Interview w/ Jeffrey Brown – Comic Artist, “Unlikely” “Clumsy”

SM: Where are you at in your work right now?

JB: In the middle of a million things. I’ve been spreading myself to thin, I think. Today I’m putting some minicomics together. I’m working on some anthology projects, and I’ve been scripting some new book length works. I have too many ideas I want to do, but it’s better than the alternative.

SM: Do you have a window to draw next to, or do four walls set the stage for your illustration work?

JB: I prefer some natura lighting. Mostly I like to draw at the coffee house, but the place I go to I sit in back in the smoking section away from the windows, because that’s where their old big tables are, and those are the tables I have to draw at.

SM: In Clumsy, you are often drawn on a bed, on the phone. How different would relationships be without a phone and bed to have them in?

JB: Would that even be a relationship? The phone I suppose you could get away
with not having, and depending on where you’re at in the relationship, you
don’t need the bed either. But on the phone and in bed are two places where
alot of communication occurs.

SM: Your work includes unflinching portraits of sex inside the context of a relationship. Have you ever considered your comics to be a type of eroticism?

JB: I don’t think they’re erotic. Certainly not with the way I draw myself naked. One of the things I was specifically trying to do was portray sex realistically without being pornographic. To see if it could be explicit without losing that under the sheets kind of modesty.

SM: I’ve heard that the part of the brain that controls reading shuts down while you sleep, so you can’t read anything in a dream, but now I’m starting to doubt it’s authenticity. have you ever read anything in a dream?

JB: No, but one time I was running around without my shirt on, and then a cop was going to give me a ticket, but my brother showed up with a shirt, so the cop was going to cut me a break.

SM: Which word has the most immeadiate appeal for you? Catalyst or Consumption?

JB: Visually I like consumption, and also auditorily, but coneptually I think catalyst is better.

SM: When was the last time you felt a real sense of mystery?

JB: My friend Paul and I were walking to dinner and the sky went from sunny to completely dark as if it was going to storm, and it was all windy and ominous, but it kind of passed, and then it got all light out again.Of course, as soon as we were leaving the restaurant it was absolutely pouring rain.

SM: The term “Fulfilling the Modern (Unhealthy) Masculine Paradigm” has been used to desribe your parody Be A Man. If there is a Healthy Masculine Paradigm, what would it be?

JB: I don’t think there is a healthy paradigm per se. Everyone’s gotta be themself. The whole reason I wrote ‘Be A Man’ was in response to people’s criticism of my behavior in ‘Clumsy’ as unmanly. What does that mean? It’s all just people talking shit. I don’t know how they could question my masculinity considering all the sex with a girl I was having. I just try to treat people well, and that should be the healthiest paradigm of all.

SM: Last Man on Earth scenario: If everyone was gone and you still had your music, what album would you want to hear during the first moment you realized you were completely alone?

JB: ‘And then nothing turned itself inside out’ by Yo La Tengo. It’s my favorite album, I never get sick of it, and whether I’m happy or sad I find myself wanting to listen to it.

SM: In your comics, you are always drawn unshaven. Are you ever without stubbly whiskers?

JB: No. I’m anti-babyface but also anti-fullbeard. I use a sideburn trimmer razor thing so I’m nver completely clean-shaven.

SM: When it’s all over and done, what will there be to say about you?

JB: Hopefully that I was a good person, and that I contributed something to the world.

www.margomitchell.com/thc/jb.htm