ANDERSON — Artist, illustrator and animator Cameron Kotterman graduated a few years ago with a bachelor’s of fine arts degree from Ball State University’s animation program hoping to find a job as a character animator at a major studio.
Instead, he found himself working for a time as a barista and a janitor.
But through July 21, his darker digital illustrations, featuring Adam West, Christian Bale, Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton as Batman, and the brighter work of former Herald Bulletin cartoonist Deon “Dee” Parson, are featured in “Drawn to Life” at the Anderson Museum of Art.
Deb Stapleton, director of the museum, said the exhibit complements the longer-running “Pop Geometry” exhibit, featuring the Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol-inspired art of California artist Todd Gray.
“We thought, ‘Why not bring in a local component to it?’” she said.
Kotterman, 26, got his big break through an opportunity with John Tyler Christopher, who works with Marvel Comics.
“He was looking for an intern to assist him on some projects," the Lafayette native said. "He was a mentor for a while and taught me the ropes of this industry. All of what he taught me has led me to where I am today.”
Since then, he has worked as a cover artist for comic books and novels and has taught animation to middle school-age kids at the museum.
“That was a unique opportunity I never thought I would do," he said, "but now I can say I taught middle schoolers 3D animation.”
Kotterman also travels to comic book conventions where he sells a mix of original art and prints from an artists alley booth. But he never expected to see his work on display in a museum.
“I’m really excited to be featured with Deon. He’s a good friend of mine, and he’s really talented. It’s been fantastic to see his journey,” he said.
Known for his former “Life with Kurami” comic strip, Parson’s part of the exhibit features black-and-white and colored strips from his newer “Pen and Ink” series. The exhibit also includes some of the Franklin native’s “Pen and Ink” comic books.
Parson, 23, said he’s excited for this new medium in which to display his work.
“I’m floored, honestly. It’s not often, I guess, that comic art gets a gallery exhibition,” the 2013 Anderson High School graduate said. “Everyone’s been loving it. I hear some people have been coming back to see it again.”
Parson said he’s amazed how far he has been able to travel with his career — a hobby since the third grade — in a short time. “It’s a visual reminder to me that this is what hard work can do and what can happen when you just love what you do.”
“It’s something that was really there for me when I was young and helped me see the world in a way I needed to see it in, in a way to make me smile,” he said.
The former Elwood resident said he’s especially excited to have his work featured alongside that of a nationally known artist like Todd Gray.
“It all fits perfectly together," he said. "They all kind of represent the same thing.”