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ROLLI by Lon Levin

I grew up on the Canadian prairies. Roughly in the middle of nowhere. On a little farm, a grain farm. Wheat fields, flax fields. I was asthmatic, not much help to anyone, and left mostly to my own devices. As children will, I made my own fun. Drawing, reading, daydreaming… I lapsed into imagination.

I’m not sure what influenced me and what didn’t, but I’ve always enjoyed old school cartoonists like Chaz Addams and James Thurber. Cartoonists are a dime a dozen, but stylists are rare birds. Dodos, almost. The first poet I loved was Poe. He’s still a favorite. I like Shakespeare quite a bit. And Agatha Christie.

Your style is very unique. Did you work on developing a style or is that what naturally came out of you? It reminds me a lot of John Lennon’s work. Any connection there? When did you first think about art as something you wanted to do? Were you encouraged or discouraged by family, friends, teachers, mentors?

I don't know. Somehow it turns out that such images arise in my head. It will be necessary to go to the doctor.

I didn’t begin to draw in earnest, or write, until my mid-twenties. This was during a long convalescence. I was a scribbler before that, a practiced doodler - - - and many other things, besides. I don’t remember ever receiving a word of encouragement. As I’ve always written (and drawn) to please myself, that didn’t dissuade me. If teachers saw potential in me - - - perhaps they did - - they kept it to themselves.

What kind of kid were you? Where did you grow up? What were your influences? I was a solitary child. A daydreamer. A manufacturer of mischief. I haven’t changed much, I don’t think.

I’m not deliberate. Not about anything. Intuitive. I’m an intuitive person. For better or worse, my style is a natural one, and my own. I like Mr. Lennon’s music very much. The Beatles, very much. The White Album - - - that’s a good one. I don’t know much about his artwork, I’m afraid. I’ll look into it.

Profile for Lon Levin

The Illustrators Journal Fall 2019