One can always expect to see some familiar booths when attending their local convention. It wouldn’t be Stan Lee’s LA Comic-Con without a few, Terry Huddleston being one of them. His area is always one of the boldest. With a booth spanning higher than even the largest Power Ranger Megazord or Transformer cosplayer around, he just had to be a part of this series featuring artists who create their own interpretation of our favorite pop culture staples.
We covered the symmetries of his work, what’s next on the table with his wife and talked about the all-around importance of representation in our little back and forth.
Kendra: It’s been a few years now that I’ve seen your pieces at LA Comic Con. It’s easy enough to assume you’re more than an artist, you’re also a bit of a fanboy. Yes? No? Is that was got you into art in the first place?
Terry Huddleston: Yeah, I come to LA quite a bit. Yes, I am a fanboy, my love of storytelling got me into to comics. I wanted to make films but that was not a viable hobby when I was a kid.
Kendra: Right now I’m reading W. Kamau Bell’s book and in one chapter he talks about the lack of true representation in comics growing up. Do you feel any sort of pressure to create more representative art in any way?
Terry Huddleston: Being represented is a complex thing with many layers. I think as minorities we have to humanize characters that don’t look like us if we want to be entertained. Its just one part of the mental gymnastics you have to do growing up. It gives us an advantage when we’re older because we don’t have to filter out entertainment through the lens of “is this a black movie/tv show.” If the movie/tv show sounds interesting we watch it for the most part. We can’t be picky.
Race is just one layer though, gender is another. Getting males to look at a female character and say I’m just like her used to be unheard of!! Now many males identify with female characters as their personal avatar. We’ve come a long way but there are many blind spots that no one minority group will see. We must all work together to build a tapestry of diversity as viewed through many perspectives. To me, that’s where the best stories are being told. From Atlanta, Insecure, Brodd City, to Master of None and many many more, we’re in a renaissance of diverse entertainment.
Kendra: Okay back to the Cons. You always have the most larger than life displays when I head out. Are you the type that is all about that “go big or go home” style?
Terry Huddleston: You nailed it!! There is no room for modesty on the small business battlefield. You must use every advantage. I just emulate fast food industry, mostly McDonalds and KFC. They are marketing giants!! That keeps it simple, you already know what you want before you get there. The menus are picture based. The color schemes are like a sports team. Anyway, I can go on and on. I love marketing! Both companies stayed in the top by having larger than life icons that still persist to this day!
Kendra: Now the pieces on display are always incredibly vibrant and focusing on the face. Is there a reason you find solace in the face of characters?
Terry Huddleston: I always loved symmetry, and there is something fun about headshots. The scale and the pumped-up colors serve to create a religious-like iconography for the art. Kind of like stain glass windows in a geek church.
Kendra: Do you have anything coming up in the new year?
Terry Huddleston: I do…My wife and I are coming up with a new line of archetypal fashion savvy Women with horns line. It’s really fun and interesting! You can check out the first two. The rest will be finished around new year!
Kendra: In trying to bridge all the artistic realms we represent at ZO if you had to make a playlist that represents your art, what five songs would have to be on it?