We’re back with another Girl Power Friday, where I highlight fellow ladies I look up to that make kickass art, run their own business, or are just all around amazing and wonderful.
Today I’m highlighting Tara Hamilton of ARRO Comic. I first met Tara at MomoCon back in May. Her art work immediately caught my eye & while talking to her, I found out she’s also originally from Chattanooga, so of course that made me like her more.
Her artwork is amazing. I got 2 incredible posters, including one of “American Royalty” featuring Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, and other fierce female pop culture icons. (You can see the poster in the picture below.) I also got the “Everything is ok” poster which hangs in my office and has been quite the conversation piece from people who have stopped by.
Below is my interview with Tara. Please, please do yourself a favor and check out her work at www.arrocomic.com
Q1: How long have you been creating art & writing comics? What got you started?
I have this really long answer about trying to make comics in high school and failing to connect with a writer three – four times and having to start from scratch with each new person (no one wants to build off of some stranger’s notes). But the end of that story is a chance meeting with a writer, Ali Burke, whose writing style ended up being an amazing match to my art style. We crafted this semi-apocalyptic world (anyone still there? I promise it ain’t like that) that felt unique to our knowledge and built characters around that world. A few characters were able to stick around from high school (Jon ((who was loosely based on my high school crush/later became my husband. It was awkward when we realized I had been drawing him subconsciously years before we started dating)) and Harrison) we started working on it in 2009, took a break for life stuff and knowing there wasn’t a fanbase yes, then started back in 2015.
Q2: Where do you draw your inspiration for ARRO and for your prints?
ARRO: Jesus, at this point, the news? Ali and I send each other notes and news articles all the time about green energy developments, refugee crises, RVs and big rigs, etc etc. The core of the story is the characters, though. We take inspiration from all over for them. Trying to keep them grounded and really understand where they are coming from and why they would willingly go out into the wilds of North America after years of being quarantined off from the rest of the world.
Prints: Dumb stuff that happens, weird trains of thought about the comic, and most importantly: mini stories I come up with in my head while doodling. Most of the rando prints of people not in the comic come from there, haha. Weird.
Q3: If you have one, what is your favorite piece that you’ve ever done?
Q4: What advice do you have for other women looking to break into a traditionally male dominated space like comic books?
Collaborate, teach, and make a community. Don’t exclude males, just make a community. Help each other. If you want to get into this world it isn’t for money or fame, you have to believe in your work and find others that can nurture it. I started and co-run a group in Chattanooga Tennessee called Chatt Comix Co-Op, we make anthologies, print them at a local print shop, and are lucky enough to have the support of a local comic shop that is willing to hostus and our bi-weekly meetings. I think anyone can make this happen. If you talk to enough people in your town you’re bound to find people that are into creating comics. We had a lot of people that had never created comics come in and blow us away! We are now making a minicomix con for 2018 because: why not?