Last weekend, Julia Vickerman and some friends were going to watch the season premiere of Game of Thrones. They made dragon eggs and a banner and a bunch of other stuff that went along with the show. “It was like work,” she says.
Vickerman, a storyboard artist and animation producer for Yo Gabba Gabba!, doesn’t like having a lot of downtime. When she’s not bogged down with work, she’ll put together events, anything from a small Game of Thrones get together to a grand group art show based on Kristen Stewart.
Yes, Kristen Stewart. On Saturday night, Vickerman will bring together over 50 artists, including Adventure Time character designer Natasha Allegri and comic book artist Phil Noto, to take on the star of movies like Twilight and The Runaways at Meltdown in “Muchos Kstew.”
“It’s basically 53 artist enabling my creepy obsession,” says Vickerman.
Large group shows based on a theme are common in Los Angeles and the pink-haired artist is often asked to be a part of them. Vickerman realized that whenever she was given a theme, she would think about how she could fit Stewart into it. She’s really into drawing the actress’ face.
The show isn’t about Stewart’s movies and it’s not about her life. In fact, Vickerman says that she doesn’t really know that much about Stewart outside of her films. Instead, it’s about a young woman who often appears so awkward at press events that she’s enigmatic, a girl who somehow remains elusive despite starring in one of the biggest film franchises of recent years.
“It’s more about the idea of a weird girl and wanting to be in her presence,” Vickerman explains.
Ultimately, the concept is universal and, after stepping inside Vickerman’s home studio, it’s easy to understand her motives. Her walls are covered in memorabilia and art celebrating well-known, but often critically overlooked, figures. There’s a cel in the middle featuring Archie sidekick Jughead. “I had the biggest crush on Jughead when I was younger,” she says. “I was always interested in guys who would rather eat cheeseburgers than hang out with girls.”
As a child in Greenville, South Carolina, Vickerman only watched cartoons. She says that her dreams were animated as well. She loved Disney movies, especially The Little Mermaid. Then, when she was 11, her brother introduced her to anime. She quickly became a fan, noting that Japanese animation featured far more female lead characters than their U.S. counterparts. She started cosplaying characters at fan conventions. Sailor Moon and Sailor Mercury were early favorites. She also dressed as characters from Princess Mononoke, The Dirty Pair and Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water.