Your mini comic, Adult Babysitting, is hilarious. When did you begin bartending, and how long was it before you started doing the comic about it?
Why thank you! I started bartending in 2007, when I first moved here. I had been a waitress before, and totally lied about being able to tend bar. I was desperate and broke. I’d drop off a resume somewhere, and watch with dread as this smug employed person nonchalantly tossed it on top of a massive tower of resumes. Fortunately, after a few months, I landed a “cooking” job (meaning, microwaving and panini grills) at a small neighborhood bar where a friend was working, and she taught me how to bartend on the side. I’ve been there ever since and am now the longest-employed person of that bar. It’s also got a full kitchen now, and I can make a pretty mean cocktail.
Although I’ve been a fan of the medium for a long time, I didn’t really start making comics until the end of 2011. I’ve always been an artist, but I didn’t think I had the patience for sequential art. It started with the gateway drug of comics, stupid comics about my cat. When I finally did the first strips about tending bar, I showed it to a few people who really responded to them. I was like, “Holy shit! This is a vast well of material!” I mean, I literally have years of the bar’s logbook to draw from. And personally, I treat the logbook as a diary, writing long, detailed paragraphs. My entries were always like storytelling.
The first issue of Adult Babysitting came out at the beginning of 2012, and I’m happy to release the first issues of Volume II this week at GRIDLORDS!
Do you ever show your comic to the bar clientele, or at least to your co-workers?
Absolutely. When making the first issue, I’d say to a co-worker or a customer, “I was just drawing you today.” My regulars love it, especially when they see themselves in the comic. I even have a few who are trying to get into the comic by doing something terrible at the bar, and I’m like, “Dude, don’t do anything stupid, ‘cause then I’m just going to 86 you.” All the worst offenders in the comic either don’t come in the bar anymore or aren’t allowed to.
At Stumptown last year, I had my first table ever, and was peddling Volume I with my fake bar setup. I saw a bunch of my customers there, and they were like, “What are you doing here?” and I’d have to tell them I do other stuff besides tend bar. Then I’d make them buy the comic.
How did you get involved with the Pony Club Gallery? Have you curated any shows there yet?
The moment I first stepped into the Pony Club in 2007, I knew I wanted to be a part of something like that. I thought it was coolest gallery. I told co-member Jennifer Parks that one of the first shows I saw there was Josh Simmons, and he had all his original panels for House on display. It had a huge impact on me.
I’ve showed a couple times there over the years and expressed interest in joining a while ago, put my name in the hat. I became an official member in November. It’s a really great crew right now. And it feels awesome to be a part of something that’s so involved in the comics and illustration community.
I won’t be curating a show until October (my favorite month, of course), but I’m having my first solo show there in May.
I see on your website that you are from Arizona - how did you end up moving to Portland?
Yup, I spent over half my life there, in the Phoenix area. I left because I needed to leave, and also because I wanted to go to art school. It was strange how I first heard about Portland though. My old roommate had to come up here for a funeral. When he came back, he was like, “YOU GUYS,” and we were like, “Where the hell is Portland?” Seriously, I hadn’t heard anything about it. And then I realized there was an art school up here, PNCA, so I came up to visit. That was it. Instant love. Green, wet, liberal - a complete 180 from Phoenix. I left everything behind and never looked back.
Some of your art reflects your love of the Southwestern climate; do you miss it a lot?
In a word - no. But I do appreciate the beauty of the desert, the parts that are less inhabited. If I were to ever live in the desert again, I’d do it Georgia O’Keeffe style, on a ranch, surrounded by rocky vistas, collecting bones, and drawing. I have a very romanticized, cowgirl view of it.
But honestly, my heart is here. The creative climate in Portland far surpasses anything I experienced back in Arizona. Plus it’s too damn hot there.
You are involved in a few collaborations with other artists. What is the Eagle and Wolf partnership about?
When my fiancé, Jake Hollomon, and I met, it was an instant click! I’d never been in a romantic relationship with someone I connected with on a creative level before. We started drawing together, just for fun, because initially I was a totally traditional medium artist and he knew how to do all the digital stuff. We decided to call the collaboration work Eagle & Wolf, and we even had a few client projects. He works at an agency now, and I have my own projects to work on, so we don’t really have time for it anymore. But I can always count on him for an honest opinion on the things I’m working on. He really inspired me to get my ass in gear and propel my creative career forward.
I have the same question about Wolf & Canoe. What do the partnerships bring to your work that is different from what you produce on your own?
Ah, Wolf + Canoe! This is why the Internet can be magic. I emailed Brooke Weeber (of Little Canoe) over a year ago, inviting her to a Drink & Draw event that Jake and I sometimes host. And we just became friends. Like, awesome art buddies, who really support each other both creatively and personally, and sometimes we work together. In our collaborative drawings, we share a lot of the same likes, but execute them differently. It’s like a game of Exquisite Corpse - one person starts, the other finishes - and we do whatever we want, very organically.
I definitely have two personalities to my work - the humorous cartoonist side that is well suited for comics and commercial work, and one that is a darker, more artistic side. I like to be creepy. My collaborative work allowed me to indulge in the latter in fresh ways I hadn’t explored before.
You have an impressive list of clients that have hired you for illustration. What kinds of collaborations and projects do you dream of for the future?
I work really hard and I love what I do, but a little luck goes a long way in this business. I’ve been fortunate so far, in client work. In the future I hope to gain more commercial projects, which is really the bread and butter of freelance.
And I’d like to take the Adult Babysitting series as far is it could go, cause, you know, I like to make people laugh. And there’s a whole demographic of people, service industry folks, whom I know can identify with this work. People like to know that someone else is feeling their pain, right? Just think of all those bar logbooks out there - imagine how many crazy stories there are that need to be told!
Mostly, though, I just want to draw for a living, until my hand shrivels up and falls off. That would be living the dream.
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