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Monday, November 21, 2011

Los Angeles report

I was in Los Angeles recently to accept on Daniel Clowes' behalf the Pen USA Award for Outstanding Body of Work in Graphic Literature, shown above. It sure is heartening to see guys like Dan and Seth (who recently was awarded with the Harbourfront prize) getting the recognition they deserve.

A few hours before the ceremony I paid a visit to Skylight Books, where I met Dan Kusunoki, their assistant manager who works primarily in their art & design (and comics) storefront next door. I don't know what it is about L.A., but along with Skylight, this city is teeming with some of the best independent book and comics stores around: Book Soup, Secret Headquarters, Golden Apple, Family, and Meltdown, to name a few.

While in town I was lucky enough to stay at the house of artists Mimi Pond and Wayne White. Here's Mimi in her studio, where she's been spending much of her available time writing and drawing a memoir (which will be published by D+Q) covering her early art school days while she was a waitress working in an Oakland diner.

Mimi has already drawn well over 100 pages. I was trying to figure out what her drawing process is; here's a few roughs drawn initially on vellum paper; she then takes this initial version and redraws it on white paper.

More Mimi. I've always been a fan of these cartoonist-sitting-at-drawing-table posed photos. Someone should publish a book just on this subject (OK, maybe a dedicated blog or Tumblr page or, for god's sake, whatever people are using these days).

A few steps over from Mimi's drawing table is Wayne's workspace, where the remnants of George Jones' eyeballs (part of a massive sculpture from a couple of years ago) are stored.

Somehow the walls of Mimi's and Wayne's otherwise idyllic studio setup can't contain their combined creativity, so while I was there Wayne was hard at work on an elaborate mural in their house upstairs; it will eventually wrap around their entire dining room.

Wayne is an artist with a long list of versatile accomplishments, from set and puppet design on Pee Wee's Playhouse (he even did some of the voices) to his current painting career. Go ahead and order Maybe Now I'll Get the Respect I So Richly Deserve, it's one of the best artist monographs published in recent years.

Here's the view just outside the door of their studio. Can it get any better than this?


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