Tom Hart may be best known for his daily Hutch Owen comic strip that ran for 2 years in newspapers in both New York and Boston, or his “Ali’s House”, a work co-created with Margo Dabaie that was picked up by King Features Syndicate. His newest creation, however, is the Sequential Arts Workshop (SAW) based out of Downtown Gainesville and is viewed by Hart as the next step in his already prestigious career. SAW is a non-profit organization that was created by Hart as a means to “nurture and educate tomorrow’s generation of visual storytellers, to support creative investigation, exploration and excellence in cartooning and comic art, and to promote literacy in sequential and comic art in today’s culture” according to the organizations website. SAW not only offers support to local artists and students through education but also provides viable workspaces, teaching residencies and distribution/publishing resources for practicing sequential artists.
Comics/Sequential Art and the concept of ideas being presented in a sequence are at the core of almost every dramatic and persuasive art. The merging of images with words has become the dominant means of creative communication within modern culture. SAW recognizes that this integration of multi-media resources and art forms have become the center of advertising, film, video, and video games. SAW offers to its students a core grasp of comics/sequential art that will provide to them a means to navigate the growing complexities of the modern world of media, to participate in it where desirable, and to decode it where necessary. Hart and SAW do not attempt to teach a particular artistic style but instead hope to guide their students in how to become unique, diverse, and flexible storytellers allowing them to explore and develop creatively and adeptly for the rest of their lives. Hart’s next book is Daddy Lightening set for release in March 2012 from Retrofit, and Let’s Get Furious, a 380-page new Hutch Owen collection, also slated for public distribution in March 2012, from Top Shelf.