How did you get into comics?
I didn’t really start drawing comics until college. I decided to attend art school and ended up around a lot of people who were involved in the comics scene in Portland, OR. I was an illustration major so it was easy for me to see how comics fit in with how I was thinking about drawing and where my ideas were beginning to expand. I started out making zines with drawings, words, and lists. From there I began integrating those ideas further and building narratives. I’ve never read many comics and I still don’t. It helps me keep a clear perspective on the type of work I want to make, rather than being influenced by what’s already been made.
You have an amazing hand - what is your drawing background? Who have you studied and admired?
Both of my parents were artists so I was drawing and crafting from a very very young age. My sister was always a little better at the hands on projects though so I think it was easier for me to just dedicate myself to drawing. I have countless sketchbooks starting in middle school and used to draw on everything. Naturally, choosing an art school for college solidified it as more than a hobby. Right now I do art full time.
My tastes have changed quite a bit over the years, but I will always be obsessed with classical and impressionistic art. My favorite artist of all time is Odilon Redon. Others to note: Balthus, Matisse, Degas, Titian, Delvaux…
Was it intentional to use variations on the golden ratio/divine cut for almost every page of The Whale? If it was intuitive, then your sense of design could very literally be called divine.
Thank you. I must admit is was very much unintentional. Even looking at it now, that book is quite raw. I came at it with basically no forethought as to how a person ‘makes comics.’ I’ve always worked very intuitively, but I’m much more aware of tools and constructs in comics now.
How did that story emerge? It subtly resonates.
It really started with about the last ten pages. I was living back on the Puget Sound, and there was a news story about a tropical whale getting beached on a nearby island. The character and scenario just grew out of that initial inspiration.
Where did your travels for Field Studies take you? Can you tell us about that project?
That was a really incredible project. I happened to already have a good deal of travel plans for the year and as they continued to expand and grow I became much more compelled to find a way to tie them all together. The first step was simply creating a blog from which I could share small drawings from my various settings. It worked in so many ways. I didn’t have a camera most of the year, but I did have a scanner, so I used it to share with my friends and family where I was and the special little things I was experiencing. It helped me to raise extra funds as I was traveling so that I wouldn’t have to get nervous about being gone so long. On a personal level too, each time I would sit down in a new city or home to draw, it would connect me deeper with the physical reality of my environment, by having to really study it.
I really believe in maintaining a strong life drawing practice to the point that this project felt very indulgent for me. And then getting to publish a book of it all at the end!
Was Asymmetry based on a real experience?
No. I have given quite a number of tattoos in my day, as well as received them, but its all fiction. I think I just wanted to express the intimacy of that experience.
Can you tell us about The Dark?
This was one of my first minis. When I started drawing comics, I was especially interested in more abstract content and visuals. I still am, but the form it takes is much different.
What art materials do you have on you at any given time?
Only a mechanical pencil. I keep a lined notebook with me, but I very rarely draw in it.
Are you still working on the Letter Project with Jaakko Pallasvuo?
Oh, no. We ended it quite some time ago. It was a really interesting endeavor but we did it without any objectives or constraints, so it just naturally tapered out as our lives got busier.
What sorts of projects do you have in the works right now?
I just made a big move to California. I’m hoping to make this my base, so its a bit more serious than the traveling I’ve been up to. This has taken away from my being able to focus much on any personal projects. I’ve got ideas, but mostly I’ve just been doing a little this and that for other people. Once things have settled down here a bit, I’m hoping to start oil painting again. I’m quite excited to see where that might go.
Any upcoming shows or publications we should be looking forward to?
I have a show opening May 3rd at Nationale in Portland, OR and a show in December at Farewell Books in Austin, TX. Those are the bigs ones this year. As far as publications I’m in the upcoming Sonatina anthology edited and published by Scott Longo as well as putting out a little collection of artist related comic strips I did for The Comics Workbook blog with the help of Colour Code printing in Toronto.