Podcast 103 – Nostalgia of the Infinite

Virtual Memories Show:
Jim Woodring – Nostalgia of the Infinite

“I have this one focus in my life, which is that this world isn’t real. There are much more interesting right behind it or in it and sometimes you can glimpse them. Those are the most interesting things. That’s what my work has always been about.”

The great cartoonist Jim Woodring joins the show to talk about comics, surrealism, Vedanta, the principle of fluorescence, and why he may be the reincarnation of Herbert E. Crowley! While he was in town for his first solo gallery show, Jim and I met up to talk about his conception of the universe, how his FRANK comics have and haven’t evolved in 20+ years, how art can convey the existence of something it can’t show, why it’s easier to express the grotesque than the beautiful, why younger cartoonists may be lacking the bitter, competitive drive of past generations, and why I think the Prado is a second-rate museum! Give it a listen!

YOU_DRIVE!

“I always felt in my post-adolescence that, as soon as I figured out how to say what I wanted to say, there would be some people who would respond to it. I never doubted that people would find the work interesting if I could only produce it properly.”

Bonus: I’ve got BIG NEWS about booking an upcoming guest! It’s in the intro.

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes! You might like:

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About our Guest

Jim Woodring was born in Los Angeles in 1952 and enjoyed a childhood made lively by an assortment of mental and psychological quirks including paroniria, paranoia, paracusia, apparitions, hallucinations and other species of psychological and neurological malfunction among the snakes and tarantulas of the San Gabriel mountains.

He eventually grew up to be an inquisitive bearlike man who has enjoyed three exciting careers: garbage collector, merry-go-round-operator and cartoonist. A self-taught artist, his first published works documented the disorienting hell of his salad days in an “illustrated autojournal” called JIM. This work was published by Fantagraphics Books and was recently collected in a single edition called JIM.

He is best known for his wordless comics series depicting the follies of his character Frank, a generic cartoon anthropomorph whose adventures careen wildly from sweet to appalling. A decade’s worth of these stories was collected in The Frank Book in 2004. The 2010 Frank story Weathercraft won The Stranger’s Genius Award and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for that year. Woodring has published two more FRANK books, Congress of the Animals, and Fran.

Woodring is also known for his anecdotal charcoal drawings (a selection of which was collected in Seeing Things in 2005), and the sculptures, vinyl figures, fabrics and gallery installations that have been made from his designs. His multimedia collaborations with the musician Bill Frisell won them a United States Artists Fellowship in 2006. He lives in Seattle with his family and residual phenomena.

Credits: This episode’s music is Forest Veil by Lisa Gerrard. The conversation was recorded on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Blue Yeti USB Microphone. Processing was done in Audacity and Logic Pro. Photo of Mr. Woodring by me, photo of art by Jim Woodring.

Unrequired Reading: December 31, 2010

Happy New Year’s Eve, dear readers! Welcome to the final installment of Unrequired Reading! That’s right! Not a dream! Not a hoax! Not an imaginary story! This feature is O-V-E-R!

For a while now, I felt like I’ve been battling against the tide of instant/mini-blogging by posting a weekly collection of links I enjoyed and wanted to share. The thing is, most of the items I put on Unrequired Reading are recycled from my twitter feed or my facebook page, so it hasn’t made much sense to collect them here, except to allow me to say, “I posted something!”

So, it’s the end of the Unrequired Reading era. I’m planning to use this blog for longer writing, travelogues and the like. If you’re interested in keeping up with those links I posted to Unrequired Reading, then follow my twitter feed: twitter.com/groth18.

Twitter also auto-tweets links to my new blog posts, but adding my RSS feed to your reader will clue you in to any long-form posts I write, as well as my What It Is posts (the necessity of which I’m also reassessing). I really hope to do some longer writing next year, but I make no promises. I’m much more intent on getting a regular podcast series off the ground.

(I know, I know: podcasts are even more passe than short-form link-blogging, but I’ve wanted want to work in that form for a while now, and I think I have a recurring segment that’ll make it something more engaging than The Gil Roth Show.)

If you want to keep up with my pictures, check out my flickr posts here or subscribe via RSS.

In other news, I turn 40 in less than 2 weeks, so if you want to buy me something nice, you can check out my wish list on Amazon.

And now, on with the show! Have a happy new year, dear readers!

Continue reading “Unrequired Reading: December 31, 2010”

What It Is: 10/13/08

What I’m reading: Samaritan, by Richard Price. Because I miss The Wire.

What I’m listening to: Body of Song by Bob Mould and Angel Milk by Telepopmusik.

What I’m watching: 30 Rock, season 1, LSU/Florida (ugh), and a bunch of close NFL games.

What I’m drinking: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I’m still on my one-drink-a-week routine, weirdly enough. Which means I haven’t had a G&T in more than 2 weeks.

What Rufus is up to: Attempted rape at the paws of a savoy down at the local farmers’ market on Saturday. Oh, the shame! He also got to take a short hike to Ramapo Lake, and stopped in at the Garden State Barkway to get his nails clipped, so on balance it was an okay weekend for him.

Where I’m going: Nowhere this week. I really oughtta get into NYC sometime.

What I’m happy about: My mom’s busted wrist healed well enough for her to go on her hiking trip to Utah this week. And that official VM pal Paul Di Filippo had his new book launch with comics legend Jim Woodring out in Seattle!

What I’m sad about: Only three weeks left in the presidential campaign! No!

What I’m pondering: Why this exists.