Artists inspiring the next generation at Siouxpercon

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) – Fandom is an escape or an outlet to many at Siouxpercon. Two artists helped share that outlet with the next generation.

Eric Gapstur is a cartoonist whose works can be seen in DC Comics. He had ideas for a comic strip and eventually turned those ideas into a graphic novel series. He now travels and shares his work in the hope to inspire kids to read and learn.

“I didn’t meet a cartoonist until I was in college, so that would’ve been incredible to me as a young third, fourth grader,” Gapstur said. “It would have been really inspiring, so it really means a lot to be able to give back and try and inspire the next generations of cartoonists and share that love of comics.”

Hector Curriel shared the same sentiment. Curriel moved to Sioux Falls from Peru in 2006 and started pursuing his passion for art. He represented South Dakota by creating pieces with landmarks of the state visited by superheroes. He hoped that it would allow kids to dream big.

“Through the art, you can inspire people and also connect them with the fantasy and the memories and turn to build community and also inspire kids to maybe in the future see themselves like us, like another artist,” Curriel said. “I use art as a tool to communicate. I feel like a storyteller. I like to tell stories through my art.”

Sometimes life is difficult and the outlet provided by art and pop culture makes a huge impact on the lives of youth that stays with them into adulthood.

Curriel and Gapstur make art, but making connections is just as important in their industry. Gapstur gave away one thousand copies of his second graphic novel on Sunday and Curriel reminded people that heroes can be anywhere.

“A guy yesterday bought a drawing with the State Theatre with the Batman there and said, ‘I remember in 1998, I saw my first Batman movie in that theater with my dad, so it was kind of emotional at that point,” Curriel explained.

“I’m happy to get as many books into as many kids’ hands as possible and happy to sign all day. As long as it takes,” Gapstur expressed.

The two artists look forward to sharing their artwork at even more shows and they hope that plenty more youth do the same.

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