Two new comics this month, both related to the Warmer anthology: my full strip for the book was posted on Guernica, and I also drew a second short piece appropriating words and images from other Warmer contributors.
Swimming Studies, Leanne Shapton
Beloved, Toni Morrison
Six Memos for the Next Millennium, Italo Calvino
Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino (reread)
What is a Glacier, Sophie Yanow
Hellbound Lifestyle, Alabaster Pizzo and Kaeleigh Forsyth
Violence Valley, Jesse McMansu
The Summer of Love, Debbie Dreschler
A Mysterious Process, GG
Nothing Whatsoever All Out in the Open, Akino Kondoh
Les Puissances de l’Avenir – Désert, Renaud Thomas
Late Bloomer, Maré Odomo (reread)
Wallpaper, Whit Taylor
Dri Chinsin, Sascha Hommer
Minor Leagues #1-3, Simon Moreton (reread)
Armany Jeans, Isao Moutte
The Being Being, Jason Overby (reread)
L’Ingénieux Don Quichotte, Rémy Pierlot
Alack Sinner, Munoz and Sampayo
Vaste Le Ciel, Suzuki Oji
The Homesick Truant’s Cumbrian Yarn #1-10, Oliver East
A Bomb, Kurt Ankeny
Hedra, Jesse Lonergan
(You can see my thoughts on most of the comics I read this month in this Twitter thread. A lot of reading in one day! I’d been meaning to do this kind of joyous binge reading for a while so I’m pleased I finally made the time for it.)
This was a month of plans, logistics, preparation. I’m still reading a lot in hopes of planting the seeds for future projects. I’m taking hesitant steps towards what might become my next book-length works. I’m planning for a good time to circle back to some shorter strips that are in progress.
I’ve also started thinking about not just moving from one project to the next; instead, I’d like to improve my ability to think long term. How would I like my comics to develop in the next five years? Are there any particular areas where I want to need to improve? Is it in fact better not to answer these questions? Five Year Plans usually have implications of career advancement, which isn’t really relevant to my comics practice for now, but this kind of structural thinking appeals to me. I’ll continue pondering this and report back with any insights.
I did a draft of a third Gertrude Stein book, following up on For Lives and Read & Erase. I always wonder about when to talk publicly about what I’m working on, but having a complete draft seems like a significant step in the process. It still needs a lot of work, though. I was guided by two key ideas in making this: first, my continued efforts to sort out Kevin Huizenga’s comments about light and shadow as they apply to my work, and second, the insight that two research-heavy books about memory should naturally be followed by a purposefully research-free or even inaccurate book about memory.
Of course, I’ve also spent a significant portion on my time this month on Kickstarter promotion for Warmer. Doing something yourself always leads you to appreciate those who do it well; I can’t imagine how the 2dcloud folks muster the energy to do so many Kickstarters, for example. Editing Warmer has also led me to think about the way the being a good publisher/editor is in part an accumulation of small, individually unimportant actions. Replying to emails on time and generously, asking artists’ permission for various uses of their work – just tiny logistical things. Things that could be neglected, even with good intentions, especially if you’re making big decision at the same time.
Finally, in a bit of a tangent I wanted to share something that I wrote in conducting an interview for Warmer, which didn’t make it into the final piece. Just because I’ve been thinking about this a lot and was happy with how I articulated the idea here. This was in response to a question about the relationship between art and activism: Personally, I don’t see my artistic practice as a political act. I can have an impact in the same ways that anyone can: getting involved with or donating to good organizations, pressuring my political representatives, etc. As someone with the means and ability to participate in public activism, I think making art about contemporary politics is not the only way or even the best way for me to be politically engaged. I’d be making art no matter what. I’m able to do more, and I need to hold myself to that standard. Of course, political art does have its place and art can be a powerful communicative tool. But as an artist I’m personally more interested in communicating themes and sensations than in explicitly discussing policy issues.