AMBER LOVE 23-MARCH-2014 Every five or six months I’m able to wrangle JEREMY HOLT to talk about making independent comics. He brings us up to date on PULP and PATHFINDER: GOBLINS but mainly returns to VODKA O’CLOCK to about ART MONSTER which is available through digital outlet Monkeybrain Comics.
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PULP was particularly well received and has even made progress with Spanish translations. With any luck, we’ll see a live action film version some day too. PULP was the one-shot Jeremy created with Chris Peterson (@vsRobots).
“What is artistic innovation?”
As for ART MONSTER, Jeremy doesn’t hide the fact this it’s a derivative of FRANKENSTEIN. His main character Victor Stein is a confused art student going through the stage of life where he’s trying to discover what will fulfill him. Victor cannot find an art medium that speaks to him. He sees the newer students embracing their creativity while he is kind of lost and dispirited. It’s a horror story but what Jeremy calls “horror lite.” It’s not guts and gratuitous nudity.
Artist Francesco Ciregia translate the story visually in very stark chiaroscuro. In the show, I gushed considerably about Adam Wollet’s lettering because bad lettering ruins a book and Adam’s quality is solid through the pages. Riley Rossmo was actually the originator of the ART MONSTER story but their schedules continuously conflicted so he gave the concept over to Jeremy. Jeremy was going to work with Joe Eisma but then that didn’t work out.
Jeremy is a creator is perfectly honest and upfront about the sort of changes someone may have to live with. His artist on ART MONSTER changed and on other titles, he’s moving to a new publisher. These are challenges but to hear him talk about it, once the decision is made, you let go of that stress and work in the present moment.
Jeremy’s question to the reader about “what is artistic innovation?” stirred up thoughts of the Shia Labeouf breakdown/plagiarism/art exhibit. For all of the controversy and anger about what he did, at least it brought up discussion about art. Jeremy agrees that art should create conversation. On this, we can agree with Labeouf.
If you’ve struggled through art school there is something kindred in the pages of ART MONSTER for you. Even from my perspective as an art school model, there is something about the environment which provides a lot of time to self reflect, which can be maddening. I chatted quite a bit explaining about my modeling experiences throughout New Jersey. Jeremy attended Savannah College of Art & Design and shares a story about working with live models. Being around other creative people is important. Jeremy went through different niches trying to find the right circle of friends and the which things he enjoyed doing. This journey is reflected in his character Victor’s path of art school.
“Artistic expression shouldn’t feel like a job.”
Do you agree? Most of the lives of indie creators means they are not privileged to have creative outlets in their “day jobs” or “paycheck jobs” which means by the time they get to making art or writing a novel, whatever it is, the work is still hard. It’s can be sleepless. It can mean neglecting people you care about. It can also mean life on the road traveling to shows to promote the work because it’s not a best seller being handled by a major publisher. Art does still feel “like a job” to most people in my own circles.
ART MONSTER issues 1 and 2 are a 13-page digital format through Monkeybrain. If you can follow @Jeremy_Holt on Twitter, let him know how you feel about shorter formats. It would really help gauge whether upcoming issues should be longer or stay at that length. I’m curious as well. I love short stories but I love complete stories so it’s a conundrum. I prefer to not wait a month between chapters. For me, personally, I like having those nice short chapters available quickly so I can read one set a day or even a week. Waiting a month feels long no matter for me. It’s why I prefer trades now because I can read a section and bookmark if I have to.
As a writer, there are days when you need to delete an entire day’s worth of work. That’s a frustrating moment. The entire editing and revision process can be heartbreaking. Artists of course do this too; they can erase panels or full pages and need to start over. Sometimes that may mean conferring with the writer to see if there’s a problem in how the action is playing out or if something needs to be done better. You also need to prepare yourself for the criticism especially when it comes to tackling a story that is an homage to something else, like ART MONSTER is with FRANKENSTEIN or countless other fairy tale knockoffs that are on the market right now as comics, games, movies, and TV shows. Things will be compared. Even cosplay is constantly compared. It creates an artificially competitive environment that requires a thick skin.
“I think at the end of the day just it comes down to if you can get someone interested in your story.” ~JH
Then we get all sciency and discuss my relentless need for a teleporter already…