You and François Vignault just moved into an office in the IPRC building, how is that working out? What kind of work do you do there?
It’s been really great so far. The first couple months, it was hard getting into the swing of having a studio again, but I use it several times a week these days. I mainly work on actual comics stuff there: writing, drawing, inking, scanning, coloring, and production of actual printed copies. It’s nice to be in a place where I not only have access to my own equipment, but stuff like photocopiers and big paper trimmers. It’s great sharing the space with François, as well. When we’re both in the studio together, we are constantly workshopping ideas and helping each other out.
In the past few years you’ve been working for two different comic book stores, Cosmic Monkey and Floating World. How has that affected your love for comics? Are there any conflicts about working the two retailers?
Working comics retail is hard, sometimes. It’s a great job and it’s a lot less work than digging ditches or whatever, but it can definitely affect the way you think about comics, not always for the best. There have been times when whatever garbage was going on in the industry soured me on comics in general, but I mostly try to disconnect from that stuff these days. I try to stay posi and only read things that I think I will actually get something out of, instead of reading things to keep up with “what’s going on.”
There’s no real conflict of interest working at two stores, mainly because the people who own those stores are all pals. FW & CM are sort of like two sides of the same coin, as far as comics retail is concerned. In my mind, they’re practically sister stores.
Remember when you moved up here from down South around the time of Hurricane Katrina? How has your life, in terms of your art and the comics community, changed since those days?
Well, the main difference is that there IS a comics community here! Baton Rouge didn’t have much of one at all. There were a handful of people at the time who were trying to do stuff, and one comic shop of any note, which I think is gone now. I was in art school at LSU though, so I had lots of artists and creative minds to bounce off of — that was pretty much the thing that kept me sane while I was there.
Portland has SUCH a wealth of comics resources and community that it’s ridiculous. I’d say that 95% of my friends are either cartoonists or somehow tangentially related to the comics community now. We are very very spoiled here.
What is happening with the Study Group 12 anthology now? Who all are involved at this point?
StudyGroup12 became Study Group Magazine last year. It’s now an anthology/comics journalism thing. Milo George, formerly of The Comics Journal, is my co-editor. Our goal is to have the issues be comprised of roughly 2/3 comics/art & 1/3 articles about comics. We whiffed the deadline for the last few shows of the year, but issue 2 is in the pipeline and we hope to get it out in Spring, and have #3 out later that year.
Earlier this year Study Group 12 created a web portal for your contributors; how does that work and have you expanded it since it began?
Studygroupcomics.com has definitely sort of taken precedence in some ways, as we have such an aggressive posting schedule and it requires a bit of maintenance almost every day. Basically, I’ve asked a bunch of my talented friends to get together and post webcomics, with the idea that each of us have some sort of following so why not get all of our followings together in one spot? Luckily, when I was talking to people it seemed like most everyone I contacted had been pondering online comics in one form or another.
At this point, the site itself has its own sort of draw and when/if I ask someone to be a part of it these days, it’s less of a struggle to be like “IMAGINE A WEBSITE” — I can just say: “Hey, you know this thing? You wanna do something for it?”
I don’t know if it’s expanded so much as just grown naturally. People get burnt out, need breaks, other people come in fresh and hopefully the first set of people can get their mojo back in place at some point. Some of my favorite launch comics, DANGER COUNTRY, CRIME WORLD, MOURNING STAR, & IT WILL ALL HURT are on hiatus for the last couple months while their creators do paying work and recharge through the holidays, and I can’t wait for them to return to the site. But then, that’s cool too because that allows me to introduce new work from artists like Ian Andersen, Renee French, Rich Tommaso or Tom Van Deusen.
Why did you leave Pony Club? Would you ever want to run another art gallery?
I was just burnt out. I think I did Pony Club for 2 years, maybe 2.5? The last 6 months or so, my heart wasn’t in it, mainly because I was more focused on trying to make comics and I wanted to do this website thing. It was super bittersweet leaving because I had put so much time and energy into that place, but I like going back now and just being part of the viewing public. Those guys have got a lot of good stuff going on these days.
Tell us about your artistic collaborations with your wife Krista’s burlesque show projects!!
Krista is awesome and super creative — most of her energy these days goes into her burlesque performance/production and I try to help out where I am able. I am her sounding board when she’s thinking stuff through, which mainly consists of me listening to her walk through her ideas out loud and trying not to give TOO MUCH input, because she’s really got a good handle on things. Where I come in is usually doing flyers or helping build props.
Also, your mom is a really nice lady. Do you ever work with her artistically?
My mom is a super nice lady, but no, we haven’t collaborated. She’s taken up painting in the last few years though.
@6 months ago with 24 notes