It's the story you hear time and time again: I'm stuck (creatively) and I don't know how to get out of this funk.
For the team over at In Hiatus, they took their collective hump and fully kickstarted a gorgeous hardcover art book, Shards, a collection of work, stories, and creating a path to success. We got to catch up with the team about difficulties starting an art studio, lessons learned, and of course, their favorite places in SF to be inspired.
BC: So what is In Hiatus Studios? Why the name and how did the concept of an art studio come about?
IH: To be honest, the studio was born out of a frustration we all shared: the feeling of being stuck, creatively. We were all so busy with our everyday lives that we had put a lot of personal projects on hold. So we came together to help each other get started, motivate each other and hold each other accountable.
As for our name, it was a reference to a past freelance project that had stalled and was put in hiatus indefinitely. Eventually we ran with it because it really spoke to the state that we were all in. We call ourselves ‘In Hiatus’ to always remind ourselves of how we got started and to hopefully avoid falling into that creative state again.
BC: Who is all on your team + what's their specialties?
Don Aguillo and Raf Salazar, both of whom are talented and successful freelance artists serve as Art Directors. Our Managing Editor, Kimberly Moss, has a degree in Creative Writing and is currently earning her master’s degree from Southern Oregon University. Pip Reyes is our Brand Manager. He’s utilizing his artistic background as a visual development artist to shape the company’s identity. Our Production Manager, Matt Ng, is a freelance animator. He’s channeling his experience working for various studios to supervise our production pipeline. Bo Waverly Cross has been working in the comics industry for years now, and he’s handling our PR.
BC: Tell us about the first project and the successful Kickstarter campaign, give us the what, when, where, and why? Our readers would love to know.
IH: Our first project is Shards: Volume 1, a comic book anthology that features each of our individual stories. Kickstarter was the best platform to reach out to other people for support, and build a supportive community that becomes just as invested in your success as you are. That being said, Kickstarter ended up being a roller coaster of emotions for us. We launched it in August and had no idea if people would want to support our project. I mean, we were hopeful and we had a decent amount of work to show as a proof of concept, but you never know, right? So when we reached nearly 50% in the first 24 hours we were so surprised and humbled. The generosity of our backers really showed us that we had a product people would love as much as we do.
BC: How did the concept of Shards Volume 1 come to be? Was this a venture going in or was it all fun and games until a serious thought of starting something came about?
Definitely more of the latter. We all grew up loving comics, that’s why so many of us became artists and animators, but we also had our own stories we wanted to tell. We needed a way to showcase them, so an anthology made the most sense. Shards ended up being a bizarre mix of different stories in different genres and art styles, and that’s the beauty of it. There’s something in there for everyone. Initially it was supposed to be a one-and-done, but it became way more serious after the campaign ended. We discovered that we loved working as a team, and knew that we weren’t the only creatives out there looking for a place to tell our stories. So, we decided to establish ourselves as a publisher. Shards is now going to be an annual release for the company that will serve as a launch pad for new individual series.
BC: Also as a personal asking point: where does the team love to go in the city? Coffee shops? Restaurants? Guide us through the "Day in the Life" of the team.
IH: Our main base of operation is Ingleside, so most of our spots are located in that area. Ocean Avenue is booming and the food options are pretty great. We love going to Poke Bowl, Shanghai Dumpling King, and (our favorite) Pho Ha Tien. It’s no frills, affordable, and fast bowls of hot pho.
But the birthplace of In Hiatus Studios is Fog Lifter Café. We had our first meeting there, and still head over for coffee and work. Typically now though, the team will meet at our shared workspace for company meetings, which always take longer than planned (but what can we expect, we enjoy each other’s company and geek out over the same things.) Once we’re done though, we part ways and focus on our individual tasks like art production, business development, writing and so forth. We keep in touch daily online, and we meet up weekly to check in and move forward in our creative mission.
BC: Any exciting plans for 2017 that we can share with our readers? Events the studio will be attending etc?
2017 is going to be a big year for us. We are finally releasing Shards Vol.1 mid-March and we’re celebrating it with a big launch party. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for more details as we continue to update and promote. There will be drinks, food and contests for free stuff so definitely stay tuned. We’ll be releasing single issues of our current titles online through Amazon’s ComiXology throughout the year.
Danielle Rueda is a Fashion and Lifestyle photographer from San Francisco. Since 2008, she has worked in Manila, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York.