Kristen Cumings

Kristen Cumings talks to ComicsVerse about being a Jelly Belly artist at New York City Comic Con 2017!

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James Tucker Interview at New York Comic Con 2017

ComicsVerse: Welcome to New York Comic Con 2017. My name is Rachel Davis. With me is the Jelly Belly artist herself, Kristin Cummings, and you are watching Comicsverse. How’s your con going so far, Kristen?

Kristen Cumings: It’s going really well. I’m on schedule to finish by the end of tomorrow night, so I’m happy.

ComicsVerse: Wonderful. So my first question is how did you get into the business of Jelly Belly art?

Kristen Cumings: Well, Jelly Belly’s actually had artists doing this, making art, mosaics, out of their product since the 1980’s, and most of the art that they have in their collection was made in the 1980’s, but then they wanted to start it up again after they hadn’t had anybody doing that for a while. And in 2009 they contacted me, I’m close to their international headquarters in Fairfield, California, and ask if I wanted to try it because they wanted to start up the bean art program again, and so I tried it out, it ended up working out really well, and I enjoy it, and it’s been great ever since.

ComicsVerse: Wonderful. So, I’m sure you must get so many questions and comments about being a Jelly Belly artist and your work. What are some misconceptions or like misguided questions that people have about this?

Kristen Cumings: A lot of times people will contact me and ask for a smaller piece, like an 8×10 or you know, even two feet by two feet, and it’s hard to describe, but it’s kind of like each bean is a pixel, so there are no details that I can make happen in the art that are smaller than one jellybean. So there’s no way to make a portrait of your entire family on an 8×10 piece of paper. So, that’s one of the things. And then, what else? A lot of times people don’t realize how long it takes, like a lot of times people will come by and be like, “Oh, you’ll be done by the end of the day,” and I’ll be like, “No, it’s going to take three more days.” That’s probably the main ones.

ComicsVerse: On average it takes about three days, and 12,000 jellybeans?

Kristen Cumings: Yeah, 12,000 jellybeans and just putting the beans on takes about 40 hours or so, so a whole con, like four days.

ComicsVerse: So it’s a labor of love, clearly?

Kristen Cumings: Yeah, it’s a lot of fun, I enjoy it.

ComicsVerse: Great, and most of your work, as seen on your website, is realistic art based?

Kristen Cumings: A lot of it is photorealistic. These comic-based pieces that we’ve done for DC, we did Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman was last year, my favorite, those ones are the only ones that I’ve done that aren’t photorealistic. But, they’re fun.

ComicsVerse: So DC contacted you and Jelly Belly asking for these pieces of art? Do you know what happens with them?

Kristen Cumings: I think what it was was that Jelly Belly and DC have a licensing thing going on with packaging for special sets of beans that are Justice League, super hero related, and so the art that they’re using for the packaging, Jelly Belly wants to feature that because they think it’s so great, and cool to look at and stuff, so Jelly Belly commissions me, so they can sort of commemorate having these special lines of beans put out.

ComicsVerse: Thank you. Can you tell us of any future projects that are happening with you?

Kristen Cumings: I’m not sure what’s going to happen. I never know with these guys, which is kind of part of why it’s really fun and exciting, so I’m not sure.

ComicsVerse: So we’ll just have to stay tuned. You want to tell us your website so we can keep track?

Kristen Cumings: Sure, it’s kristencumings, K-R-I-S-T-E-N-C-U-M-I-N-G-S, one M, dot com.

ComicsVerse: Thank you so much for your time.

Kristen Cumings: Thanks Rachel.

ComicsVerse: For more interviews, as well as reviews, analyses, and more, make sure to check out My name is Rachel Davis, and we’ll see you next time.

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