Wednesday, February 07, 2024

“It’s Okay to Be Awkward or 下手でいい (Heta de ii)”  will be featured in the Langdon Divers Community Gallery in February at the Fond du Lac Public Library.

In the exhibition, which will be available from Wednesday, Feb. 7 to Tuesday, March 6, artist Tom Wallestad will present his cartoon art on gilded Shikishi boards. Shikishi boards in Japan are used for displaying haikus, autographs, or illustrations of geisha/maiko, manga/comics, and anime characters. 

Wallestad is an associate professor of art and graphic design at the University of St. Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas. His cross-cultural interests continue the artistic tradition of  Japanisme that started circa 1958. 

With this exhibition, he unleashes a looser Etegami-style (picture letters) approach to his character designs. He further infuses inspiration from Kunio Koike, Hokusai’s manga, yokai images, Eiichiro Oda, Blake, Munch, Grosz, Ralph Steadman, Basil Wolverton, E.C./MAD Comics, Stefan G. Bucher, Lynda Barry, Craig Thompson, Kyle Baker, Jhonen Vasquez, Will Eisner, Don Hertzfeldt, Jay Ward, Paul Terry and Tex Avery. 

An artist reception will be held Thursday, Feb. 8 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the gallery.

The Langdon Divers Community Gallery is open seven days a week, whenever the Fond du Lac Public Library is open at 32 Sheboygan St. The gallery may be found off the atrium at the south entrance to the Main Library. 

For updates on Langdon Divers Community Gallery, follow the gallery on Facebook at Volunteer curator Mel Kolstad may be contacted at