Page 1


SONIA KOLNER


Sonia Kolner Submitted August 7th 2014

“The piece I submitted is a part of a long and ongoing project I’m doing about my closest friends. It is sort of a small collaboration on their part, so instead of me just taking reference photos of them and doing my own thing, there is a personal process. The way I go about thinking how to portray this person in the truest sense of themselves possible, is usually by how I see them as a person, and how they see themselves as of that moment. So we work together in coming up with a way that I can portray them that works for all of us. This portrait is of my friend. I could sense that even though he portrayed that as his new outer shell, it was not who he really was. I encouraged him to stop defining himself from all those religious books and ways of finding the right path etc, but just by being himself and not being constantly attached to whatever he was around, by forming his own person. After we talked about this, he became a lot more uncensored and free instead of thinking “what would so and so do” but rather reflecting within himself first and following his gut instincts. Before he got to this stage, he felt really empty, did not know who he was as a person without any attachments and was extremely lost. So I came up with the idea of his face being in organic pieces, and we thought of it as pulling apart but being able to come back again. ” -Sonia Kolner Name

21

you with the basics to get a good jump start on things such as proportion, composition, and how to use different mediums. However, as you progress I strongly believe that as long as you have great ideas and are hard working/motivated, most of it becomes self taught. After the basics, what you receive is mainly assignments with quick deadlines. By this time, you find your own way of working and what feels right for you.

What is your current location?

What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most?

Oakland, California

I am inspired by a lot of everyday things such as taking a walk and just paying attention to what I see. I also am inspired by animals and how they interact with humans but also with each other. A lot of my inspiration also comes from personal experiences in life whether it is relationships/friendships, etc. There are a lot of people/artists that inspire me so I’ll just name the few that come to my mind. Ivan Bilibin, Gustav Dore, Joao Ruas, Albrecht Durer, Harry Clarke, Katrien de Blauwer, etc. I also have a huge place in my heart for old botanical/scientific/ anatomical/alchemical book illustrations.

Sonia Kolner Age

Where are you from? I was born in Singapore, but lived most of my life in Zurich, Switzerland. I’ve lived in the states for a few years now. What is your current occupation? I am a student and currently working retail at a boutique. I am working on slowly becoming a freelance illustrator though!

Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I am currently attending art school, which I feel as though helps

What materials do you like to work with? I work mostly in croquill pen, watercolor, graphite, and ink. I love any watery mediums that you can play around with that has a mind of its own. I also love using croquill pen often because of the fine details that you can achieve along with having vastly different characteristics in each line.

FORGEARTMAG.COM

9


What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? I am currently working on my art “guardian/protector”. I was assigned early on in one of my illustration classes to create a creature that would watch over you while you were making art during late nights. It used to be a scarab beetle, but since I don’t find that fitting to me anymore, she is now a bird/wolf/woman warrior. What music do you listen to while working? It usually depends on my mood. Most of the time I put on shows that I’ve already watched so I don’t have to look at the screen but just listen to it. Such as Friends or The Office, so nothing intense. However if I feel like completely being in my own world and just zoning into the piece, a good Max Richter album will usually do the trick. Previous Work

Websites: www.soniakolner.com http://instagram.com/soniapetunia Contact: skolner@cca.edu

10 FORGE • SEPTEMBER 2014

Where do you like to work? I feel most comfortable working at home at my desk. What is one of your earliest memories of making art? If you consider doodles in a planner or stick figures with triangle dresses art, then probably just being a little kid doodling randomly. However, I only started seriously drawing when I started college. I used to be a photography major but was enamored with all the illustration around me. I then decided just to risk it and take the leap and switch my major. Best decision I’ve ever made.


SHAY LHEA


Shay Lhea Submitted July 30th 2014

“My hope when I started constructing the mask was to give it a sumptuous, lavish feel, much like that of 18th century French royalty. I love including authentic antiques on my masks and managed to find the perfect cameo to adorn it! I made DollFace using a few different types of leather and satin cord to wind around the mask making it texturally decadent and once that was done I added a clusters of clock gears and a music box twist-lever as an added detail to give an impression of the wearer being mechanical or... easily wound up.” -Shay Lhea Name Shay Lhea Age 30 What is your current location? Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA Where are you from? Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA What is your current occupation? Mask Designer and Owner of Oculto Masks. I’m also a Milliner of Women’s Hats and my new hat line is called ‘Chapeaux Chic’. Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? Absolutely no formal training to date but I’ve always been an artist and I’m 100% self-taught. I’ve gone through reoccurring and rambling, fruitful stints of painting and sculpting, but when I fell into a creative hole I decided to travel to New Orleans on a whim to recalibrate and experience something new, which is where I became re-inspired and delved into the world of masks!

film, my only condition is that whatever I watch has to be of the highest performance, soundtrack and cinematic quality. I’m endlessly ignited by films like Synecdoche, The Fountain, The Fall, Wings of Desire, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Russian Ark and The Holy Mountain... to name a few. And the directors of all of these movies can go right ahead and collectively adopt me whenever they wish. What materials do you like to work with? I love to work with glass, leather, metal and braided satin or silk cord. The feeling of an intricately woven fabric bedded next to a cold and informal material like glass or steel confuses the mind and gives the item a kind of masculine delicacy that compels the hand to touch while repelling it at the same time. What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? I’m currently working on completing the second part of my couture mask line so that I’ll have 16 pieces in total. After which I hope to work again with incredible photographer Vince Hemingson who took this image of my mask. The goal is to start exhibiting the complete collection in galleries outside of Canada! I’ll also be working on making a matching accessory to go with each couture disguise -capes, collars, gauntlets etc. What music do you listen to while working? I’m usually watching crime documentaries or watching documentaries about other artists (both dead and alive.)

What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most?

Where do you like to work?

I’m an extreme Cinephile and thoroughly dissolve myself in

I always work in my living room and have my work table

FORGEARTMAG.COM

13


stationed near my balcony. I’m 18 floors up and feel like I’m living in a castle in the clouds. I can watch the rain blow in across the city in sheets and it’s always quiet aside from the squawking of distant seagulls. My tiny paradise by the sea. What is one of your earliest memories of making art? I remember at one point my teacher in Elementary School Previous Work

Websites: http://ocultomasks.carbonmade.com/ www.ocultomasks.com http://www.hemingsonphotography.com/ Contact: kivulinyoka@gmail.com

14 FORGE • SEPTEMBER 2014

asking her students to create a story and illustrate it. I wrote a detailed fable about a town tormented by the Bubonic Plague and provided graphic illustrations of each horrific scene I created for the reader. She dished out an A but she still felt compelled to tell me that she found the story incredibly disturbing. That was when my true romance began with the Dark Side.


ASHRAF KHOFFASH


Ashraf Khoffash Submitted June 30th 2014

“Untitled is a piece from my Headache series. It’s not easy to find names for my art. But sometimes you have to give them names. I don’t like to explain what they mean. I’d like everyone to be able to reflect there own vision and experience on the work, and for me this is what is art about. I used coding in (Processing) program to create the glitch and I added some touches with watercolors and scratches with inks.” -Ashraf Khoffash Name Ashraf Khoffash Age 28 What is your current location? Gothenburg, Sweden Where are you from? Palestine What is your current occupation? ART and I do freelance graphic design from time to time. But im trying to live from my art. It’s not that easy but I enjoy doing what I like more than anything else! And I can’t see my self doing anything else. Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I have a Bachelor in Interior Design. I love interior design, but I find myself more into art starting from painting than installations and digital art in the current time. Interior design gives me a good look at the design world in general, and this is how it expanded to art. I feel if you can design something you can design anything.

inspire you these days.David Lynch movies and music are my favourite ofall the time, also Radiohead music inspired me for a lot of my work. What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? I work on new stuff almost every day. I have many works that have not been published yet, and I’m trying to save some for an exhibition if it’s possible someday, but I’m always looking for new materials to help me express the thoughts and feelings that I want to express. Digital art is really big a world and there are many things to discover everyday and computers can really be a good friend to artists! What music do you listen to while working? I listin to all kind of music while i’m working and i use Spotify Radio that can be helpful sometimes to find new music but I listing so much to Rdiohead, David lynch, Tom waits, Lairs, Mashrou’ Leila. Where do you like to work? Any place where I can be alone with my computer and internet and good wine! What is one of your earliest memories of making art? When I was a little kid I used to love to draw on the house walls and furniture and my family never minded that !

What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? The world now is moving so fast and you find and learn something everyday. Everyday you find a new artist or art that inspires you for something else. And the internet made the world really small and there no limit to what you can find and

FORGEARTMAG.COM

17


Previous Work

Website: www.pandagunda.com http://pandagunda.tumblr.com http://instagram.com/pandagunda Contact: info@pandagunda.com Twitter: @pandagunda

18 FORGE • SEPTEMBER 2014


AXEL MAILLOT


Axel Maillot Submitted July 23rd 2014

“This illustration is a metaphor. For the transition to occur, we must first accept it inside us. Sometimes transitions are really rude. This illustration is about the rude way. For the process of my illustration, I took an A3 smooth paper and I began to scratch some forms with my graphite pencil. The image gradually came out, but it was a little messy. I used photoshop to put some black and white variations to make the scene more precise.” -Axel Maillot Name Axel Maillot

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on?

Age

I am currently working on several personal projects. I am also preparing an illustration for a French fanzine.

26

What music do you listen to while working?

What is your current location? France

Now, I am listenning to LCD Soundsystem and more precisely “Dance Yrself Clean”. If you don’t know this song you should totally listen to it!

Where are you from?

Where do you like to work?

I am from France.

I like to work in my room, never without music.

What is your current occupation?

What is one of your earliest memories of making art?

I would like to live off my drawings, but for now I have a complementary job.

Hmmm, I remember when I was really really young, I took lipstick in the house and I daubed it on my mum’s guitar case. Curiously, it was not the kind of art which pleased her.

Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I have been studying 4 years in an illustration and comics traineeship. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? That’s a hard question. There are so many people who inspire me. If I have to name a few, I would say Mike Mignola, Dave Stewart, Mikkel Sommer, Pozla, Gipi, Alexandre Diboine, Charles Huettner, Masaki Yuaasa and more, but I can’t mention them all. What materials do you like to work with? I like to use graphite. Most of the time I use graphite pencils on paper and I put the colors on in photoshop.

FORGEARTMAG.COM

21


Previous Work

Website: http://akeussel.tumblr.com/ http://akeussel.blogspot.fr/ Contact: akeussel@gmail.com

22 FORGE • SEPTEMBER 2014


LIAM CLARK


Liam Clark Submitted July 28th 2014

“The work I have submitted is part of an ongoing idea involving the creation of characters. Often these characters’ faces are simply painted in rows. Sometimes I make paintings of individual characters. This piece came from a period of experimenting with simple stencils and spray paint, letting the paint mix within the stencil and then drawing over the top. This piece was also featured on a one-off cover of a 7” of the Elbow song Grounds For Divorce as part of the Secret 7” exhibition in London.” -Liam Clark Name

What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most?

Liam Clark

Norwich, Norfolk

I was really inspired by the film Beautiful Losers and all of the artists in that. I wrote my dissertation about that film. There’s so many rad skateboarder/artists I’m inspired by, Mark Gonzales, Ed Templeton, Fos, etc. I think those guys got me more interested in art when I was a teenager. I’m always finding new stuff that inspires me, little documentaries or interviews online, and I collect a lot of prints, books and zines and they always keep me hyped on making my own stuff. I keep a blog for all my inspiration which is www.awhirlpoolofinspration.tumblr.com

Where are you from?

What materials do you like to work with?

Ipswich, Suffolk

Anything and everything really. All my work starts with pen scribbles in a sketchbook. I make a lot of paintings with oils, acrylics, emulsion and spray paint. I like to draw with ink and a brush. I make collages with old paintings, coloured paper and old, found books. I also really like to paint and draw on scraps of cardboard or brown paper, which I collage together.

Age 24 What is your current location?

What is your current occupation? I currently work about 45 hours a week in a pub kitchen cooking food, but I wouldn’t exactly say I’m a chef. It gets me enough money to have a studio in the city centre. It’s pretty hard work, but it beats sitting in an office all day. Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I have a Fine Art degree, although I’m not sure if that’s any different from being self-taught. I guess I learnt a few technical things, but most of my work just comes from figuring out how to do stuff my own way. Art school was just a good excuse to do nothing but art for three years and not get a job. Oh, and also meet loads of rad people.

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? Currently I’m working on some new collage works and larger oil paintings. I’m trying to set up a little solo show in Norwich in the near future with the help of a friend, who runs a company called Moosey Art. I’m always taking photos, usually on a 35mm compact camera. I’ve got a couple of photography blogs I update as often as I can: www.weknowyousuck.tumblr. com and www.perspectiveszine.tumblr.com. I have an ongoing project called Brain Puke which consists of quick, funny, weird ink drawings, which end up in a series of zines. I blog these at www.brainpukeblog.tumblr.com, and I have a collaborative project with a friend and artist, Rob Freimuller. It’s called

FORGEARTMAG.COM

25


Cross-County Collage and as you may have guessed it’s a collaborative collage project. We post each other background images to collage on top of, so you never know what you’re going to get or how they’re going to turn out. We blog these at www.crosscountycollage.tumblr.com. So between all of this and the 45 hours a week spent in a kitchen I keep myself pretty busy. What music do you listen to while working? I listen to quite a variety of music. Usually if I’m working on something larger, like a big painting on a wall I’ll listen to some faster music, but if I’m just doing some drawings I might just put something a little more chilled out on. I’m always getting into new bands and different music. At the moment I’ve been listening to Andrew Jackson Jihad, Sleaford Mods, Cherry Glazerr, Tacocat, Drew Thomson, Caves, Rodriguez, Apologies, I Have None, P.O.S. and a whole load more.

Previous Work

Website: www.liamashleyclark.com www.liamashleyclark.tumblr.com Contact: liamashleyclark@gmail.com

26 FORGE • SEPTEMBER 2014

Where do you like to work? I have a studio in the city centre of Norwich so I go there whenever I can. I pay rent on that so it sort of motivates me to be as productive as possible, otherwise I’m just wasting money. I can be as messy as I like there and don’t have to worry about cleaning paint off of the floor. I can also just pop outside to go for a skate around the city, which I often do if I’m waiting for something to dry. What is one of your earliest memories of making art? I have a photo of me painting whilst at nursery, so I was about 3 or 4, and I don’t really think I’ve ever stopped drawing stuff. At high school I used to copy band names and brand logos, usually on to the covers of my books. I used to draw a lot of skateboard and shoe designs, but it was probably only when I actually went to college to study art that I started doing things a bit more seriously.


MOLLY MARTIN


Molly Martin Submitted July 31st 2014

“Transition can be troublesome, but you’d be a fool to refuse it.” -Molly Martin Name

What music do you listen to while working?

Molly Martin

Could be from Jurassic 5 to Nick Drake.

Age

Where do you like to work?

22

In Cafes.

What is your current location?

What is one of your earliest memories of making art?

Falmouth, England

My dad plonking a stack of paper and a jar of pens in front of me at the kitchen table when I was around 6, and drawing until we were forced to stop for dinner time.

Where are you from? UK What is your current occupation? Freelance Illustrator Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I graduated with a BA Hons degree in Illustration at Falmouth College of Art this year. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? People - thinkers and doers. Books - Biographies and photo albums. Films - Amelie, Amelie, Amelie. What materials do you like to work with? 0.5 pencil and a 0.5 pen. What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? Im continuously working on my A6 sketchbook which I carry with me wherever I go.

FORGEARTMAG.COM

29


Previous Work

Websites: www.mollymartinillustration.co.uk www.tumblr.com/mollymartinillustration Contact: molly.a.r.martin@hotmail.co.uk

30 FORGE • SEPTEMBER 2014


LELAND GORLIN


Leland Gorlin Submitted June 30th 2014

“The collage (Girl To Boy) is a study of genders and the physical and emotional contrast therein. This is also a self portrait, and conveys not only a literal transition from the feminine to masculine gender, but a tonal transition from cool to warm, soft to hard, all unified in the middle by a mutual longing for connection. There is a search implicit in this image, and transition is inherent in searching.” -Leland Gorlin Name

What materials do you like to work with?

Leland Gorlin

For movies I like to shoot on film. It feels more real and fragile, and those are the types of movies I like to make. For still images, I end up shooting digital because the medium tends to meld well with contemporary ideas and sensibilities. I’ve been trying to comment on the proliferation of images and artificial stimulus we’re increasingly subjected to, for which the digital medium is largely responsible. However, I also work in physical mediums in order to attach myself to something tangible. I feel more and more that we’re seeking a return to the tangible, the genuine, the sincere.

Age 24 What is your current location? Brooklyn, NY Where are you from? Davie, FL What is your current occupation? Freelance photo assistant and photographer in the good times. Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I studied film and made a short run at a career in movies, but I’m gravitating toward more personal forms of expression now. But the practice of personal film making still appeals to me. Recently though I’ve been making things out of wood, plaster, and junk from the curb. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? The photography of Lewis Baltz has inspired me for a long time, and Marker’s film essays have done a lot to shape my way of looking at things. De Kooning, Rauschenberg, Morris and Serra have informed my work in more physical mediums. As far as music, I like schmaltzy and melodramatic things anything too romantic for my own good. And trance inducing stuff like William Basinski.

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? I’m working on a series of photos that repeat themselves with subtle variations. I’m interested in the thousands of images we discard on a daily basis due to their perceived imperfections. We curate our personas through social media with the goal of approaching perfection, and of course we are not perfect in real life. I think the endless process of self revision and cool, ironic critique leaves us increasingly disconnected, lonely and unfulfilled. Our constant pursuit of validation through media communities detach us from genuine connection, and I feel we desperately crave a return to sincerity. At least I do. I’m also working on a series of sculptures that are rooted in physicality. They all seek to address the problems of loneliness and isolation in our increasingly digital lives. What music do you listen to while working? Lately I’ve been working with Leonard Cohen or Lou Reed in the background. Kurt Vile too. Where do you like to work? I work mostly in my room, or in the little loft above it. But now I

FORGEARTMAG.COM

33


have all this plywood and plaster all over the place, and I want a studio somewhere. Probably not a great financial move, though. What is one of your earliest memories of making art? I made my mom a ring out of a rock and pipe cleaners that she pretended to like but, suspiciously, never wore. I was twenty...

Previous Work

Websites: http://lelandgorlin.com/ Contact: lmgorlin@gmail.com

34 FORGE • SEPTEMBER 2014


RENATA LATIPOVA


Renata Latipova Submitted August 6th 2014

“London is currently being swept by a heat wave, but having a summer in a busy, overpopulated city and nowhere real to go and escape from it, is incredibly frustrating. You start to see varying degrees of strange and odd tan lines on commuters on the tube, and it’s always a surprise to see how the lines appear without you noticing, as if nature is leaving a mark on you, transitioning you into a mess of different colours. In my piece titled “Tan lines” I tried to create a subtle narrative within one image, inspired by these thoughts of getting out of the city for the summer.” -Renata Latipova Name

strictly a designer or illustrator.

Renata Latipova

What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most?

Age

Gosh, the list is endless! I get inspired by men’s fashion, foreign literature and artists such as J. C. Leyendecker and Egon Schiele, but I doubt if this shows in my work at all! I come from a Russian Tatar background, so I often catch myself referencing or being subconsciously inspired by Soviet films, animation and old Russian children’s books. As typical as this is, my main point of inspiration comes from seeing things and people in every day life or remembering moments from the past and trying to re-create them in some way. A lot of my illustration is very much narrative led.

21 What is your current location? London Where are you from? Samarkand What is your current occupation? I am a recent graduate and currently working in a large modern art museum in London but I will be starting a design internship in a big publishing house in a few weeks! Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I studied FdA Graphic Design at Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts London and after completing it, I topped up into third year of BA (Hons) Graphic Design at Camberwell. I have always been more of an illustrator, and originally came from a very traditional self-taught oil painting background. Funnily enough, I grew tired and frustrated of how I wasn’t able to connect with a larger, wider audience with my oil paintings, and steadily became more immersed in graphic design. However, throughout my entire university experience, I couldn’t let go of illustration and image making and slowly it had began to support and enrich my design work quite well. Nowadays, I’m really happy flirting in between the two disciplines and I doubt that I would ever identify myself as

What materials do you like to work with? I really like using watercolours, standard sketching pencils and black pens with thin nibs, as well as drawing digitally. I’m awful at keeping sketchbooks, so being able to scribble something on a scrap piece of paper in a black pen feels immediate and very “in the moment”. What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? I have just released my first zine, “Girls I Do Not Know” and am now starting on the follow up to it, as well as doing some freelance illustration work for magazines! I haven’t had a chance to really draw for myself in a long time so I’m going to try and fulfil all these ideas I have had for months. What music do you listen to while working? I usually listen to 90s shoegaze, film soundtracks, showa era 60s pop music or old radio podcasts. I really like listening to people talk when I draw - it makes me feel like I’m part of the conversation, despite sitting in my room alone!

FORGEARTMAG.COM

37


Where do you like to work? In my room, surrounded by my plants, hunched over my desk, usually at 2am. I really struggle with making work during the afternoon and it’s really important that my surroundings are clean so I can think clearly.

Previous Work

Websites: http://renataltpv.tumblr.com Contact: renataltpv@gmail.com

38 FORGE • SEPTEMBER 2014

What is one of your earliest memories of making art? One day, when I was around five years old, I was drawing a ballerina. I didn’t draw her nose and ears and gave her only four fingers. My grandmother told me that I missed them out but I said that I didn’t want to add them as it wasn’t necessary to include everything. I think I was trying to give a better, less embarrassing answer rather than just “I don’t know how to draw the nose.” (I probably still don’t!)


GEOFFREY LEVY


Geoffrey Levy Submitted June 30th 2014

“This image was taken during a very transitory period in my life, during my last semester, just after graduating, and nine months removed from college. Along with paralleling a naturally strenuous mental period, it was also taken while reflecting upon the long-term relationship I was in. I took it while visiting my brother in San Francisco, after the dust of our break-up had settled.  This was when I firmly decided to let her go and give us both the chance to recover and move on.” -Geoffrey Levy Name Geoffrey Levy

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on?

What is your current location?

I’m currently working on curating the photographs I took on a round-the-world trip I took last month. I spent time in the Middle East, Japan, and Hong Kong and committed to shooting with the compact cams. The photos can be edited to form one type of series or another, so I’m working on refining how I want it to go.

Brooklyn, NY

What music do you listen to while working?

Where are you from? I was born in Atlanta but grew up in South Florida.

Father John Misty, Smoke & Jackal, Childish Gambino, Bruce Springsteen, Jay-Z. Lots of artists but these are the most jammed recently.

What is your current occupation?

Where do you like to work?

Currently a filmmaker, photographer and Jr. Art Director.

I work in my apartment a lot. I have a great window view of the Jewish & Hispanic neighborhood that keeps me passively entertained and inspired. There’s also coffee shops all around where I live so I make those rotations as well. I also like to visit my friends’ studios to admire their spaces and aspire for something similar.

Age 24

Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I went to school for cinematography and film studies. Photography wasn’t a formal class but a lot of the principles were interchangeable. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? I’m a big fan of Haruki Murakami books. Film-wise, I love Chris Marker, Stanley Kubrick, Richard Linklater, and P.T. Anderson. What materials do you like to work with? Digital cameras. I used to shoot more medium format and 35mm but am now gravitating towards smaller, compact digis like the Fuji x100s and Ricoh GR.

What is one of your earliest memories of making art? My dad was very into sketching weird, original characters with insane detail into his architecture binder covers. My siblings and I were very into Dragonball Z as kids. For Father’s Day one year, we all drew different renditions of the characters. My older brother drew a solid rendering of the anime style, I did something similar but copied my dad’s type of line work in Gogeta’s skin and clothing, and my sister drew like a kid without the boundaries of a coloring book (colorful scribbles with smiley faces). My dad took the three drawings and got them framed...first time I remember him being moved by something we all did. Fast forward 12 years, my sister is the best artist of us all.

FORGEARTMAG.COM

41


Previous Work

Websites: http://www.geofflevy.com Contact: geoff@geofflevy.com

42 FORGE • SEPTEMBER 2014


JOSH BYER


Josh Byer Submitted July 21st 2014

Name Josh Byer

of upcoming songs. Video production is currently underway for Trevor’s next single, due for North American release in autumn 2014.

What is your current location?

What music do you listen to while working?

Vancouver, British Columbia

I love listening to old TV shows while I paint. There’s usually something from the 1980s or 1990s playing on my laptop.

Where are you from? Ottawa, originally. What is your current occupation? Painter, writer, actor. Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught?

Where do you like to work? I own a badly damaged leather couch. What is one of your earliest memories of making art? As a kid, I was obsessed with Garfield. I drew him hundreds of times.

I hold an ORA certificate in Visual Arts, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film at Simon Fraser University, and an expired Blockbuster Video membership. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? Elon Musk. What materials do you like to work with? Acrylic, mostly. What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? Preparing a series of pieces for The 2nd Annual Coaster Show at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles. Writing a script at Brightlight Pictures called “White Slaves of the Nootka”. Shawn Williamson and Jak Osmond are producing, and Bruce Dowad will be directing, Acting in several Veritas movies, directed by Jason Bourque. I’ve appeared in three of his films this year – Black Fly, Stolen Daughter, and Fatal Friends. Lyrics for Trevor Guthrie, who I’ve been writing with since 2010. We’re now working with Sony Entertainment on a series

FORGEARTMAG.COM

45


Previous Work

Websites: www.byercreative.com Contact: joshbyer@byercreative.com

46 FORGE • SEPTEMBER 2014


FRANCIS QUINN


Francis Quinn Submitted August 6th 2014

“This piece is a really nice combination of hand drawing and digital manipulation. It is also a nice meeting point between my painting and drawing practice. It is actually quite a small albeit intricate pen drawing that was done on residency in Platform Arts, Belfast. I scanned it and using Photoshop twisted it, flipped it, ripped it up and built it into this hypnotic, rhytmic, almost pulsing image. The original digital version is massive so it can be printed out absolutely massive. I then spent feckin ages colouring it, I was attempting to achieve a balanced floral quality. This is the first time its been published.” -Francis Quinn Name Francis Quinn What is your current location? Chapelizod, Dublin, Ireland Where are you from? Monaghan, Ireland What is your current occupation? Artist and occassional lifter and mover of chairs and tables. Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I studied painting in Ireland’s National College of Art & Design (NCAD) What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most?

going to be doing a tonne of speed art for a series of upcoming corporate events. What music do you listen to while working? Pavement, Gram Parsons, Peanut Butter Wolf, J Dilla anything from the Stones Throw Record Label, Mike Patton. Scott Walker Where do you like to work? I can turn anywhere into my studio as long as I have a notebook and a pen with me. I have done some of my best work on the bus. What is one of your earliest memories of making art? I can remember a friend of mine telling me that all the girls in my class thought I was weird because all of my copy books and folders were covered in drawings of aliens. That was a bummer. I can also remember taking a suitcase full of Beano comics to hospital with me when I was about eight or nine. I learned how to draw Bugs Bunny in that hospital bed.

Robert Crumb, Nevan Lahart, anything Philip K Dick wrote, Bob Byrne, Xavier Renegade Angel, Ren & Stimpy, the comic book creations of Gareth Ennis, Jacen Burrows and John McCrea. What materials do you like to work with? Handmade notebooks, rigger paintbrushes, Photoshop, After Effects, InDesign, Koh-I-Noor pencils, lumious paints, household paints, just mix it up and see what happens. What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? I have a solo exhibition to get ready for in October and I am

FORGEARTMAG.COM

49


Previous Work

Websites: www.francisquinn.com Contact: francoquinn@gmail.com

50 FORGE • SEPTEMBER 2014


KENDRA YEE

by MATTHEW JAMES-WILSON

In a lot of ways, Rookie changed my life. The online magazine primarily geared towards teenage girls, started by Tavi

Gevinson back in 2011, meant a lot to me in the way that it provided a platform for discussion and exposure of young artists and writers from around the world. In my life, Rookie served as this ever evolving source of inspiration and community, around individuals who had relevant contemporary opinions and were incredibly articulate in how they communicated them through articles, comics, playlists, and pieces for the site. Tavi, herself, became this beacon of hope towards being able to accomplish and express what you sought out to do as a young person, and we owe a lot of what we’ve been able to do and say with the magazine to the inspiration and encouragement she has been able to provide to us, with out directly intending to. Knowing that someone else my age could not only edit a large scale magazine, but also curate ground breaking and fresh work through doing so, gave me a lot of the confidence to even attempt capture a similar experience in the slightest way possible, through starting FORGE.

One individual who has many of the same feelings towards Rookie and it’s creator, is none other than staff illustrator

Kendra Yee. 18 year old Toronto based artist, Yee, was asked to join the Rookie team back in 2012, after attending the Rookie Yearbook One book launch, and reaching out to Tavi. Yee could not have been more enthralled and excited by the invitation. Since then, Yee has provided original comics and artwork for the site on a monthly bases, while simultaneously creating original work for her blog Unadoptable, showcasing her work in the local Toronto Gallery scene, and being a full time college student at OCAD. Although Yee has worked enormously hard to get to where she is today, she continues to look in the direction of her own growth as an individual artist and looks to create the work that she feels she hasn’t seen in the world of art today. Where are you from and where do you currently live? I’m from Toronto, and I live in Toronto. Did you go to school for art or were you self taught? I went to an art high school called Etobicoke School of the Arts. I just started my second year at OCADU studying illustration. I mainly chose OCADU because it was convenient and I didn’t want to leave Toronto. I was deciding whether I wanted to go to the States or stay here, and I thought here would be best. Also, I liked the professors who were teaching in the illustration department, so I was like, “let’s try it out and see how it goes.” How has living in Toronto impacted your work? I think the community that’s in Toronto is really cool and I’m still discovering lots of parts of it. There are so many young and amazing artists that I’ve met here in the city. I feel like it’s really accessible for doing what you want to. You can create zines or t shirts and stuff like that and sell them at local stores that focus on supporting independent artists. How would you describe the overall aesthetic of your work?

obsession with magical creatures and I would always create these characters because I didn’t have a lot of friends, so there were my own new friends. I don’t know if that’s necessarily describing my aesthetic. How long did it take you to develop your own style, and when did you become comfortable with the style you’re making art in? I don’t even know how long it took to develop. I guess it’s an ongoing process. Two years ago I first started posting my work online, and you can see through some of my earlier work and comics, it’s totally changing. It’s still developing. Since I am still young I feel like I don’t want to shut any doors with working on new techniques and different mediums, so I’m constantly changing it up. But I still think there’s repetitive images that appear in my work a lot. I don’t think I’ve ever been “comfortable” with my style, like it’s always been whatever comes to me in the moment. There aren’t many “second guess” moments to my art. I’ve always done it naturally cause I just love to do it, so I’m like I might as well just produce what I love to do. .

I dunno… Greasy teenage girl. I’ve just been obsessed with monsters. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve always had a huge

FORGEARTMAG.COM

53


Do you ever feel like there are certain aspects of your older work, that you haven’t been able to capture in your most recent work? No, it’s so true. It’s funny that you mention that. I was going through my old sketchbook the other day and one of the images that I came across, and I probably did it around grade 10, was so similar to the theme of one of the shows that I recently did, and it was funny cause, I haven’t seen that image in so long, yet these kind of constant characters keep reappearing within my work. But sometimes I will look back at some of my older sketchbooks, and be like “wow, these are great!” because I wasn’t really focusing on anything specific. I feel like the best work always comes when you don’t have a specific vision in mind, like you just kind of naturally have to put it onto paper, recreate whatever you picture it in your head. So, that’s why I like working in my sketchbook so much, just because its such a free environment, where you can really create anything you want to do without there being any restrictions and there’s no audience that you have to keep in mind. It’s all for you, so you can do whatever you want to do. I said that already. I guess I’m constantly struggling between being really happy with what I create and then really dissatisfied, but it’s the process I guess that you have to really pay attention to. If you learn something out of it then, who really cares what the final piece looks like? I think that’s more important. I’ll pick up pieces and be like halfway along, “this is turning out so good! I’m really liking this!” and then I’ll finish it and be like “aw shit”

but I guess I learned something, so that’s always something good. How did you first start working with Rookie Mag? I first met Tavi at a Rookie party that they had in Toronto at Magic Pony, and I was like, “Oh, I’m a Toronto illustrator. If you ever need help, I’m always around!” and then a couple months later they were like “We’d love to have you on the team to do comics for us”, and it was super nerve racking. Before I used to do small, one-panel illustrations with a little bit of text, I’d never done full-on comic book art work, and I thought “I don’t know if I can do this, but its Rookie so I gotta do this! I gotta try something,” It’s really forced me to try out new things that I would never think to do previously. Rookie Mag seems to have this great ability to cultivate and bring together so many talented young artists and writers. Does it ever feel intimidating to be working with so many amazing individuals, or does it feel more like encouragement to produce better and better content and art?. There’s so much amazing content that comes out of Rookie, so many young people producing stuff. I definitely think it’s more of an encouragement cause you’re like, “woah” regardless of the age of the authors. Although it’s dedicated towards teenage girls, there are also older writers. I think of everybody on

“Before I used to do small, one-panel illustrations with a little bit of text, but I’d never done full-on comic book art work, and I thought ‘I don’t know if I can do this, but its Rookie so I gotta do this! I gotta try something,’”

54 FORGE • SEPTEMBER 2014


“It’s like having a bunch of really cool older and younger sisters. It’s just so cliché. I feel like we should be wearing the traveling pants or something.” that team as mentors to my work. Cause I read Rookie before I was part of their staff, and the people who write articles are so inspiring, helping shape my political views, and making me reconsider my own actions and how can I improve them. I think the whole community they have created is just so inspirational. Everybody can learn something from Rookie, they’re so open to having other people join in, and it’s again about education and learning from others and teaching others, which is really cool. Has working for Rookie Mag impacted your work at all? IRookie’s really pushed me to try out a whole bunch of content I would never have thought to do. I’ve done collaborations with people, which I never could have imagined that I would do in the future. I don’t think my expectations were lowered in any sense, if not, super heightened at the fact that I was contributing and working with these guys, and it’s cool too because even like the fan base is so relatable, and it’s like whenever I’m at any of the met ups I’m meeting really cool teenage girls who are interested the same stuff I am, so that’s

56 FORGE • SEPTEMBER 2014

never been disappointing. Sorry, what was the question? How did you react to getting asked about joining the staff? I remember when I first got the email it was around midnight one night and I just saw “Hi, would you like to be a part of Rookie?” and I literally just shat my pants I was like “You’re kidding! This is fake! I cannot believe what is happening.” I literally screamed and my parents were like “What’s wrong? Are you having a heart attack?” and I was like “Oh my god! They asked me to be part of the staff! I can’t believe this.” I don’t know where I’m even going with this. They’re just really cool. It’s like having a bunch of really cool older and younger sisters. This is so cliché, I feel like we should be wearing the same traveling pants or something.


How does Rookie Mag operate without an office or central location for the staff? We have this secret Facebook group where we all just discuss ideas and things that have happened to us during the day. It’s a really open group, like “hi what are you doing today?” and stuff like that and everybody writes openly and posts cool links. Thats the main way we connect. And then there’s also other social media like everybody has tumblrs, twitters (I’m not on twitter though because I don’t understand how to use it) instragrams and everything. Rookie is a social media website, and we all connect through social media, which is so important, so I guess that’s the way everybody shares ideas. How much freedom do you have with the work you’re submitting, and how frequently does it get published? Rookie has the themes for the month and there is the editor’s letter where Tavi discusses what the theme for the month is and the content for the month. It’s really open so you can pitch whatever you want, but, of course, only some pitches get accepted. I feel like especially for comics, sometimes I’ll have an idea for a long time, and I’m like “Oh, this is perfect for this month” or sometimes I’ll have a bad day and think “Maybe this will be a good comic that a lot people can relate to,” or “this is something funny that happened in my life, so I might as well write it down.” A lot of my comics are inspired by things I see or experience in everyday life with my friends or myself or family members or whatever. I have a mini sketchbook where I do the panels. I’m so bad with spelling and grammar, so I have to spell check it three million times afterwards. But yeah, I usually write those down in my sketchbook for ideas to hold onto, or maybe ideas for the future. Is there a specific attitude you’ve tried to take on to successfully make art as a young person? There’s this great quote that I heard. I can’t remember who said it, but it was something along the lines of “Anybody can be an artist: all they have to do is do it” right? And so that’s kind of the model that I go by. I like to do it. I’ve never second-guessed doing art. I was selling my tee shirts at this market last year and there was this old woman, who I had no idea who she was, just like a tourist or something, and she was like, “Oh you really look like you love what you’re doing. That’s so important because there are so many people in the world who don’t like doing what they’re doing, like me” and I was like “That’s so sad! But so true!” I don’t want to be one of those people. Even if I’m not getting anywhere with it, I love to do it so I’ll make it work, right? And it sounds like you guys are doing that too, right {with Forge Magazine}? It’s all about having the motivation just to do it and seeing how far you can get with doing that. I think it’s been said by a couple people, but “the content that I want to see is not available, that’s why I produce it.” And I guess that’s the bottom line for every artist. What they want to see in the art world is not there …

But Marina Abramović said this interesting thing too about Basquiat, who had a career of seven years technically. Marina is considered the grandmother of performance art and a lot of people compare her current work to her earlier work. She was like “You can’t compare one of my projects to another, you should consider it within the timeline of my career. Because of how I was feeling at that time you can’t compare it to how I am now.” Marina doesn’t listen to what critics say. It was just really interesting. I never thought of it that way. Basquiat only had a career of seven years. How can you be an artist within seven years? How can you create that dialogue, develop that message, if there is a message even? It’s such a short period of time. Like you had your previous Basquiat who was on the streets. You had your middle Basquiat who was starting out, like the height of his career, and then you had the end of his career when he was in the drug scene and everything, which is very sad and tragic. What is the process of making one of your pieces? Crying a little bit… No I’m kidding (not kidding). It depends on what it’s for. If it’s for commercial work, then I usually do a couple thumbnail sketches, mapping stuff out, usually throw those away because I don’t like how they come out. Usually the best stuff comes spontaneously and when I’m really loose with it and just having fun with it. When I’m working super serious and super hard on something I don’t like the final outcome. I guess there are different situations depending on the project. When I do an art piece, sometimes it starts off as a small sketch in my sketch book, or sometimes I’ll just literally throw paint onto the canvas and see what happens and go with it from there, which is sometimes good or sometimes bad. Usually it’s kind of spontaneous, but sometimes it can be more thematic and planned and everything. What other mediums have worked in? Are there any mediums you hope to work with in the future? I’ve done some sculpture and installation work. I find that especially with sculpture and installation you need a space to create, which is really hard to find, so I’d definitely like to do more of that in the future. I’ve also really wanted to do collaborations with people for larger installations. Actually, me and my friend were thinking of doing this fabric piece together where she’s harvesting cuttlefish ink, so we’re going to do that. I don’t know how it will turn out, but supposedly you can harvest cuttlefish ink. There are tutorials on YouTube. I don’t know. I’m completely open to new projects in the future. I want to do more digital work as well, like experimental pieces because I need to improve my skills in Photoshop (I use it mainly for touching up drawings). I don’t want to close any of my doors to working with new mediums, so whatever is available I’ll totally take up the opportunity. What galleries have you had the opportunity to work with? *Checks my CV* Well, I’ve worked with the SoHo Lobby gallery space. That was my first show that I had, and that was

FORGEARTMAG.COM

57


last year in July, and that was really cool because the curator, Nadia Galati, actually works with OCADU. That was kind of my first introduction to working in a gallery space, and I had these larger watercolor pieces and clay sculptures, which I have never actually posted anywhere. The stuff I post on my blog are quick sketches. I do other artwork, but I’m so bad at documenting, which is why they never see the light of day unless it’s in that space. That was my first show and that was really cool and super scary. Actually, every show is really scary. I had another big show at Articulations and that was in October last year, and that was really cool because I had this huge window space to do this giant instillation. I also did this mural of black and white monster characters with these giant watercolor figures hanging from the ceiling. That was really fun to experiment with a new space and try out something that I would normally never have the opportunity to do in my bedroom. It was so fun to work with Heather Phillips and Miki Rubin, the owners of Articulations. It’s half an art shop and half a gallery space. I also had an installation, at the place I work, Magic Pony (established by Kristin Weckworth and Steve Cober).They had an event for the Rookie Yearbook Two launch. In the back room, I created a glow-in-the-dark mural, which was really fun. I also have an upcoming show –I don’t know when you’re going to be putting this out- on the 15th called “Art Is Authentic” at the Black Cat Gallery. I was very fortunate. A lot of people have asked me to do work for them, which is such a privilege. Mainly people have approached me, asking me if I’d be interested in doing shows. Again, age is a hard thing to navigate around because I’m still young, I’m still in school, so that’s still a primary focus too. That’s really hard to balance. How do you feel the internet has impacted art and the way people see? When I first started posting my art I had no intention- it was just a place for me to document –if you scroll way back into the archives on blog, the drawings are on shitty pieces of line paper done in grade 11. I was like “I hate school. I hate everything” being so cynical, which is really hilarious to look back now. It was just something fun for me to do. It still weirds me out that I’ve got kind of noticed, which is great, but it’s so like, whoa, so weird. I’m just human! I feel like an ant! I’m more scared of other people than they are of me. That’s the motto that I always go by. I had this incident where this girl was stealing my designs. Actually a couple of artists on tumblr, and Starbucks logos and stuff like that, really big commercial images that were floating on tumblr; she was producing them as her own t shirts. I tried contacting the company where she hosted her store, and I had to do a “cease and desist” and it was just time consuming, like, I’m a student and I don’t have any money to back this up. I tried sending her messages being like “Can you just take the tee shirt down, like I don’t care about the money. I just want you to stop producing the t shirts. Keep whatever you have.” But then she got angry and was like “Stop telling your followers to email me.” But whatever. I just had to give up on that situation. So, it

sucks in that sense, but I guess there’s pros and cons to using social media. But sometimes I do get messages being like can you make your tee shirts a little bit cheaper. The t shirts that I’m doing at the moment are all one-off designs, like they’re basically pieces of art. It takes time to do it, it takes time to mail them, it takes time for the packaging for them, which I think sometimes is not considered in the total fees, so I just ignore those messages and everything. My audience is mainly teenagers, so I totally understand that a lot of people don’t have the budgets for some of the stuff, but at the same time I am a teenager myself, so I know how expensive things are, and it’s like if there is a piece of artwork that I’m really interested in buying, I will make some sacrifices to get it. It’s like the same thing if you want the new iPod or whatever. You will go out of your way to make ends meet. It’s great to support local artists instead of supporting the bigger brands like Urban Outfitters and everything (to their credit, they do have some smaller artists participating with them). At the same point in time, I’d much rather spend more money on a t shirt from a local zine fest and stuff like that than a stupid “whatever” shirt I’m going to wear once. Is there anything you’ve tried to do to prevent people from stealing your work like that? I used to tag my signature. I haven’t been doing that right now. It’s one of those things you have to make sacrifices for. There’s been tons of my images reposted. I hate we-heart-it. I think it’s the worst site ever. I hate Pinterest too. But there’s nothing you can do about it. I use Google reverse image search a lot, it’s such a useful feature. So accessible. Everybody can upload an image they’ve downloaded from the internet, and find the original source. It’s so helpful to independent artists and everything, but people are just ignorant sometimes. I’m ignorant too, I’ve done it in the past (re-uploading images stolen from the web and not crediting the artist), I’m the first to admit it, but again, it’s just making that step forward to improving yourself and helping support these independent artists. Who are some contemporary artists who’ve had a big impact on you? That’s so hard. I guess it’s constantly changing. I can’t even begin to describe how many people have inspired me, even stupid stuff that I’ve seen on the street that inspires me within that moment. I just go through waves of obsessions. I’m a very obsessive person, and I’ll have this one artist or figure who I’m just completely in love with, so I’ll just research every little fact about them. So many contemporary, Toronto-based artists are really cool. I feel so weird dropping their names though because a lot of them are my professors. It just seems like a really weird thing to bring up. I really like Lucian Freud’s work. He’s not a contemporary artist. He just passed away in 2010, I think around that time (actually July, 2011). He was kind of a dick- but reasonably so since he kind of had a tough life. His oil paintings are just completely

FORGEARTMAG.COM

61


“Everybody has their own interpretation of how they want to view my artwork, and that’s why I love

hearing different opinions and points of view. Cause when you’re discussing artwork you’re like ‘Oh I could never see it in that light, like thank you for introducing it or putting it in this specific passage that I could never even think of,’ which is so beautiful.” stunning, his portraits of people. I saw his work a couple years ago, these massive paintings of nude portraits were so mind blowing. I really like his work.

Lapalme, I’m a big fan. I have whole bunch of her risograph zines, and I love her style. I have some of her jewelry pieces that are just so cute and so unique.

So many comic book artists have inspired me. Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes. I love his work. Especially in grade nine, I was basically Enid Coleslaw, (of course I was). She was really a big inspiration to me. Jean-Michel Basquiat, huge one obviously. A lot of people see parallels between mine and his work... I’m not complaining at all. He’s not really contemporary though I guess. Kara Walker, I don’t know if you saw this actually. She had the piece in New York. I think it’s still going on, The Sugar Baby sculpture. Her politics are so amazing, and hearing her talk about her own personal story and comparing it to universal themes, it’s just so cool. Again, so many of the Rookie artists are so awesome, I’m always watching to see what work they’re producing. So many people on tumblr too who are my age. I don’t want to drop names cause I’m going to leave people out and feel so guilty about it. My Friend Carla who sent me a lot of original pieces, Brie, Josie. I can’t even begin to describe how many cool people there are on tumblr.

I just thought of another person who inspires me. Dev (Devonté Hynes AKA Blood Orange). So inspirational… I saw him live. I had to use my friend’s fake ID. I don’t know if I should be saying this, it’s so embarrassing. It doesn’t matter. I’ll be 19 soon. So embarrassing. I showed the id to the bouncer at the door and he was like “Nah, like this is not for it at all.” But he let me in, so thank you bouncer, whoever you are. You could really tell Dev is just passionate about what he likes to do, and he was just doing it out of the sake of loving to do art. He had no expectations to please the audience. There were times where he would hit a certain notes, do a dance move, play his guitar and I could see that he was a humble person. He really loves playing music, like it’s second nature. He just looks like he was having so much fun up on stage.

Michael Deforge. I was framilar with his work before, but my first read was Ant Colony. After reading Ant Colony and I’m like this book is so weird but so cool at the same time. I love his use of color. I love his story lines. They’re so interesting. Ginette

There was this beautiful piece that I saw at the AGO for the Henry Moore and Francis Bacon exhibition, and I was a fan of Francis Bacon’s work before and I was a fan of Henry Moore too. When I was younger I actually did a project on him. It’s on

62 FORGE • SEPTEMBER 2014

What past artists have affected you or your work?


YouTube. See if you can find it. I’ll give money –no I won’t give money. I don’t have that much money to spare. But there was this Francis Bacon piece I saw, a painting of his lover who died a couple months after it finished. It was something that I was in awe of, the aura that created. I don’t even know if that’s the right word for it. But just the presence that of the painting. It was so personal and honest and authentic. I just want somebody to find the same realization I did within this piece, that they can find it within my work. I don’t know if I have or if it’s ever achievable, but it’s great to inspire people and have that dialogue between the person and the artwork. When viewing artwork, there’s so much taken into consideration of who you are as a person at that time you’re viewing it. I wish I had the book on me, but there’s this beautiful passage in “Marcel Duchamp, The Afternoon Interviews” that just says -I’ll see if I can find it. I think I wrote it down somewhere. But it’s this beautiful passage that the interviewer writes at the beginning of the novel, reviewing why Marcel created artwork. To summarize, he says that “Marcel had very little money and very little expectations, but he just wanted to make authentic art and that’s why so many people connected to it because it was just who he was.” I hope to do the same. Have you ever encountered someone misinterpreting your work, or adding meaning to it, that wasn’t your intention? Everybody has their own interpretation of how they want to view my artwork, and that’s why I love hearing different opinions and points of view. So many people have seen pieces in parts to my work where I’m like “I’ve never even realized from that aspect.” My professor came to one of my shows and he was like “I could really tell that in one of your works, you observed the body underneath the characters clothing” and I had no intention of creating that mystery behind the piece. The best is hearing dis-

coveries from little kids. One of my parents’ friends has this giant watercolor piece that I did of this rainbow-colored landscape with all these watercolor drips and inks, and then there’s white ink of fine line little houses and churches and this one goddess standing in the middle. Supposedly the kid just sits on the bed and every time he looks at it he discovers something new within the work and that’s so inspiring to hear. Again if people have negative reactions, I’d rather they have negative reactions than no reaction at all to my work. Good or bad, I’m totally open to opinions. Just having an opinion is what I value the most. Are there any projects you would like to embark on, but that you just don’t have to time or funding for? I’d love to do a huge mural space again. I thought that was really fun scale. Oil painting is something that I’d really like to be good at, but I fucking suck at it so badly. I don’t even know how I passed my painting and drawing class. My paintings were so bad. I wish I could create oil paintings, but I guess that will come with time, hopefully. I don’t have the patience for it, but maybe I’ll develop it. Honestly, I really want to collaborate with more people. I just want to connect with other young and new artists. I don’t want to close any doors, I want to print more zines. I don’t do enough of that. I want to create more artwork. I don’t do enough of that. I want to do more tee shirts. I don’t do enough of that. More commercial work even. I hate doing commercial work, I hate doing design work but I think it’s a really fun challenge. I’m kind of competitive, competitive with myself to turn out lots of works. Have more gallery showings. Whatever opportunity comes up I totally want to take it. I definitely want to work on another solo show again. Collaboration with other artists is the main thing, creating an artist community is so important because they’re your peers and they inspire you to create more too.

FORGEARTMAG.COM

65


ALEX SCHUBERT

by MATTHEW JAMES-WILSON

Few contemporary comic book authors have been able to fully master a perfect balance of apathy and tenderness as

well as Alex Schubert. The shining example of this tone and aesthetic can be seen in the artists novel and on going web comic Blobby Boys. Through each of Schubert’s series and endeavors, he has been able to consistently tell the narratives of often despicable yet endearing characters, who somehow convey a lot of insight into current youth culture with incredibly minimal (or as he puts it “flat”) artistic design. Vice, who Schubert frequently publishes one page comics with, quite perfectly matches a lot of the tone and point of view of much of his work, and has thusly produced a fruitful relationship between the two. Now after moving out of Kansas City, to start his new life in Los Angeles, Schubert looks forward to continuing on with his Blobby Boys series through it’s second physical installment and exploring new mediums to express more of his apathetic and tender vibes. Where are you from and where do you currently live?

How has Kansas City had an impact on your work?

I’m from a small town in Illinois called Mascoutah. I moved to Kansas City for art school, and I lived there for a long time. I moved to LA a week ago to work on some TV show stuff. I’m guessing that I will be sleeping in a tent on the beach by Christmas.

It definitely affects everything I do. All the Blobby Boys stories are set in Kansas City. Everything has like overgrown trees and crumbling buildings. There’s a ton of crime in Kansas City, so that’s always in the background of all my stories.

Did you go to school for art or do you have any specific training in your art?

There are also no other cartoonists in Kansas City. It’s like there’s nothing there, so I had no idea how to do anything or how to get started.

Yeah, I went to the Kansas City Art Institute, which I would not recommend. I studied printmaking and then switched to painting. I was just making weird drawings the whole time.

Did you ever feel disconnected from things, or the current art scene, because of the lack of cartoonists and illustrators in Kansas City? Yeah, definitely.

FORGEARTMAG.COM

67


Actually, I have so much stuff due this month, that I haven’t really hung out with anybody at all.

year ago. He’s teaching illustration at some college that’s like 2 hours outside the city.

How would you describe your over all aesthetic?

What was the process of making the two Blobby Boys animations, Devil Chip and Max’s Song, like? Nath Milburn is actually another one of our favorite contemporary artists. How different was it to work on Max’s Song with him?

Flat. Right now, I’m really into the look of the early Simpsons episodes, where there’s no shading at all, but there’s still tons of detail. I always want all my drawings to be totally clear. How did the Blobby Boys series first come into conception? My girlfriend’s sketchbook was open one day, and she had written a list that said “Things I Like to Draw” at the top. It was a bunch of normal stuff, like plants, squirrels, rocks. At the very bottom it just said, “The Blobby Boys.” That’s where the name came from. One of the illustrators we interviewed a couple of issues ago, John Malta, wrote a really good piece about Blobby Boys back in 2011 for Beautiful/Decay! Do you have any sort of relationship with him, or did you read the article when it came out? He and I had both had stuff on the Radical Fortress website, and then we traded zines. He actually moved to Kansas City a

After the first Blobby Boys zine, there were a couple people interested in turning my stuff into an animated series. I thought that if I didn’t figure out how to it myself, they’d just rip me off. I started off doing animation all by myself, like the way I do comics. I did all the drawings, voices, music, editing. I did a few cartoons that way, like “Devil Chip.”  Then FOX ADHD asked me to write and direct a short, which ended up being “Killer Driller.” Even though I did as much of the work as I could (script, storyboard, character designs, background drawings), there were way more people involved. They basically taught me the whole process.  Then Nath and I worked on the Blobby Boys cartoon “Max’s Song” for the Animation Breakdown festival. I did even more stuff on that cartoon; basically everything but the voices and the animation. I was trying to get the look of the animation one step beyond what I had done with FOX. I’m sure I drove

“ My girlfriend’s sketchbook was open one day, and she had written a list that said ‘Things I Like to Draw’ at the top. It was a bunch of normal stuff, like plants, squirrels, rocks. At the very bottom it just said, “The Blobby Boys.” That’s where the name came from. ”

FORGEARTMAG.COM

69


“ Everything is getting shorter, almost like Sunday comics. No more graphic novels.” everybody nuts. We had a sound mixer, but he totally fucked it up, and I redid everything myself. At one point it had bumper music like Seinfeld and a laugh track. I also had this idea that we could use old Hanna-Barbera sound effects, but it was really disorienting, and I changed them all out for more realistic sound effects. Then, and I don’t even think Nath realized it, I reedited the cartoon for like a month straight after it premiered. You seem to be really motivated by getting things to the point where they feel right, even if it means fixing things yourself. Have you taken this approach with most of the projects you’ve worked on in the past? Oh yeah, totally. I do that with every project I work on. I did this video game for Space Face Books. It’s like the shortest, dumbest game, but I made Mack Pauly redesign it five or six times. I don’t think anybody even played it. A lot of the work you’ve done has been specifically online through websites like Vice. What do you think are the pros and cons of making work for digital consumption versus print? Do you think there are distinct advantages or disadvantages to each? Comics are at a weird point now where everybody’s putting everything online, but publishers still want all-new material, like stuff that hasn’t been on the internet. They think people won’t buy it if it’s been up for free. So people are churning out really

72 FORGE • SEPTEMBER 2014

crummy books, and spending all their time on these elaborate webcomics. Are there any artists you would like to collaborate with in the future? No, I don’t really like to collaborate. What pros and cons do you think the internet has had on art, and how people view it? It used to be all hand-drawn until about a year ago. I switched after the ADHD cartoon. They were tracing all my drawings in Flash, and I thought they did a bad job. I imagined that I would turn in these rough sketches, and the cartoon would come out looking like Family Guy or something, but it didn’t. The drawings have to go through Flash anyway, so I was like, “Fuck it,” and I learned how to do it myself. What pros and cons do you think the internet has had on comics specifically? On comics? Everything is getting shorter, almost like Sunday comics. No more graphic novels. Who are some of your contemporaries that have impacted you and your work? Like my drawings? I think you can see a lot of Chris Ware and  Dan Clowes, because that’s what I was reading when I


“ David Foster Wallace described Letterman and the Simpsons as a one-two punch of irony that left him unable to do anything but walk outside and look at a flower.” was a teenager.

VICE. A bunch of people are breathing down my neck.

I think Jonny Negron is the best living cartoonist. Matt Leines is doing some really good stuff right now. Mat Brinkman is still doing some crazy shit, but in a weird, low-key way.

How do you choose your color palettes?

What other artists, films, books, or music have had big impact on you? I’m really into the Bill Carter David Letterman books. I really like David Letterman; my Dad has a similar, really mean sense of humor, so I can relate. David Foster Wallace described Letterman and The Simpsons as a one-two punch of irony that left him unable to do anything but walk outside and look at a flower. I’m also into Botero’s paintings. They’re like some kind of Platonic ideal of painting, where everything is posed and staged, but also everybody’s fat for no reason. In St. Louis, there’s a Botero sculpture of a horse that looks like it’s shitting or something. Some high schoolers tried to steal it, but they got busted with this shitting horse sculpture in their garage.

I’m actually color blind. I have trouble seeing most colors. If they’re too pale or too dark, I can’t tell the difference. I can’t really see red at all, so I don’t use much orange or purple. I spent like a year and a half coming up with the color scheme I use now. Just trial and error, until I found this combination that everybody likes. I’ve noticed a lot of other cartoonists and illustrators copying it exactly, which is really depressing. What do you hope to accomplish with your work? he work I’m doing now is all based on personal experiences. Like I’m trying to reflect my own life. The Blobby Boys comics are all set at my friend Ted’s old house. Right after college, all my friends moved into this rotting dude house. They were selling drugs, and we were in a band.

What are you in the middle of working on currently? This week, I’m finishing Blobby Boys 2 for Koyama Press, doing an illustration for the next Pitchfork Review, an album cover for Drinking Flowers, a music video, and my weekly comic for

FORGEARTMAG.COM

75


MICHAEL DEFORGE

by MATTHEW JAMES-WILSON

Michael Deforge has become one of the most recognizable and important names in the indie comics scene within the

relatively short amount of time he’s been publishing his work. Although Deforge originally hails from Ottawa, and spent several years designing gig posters as a high school student there, he’s now one of the many leading members in the now flourishing Toronto comics community. TCAF, Toronto’s largest comic art gathering, has probably had one of the biggest impacts on his current career and Deforge even owes many of the personal and professional relationships to the festival. The festival, which takes place each year during the spring in a public library in the city, has fostered many incredibly important friendships and publishing opportunities for the various artists who participate in it and has become a staple in the world of comics today.

Michael Deforge currently resides in a basement apartment in Toronto that seems to radiate with all of the incredible and

vibrant art he ferociously produces day to day. Since 2009 Deforge has created a massive body of work including his Lose series, his weekly comic turn hard cover book Ant Colony, Very Casual, and his current weekly comic Sticks Angelica. Deforge is also currently a staff member on Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time and works as a “prop designer” for the show remotely from his apartment. Despite all of the enormous work he keeps busy with and the book tour he has embarked on this fall, Deforge still seems to be able to find time to play in his punk band Creep Highway with his best friend and fellow art collaborator, Patrick Kyle. Where are you from and where do you live currently? I grew up in Ottawa, and I live in Toronto. I came to Toronto to study philosophy, but I dropped out and I’ve been drawing for a while. I never was formally trained. I was just interested in it. I was specifically interested in studying aesthetics and there were a few writers who wrote I guess about that subject matter that I was interested in at the time, but I wasn’t a good student. So, I very gracelessly left college. Do you think your experience studying philosophy in college affected your work at all? I’m sure it did. It’s hard to think of direct examples, but like, every experience influenced my artwork. I was really engaged with what I was reading just by not being a very good student, or a focused student. I think it certainly influenced the way I approach art. I’m sure in a lot of big and small ways it changed the way I approach art. How has Toronto impacted your work? There’s a really nice comics community here, The Beguiling is here, which is my favorite comic book store, and there was one that I would visit when I was in high school when I was on trips Toronto. They’ve been very supportive of me, and a lot of my friends and collaborators live here. My publisher lives here, so I feel pretty lucky to be in this city I am, like Koyama is here, Patrick Kyle is here who I’ve done a lot of work with and I’m in a band with.

When did your relationship working with Patrick Kyle first start? We’ve done a bunch of projects together. I couldn’t name when. We’d see each other around like at either TCAF or other zine or poster shows. I became aware of the work that he was doing in a collective he was in. They aren’t together anymore, but they are three friends Chris Kuzma, Ginette Lapalme, and Patrick Kyle and they did work as Wowee Zonk together for a number years and edited some anthologies that I was included in. When did you first get interested in comics? I’ve been reading comics all my life and wanting to do comics all my life. I started taking it more seriously about six years ago when I started a number of projects that ended up resulting what became the first issue of series I draw called Lose. But, yeah. Comics were how I learned to read. My parents had a lot of Peanuts, and 8, Calvin and Hobbs and the Far Side lying around the house, and those were sort of the first things I was reading. You started out doing gig posters though, right? How did that happen? I wanted to go to a lot of concerts in Ottawa, but I had no money and I also didn’t have a fake ID, so I would just bother promoters to let me do posters in exchange for getting to see shows for free. I think I learned a lot about design and drawing just by doing a lot of those. I started looking at the posters by a

FORGEARTMAG.COM

77


“I remember sending them a really dorky email, just sort of asking them “Well, you know, I haven’t really seen any work that looks like this before. Could you just tell me what cool shit I should be in to?” and they really generously wrote back a list of people who they thought I might like, and it was a list that became a weird Rosetta Stone for a lot of the art work that I’m into now.” group from Montreal called Seripop. I remember sending them a really dorky email, just sort of asking them “Well, you know, I haven’t really seen any work that looks like this before. Could you just tell me what cool shit I should be in to?” and they really generously wrote back a list of people who they thought I might like, and it was a list that became a weird Rosetta Stone for a lot of the art work that I’m into now. They recommended me comics from High Water Books and artists who were working in Fort Thunder. They recommended me a book on Cuban poster art, Art Chantry’s posters. They just gave me this really amazing list of things. Gary Panter, yeah. What went into designing each poster? It was a pretty organic process. I would just listen to the band and then kind of just draw as I listened to it. Whatever sketches seemed most appropriate I would sort of throw on a poster. Gate posters are at the level I was drawing them at, just for really small shows, especially at the time. It was pretty low stakes and you could kind of get away with a lot of things because even if you sort of screwed it up it was only silk screened in a run of fifty or a hundred and would only be up for three weeks and then every one would forget about it. What do you think of the current Toronto Comic community? It’s sort of weird thing to describe. A lot of my friends are cartoonists, but it’s not like when I hang out with them I think “I’m hanging out with members of the Toronto comics community.” But, I think it’s fairly exciting right now. Even just outside of comics specifically, there’s a lot of really interesting small press stuff happening. A friend of mine edits for a publisher

78 FORGE • SEPTEMBER 2014

called Parish Press, and they’ve been putting out interesting work. There’s a show next week, actually, called Zine Dream they publish color-code printing as well. They put out just a lot of excellent work. I feel that there’s a lot of people putting out excellent work on a very small scale, which I like a lot. How has TCAF (Toronto Comic Arts Festival) affected the Toronto comics? It’s become sort of a weird fixture not just in Toronto, but I think in comics in general. It’s hard to think of many shows like it, at least in North America. And a lot of the shows that have started since, a lot of the small press or independent comics-focused shows, I think, have used TCAF as their model or a model. It’s been a huge impact on me personally in talking to other artists. It seems to be a thing that cartoonists really rally around each year. I’ve been going there for a while, and I missed the first few shows when they were just outdoors outside of Honest Ed’s. It’s been pretty amazing to see how huge it’s grown since I think the first one I went to, they rented out one of the building at the U of T campus a few years ago, and it’s maybe tripled in size since then. Has TCAF affected you or your career in particular? Sure, a lot of friends I’ve met through either TCAF or going to other shows like, there’s one in Brooklyn Comics Arts Brooklyn, and one in Chicago called Cake I like a lot. I met Annie Koyama at TCAF who runs Koyama Press and I also met Tom Devil and Chris Oliveros from Drawn and Quarterly at a TCAF, so my two biggest professional relationships were formed through running into people at that show.


How did your relationship with Koyama Press start? She came up to me. I was sort of aware of some of the books she’d published, but I was just walking around TCAF and she came up to me and said “Oh you’re Michael Deforge,” like maybe she knew me through Facebook or something I had at the time. She introduced herself to me, and I was like “Oh, that’s cool,” and at the time I had only been self-publishing things, but I was working on Lose #1 and I was maybe half-way through the issue, and I had saved up a lot of money pulling double shifts at my job –dishwashing at the time- so I could publish it myself. I sort of thought well, oh if I maybe could get interest in someone else publishing it, I could use the money I saved up take another month off and draw issue 2, and I showed it to Ann and she was into it enough to take a chance on it. That’s sort of what happened. I was able to work on issue 2 instead of blowing all my money on publishing it. It’s really incredibly how so many comic artists and zine makers have this drive and ability to pour so much of their time and money in to the creation and distribution of their work. Is it ever hard to make the decision to do that, or to take a risk on your work and vision like that? I guess all my eggs are in this basket. They have been for a while, so it doesn’t ever seem like a difficult choice to make. There’s certainly web publishing as an option, but I really like the way things look printed. So for me, it’s not done until its printed, and a lot the times that means doing it yourself, ‘cause not everybody, especially starting out, is going to take a risk on your weird flight of fancy or whatever. But I feel really lucky that comics are my particular interest because I feel like most other mediums, it’s a lot more expensive to put things out on

your own, or at least not as easy to put things out on your own. I get the impression in the fine art and literary world that there’s a lot more gatekeepers, and with literature, I get the impression there’s more of a stigma about self publishing, about it being considered kind of a vanity- like vanity projects. And it’s certainly much cheaper than working on a movie. I often think that I can Xerox or risograph the entire run of a mini comic. And that costs me as much as it costs to rent 4 hours of rehearsal time with my band. I’m happy that I’m more in the one than the other. You constantly have really beautiful and versatile color palettes in comics. How do you choose your color palettes? I have a reference file full of color palates that I’ve been saving to use for something and also palates that I want to rip off that I’ve taken from either online sources or scanned. I’ve been moving back into doing full color comics again. I stopped for a while after doing Ant Colony. Ant Colony was a serial I did that’s been collected in book form. When I was doing it, I made sure every week that I had a different color palate to force myself not to use- I felt like I was using the same colors all the time before, so I thought this was a good way to force myself to do something different every week. Then after that I sort of retreated to black-and-white for a while, and now I’m kind of figuring out how I want my color comics to look now. So far it’s very saturated and neon-looking this year. How did your upcoming book tour with Patrick Kyle and Simon Hanselmann come about? It kind of just spiraled into a bigger thing. I’ve been correspond-

“She introduced herself to me, and I was like “Oh, that’s cool,” and at the time I had only been self-publishing things, but I was working on Lose #1 and I was maybe half-way through the issue, and I had saved up a lot of money pulling double shifts at my job –dishwashing at the time- so I could publish it myself.”

FORGEARTMAG.COM

81


ing with Simon for a little bit and I got to meet him finally when he came to last years comic-arts fest in Brooklyn. I knew he’d have a book out around the same time I’d have a book out, and I thought if you happen to be in North America maybe we can do a few days together, and it’d be maybe a week, just east coast easy stuff. Then I found out Patrick had something out, and I thought I’d do it with Patrick. It sort of just became this thing where suddenly it became a whole month’s worth of dates. So I was a little freaked out, like oh this is now a whole thing. But yeah, it should be fun. I hope it’s fun. It’ll be the longest I’ve been on the road for. Thankfully, in the book tours I’ve done before and the forthcoming one, I haven’t had to book much myself. Publishers and publicists who are much better than stuff than we are arranged all that for me. It’s a weird thing. I enjoy it, but it’s strange because it’s busy but you don’t feel like you’re doing work ‘cause it’s not really your work. It’s related to your work. I like doing it, but then I always feel guilty because I’m not drawing. It’s cool. Meeting people in different cities or visiting a bunch of friends in different cities of course is a fun thing. If people actually show up and I’ve been lucky enough that on the last tour people came by, it’s nice to see like, oh, I actually have readers. It’s hard to tell when you’re just in a basement working all day that that’s the case.

as well. They asked me initially if I wanted to do a storyboard test, and I was like yeah, sure. I have no training in animation, and at the time, I still barely do. I didn’t know how to draw storyboard. But then I asked them if I do happen to get the job would I have to move to L.A. and they said yes, and I couldn’t move to L.A. at the time. Then, a little while after, they got me to do a design test anyway cause I needed a new designer, and then long story short the design position I ended up filling doesn’t have enough responsibility that they require me to be there. I sort of lucked out. I get to live here designing for L.A. Is it ever hard to work on the show remotely from your apartment in Toronto, when the whole show is being run in an office in Los Angeles? I mean, it’s pretty great for me. They just send me a list of things to draw every week, and then every few days I send them a new package of stuff and they send me revisions. There are times when the deadlines are much harsher and they’re like “we need this in the hour”. It’s a lot of work, but I’m generally I’m able to keep up with it. And I’ve only ever worked alone. I’ve drawn in the studio or shared a studio, so it’s pretty ideal circumstances that I still get to be in my room all day.

How did you start working on Adventure Time?

Were you a fan of the show before you started working on it?

I knew a bunch of people who were on the show just through comics cause so many of the artists on the show draw comics

I love the show. It felt crazy to be asked cause, again, I had no training, and I didn’t even think of it as an option as some-

“When I started on the show I had a really steep learning curve cause I had no idea what I was doing. My first week on the job I wasn’t even clear what my responsibilities were or what I was supposed to do.”

84 FORGE • SEPTEMBER 2014


thing I could try out for. When I started on the show I had a really steep learning curve cause I had no idea what I was doing. My first week on the job I wasn’t even clear what my responsibilities were or what I was supposed to do. I think that was all pen cause his background and his interests are mini comics, and I think how it was happening at the time was when they were hiring people for the show, a lot of people from animation were applying, and it’s a tough thing who you want to work with and collaborate with, and he wasn’t finding enough people that he thought would mesh well, so he was like, well why don’t I look at these from outside sources. And I think it’s cool on the show -it’s a very forgiving show in that it can incorporate a lot of different aesthetics and tones. So it makes a lot of sense that there’s people who have really different idiosyncratic sensibilities contributing to it. I think Jesse Moynihan was the first hire of theirs who had no background in animation and had to learn on the job, but he’s now one of the most dominant voices and influences on the show, which is awesome. Does it feel weird to be working on a show with so many incredible writers and artists, and have to do most of your work alone? It’s sort of funny cause I get to see all the work and I get sent the storyboards all the time, but I don’t really interact with many the artists on the show unless I see them in person, like visiting .LA. I don’t end up seeing any of the day-to-day stuff in the office, but it can be pretty intimidating to get a storyboard from Steve Wolfhard or Tom Herpich or Jesse every month, and just look at them and think “this is so much better than anything I could draw”, especially during stretches when I have been working on storyboards myself seeing some of the art come in. My current boss, the head designer, Matt Forsythe and Adam Muto, who I guess is Matt’s boss, getting their corrections and revisions on my notes is always a really humbling process because they’re just more efficient and elegant cartoonists than I am. I’ve learned a lot from working with them because of that, because they’re so much better at it than I am. What do you feel are the pros and cons of digital comics versus physical comics? Everything I do, I have with print in mind eventually, but I design all my comics to be held and all my pages to work as spreads, and I have a hard time focusing on the screen myself. There aren’t many web comics I keep up with on a regular basis. A lot of them I wait for print collections, so that’s just my preferences for my own work to be displayed. But I also recognize that putting stuff online is the most efficient way of getting work out there to a lot of people. It used to be cheapest to print a run of zines and throw them in people’s faces, and now that’s still cheap, but not the cheapest thing, and the web is the cheapest thing. So, I’m happy to do both and I realize that I have some readers who prefer my work online over my work in print. When Ant Colony came out, not a lot of people but a few people said they actually did prefer reading it digitally rather than owning the book, which is fine. It makes sense that some people would have that preference.

What made you decide to do your new weekly comic Sticks Angelica? I think I started that maybe two or three months after I finished Ant Colony. So part of it was just I finished one weekly comic, and I thought well I should do another. I also wanted to something that was fairly different in look and tone from Ant Colony, so both the way I approach the drawing and the format and the colors and the sorts of characters I’m writing feel different than Ant Colony. Maybe someone reading it is just like, oh this is the same old stuff he always writes about, but I wanted to break away from tone. I sort of envisioned it originally as a young adult comic or something, like a YA audience in mind, but I feel like there is nothing at all appealing about it too. Like, looking at it now, it’s sort of morphed into its own thing. And I’m like no fourteen year-old is going to be super thrilled about the adventures of this cranky woman. Is it ever hard to keep up with a weekly comic like that, when you have so many other projects going on? I tend to do it the day before I post it is when I do it. It can be tough to manage everything, and I sort of recognize that in a few years I probably will have a harder time managing everything, like I know I’m not going to get faster at working. Like I’ve hit my peak and passed my peak of how long I can stay awake for. I’m trying to take advantage of the fact that I can both manage commercial work and my personal work at the same time, and recognizing that I’ll have to renegotiate sometime down the road whenever that is. Since your doing each comic the week it’s coming out, do you ever plan the whole story ahead of time? I improvise all my comics, so I do it all a page at a time. The morning I’ll sort of thumbnail out the page I’ll spend the rest of the day drawing. I’ll sometimes have some loose idea of what a character’s arc might be or where I want some things to end up. For Ant Colony there are big events in the book that I knew I wanted to get to: the magnifying glass –I mean, that’s a spoiler. There’s a thing with the magnifying glass in it, and I knew I wanted to hit that, and I knew that I wanted this character to reach this conclusion and so on. I try not to have a good map on how I’ll get there and if it deviates from that I try to have the attitude that it’s deviated or digressed for a good reason. Do you ever experience writers block? How do you cope with that, when you’re working on comics with deadlines? If I’m hitting a brick wall, I’m not someone who’s good at taking a break for a minute and coming back to it. I usually just keep working knowing that I’ll have to throw out a lot of the garbage work that’s getting made during that stretch until something sort of interesting or new comes out. If I take too long of a break I feel like I forget how to even write a comic. It’s like losing that muscle memory or something and I have to relearn it. I do a lot a work that I end up throwing out and I think that’s how I deal with the block. If I start getting repetitive I just force myself to keep pushing on until I break through.

FORGEARTMAG.COM

85


How long did it take you to become comfortable with your style and writing? I like to think of it as always in development. I’m not super sure how comfortable I am currently, but each new project I try to have a different look or make sure I’m pushing myself in a certain way and taking my cartooning somewhere I haven’t really taken it before. I think once I’d realized that I shouldn’t worry too much what my style is or my aesthetic is that it probably started forming as soon as I made the decision to stop being so conscious of it. What contemporary artists have had a big impact on you and your work? My friend Patrick Kyle, lali west end I like a lot, Lala Albert, mikayla zakili, Jillian Tamaki, Seripop, like I said, off the top of my head those are a bunch. Marc Bell, who did a comic called Shrimpy and Paul was a big influence on me. Gilbert Hernandez’s work, both Hernandez brothers, Gilbert in particular was sort of a right-place right-time moment for me when I saw his work. Dan Clowes, those were big cartoonists for me. How do you feel the internet has impacted art and the way people see it? I guess the internet keeps changing, so it’s hard to say. Right now, it seems really exciting. I got rid of my tumblr for a bunch of reasons, but it seems cool that people are able to blow up really easily on tumblr. I look at the success Simon Hanselmann’s had. It’s pretty awesome that before he even went to a comic convention, he was able to break in the scene that is largely North America based, despite him living in a different continent. It seems like an exciting time right now. There’s certainly weird stuff. There’s that tumblr feed thing where you’re looking at a bunch of images and liking all of them but you’re looking at all of them without any context and each image is sort of given the same weight. So, there’ll be like a series of drawing by a Japanese artist who’s been dead for eighty years and it’s sort of sandwiched between a post about the gender politics of Supernatural and like a -I don’t’ know- like a Guardians of the Galaxy reaction gif. It’s sort of weird to take in art that way. But that’s

86 FORGE • SEPTEMBER 2014

just the way it is right now, and that’s the pace of things. I imagine it will either speed up or slow down in five years the same way the internet I grew up on five years ago is a little different. Like, Live Journal is different than tumblr, and it wasn’t better or worse maybe. It was just some another thing. Are there any mediums that you would like to work in, that you haven’t really had the chance to yet? I’m always interested in different mediums but it feels like I’m not even good at the mediums I am working in yet, or good enough at them that I don’t want to stray too far, but I’m working with a friend of mine named Phil Wollen on sculptures. He makes mascots -he used to have a job making mascots for a living- and we’re doing some sort of life-sized mascot-y versions of some of my characters. I’m excited to collaborate with him. I’m working with a game designer, Merritt Kopas, on a small video game, a twine-based sort of text adventure type game. And she’s excellent. Her work is amazing. So I’m exciting about that as well, and these are both mediums I don’t have any experience with. Are there any projects you would like to embark on, but that you just don’t have the time or funding for? Me and a friend this month, a collaborator Ryan Sands who I’ve worked with on a few things, we just posted art work from a TV show pitch we went through the process of this year that we ultimately didn’t get. But aside from that, that was a really unique case of something where we did need the funding to make a TV show –we couldn’t do that on our own. But generally, everything I do is really cheap, so if I want to do something I’m lucky enough I can just do it. Like I said, publishing a mini comic is very inexpensive, and both Koyama Press and Drawn and Quarterly are pretty patient about whatever nonsense ideas I throw at them which I’m very lucky to have in publishers. Everything else I do is –like I’ve been doing these drawings, we were talking about the drawings for the show earlier, have been doing them on really cheap craft paper. I tend to always work on the cheap. I’ve been lucky about that.


THANK YOU: KENDRA YEE SONIA KOLNER SHAY LHEA AXEL MAILLOT LIAM CLARK ASHRAF KHOFFASH MOLLY MARTIN LELAND GORLIN RENATA LATIPOVA GEOFFREY LEVY JOSH BYER FRANCIS QUINN ALEX CALDER ALEX SCHUBERT MICHAEL DEFORGE RICHARD KERN GRETA KLINE AARON MAINE MIKE ROSEN DANNY GONZALEZ JUSTINE KISTLER CHRISTOPHER HOWARD-WOODS KENNETH CHRISTIAN EMMANUEL OLUNKWA GRETTA CAVATASSI NOEL CLARO... JIM JARMUSCH ALIKI SIMON HANSELMANN ANGEL OLSEN DANNY PEARY PATRICK KYLE CHRISTY KARACAS YUMI SAKUGAWA ANNIE KOYAMA DEAN ENGEL JORDAN LEE COURTNEY BARNETTE NICHOLAS RATTIGAN BOB NICKAS PETER HALLEY SYLVIA PLATH TODD PATRICK DEVON WELCH JON BRION GEORGES DELERUE CLAUDE MONET LARRY CLARK GABRIELLE SMITH BOB ODENKIRK MARINA ABRAMOVIC ORNETTE COLEMAN STEPHIN MERRITT ANDY WHITE KATHLEEN HANNA JAMEL SHABAZZ JAMES JOYCE JOHN ARNE SAETEROY JASPER JOHNS WIN BUTLER ARNE WALLHORN JOHN KEATS


FORGE. Issue 5: Transition  

FORGE. is a quarterly submission based art magazine, with the sole purpose of showcasing the work of different artists on the internet and a...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you