Saturday, June 22, 2013

San Gabriel Valley Comic Book Expo- Sunday, June 23 in Baldwin Park, CA!

Tomorrow I'll be at the San Gabriel Valley Comic Book Expo, a free event being held at the Baldwin Park Arts & Recreation Center (ARC)!

The event is brought to you by The Nuvein Foundation, in partnership with the ARC. The Expo runs from 11am-6pm on Sunday, June 23. There will be over 20 local artists and creators exhibiting at the event, selling their comics, publications and artwork. There will also be a full day of programming, workshops for children and plenty of other activities.

The Nuvein Foundation is a local, non-profit organization dedicated to providing a platform for artists (writers, musicians, poets, visual), and to also connect the community with those very artists, and in turn inspire younger artists to explore their own voices and follow their dreams. The Foundation was founded by Enrique Diaz, who tragically passed away in March of 2011.

I first met Enrique while I was exhibiting at a local arts fair in El Monte, CA. He took an interest in my work, and eventually I started talking to him and Nuvein about the possibility of hosting my own podcast on an internet radio station Enrique had started. By November 2007 I was hosting PLANET COMIC BOOK RADIO, and found myself on Nuvein's Advisory Board and eventually on the Board of Directors. 

One of the things with Enrique was that if you had an interesting idea for something, he'd pretty much push you forward to the point that the next thing you knew you were organizng an event! I once mentioned to him that Nuvein should host it's own comic book convention, to which he told me "Great idea, put it together!". Our first convention was held in April of 2008, and we've hosted two subsequent ones after that.

After we got the comic book convention going, I once mentioned that Nuvein should host it's own Dia de Los Muertos festival, to which Enrique once again encouraged me to present the idea to the Board. I've been working on that committee ever since!

This year marks our return to the comic book circuit, rebranded under the name San Gabriel Valley Comic Book Expo. This will, in fact, be my swansong for the Nuvein Foundation, as I notified the Board some months ago that I was planning to retire from the Foundation after the comic book expo.

The reasons come down to time-management. With my increasing workload as co-founder and Creative Director of the Latino Comics Expo, and an overwhelming desire to focus much more time producing my own comics and art, I had to reach the decision where my time working on the Board of Directors of the Nuvein Foundation had to come to an end.

The work we've all done together these 6 years or so have been a large part of my life. I've worked with so many great and dedicated people, on the Board and in partnership with other organizations. Because of Enrique's belief in me as an artist, I've been able to bring a lot to the Foundation. I don't leave it with any hard feelings, but one of immense accomplishment and partnership. I know that Enrique would support my decision to pursue my personal artistic dreams, and would keep the door open for any future partnerships. My appreciation to Christopher Trevilla, the current President of the Foundation, for offering me that very option.

At our Board meeting this morning, I looked around the table and was very proud that the Foundation continues to grow and attract new members and partners to this day. We've survived Enrique's passing as an organization. It was tremendously difficult at first, but we all realized he would want the good work to continue, and we each wanted to continue the efforts we've individually put into the organization. But I miss him as a person, to this day.

I'd like to dedicate tomorrow's Comic Book Expo to my friend Enrique Diaz. 

It's a great idea, Enrique. Come see what we've put together!


Phil Rood said...

Really nice tribute to your friend and your time working on what you built together. Also, I love the small, free shows that are community outreach and promotion for the art community as a whole. Really cool that you guys have built and grown the Expo in that way. Wish I could be there... one of these days, I'll stop saying "woulda, coulda, shoulda" and actually get on a plane to the West Coast and see how you guys do it out there

Javier Hernandez said...

Thanks, Phil. It's a very different vibe between a small, community show and the larger ones.

Plus there's a world of difference between organizing one and just being an exhibitor! But It's been very rewarding working on the last 4 SGV Expos.

Looking forward to just signing up as an exhibitor next year!