Good morning NASDAQ, Kabutocho, la Bourse and Footsie, how’s your inflation today? Hard times? Well, put your Dickens novel away and get comfortable in your armchair because today we're providing you with a brand new kind of stock-exchange graph that we'll call: illustration. We tried to call Bernard Madoff, but we keep getting an answering machine, so instead, we've contacted a real artist, and not some random one, we’ve got the actual creator of Calamities of Nature! Ladies, gentlemen, traders, please welcome Tony Piro!
Before we start, we would like to break open a bottle of champagne for Tony is officially our first adult artist. Tony is 30 years old; he lives near Berkeley, CA, with his wife and his daughter, who's expecting a little brother in the next few days. He works as a postdoctoral researcher, specialized in theoretical astrophysics. He's currently developing mathematical models to understand things like how stars explode. And as Tony says "what's better than things exploding?" Well, we have to admit that we kinda have a crush on things that implode. Anyway, his job seems pretty funny, we could almost forget that he's also the proud creator of the web comic Calamities of Nature.
Calamities of Nature started in July 2007, which means it's a baby-web comic which, despite its young age, is already on the top 10 of our favorite websites. In 2007, Tony got Photoshop and was curious about creating some full-color artwork. He didn't know anything about blogs and web comics, but he tried to post his work online as it might give him some feedback that would be helpful for boosting his craft. In the meantime, he learned about online communities, which made him think that it would be fun to share what he was working on, and check out other people's projects. "There are so many talented people (both in terms of writing and artwork) online. It's both intimidating and inspiring."
Fortunately, Tony's shyness faded, and so he created his own website, where he displays a group of characters that he created when he was 10 years old. When he was in high school, he used to draw mini comics and was struggling just to get a handful of them sold so that people could read his work. Yes, times change, there may be a big financial crisis going on, but at least it's a great time to do art. Nowadays, thanks to the internets, anyone can post their artwork online and have their singular artistic vision seen by thousands of people, for better or for worse. Especially for worse. But not in Tony’s case. The comic gives him a great outlet for all the things that are rattling around in his head. It becomes a challenge to present the idea that he’s thinking about, but also to both make it funny and interesting to look at, the most important combination that some people seem to forget.
Time to let you go back to your morning financial TV show, but before here’s another question. Why did our trainee economist choose this FML?
"FML can be really hit or miss for me. Some of the quirky ones can be really funny or surprising. This specific FML was chosen because I thought it was a nice observation. The current economy is really affecting everyone, either directly or someone we know and I thought it would be fun to take it to the extreme. "
And for the very first time, here's a new traditional question that we'll be asking our Saturday artists:
"- Why did you decide to send an illustration to FML?
- I saw the other comics that had been posted and it looked like fun. Because I produce my comic online regularly, it doesn't give me much of a chance to experiment with format. FML gave me the perfect excuse to try something a little longer. "
click on this preview !
You did a great job Mr.Piro! Thank you!
And now here's a little instruction manual on how to be our next published artist: send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org which starts with a hello and ends with a goodbye, including your name, age, and a link to your website/blog. If you don't have one, attach some of your drawings. It's not that complicated is it? Don't waste any more time and send an email now!