Maker News
Maker Spotlight: Keith Cooper

Meet Keith Cooper, maker, comics enthusiast, and one-half of the podcasting duo behind Blerd-ishKeith and a friend, Mark Wallace, created Blerd-ish in 2017 as a send-up of all things black and nerdy. More than 100 episodes in, they’re still sharing their passion for black nerd culture from their home base in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

This week, Keith will be joining makers from Lafayette (about 60 miles west of Baton Rouge) and the surrounding region for the 3rd annual Maker Faire Lafayette, a hybrid event with both traditional in-person activations and workshops and a hosted by Lafayette Public Library from April 5-10th. Explore all the makers from the event HERE.

What is your day job?

My business, Blerd-ish, promotes literacy and I work as a Librarian Tech for the East Baton Rouge Parish Library. I also serve on our committee for our local Comic Con.

What kinds of stuff do you make?

I make podcasts on blerd/nerd culture and uplift people and unique folks in their field. Blerd-ish ranges from comic book artists, activists, fellow podcasters and media people, and TV/movie reviews, and other various topics. Just like a comic book, I have several branches of stories that flow into one for the origin of the Blerd-ish podcast. It just depends on how much time you have for me to weave my fantastic tale of amazement like the late great Stan Lee. Or that I’m a low key anime nut and an NBA fan.

How did you get started making stuff?

My first podcast, BaskeballandBS was created with some friends. We felt our passions weren’t really discussed locally very well or even at all. Once I took a well-needed hiatus from that podcast, Blerd-ish was born as a conduit for others things I was into. I am inspired by fellow podcasters who tackle similar topics. I am also inspired by personalities who can discuss a variety of topics. This includes folks like Tom Joyner to modern creators who put themselves out there to express their art and purpose. I am inspired by the chance to enlighten folks to something new that they may have not been aware of.

What up-and-coming maker trends excite you the most?

I am just glad that folks are understanding that Maker means a lot of different things. From your candle maker to a podcast or making a platform for people. That continuing trend is what is needed for constant growth.

What is something that you’ve made that you’re really proud of?

I have been podcasting for three years as a part of the Blerd-ish podcast, helping create the library con for the East Baton Rouge Parish Library, and helping creators through our pop-up shop for the past year. There we make connections with those who want to find more than the usual comics the big two have to offer. We also have made space on our table to include local artists and we sell for them. Ultimately, we make connections and vending for folks who may not be in our area but want to get their comics and art in this part of the country. Thanks to my IT person and friend, I now have an online store to get comics to buyers all over the country now.

What is next on your project list?

We will eventually have a comic/coloring book done. My cohost, Mark Wallace, and I are writing it. Once we break the ice on the first one, we will see where it goes and what other type of things we’ll create.

What is something you’d like to work with but you haven’t yet?

I guess my answer is simple. I will like to work with more artists/writers/creators as we decide how we will proceed with the art we create. We want to keep working with unique eye catching creators for our pop up. Podcast wise, we will decide if we will transition to include a video presence as well.

Any advice for people reading this?

My advice is to be consistent as much as you can, but schedule time for yourself. You want to be fair and honest with those you contract or work with, but firm. You want to put your best effort forward in what you are doing. Most importantly enjoy what you doing and start. Just start and improve as you go. Find your passion and work hard towards what you love and your goals.  Learn to network, be social, and have fun.

Are you going to show off at a maker faire in the near future? If so, which one?

Maker Faire Lafayette and previously the event hosted by the library where I work, Maker Faire Baton Rouge (returning in October 2021).

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