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The hero within

by CRAIG NORTHRUP
Staff Writer | December 7, 2020 1:09 AM

Every superhero has an origin story.

Wonder Woman was sculpted from clay and handed her powers from Zeus. Iron Man escaped his communist captors during the Vietnam War (or, for Marvel movie fans, escaped an Afghanistan terrorist cell). Spider-Man fell victim to the bite of a radioactive spider before swinging across the skylines and pages and movie screens over New York.

Bre Gotham said her origin story can be traced back to when she was a toddler 26 years ago.

“My mom thinks I was 2 years old when I picked up a pencil and started drawing,” the Post Falls resident said. “I started to draw animals and characters and buildings, and I never stopped.”

The 28-year-old graduate of Lake City High School has turned her first love into both a young life’s work and a for-profit business. The illustrator, animator and local artist has melded her two passions into a united labor of love.

“Primarily, I’m a digital artist,” Gotham said. “Illustration is kind of like the vibe we like to call it. But what got me into this was TV (and) movies. I’m obsessed with cartoons and stories, especially Pixar movies and Disney movies. I was really inspired by those as a kid. It just kept growing and growing. I don’t stop drawing — or watching TV.”

Getting hooked on Disney — a fixation that started with the 2001 film Monsters, Inc. — gave Gotham countless hours honing her craft, one that started with crayons and pencils at the age of 2 before evolving into digital software. But it wasn’t until 2008 when Gotham’s unique origin story burrowed its way into illustration lore.

“I was around 16 when I got my first graphic design job, drawing bralettes," she said. "It really kind of kicked off from there.”

Since then, Gotham said she knew she wanted to see where her talents could take her as she pursued a professional career. All the while, she continued crafting her digital creations, taking on challenging characters, Disney icons and superheroes that have since made their way into the cultural collective, thanks to the surge in Marvel and DC films that have captivated the world and changed the nature of the box office. Gotham estimates she has a digital studio of more than

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Characters of Disney's past aren't the only subjects of Bre Gotham's passion. One of the Post Falls artist's more popular items has been a recreation of The Mandalorian, the Star Wars television phenomenon that has captivated sci-fi lovers young and old. (CRAIG NORTHRUP/Press)

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Disney favorites and Marvel heroes aren't the only characters Bre Gotham translates to print. The Post Falls artist drew a self-portrait in the vein of her iconic creations. (Courtesy of Bre Gotham Art)

a thousand pieces, with artwork ranging from The Little Mermaid’s Ariel to the new Star Wars phenomenon The Mandalorian to a portrait of the founding father of so many comic legends, the great Stan Lee.

Which leads us back to Spider-Man. When the visual masterpiece Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse hit pre-pandemic movie theaters in 2018 and changed the way illustrators drew, Gotham felt the need to draw — and, more importantly, in this case, post — a Spider-Man-inspired piece.

“I have my Bre Gotham Art (page) on Instagram,” she said. “Obviously, I love Spider-Man. Anyway, I put that on Instagram, and I woke up to 10,000 new followers. It was bonkers. It was really crazy.”

With that, Bre Gotham Art exploded from a hobby page to a full-time business, where she sells both her character-inspired work and commission pieces. And the exposure continues to climb: Those 10,000 followers on Instagram have now multiplied to more than 91,000 fans and counting.

“That really pushed my work out there,” Gotham said, “and from there, Bre Gotham Art is what I do. I started doing the Comic-Cons after that. I was invited to Lilac City a couple years ago. That went really well … They invited me to do the logo for Lake City Comic-Con. So I’ve gotten to be an artist there. I’ve sold countless pieces around the world. It’s been a real privilege.”

As Gotham continues her work, she said she’s continuing toward her goals, most notably to one day bring her illustrations to work on a television show or a movie set. In the meantime, she emphasized she's grateful to the characters and artists who continue to inspire her, including the late, great Stan Lee.

“Spider-Man will always be my favorite,” she said. “I love the fact that anybody can be a hero. And in Stan Lee’s eyes — my hero — anybody can be that person.”

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Bre Gotham has built more than just a local name for herself. The Post Falls digital artist has cultivated an online fan base of more than 91,000 followers on her Instagram account, Bre Gotham Art. (CRAIG NORTHRUP/Press)