The story of Key West, Florida, and the street performers who make their living there,
as told by a perennial tourist turned resident cartoonist.
Key West is a national anomaly that offers a unique charm unlike any other city in America. This southernmost point of the continental U.S. is rich with culture and folklore, is known for its reputation as a refuge for LGBTQ+, and has no shortage of unique characters, each with a story worth listening to. The famous Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square is where it all comes together, a nightly festival for artists, vendors, and entertainers to capture the attention of tourists from around the world.
Drawn To Key West explores how Mallory Square evolved from the chosen anchorage of pirates to a staple attraction, creative haven for many visual and performing artists, and an integral part to Key West’s magic. The story delves into the art and lifestyle of the street performers, who are the backbone of it all.
This graphic novel can serve as a practical guide to those new to navigating Key West and as a treasured memento to those already enraptured by its charm.
As a story that deals with the history of Key West and reveals how and why the street performers choose to make their living there, Drawn to Key West is the first graphic novel of its kind.
Street theater is a unique part of American and international culture, but it is largely shrouded in mystery. While many enjoy watching their shows, the connotation still exists that street performers are homeless con artists trying to scam people out of their money. So much is unknown about their lifestyle, and while the mystery is part of the appeal, I wish to shed a little light on the art form in hopes of garnering awareness of a largely unrecorded history, increasing appreciation for the craft, and helping preserve a tradition that I love and respect dearly.