When Vancouver oil paint artist Faina Lorah talks about her love of making art she says much of her interest in art was sparked by fairy tales that she read as a child.
“Most of my artwork has a whimsical feel to it,” Lorah said. “This makes me a great fit for Wizard World. I will be participating in their Artist Alley.”
Lorah is referring to the Wizard World Comic Con event that will be going on this weekend at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. According to a Wizard World news release, “Wizard World, Inc. produces comic, gaming and pop culture conventions across North America that celebrates the best in pop culture: movies, television, gaming, live entertainment, comics, sci-fi, graphic novels, toys, original art, collectibles, contests and more.”
Each Wizard World event features a first-class lineup of topical programming and entertainment, with celebrity Q & A sessions, comics-themed sessions, costume contests, movie screenings, evening parties and more. The Portland Wizard World event will feature numerous celebrity guests, including Matthew Lewis (“Harry Potter” franchise, “Ripper Street”); Nichelle Nichols (“Star Trek”); John Barrowman (“Arrow,” “Doctor Who”); Theo Rossi (“Luke Cage,” “Sons of Anarchy”); Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox (“CHiPS”); Dean Cain (“Supergirl,” “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman”); Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”) and numerous others.
Numerous creative comic artists and writers will also attend the Portland Wizard World event, including Keith Tucker (“Roger Rabbit”); Michael Golden (“Batman,” “Spider-Man”); Phil Ortiz (“The Simpsons,” “Muppet Babies”) and several others.
Several local writers and artists, like Lorah, will also be a part of the three-day Wizard World event, including Battle Ground comic artist and writer Clayton Hollifield. Hollifield, 40, has lived in Battle Ground since 2002, graduating from Hudson’s Bay High School in 1994. By his senior year, Hollifield said he was already self-publishing his own comics in photocopied “zines” (magazines, fanzines), and doing local conventions.
Hollifield graduated from the University of Washington in 1999 with a creative writing degree, and also spent some time at Portland Community College studying figure drawing and printmaking. His “fine artwork” has been shown in galleries, both locally and internationally.
“I’ll be in Artist Alley (table D1) at Wizard World all three days of the convention, showing my comics and original artwork, and hopefully chatting pleasantly with whomever might stop by my table,” Hollifield said.
Hollifield said he recently published a collection of some older comics that he drew called “ZenJeff: The Whole Shebang!,” which will debut at the Wizard World event and is also available to order on Amazon. The book was written by J. Nick Reddoch and is an all-ages comedy book about a warrior and his pint-sized sidekick and their adventures.
“The keyword to describe ZenJeff is ‘silly,’” Hollifield said. “The comic book that I’m currently working on is called ‘San Gwynn.’ San is a terrible chef with a huge ego, so he gets fired a lot. He’s also a flavor alchemist, which means that he can transmute ingredients into other ingredients, which would be useful, but San tends to use his abilities to torment other people. The character is inspired by the insanely confident, foul-mouthed chefs that constantly show up on cooking shows.”
Artist Faina Lorah, who will also be at the Artist Alley in the Wizard World event, is a Russian-born surrealist oil painter. Her family immigrated to the U.S. in 1995 she was just a small child and moved to Vancouver, where she has lived for most of her life. Lorah attended the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics and studied there for two years. Several years later, she apprenticed under well-known artist Angela Pozzi and then returned to Vancouver to complete her associate degree at Clark College.
“My most current project is a book of Russian fairy tales,” Lorah said. “These stories are told in a more relevant way to spark the interest of readers who might not know a lot about Russian folklore. The book also includes over 20 oil painting illustrations. It should be coming out in a few months and will definitely be geared towards people who are interested in fantasy.”
The Portland Wizard World Comic Con will be going on all weekend (Feb. 17-19) at the Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., Portland. Hours of the event are Fri., 5-10 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; and Sun., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For admission prices and more information, visit http://wizardworld.com/comiccon/portland.