News & Such

2016

Reflecting on the year, 2016 was a year of extremes, personally and professionally. 

PUBLICATIONS (*all available in the webstore):

  • Volume III of "In the Sounds and Seas": February 2016, self-published, offset printed by Salsedo Press
  • Hardback collected edition of "In the Sounds and Seas:" May 2016 (TCAF), One Peace Books
  • "Particle/Wave," made in Jan/Feb 2016 & published October 2016, So What? Press
  • "Burrow," October 2016, self-published with support from the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, offset printed by Salsedo Press
  • "Nest," October 2016, self-published, riso printed by Perfectly Acceptable Press

EXHIBITIONS, PERFORMANCES

NOTABLE MISCELLANEA

  • Interview with the humblingly insightful Derek Royal on The Comics Alternative podcast about In the Sounds and Seas
  • Notable Comics shout out in Best American Comics 2016 for In the Sounds and Seas: Volume II
  • Best Comics of 2016 shout out in the AV Club end of year round up
  • Less freelance illustration  work than last year, but what I did was a blast: notably fun projects for Cricket Media Group publications and Chicago Review Press
  • In response to a newly erratic schedule, I stepped down from my role as a coordinator at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo after almost 4 years helping run the show. It was a privilege to have a hand in making that show great, and I can't wait to see how the stellar new crew makes it even better.
  • More class visits & guest lectures this year than years past, which is always a pleasure! Notable among them was a lively Skype conversation with an interdisciplinary comics class out of Sienna Heights University, co-taught by Erin Zerbe and Alexander Weinstein (who wrote one of my favorite books of the year, "Children of the New World")

In all of this, 2016 was also the year I became a parent. Almost two weeks after he was due, I gave birth to my first child in early March. He is a healthy, vibrant, beautiful boy; he cracked me open, physically and emotionally, and I emerged a bigger, better person, and a more committed artist. He is also a terrible, terrible sleeper. All of the accomplishments I listed above were worked on in stolen moments when it would have been kinder to my body to sleep. Because my husband has a less flexible career, and because we can't afford childcare, my time to work is now nights & weekends when he is home to take Alpha Parenting duties. The few hours of sleep I do get are frequently interrupted even now, almost 10 months into parenthood. It's no mistake that sleep deprivation is listed as torture by the Geneva Convention; I have been suffering from increasingly frequent panic attacks and darkening depression in recent months. Making the kind of art I aspire to make requires a deep & open engagement, and all of my resources are spent right now holding my own threads together. It has been a very difficult winter.

Yet: when I look back on the year, it is with no small sense of awe and gratitude. Because of the grace and generosity of friends babysitting, I was able to finish "Burrow" in the hazy raw first 6 months of my child's life; my infant and my partner got to watch me perform it surrounded by artists I admire in a space next to an Ellsworth Kelly painting, which is a moment that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Doing the hard work of making art, doing the hard work of opening up to our friends and neighbors, creating interdependent networks of meaning-making, is a privilege and a necessity in dark times. 2016 has been dark, and we don't know what 2017 will offer. But in spite of the darkness (/because of the darkness), I am committing to digging in deep and moving forward (in the work that I make, in my friendships, for my family, for my community, for my son) with arms/eyes open.  This is unsatisfyingly vague (especially as a person who thrives on bullet-pointed lists), but earnestly meant. 

See you in 2017.

New in 2016

New in 2016

Zine Not Dead: "Particle/Wave" performance

Zine Not Dead: "Particle/Wave" performance

"Burrow" performance at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation

"Burrow" performance at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation

9 months ago

9 months ago

Yesterday

Yesterday

Art for Change

Like so many of my friends, family and colleagues, the election of Donald Trump as president last week has felt like a personal trauma. The sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, islamophobia and generally violent rhetoric of his campaign and proposed policies are personally abhorrent and explicitly oppressive to our fellow citizens, to refugees, to undocumented families, to the most vulnerable of us. America is a country founded on these inequalities, whose systems of power structurally reinforce these inequalities. I guess I hoped another equally American narrative was one of working towards social justice, toward liberation of the oppressed; I hoped that was one that more of us shared. 

As an artist and freelance illustrator, I don't have the means to be financially generous to organizations I support and believe in. As an artist and freelance illustrator who is also the mother of an 8-month-old without the means for childcare, I do not have the logistical flexibility to be an extra body in demonstrations and protests. 

What I do have is pen and paper.

Every month of Trump's presidency, I will put up a new piece of original art on my store to raise money for a different Chicago-local organization that supports communities who are directly negatively affected by Trump's proposed policies. It's a drop of water against a tidal wave of violence, but it is a drop I can offer. Art will be priced to be accessible, but (hopefully) still a meaningful charitable donation. Artist friends, please be in touch and let me know if you would like to join me in supporting these organizations on this schedule, or if I can promote any similar projects you want to undertake.

I put all 7 ink/gouache paintings from "Nest" up for sale on my store to raise money for Planned Parenthood of Illinois. 

Below is the schedule of organizations I will raise money to support in 2017.

Let's do this.

Fall 2016: Upcoming Events and Publications

The fall 2016 calendar is already getting booked! Friends in Chicago, St Louis and Seattle, take note:

zine not dead 2016

September 3 I am joining a murderer's row of Chicago cartoonists for the third Zine Not Dead comics reading. Come in costume to get into the spooooky vibe! My reading will err more towards melancholy than spooky, since I'll be performing...

...Particle/Wave, a new 2-part memoir comic about family, identity, grief and the moon, published by So What? Press. I presented an early version of this comic at the Chicago Zine Fest reading this spring, and you can buy a copy yourself when it debuts on October 15 at...

October 14 at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation and October 15 at the St Louis Public Library

October 14 at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation and October 15 at the St Louis Public Library

...the St Louis Small Press Expo, where I am an invited guest (!) of the festival. As part of the kick-off event at the Pulitzer on Friday night, October 14, I will do a performative reading of a new comic, Burrow, which will debut the next day at the festival. Burrow is in conversation with the current exhibitions at the Pulitzer, which engage with questions of domesticity. Burrow is a short story about new motherhood and the tension between the feral, animal wildness of infant care and the built domestic world. If you attend the reading, you can also get a free copy of my new illustration zine, Nest, which is a companion to the new comic and will also be for sale at the expo on the 15th.

And more! I'm exhibiting in early November at Short Run in Seattle! It's gonna be tight! 

I'm also working on putting together a late fall/early winter event in Chicago to celebrate the publication of three books this calendar year. (Please, if you haven't already: pick up a copy of the collected In the Sounds and Seas!) I haven't mentioned this on the website, but I also gave birth to my first child, a gentle smiling boy named Ilan, in March; I was lost in the woods of newborn care when I might have been throwing debut parties or touring the hardback collection. Please, Chicago friends, keep your ears open for news of the triple book party--I would sure appreciate your camaraderie!  

Black and Blue Plus Orange

Friends who will be in the Berkshires this fall: mark your calendars! I have 7 new small paintings in the upcoming "Black and Blue Plus Orange" show at the Geoffrey Young Gallery at 40 Railroad Street in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Folks who can't make the opening on September 3 (which I imagine is most of us, myself included) can see the series in a new illustration zine, "Nests," that will debut at the St Louis Small Press Expo on October 15. You can see all of the paintings on the "Illustrations" page.

FERN