Art Works Blog

NEA Arts: "Mixing Words and Pictures"

In the new issue of NEA Arts, we're looking at pioneers and visionaries---those artists who knew they were on to a good thing long before the rest of us caught up.  In "Mixing Words and Pictures," Rebecca Gross speaks with graphic novelist Art Spiegelman, or as he puts it, "I just call myself a cartoonist, and I'm making co-mix." Here's an exclusive unpublished excerpt from their conversation:

NEA: Do you go into your projects with a general sense of what it's going to look like and feel like, or do you just experiment as you're working and that's how you find the form that you're going to be using?

ART SPIEGELMAN: Cartoonists are always asked, "So do you [think of] the story first or the pictures first?" and everybody's sort of stuck with the same kind of "How do I explain this?" look. It's not exactly words or pictures. It's something. It's an idea, whether it comes in the form of a Proustian smell or a very specific picture of something in one's head, or a phrase, paragraph, whatever. In order to give it form, one has to literally figure out what the words and pictures and sequences might be. I don't think there is one way that all the work gets made for me.

You can find the entire interview with Art Spiegelman here. And don't miss our interview with graphic novelist Daniel Clowes here and a just-for-us comic from Josh Neufeld here.

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