Tuesday, January 26, 2016



Arrived in Paris yesterday morning for tonight's opening of the D&Q exhibition at Galerie Martel, and signings tomorrow and Thursday. And an interview was posted this afternoon in French on Real Estate of the Mind, just in time for the festivities.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

I'm boarding a plane to France later today. I'm going mainly to support Fin, the French edition of The End. But there's a ton of other stuff going on while I'm there. I'll be in Besançon January 22-24 for the PFC5 exhibition The Goat Without a Face and a few talks. Helping run PFC5 last summer in Minneapolis was a whirlwind, so I'm looking forward to getting to relax and get a new look, with clearer eyes, at some of the weird and wonderful collaborative drawings and comics that came out of that storm.

Then, next Tuesday I'm in Paris for the Drawn & Quarterly 25th Anniversary exhibition at Galerie Martel. It's the first time Big Questions originals will be shown in France, and I'm sending a few examples I don't normally let out of my flatfiles. Other reasons to go, if you're in Paris include original art by Julie Doucet, Lynda Barry, Genevieve Castree and a bunch of other ridiculously talented people.

Wednesday and Thursday I'm signing copies of Fin at Super Heros and Page 198, respectively, and then heading to Angouleme on Friday for a public talk with Jean-Pierre Mercier.

Busy couple of weeks.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Project Astoria: test two: The Brazil Colony at Lula, January 19th

I'm going to be in Chicago next Tuesday for the opening of Todd Baxter and Aubrey Videtto's second installment of Project: Astoria at Lula, from 6-9 (free appetizers, cash bar). The images I've seen so far are as amazing as everything those two set their minds to. Come check it out and say hello. There's more info below about Astoria... but first check out this octopus:

Project Astoria is a narrative photo series exploring life on an imagined new planet and its moons, discovered hidden within our own Solar system by an amateur astronomer in Astoria, Illinois, in 1927. The moons, named for his daughters Elsie and Vivian, are found to be habitable and are colonized by a co-operative multinational expedition from Earth in the mid 1970's. The images follow the moons' immigrants as they explore, adapt and create a new life in their strange new worlds. The first installment, test one was shown at Lula in 2014 and followed colonists from North America. Continuing their progress around the new world test two brings us to the South American and Brazilian colony. Moving between the surreal feeling of a fairy tale and something more familiar and deceptively mundane, Project Astoria takes Baxter's unique visions to an ambitious new level.

Monday, December 21, 2015

On Being a Good Parent

The End was just translated into French and published by Atrabile. The life of that book has been curious. The first half came out in 2007 to fairly limited notice as part of Fantagraphics' Ignatz series. I'd promised them a book in the series years before my fiancee Cheryl had even gotten sick. in 2007 my time was up and I had nothing to give them. So I turned to various scattered ruminations on grief I was filling my sketchbooks with. When The End #1 came out it felt very much like half a book to me, even then. Material already existed for the follow-up, but I just wasn't psychically prepared to wade back into the material for a second issue yet. So I let it languish. But as an author, there is something pretty uncomfortable to me in knowing I have a kind of crippled, half-finished child out in the world struggling to get by without my full care and attention. It's not really a fair thing to do to a story. Time passed. In 2013 I felt like I had enough distance to go back to it.

And it's done pretty well, without its handicap. It's an unusual book, even so. But people seem to respond to it. Voices as diverse as Zak Sally and my own mother have ventured that it may be their favorite book of mine. Which is saying something – it's probably also the piece most likely to make you dissolve into a puddle. It was nominated for an LA Book award, and now for the Selection Officielle at Angouleme (along with like thirty other books, it should be said). It's remarkable to see one's work grow up, leave home and have a life of its own out in the world. As someone who started out self-publishing in runs of 20 or 50 it still feels magical and inexplicable to me that something so deeply idiosyncratic, made for my own reasons without an audience in mind finds that audience nevertheless.

Anyway, I'm doing my best to help it out, now. I'll be heading to France a week before Angouleme to be in Besançon for Goat Without a Face an exhibition of artwork from PFC5, the residency I helped organize at MCAD last summer (see below). Then to Paris to be on hand for the opening of an exhibition at Galerie Martel honoring D&Q's 25th anniversary (January 26th, I'll have pages from Big Questions in the show), and do a signing at Super Heros (January 27th). Then to Angouleme, where I'll be doing some sort of talk or workshop or something, (exactly what is yet to be decided).

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Firelei Báez

Last Sunday before heading to the airport Bill K, Julia Gfrӧrer and I walked from the Book Fair over to the Perez Art Museum of Miami. Arriving under it's roof just as the skies opened up in a momentary squall. Miami is unlike most other US cities in many ways, but in particular it feels much closer to Latin America than to the majority Anglo cities I usually inhabit. The usual categories and hierarchies of class and race and cultural niche just don't seem to apply there in quite the ways one is used to in Chicago or New York, San Francisco or Minneapolis. There is as much Spanish being spoken on the streets as English and the English is, likely as not, accented with Spanish and Creole. It's refreshing. The Perez Museum reflects this difference. For one thing the work seemed to reflect more social and political consciousness than its sister institutions around the country generally do. That can of course be a good or a bad thing depending on the artist. There were a lot of romantic and nostalgic stacks of dusty old found objects, for example, meant to evoke lost innocence and absence. But there was also Firelei Báez. The time spent among her drawings were a highlight of the trip, and a revelation. The first two images are life-size figures drawn and painted in gouache and watercolor on giant sheets of paper:

The rest are from this giant conglomeration of small drawings, most on found paper or with collaged bits: