Hot Potatoe

interview with Marc Bell


RK> Your drawings can be confusing for someone unexperienced; it‘s far from narrative it’s rather non-linear. For me it’s great, I can read it in many different manners. Anyway, do you think about your readers when making your art?  

MB> Well, my drawings might appear to have a narrative because there are words and are 'illustrative' in a sense but there isn't really a clear story going on. I use repetition sometimes to imply a narrative.    With my comics, on the other hand, I do intend a narrative, but I understand when people sometimes have trouble entering into that world. It's one thing as a 'drawing' but I understand how following a story my work could be a little difficult. Sometimes I look at them and wonder "what the?".   

RK> When did you start making comics? Remember your first drawing?  

MB> I drew some Star Wars comics as a kid and little animations in the corner of books. The first comic I really remember was a comic strip I drew of what I imagined the third Star Wars movie would be about (it wasn't out yet). This is something I wish I had. I suppose to my grown up eyes it might appear to be just a bunch of squiggles, a lot different than how it looked to me as a child, but I would be curious to see it again. I don't remember my first drawing but I do have these vague drawings of dreams I had as a child and these were dreams of very DETAILED drawings. The kind of drawings I do now. Or an approximation.   

RK> How would you describe yourself as an artist?

MB> That would be hard. I am not so sure! I will likely never be considered a real artist here in North America since I have drawn comics! I say this in a joking way since I have had real art shows but there is always something going on in the back of museum curators minds that will prevent them from thinking you are a legitimate artiste if you have inked a page of comics. Maybe it is a blessing.

RK> I’ve never been to Canada... Which Canadian comics artists do you like? How could you describe the art scene in there? Are you interested in it? What does isolation generally mean to you?  

MB> And I have never been to Slovakia! There are a lot of pretty interesting Canadian cartoonists. I mean, Chester Brown and Julie Doucet are from here and that almost says it all. Mark Connery and Keith Jones and Seth Scriver come  to mind as comics drawers that I like that might not be as well known. I put a book put together called Nog A Dod with the intention of bringing some lesser known cartoonists/artists into print so people could see them. There has also always been a real strong scene of cartoonists  in Montreal. People like Simon Bosse and Rick Trembles and Henriette Valium and Siris and Billy Mavreas. There are hundreds of them there though, you can't walk down the street without bumping into one. At least, that's how it was in the 90's.  I suppose the art scene here is kind of isolated because Canada is so spread out. If you look at where the general population is, we are all huddled along the American border.     

RK> Have you ever been to Slovakia? Could you draw a place where you’ve never been before? So, please, could you depict in words what Slovakia looks like? It’s not unusual that western people think we‘re living on trees eating (hot) bananas. (We have to import them, actually.)  

MB> Well, you know, I looked up Slovakia when you originally wrote to me because I wondered what Slovakia was all about. From what I could tell, your climate does not seem half bad. Better than here, anyway, Here in SW Ontario it gets too hot and too cold. There it seems more moderate? Unless I read it all wrong. I can't picture it, tell me about Slovakia... Is your economy really a 'tiger' these days? I think ours is about to change into a rat. I know that you are landlocked, correct? I know I had a childhood neighbor whose parents were from what was the former state of Czechslovakia but I don't remember what I learned of that. I am pretty curious about how it was to be there when that change came about. I won't try to paint a picture of Slovakia in fear of displaying too much of my ignorance.  

RK> Do you still believe you will die in 2075? It’s quite a long (or quite a short) time. What do you plan to do until then?  

MB> Haa. I thought I should give myself a lot of time rather than too short a time in case I jinx myself.   I plan to not move to Hamilton because I do not want to be killed by George Strombolopolous. I am not sure if I spelled that right but I believe it is spelt properly in the book.

? Richard Kitta
: Marc Bell

see more in ENTER No. 3