School of Visual Arts: Fresh Meat 2009

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The phrase “meat market” isn’t too far removed from the sense one gets shuffling up and down the halls of your average comic convention, sizing up the works of—and, on occasion, attempting to avoid eye contact with—those who’ve bared their souls along rented folding tables, hoping their creative expressions catch more glances and collect more dollars than those of their neighbors. By that measure, one would be hard-pressed to come up with a better name than Fresh Meat for the annual showcasing of works by soon-to-be SVA grads.

At first blush, Fresh Meat looks to be a fairly standard indie comic con, with minis spread out on the tables in front of their respective artist who sketch on pads or socialize with one another. The show’s quite a bit smaller than an SPX or a MoCCA, of course, nestled in amongst the leather couches and vending machines of the school’s Monkey Bar Lounge in midtown Manhattan.

What truly sets Fresh Meat apart from those aforementioned cons, however, is the fact that this event marks the first time many of the artists present have attended a show on the other side of the table. The result is an odd combination of timidity and the manner of self-assuredness that precedes the outside world’s spirit crushing anti-art sentimentalities. There’s plenty to be confident about, of course—the small room is jammed-packed with hungry artists, both figuratively and literally, as the  several SVA-provided pizza boxes consumed with piranha like speed could attest.

If SVA’s impeccable track record is any indication, of course, this isn’t the last we’ll be hearing of many of those in attendance. It’s difficult—and perhaps unfair—to attempt to handicap this batch of graduates, however. Not surprisingly, there’s a fairly pervasive theme of roughness running through most–if not all–of the works present. But so too is the ever-present potential for many of this crop to become major players on the indie comics scene with a fair amount of practice and persistence. After the jump, check out a few quick favorites pulled from my stack of mini comics.

[Fresh Meat Flickr set.]

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