Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Nine Square Inches: A Gallery of Tiny Artwork

So, you kinda need to go check out art collector Walt Parrish's website Nine Square Inches: A Gallery of Tiny Artwork. Walt, who has been an avid comic book reader since the 80s and comic art collector since the 90s, came up with a pretty great idea. He commissions artists, some famous, some just getting started, to create three inch by three inch square works of art. Some elaborate. Some very simple. But, all of them are pretty darn great. And rather than just keeping them in his own private collection, Walt decided to post them so we can all enjoy.

I approached Walt about allowing us to feature some of his collection. Not only did he say yes, he was incredibly generous with answering a few questions.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for Nine Square Inches?
Walt:  Accidentally! In 1998 I met Paul Pope, one of my favorite creators, at San Diego Comic-Con. I asked him for a sketch, and he agreed. I handed him a 9"×12" sheet of Bristol board, and he came up with this cool, 3"x3" piece of a traveler sitting on a hill overlooking a valley. I was amazed at the amount of storytelling he could squeeze into such a small area. Fast forward 15 years, I rediscovered the piece in a portfolio while moving and thought, why don't I see what other artists can do with the constraint of such a small area? I believe Ben Templesmith was the second piece I ever got, at Emerald City Comic-Con in 2013, and it's been nonstop ever since!

Q: How do you find the artists? Has anyone ever said no? 
Walt: I have had some artists approach me, and I'm always eager to see what folks come up with, but I still do the majority of the asking. My friend Chris Daniels has been my partner in crime at local, Seattle area conventions. Two can cover more ground than one!  I've had artists who say no to commissions or sketches in general, but not specifically to my collection (I hope!). On the other hand, I've had folks who don't normally take on commissions agree to do one for me, so I guess it balances out! As the collection grows, I've had artists who decide they'd like to revisit and take a second shot at a doing 3"x3" piece, so that's pretty cool too.

Q: Is there a piece or two in your collection that stands out? 
Walt: I'm grateful for every piece from every artist that participates in the 3"×3" collection. I believe one of the appeals to artists is they can put as little or as much effort into it as they'd like. For example: Ray Lago's 'Tauriel' and Jim Rugg's 'Street Angel' pieces. They obviously spent a great deal of time on their contributions, and are amazing. But I also dig the seemingly simple ones like those by David Mack and Scott Campbell. There's room for everyone and every talent level.

If you'd like to go explore the entire collection, please check out the Nine Square Inches website. Also, be sure to follow Walt Parrish and Nine Square Inches on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with all the latest additions to the collection. Meanwhile, enjoy these selections of Walt's favorite pieces mixed in with a few I couldn't resist posting.

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