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Interviews

The Art of Poetry, with Julian Peters

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In 2013, when Julian Peters, a comic book artist and illustrator living in Montreal, published the first nine pages of his yet unfinished visual adaptation of T.S. Eliots’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock on his website, poetry and art buffs all over the internet rejoiced at the lyrical and seemingly effortless quality of the images. Peters’ works, which have been praised for both their faithfulness to the original text and their innovative, original aspects, are evocatively in perfect tune with the verses they attempt to describe. Those impressed by the aforementioned adaptation, continued on to devour the stunning interpretations of Keats, Yeats, Rimbaud, Nelligan and more, published on his website. Here, in conversation with Eye, Peters discusses his art, his inspirations, and why the juxtaposition of the visual and the verse is more relevant than ever.

1. Tell us about Julian Peters the man- where you come from, what your story is. If you had to sum yourself up in a short, autobiographical comic strip, what would you choose to draw?

I was born 35 years ago in Montreal, the son of two biology professors. My mother is Italian, and I spent a great deal of time in Italy as a child; I even did a year of elementary school over there, and one year of high school.

If I had to do a comic strip about myself (a project that, in truth, I’d rather avoid), I’d probably focus on those childhood summers spent in Italy, at the family home on the hills overlooking beautiful Lake Orta, in Piedmont. That’s my Eden, and probably the greatest repository of artistic inspiration I have. Perhaps the day will come when I will tackle the memory of those sensations head on in a comic, although it’s more the kind of thing I picture myself doing as an old man.

It’s also in Italy that I developed my passion for comics, starting with the wonderful Disney comics that they have over there (Oddly enough, Italy is the world’s largest producer of Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse comics!). Then, later, my mother’s cousin, who had studied comics in Milan and who amassed a vast comics collection throughout his life, introduced me to what I consider the golden age of Italian comics, those from the late sixties to the mid eighties. These are still my favorites. Those are the comics that revived my childhood passion for the medium, and set me down the path I’m still pursuing to this day.

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Interviews Literary Fiction

Interview with Kris Saknussemm

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From The Archives
In January 2006 I met with ZANESVILLE author Kris Saknussemm outside Readings Bookstore on Lygon Street in Carlton, Melbourne, Australia.

I’ve been a heavy user of the Internet for about 11 years now and I have met hundreds of people online. Kris is the first person I actually had the courage to meet in person. I still felt dodgy, hanging around outside the bookstore waiting for him. I had no idea at all what he looked like. Despite the press clippings I had collected, a photograph of the author remained elusive. I mused to myself that perhaps Kris was Clearfather himself, a master reality hacker who creates his own past and controls his own future.

Zanesville sure hacked my mind, its thoughtware continued to alter my perception for many days after putting the book down. I felt I knew him and what to expect but I had no idea who he was. Other guys who looked like writers were hanging around outside the bookshop as well; I just could not bring myself to approach and ask – hey man, are you Kris? Too dodgy for my liking. Thankfully I was not waiting long when a guy who I had never seen before but looked very familiar walks on up and says – are you Brentley? – o good, lets go eat. A few weeks earlier I received an email from him saying that he thought Retort Magazine was cool and would I like to have a look at his new book ZANESVILLE. Of course I would, that crazy duck on the website freaked me out. Besides, who can resist the catch line from an advertisement I had seen – Better to lose an election than an erection! After many lengthy email discussions we agreed it would be cool to meet next time he was in town, and after embarking on his hyperactive neuron altering text I was looking very forward to the opportunity.

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Art Interviews

Interview with Ray Caesar

Interview with Ray Caesar by Bareknuckle Poet

From The Archive
Ray, thank you for taking the time for this interview. For those who don’t know you, tell us a bit about your background and how you came to be making art for a living.

Well! I started out going to school and working as a architect then somehow got into medical graphics and later in life worked for several years in animation and special effects. In between all that I have done questionable things like the time I sold pantyhose as a sideline business and a serious attempt at becoming a MUFON investigator ( Mutual UFO Network ). I spent 17 years working in a Children’s hospital and I suppose that’s why I am making these images today. I saw so much in that place that I can hardly talk or think about it without becoming emotional. I hated making art for so many years, It never occurred to me to show it in a gallery and I didn’t even want to put it up on my own wall. The act of making it was not pleasant but for some reason it was an obsession. I made a valiant attempt to quit and was doing quite well when My mother, Sister passed away from Cancer a few years ago. Now I had always had strange dreams and used to talk to people who apparently weren’t there when I was a kid but all that started happening again especially after the death of my Mother. She was always a bit strange and if anyone could find a way to come back and scare the shit out of me she was the one to do it. Anyway I started making pictures again and contacted a gallery for the first time on a whim. Now I am making art for a living…I guess my Mom was right after all…trust her to have the last word.

As those familiar with you and your work know, you were born a dog – what was it like for a dog at art school, and today, do you experience any ill treatment for being a dog in the often ‘dog eat dog’ world of the creative arts? Have you been bitten?

Yes! I was born in the year of the dog, 1958 in South London, my family was exiled from England for displeasing the Royal family.
Art school was a long time ago for me and all I do remember is that it didn’t go to well…all I can remember is that there were a lot of “Hippies” and that it is dangerous to run while wearing bellbottoms. The “Dog eat Dog” world of art certainly applies to the film industry, I worked for a some years in Special Effects for film and TV and I never saw such a cut throat business full of some rather crazy aggressive people whom I still love…I had a really good time though and recommend it as a career choice to anyone.

I have bitten more than I have been bitten but then who hasn’t bitten or been bitten, Its not the bite but the bark that scares me…bites heal but words stay with you.

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