and I thought, “Man, I’m burnt out, I want to take a break.” And that didn’t work for me. You just keep pushing through it; Even if you’re making bad art, you’re still making art and you’ll get to the place that you want to get to. So don’t give up. That’s cliché, but that’s what I would say.
“Polstar: Love is a Radio Wave” by Kerin Cunningham, 2015
GA: What’s your favorite thing to do at a convention? Besides selling.
KC: Meeting new people! Sometimes you’ll go to a convention in a completely different place and you’ll see familiar faces and you’re like, “Oh man, I saw you at this one two years ago”. It’s just so cool to connect with different people and meet all different kinds of artists, you also get so many new ideas that way. I love the whole thing; I would do these forever if I could.
Gregory M.: Is this also your first Small Press Expo by the way?
KC: This is my first Small Press Expo and I am loving it. Honestly, I was afraid that I wouldn’t sell a dime! But people seem to really like my work, which is awesome. Everyone has been so cool and I’d definitely do it every year if I could.
GM: Do you have any website or any type of DeviantArt page to browse and view more of your work?
KC: Absolutely! kerincunningham.com is the easiest place. I do have a Twitter, I’m trying to be really good on Twitter, I’m not really into it but I’m trying! My Instagram is @KerinCunningham. Basically, my name isn’t taken by anyone else in the world so you’ve just got to Google me, you’ll find all of my pages and things like that.