“Before the turbines I had a very happy, hardworking life that actually makes me cry when I remember it.”
– Lynda Barry talks to Vice Magazine about how lobbying against wind turbines in her backyard has stalled her creative work, and details how she typically starts her day as an artist. Working from a small barn with no computer, she begins with a reading of poetry or philosophy at dawn. Then to warm up:
“I would grind my ink on my inkstone and paint out the alphabet slowly on legal paper. Sometime during that painting of the alphabet I’d get a feeling about something to make. If it felt like writing then I’d work on my novel—writing it with a paintbrush. Slower writing is better for me. Better for my ideas. [snip] If there was no particular feeling I’d keep on writing the alphabet and moving my brush around the page in an unplanned way. Something always came up to meet me from this activity. There weren’t many bad days.”
Barry also discusses using images and memories to start the creative process, a technique which Jeff Lemire discusses in a post at the Powell’s Books blog, about using childhood locations for inspiration:
“I’ll admit, the rusted old farm equipment, teetering windmills and concrete grain elevators that littered the wide open fields of Essex County meant little to me growing up there. I couldn’t wait to move to the big city. But, ten years after leaving EC, and living in said Big City, the sparse lonely landscaped of my childhood started to evoke a strong, almost guttural pull inside of me. Moreover, they seemed like a natural fit with the jagged, expressive inking style that had become the earmark of my cartooning.”
We can’t help but wonder: Is there something about the farmlands which triggers artistic inspiration?
Posted by Aaron Humphrey