We had the good fortune of connecting with Tom Falco and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tom, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I had to. It was my destiny. When one has an ‘artistic career’ I believe the career chooses you. I don’t think you just wake up one day and decide to be an artist or be in the art or creative business. Whether you are an actual artist, or cartoonist in my case, or art gallery owner or musician or actor, I believe you are born with that inside of you already. Could it be something left over from a past life? Who knows, but I believe the talent and drive are inside you from the day you are born. You really don’t just decide one day to be a painter or violin player. I believe that drive is always in you whether you pursue it right away or start that career later in life.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
For many years my goal was to be published in daily newspapers; and I was for awhile, but I started a business and had to step away from my comics/cartoon career. In that time, social media and the internet took over and daily newspapers fell along the way. Now the place to be is online. Cartoons published online these days have millions of fans/followers. One of the lessons I learned along the way was to go with the change. Embrace change. An advantage to publishing online is short deadlines (really short, sometimes I am making changes until the last second) and of course the relationship and daily dialogue with readers. It’s basically live – happening now – it’s instant. I’ve learned that you don’t have to compete with other artists or cartoonists. You’ll find your audience by just being you. They’ll find you and relate to you. You actually don’t need 5 million followers, a few thousand die hard fans are much better in many instances. You have an ongoing relationship and dialogue with them on a daily basis. Also, I’ve noticed cartoonists relate to each other and work with each other and exchange ideas on Instagram, Facebook and the like.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, we’re talking about Miami, so I guess anywhere is fun and exciting. I would take them to the beach – there are many nice, natural places, more than South Beach, which is what most people think about. There are many restaurants in the area. Our county – Miami-Dade is larger than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island, so there is plenty to do in the one county. We would visit Coconut Grove and Coral Gables and mid-town and arts districts and galleries, I guess. And of course try out some of the new, popular restaurants. All of course, with covid in mind, as many places are not fully open at this time, of course.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have been influenced by Hanna-Barbera, Charles Schulz and until recently I didn’t realize, but a lot of my drawing style comes from Ralph Dunagin, who did a comic called “Dunagin’s People,” years ago. I loved it when I was a kid, but I didn’t realize until he died recently and was brought to my attention, that a lot of my drawing style came from him – the way I draw – the breaks in my lines, the way I draw clothing and faces – so much of it comes from him. For so many years I thought my greatest influence was Hanna-Barbera, I think I used to draw Fred Flintstone before I could draw anything else, that was the first character I would draw over and over. And of course my Mom, who thinks I am the greatest and best cartoonist in the world. She really does and I have to laugh every time she praises my work as the best in the whole wide world.
Other: I publish a blog about arts, culture, travel here: https://tomversation.com/