ESCONDIDO — Comic-Con is coming to San Diego July 9 but for those not wishing to brave the traffic and crowds, artists Stephen Fishwick and Beau Hufford are giving local residents a closer option for pop culture immersion.
On July 18 from 1 to 3 p.m. Fishwick will host Art Pop, an art exhibit featuring local artists specializing in pop culture and illustrators from Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon.
Art Pop will feature free illustration seminars and art classes welcome to all skill levels ranging from beginners to experienced artists.
Stephen Silver, who created the likeness of Nickelodeon’s Kim Possible and Danny Phantom will have his work on display.
Current Cartoon Network and former Pixar artist Manny Hernandez will also give a seminar on illustration.
Art Pop kicks off a month long art exhibit featuring works from Silver, Fishwick and Daniel Jaimes.
“We’re going to basically just have a fun-filled popular arts show,” Fishwick said.
Jaimes paints portraits of pop culture icons like Superman, Wonder Woman and characters from Star Wars.
The pop art show will last a month from July 18 to Aug. 18.
“People can come see it anytime even if they miss the grand opening on July 18,” Fishwick said.
Fishwick has been involved in Comic-Con for 20 years and he got his start locally at Sea World doing caricature paintings.
The theme park has gotten lots of criticism for its treatment of killer whales after the documentary “Blackfish” gained widespread popularity.
Yet unbeknownst to many in the community, the company has been churning out successful artists for years.
Many illustrators who have gone on to work for big studios start their careers as caricature painters at Sea World, Fishwick, Huffman and Hernandez included.
The caricature program run by Kaman’s Art Shoppes gives young students loads of experience, which Fishwick said is why many go on to successful careers in the industry.
“It puts them in the public drawing three-minute caricatures with marker for eight to 10 hours a day,” Fishwick said. “You practice anything for eight to 10 hours a day, you get really good at drawing.”
Fishwick has since become a Disney featured artist and worked with the estates of Bob Marley, Elvis Presley, James Brown and Jimi Hendrix to produce prints for souvenirs ranging from lighters to tee shirts.
Fishwick and his business partner Huffman hope to bring in more people to The Centre.
“The biggest kept secret in Escondido is The Centre,” Fishwick said.
It’s a hybrid shopping center and car dealership. A Lexus dealership takes up the bottom floor, retail space occupies the second floor and a Cohen Brother’s owned restaurant, Vintana, is on the top floor.
The Centre also serves as an event space hosting weddings and business meetings.
The seminar will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. at Stephen Fishwick’s Fine Art Collection 1205 Auto Park Way 2nd Level.