Friday, April 3, 2009

"BE A SUPER HERO FOR BABIES" CAMPAIGN ~ PEOPLE MAKING A DIFFERENCE by Denise Vasquez




Steve Frank is what I consider the epitome of a real life, modern day "Super Hero"!!! During the day, he's hard at work running his very own "Farmers Insurance Agency" in Tacoma, WA...By nightfall, he manages to find the time to do work for charity!

When Steve contacted me about doing some sketch cards for his "BE A SUPER HERO FOR BABIES" Campaign, I had to find a way to not only be a part of what he is doing as an artist, I was also VERY inspired to help bring awareness to his cause!

I conversed with Steve Frank about all the wonderful things he's been doing and what led him to want to become a "SUPER HERO FOR BABIES"...


-So Steve, What inspired you to do this fantastic campaign for MARCH OF DIMES? 

March of Dimes has their "Be A Hero For Babies" day every summer. I came up with "BE A SUPER HERO FOR BABIES". Although I do not read comic books anymore, I did grow up and I still appreciate comic art. I will buy a piece or ask for a commission here & there. So, to have artists, many of whom I loved growing up, help our is great. Basically with this campaign, I am riding the current sketch card craze. A lot of people collect them, so it seemed like a good fit. 


-What led you to do charity work? Are you involved with other charities?

I have always been altruistic. I have done a lot of charity work. I own a "Farmers Insurance Agency" in Tacoma, WA and Farmers is the largest corporate sponsor of March Of Dimes in our state. I think March Of Dimes is a GREAT organization, of course, and to have such support from your company is a driving force. As far as other charities go, I sponsor a child in El Salvador through "Compassion International" (third child in over a decade; they grow up so fast). I hosted a local radio show for a bit that solely featured individuals and organizations that help our community, such as "United Way", "Humane Society", and "World Vision". Ultimately, I will help out as much as I can, whenever I can, if asked.


-Is this your first time doing this type of campaign for the "MARCH OF DIMES"? Have you done this in the past? What was the outcome?

This is the second annual "BE A SUPER HERO FOR BABIES" campaign. Last year was GREAT, but I learned a lot on how to improve this year. In the end, we had around 200 artists do sketch cards and/or donate items such as original art, sketches, comics, sketch books, prints, etc. I was able to raise over $4,000 just from the "SUPER HERO" campaign. I raised even more through other means. I wound up being the top fundraising "Farmers Insurance" Agent in the State of Washington last year and I was recognized by the Governor Christine Gregoire for the effort, which was nice.

-How many artists are involved to date? How many sketch cards have been donated?

I have about 120 artists so far this year. I will be pounding the pavement at the "Emerald City ComicCon" in Seattle on April 4th, so I should be able to get another forty or so artists to contribute. That was a big part last year. The sketch cards are rolling in, but based on the commitments I received from the artists, I can expect over 500 sketch cards. That is about 200 more than last year. 

-How do you find the artists that are involved? Do you contact them directly or word of mouth? Or both? 

Well, I have many do stuff at the "Emerald City ComicCon", but the bulk of it was through the internet. I essentially sent e-mails to many of them, unsolicited. It is a testament to a lot of these artists that helped without knowing who I was. It shows you there are a lot of good people out there. Then, word of mouth spreads like wildfire. 


-You mentioned you are planning another campaign this summer, can you tell me more about that?

We will be doing a local auction featuring original artwork. Many of the artists who are participating in the sketch card phase are also contributing a bigger piece for this auction. That will be later in July. 


-Are you still looking for artists? Where can they reach you?

We always appreciate the help! Any comic or sketch card artist can contact me at stevenlfrank@comcast.net Unfortunately, we can only use a handful of amateur artists. Most of the artists are published and professional. A big part of the success is the credibility aspect. I would love to have anyone help, but it seems to have a negative effect. 


-Is there Anything else you would like to say Steve?

Thank you for asking me these great questions! The desire to help babies should be an innate characteristic, so I really appreciate EVERYONE who is a part of this. Keep an eye on my blog http://steve4mod.blogspot.com to stay posted on the artists involved and the dates of the auctions. Anyone who just wants to learn more about the MARCH OF DIMES or donate to them directly should go to http://www.marchofdimes.com 


Personally, I am soooo impressed by all of the artists that have donated their work to such a wonderful campaign! I myself donated 5 full colored sketch cards to the campaign, but there is one artist in particular I selected to FEATURE here, as she is a "Super Hero" in her own right, helping to spread awareness to this campaign by posting all over the internet! 

Jessica graduated from Arizona State University and has since done artwork for companies such as The Walt Disney Company, Lucasfilm Ltd, Topps, Upper Deck , DC and Marvel Comics...to name a few! For more information about Jessica, please visit her website http://www.jessicahickman.com

Jessica was kind enough to take a moment from her hectic schedule to speak with me:

-Jessica, is this your first time participating as an artist with the "MARCH OF DIMES" sketch card campaign?

Nope, I worked with them last year on the 5x5 cards


-How did you hear about the campaign? Were you contacted directly, or did you hear about it word of mouth?

I was contacted directly via e-mail


-How many cards did you donate?

Unfortunately, I'm only able to contribute 5 cards due to my schedule


-What other charities, if any have you participated in as an artist?

I donate artwork for auction every year at "Minnesota Fall Con" for the Lupus Foundation Of Minnesota


-What led you to do charity work?

I've just had people approach me and I support the causes


-How long have you been an illustrator?

Does "Since I was born" count :)


-Any upcoming events/conventions you are attending that you would like to promote?

Minnesota Micro Con is coming up at the end of April http://mncba.com


I'd like to thank everyone out there who is doing what they can to help make a difference! Together WE CAN!

PeAce LovE aRt & sOuL
Denise Vasquez

To find out about other causes, fundraisers, benefits I support and help bring awareness to, please visit my WO+MEN 4 A CAUSE site http://www.myspace.com/women4acase

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