SXSW Interactive: Matthew Inman

SXSW Interactive: Matthew Inman

Internet comic artist Matthew Inman, creator of The Oatmeal, dropped his usual chubby cartoon alias to speak in person at the closing SXSW Interactive Keynote. Inman (who in real life is actually pretty thin), is widely known on the web for his comics like “How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You” and “A Tribute to Sriracha Rooster Sauce.”

Inman sported his very own Bobcats hoodie to talk bears, cats and the usual internet favorites, along with the somewhat serious transition of leaving web design and programming for the world of comics. Using his own original drawings, Inman gave the keynote to a nearly packed room, making them laugh with each crack at past clients that pushed him towards his current career.

Inman also spoke of his eventful past year.

In 2012, FunnyJunk alleged Inman of defamation after Inman accused the site of infringing on his and other online artists’ original material. FunnyJunk demanded Inman pay $20,000 in damages. But instead of paying the damages, Inman began a Indiegogo campaign called “Operation BearLove Good. Cancer Bad.” to raise $20,000 for the National Wildlife Federation and American Cancer Society. Inman raised over $220,000 in just a few hours. In his keynote, Inman shared the pictures of the raised cash he sent to FunnyJunk, and his image of how FunnyJunk’s lawyer reacted to the fundraiser—a crude (but hilarious) altered image of the lawyer’s brains turning into money raining on bears.

Inman went on to speak of another campaign. Inman took to Indiegogo yet again when he set out to help a nonprofit raise funds to purchase one of Nikola Tesla’s laboratories. Inman’s drawings and fame helped raise $1.7 million in six days, twice the amount the group set out to raise.

Almost the entire audience stuck around for the 20-minute-long Q&A after the keynote, a rare event for the always on-the-go SXSW attendees.