is at its heart a gathering of remarkable creators, editors, illustrators, cartoonists, and publishers who represent some of the best work that is being produced in these mediums today.
Each day from now until the show we are going to be highlighting the amazing creators of Linework NW in a series of interviews conducted by the awesome folks over at Gridlords
. Today’s spotlight is on the cartoonist Julia Gfrörer
Which Spice Girl are you?
I could easily say Ginger Spice, or Scary Spice, since I am both red-haired and obnoxious, but I relate most to Posh Spice. She’s the one scowling, off to the left, playing along but just barely, that calls the entire premise into question. The fly in the ointment.
What kind of process do you adhere to when you make work?
My emotional hygiene ritual takes the form of a probe into every possible source of discomfort, attempts to dissect into impotence all the things that I enjoy and to refrain from rejecting anything. A story idea sometimes emerges as the byproduct of this mostly-involuntary process, and then I script and thumbnail it in a slim gray notebook my friend Ellery made for me. I’m making it sound heroic, but it’s not, it’s gross and compulsive. The stories, once written down, lie fallow until they’re needed — maybe I have a convention coming up or somebody is waving money in my face — and then I tend to blaze through their production in a month of black-cuticled twelve-hour work days and top it all off with a sinus infection.
I also have a special pen that I use.
How do you feel about backgrounds?
Human figures, I feel, are my strong suit in drawing, but I struggle with architecture and landscapes, and include them only grudgingly, out of necessity. More often than not, I draw most of a comic telling myself, “this is going to look great without backgrounds, nobody will even miss them,” and at some point I realize that isn’t true and I have to go back and fill them in, comforting myself with the lie that nobody is even going to look at them anyway, until they’re complete and I’ve let them rest a couple of weeks and decided they’re fine.
What famous artist or historical figure do you often psychically interact with?
I received The Diary and Letters of Käthe Kollwitz
as a Valentine’s Day gift, so she’s been on my mind a lot. Along with Alice Neel
, Kollwitz is my artistic hero and a foghorn in the darkness. She is one of the greatest draftspeople of all time, and her work was so humane, with an intelligent, rigorous and deeply compassionate approach to depicting human suffering. It’s also important for my mental health to focus on artists who did their best work after becoming mothers, contrary to the currently prevalent and utterly bogus cultural narrative.
Tell me about the tough comics crew from your town.
Right now I’m living in Concord, NH and there’s no comics crew to speak of here, tough or otherwise. If I’m lucky I can drive an hour up to White River Junction and hang out with Nicole Georges, and we rat our hair and exchange misogyny gripes and watch Vermonters pour salt in their beers. If I’m super lucky I can get my car stuck in a snowdrift.
Is illustration your career?
Yes. It is certainly both more and less than a job.
What do you think about fortune telling?
For some reason I am educated in so many methods of fortune telling: I know how to read palms, tea leaves, tarot cards, astrological charts, dreams, and the entrails of fallen birds. I believe in none of them, but pathetically I still consult them, I guess in the same spirit that one flips a coin when a decision is made but not firmly, or examines the map of a city one never intends to visit. That’s how desperate I am to pretend there’s some kind of order in the universe.
What is the project in your head that you’d like to make?
There are dozens. New ideas gush constantly from my hideous brain like blood from a cursed wound; I’m the Sir Urre of ideas. What I’d really like is to cobble together some kind of life for myself where I can make the work without having to wrestle down an ever-present dread of occupying space, and without, or at the very least before, running myself into the ground. How’s that for a project.
What are you most excited to do at Linework NW?
The aforementioned Ellery (Harvey of Lambhouse Press
) and I have been planning musical scores for my short comics “River of Tears” and “Spirit Hand,” which we’ll be performing for you when we read at Gridlords on Sunday
night. I think these are two of the best comics I’ve ever made, neither one has ever been presented at a reading before, and I’m very excited to be performing them with Ellery.
Gridlords Interview by Suzette Smith