Author of "The Tacomic," RR Anderson is one of the most curious underground political cartoonists in www.feedtacoma.com history. He fought bizarre underground beings in the lava tubes of Juneau, Alaska (where he grew up raised by two families, misc. dogs + black cats); was wounded by a laser before it was invented; and was a founding father of the Cartoonists League of Absurd Washingtonians (C.L.A.W.). Seek him drawing on the sidewalk at Friday's Frost Park Chalk Challenge in the center of downtown Tacoma. Ultimately his work is about friendship, need and other timeless values.Q: How long have you been drawing?
Q: Could you tell us about how you would describe your style and approach to design?
A: Fast. Loose. Sketchy. Smudged. A fellow cartoonist recently gave me a constructive critique: "RR, your comic page gutters are way dirty." I think that is a good description. See I'm not a fan of inking. I like to work with graphite pencils. I scan the drawings into photoshop and adjust the levels... very minimal clean up. I like to show off the construction lines around parts of the anatomy. I like to draw exaggerated expressions... contorted hands. I like my political cartoons to communicate in body language in equal billing with boring old word balloons. I mostly approach design with a science-fiction movie monster in mind. I try to avoid over used metaphors... no donkey... no elephant... no uncle Sam.
Q: How do feel about being chosen as a 2012 Foundation of Art Award nominee?
Q:How has art impacted your life?
A: Art infests almost every mattress ruffle of my life. It can be a real burden at inopportune times, late at night when normal folks are enjoying a deep sleep... Art is there kicking the backs of your eyeballs... spinning plates on a stick rubbing the butt-end into your forehead. Have to keep note pad and pen in the night stand.... or in a pocket while riding the bus. Always got to keep a notepad handy to catch an idea. Not just about capturing ideas for an art project or handyman invention either. Art is there bugging me to arrange items inside a pencil box or on a shelf to be aesthetically pleasing. A real pain.
Q: What inspires you to create your artwork?
A: Surrounding yourself with like-minded cartoon innovators is a tremendous inspiration. Round-table group discussions on strategy, characters, clever marketing tips, media blitzes, story arcs, trick endings, dynamic angle shots, drawing perspective on a building, friendly critiques... hostile critiques... political ramifications, trouble-making, well and poorly written news articles, hoaxes... all these things inspire me to produce content.
Q: What is your dream project?
A: Friday Frost Park Chalk Challenge could qualify as an example of a dream project. Pooling an underutilized resource (a bunch of people who like hanging out) into another underutilized resource (empty park with lots of ugly blank concrete) and setting the mix on fire with a cheap fuel (sidewalk chalk) to create a sustainable, renewable event for traditions, legends and heroes to arise from has been an incredible thing to watch. I'd love to see other groups of hobbyists adopt pocket parks for weekly gatherings. Why not Monday HAM radio operator lunch in the park? Tuesday Bee-keeper's lunch in the park? Wednesday kite lunch? Thursday board game lunch? I would love to help organize a Tacoma-based comic book convention too. Why make people pay a bunch of money to drive up to Seattle? We cartoonists are globing together online at http://comics.feedtacoma.com glass art is so 1990. I want to see Tacoma become known as a creative place for cartoonists!
Q: What's your favorite or most inspirational place in Tacoma/Pierce County?
A: Downtown Tacoma, University of Washington area. I love seeing the city urban space activated with young people walking to places. The university library is going to be great. Tacoma Main Library is excellent (just got my book into the catalog circulation there). I love seeing the new playground equipment going in at Wright Park, The spray ground at Jefferson Park. Can't wait to see the community garden expanded at Franklin Park. Seeing the Old Elks Lodge restored will be wonderful. Really hoping something good will happen with Old City Hall. We have so many old historical building treasures downtown. It's a good place to get lost in your dreams. Imagine Old City Hall as a future Cartoonists League of Absurd Washingtonians headquarters!
Q: What is the best piece of advice you've been given?
A: Dream Big? Find 'the Others'? Direct action gets the goods? Always meet your accusers with: "If XYZ is a hoax, then I am just as much of a victim!"
Q: Describe the importance of community to either you as a person or as an artist.
A: Humans are a communal organism. Our powers combined we can overcome great obstacles, defeat undead armies, raise sunken treasure. The rugged individual is a myth created by corporations to sell you something. Don't buy it! You can community organize to industrial blight complexes, for example, the Clear Channel billboard monopoly besieging this city--a rag tag band of empowered artists are using digital photography, humor and art to win hearts and minds with city leaders to convince this company to clean up their act. Individually you want to give up; however, united... We can win this thing!
Q: How do you see the Tacoma/Pierce County art community changing/evolving?
A: I see great potential with the Tacoma Art Commission's Space Works program. I was ultra excited to see 2nd Cycle and the Fab Five graduate from spaceworks to full-on real rent paying stores. I see the power of social media organizing new "cash mob" flash mob happenings as well as attracting new people into our Frost Park Chalk Challenge event. There is huge potential in new crowd-funded art projects with sites like kickstarter.com. Meanwhile, city budget cut-backs wreak havoc on our Arts Commission funding programs. Have to show people directly how art benefits the community. Art needs to go where the people are. Art has to get her hands dirty out in the field.
Q: If you're working on an exciting new project. Tell us about it.
A: - Developing a YouTube based drawing tutorial "tee-vee" show series called Learn 2 Draw.
- Started a new non-political cartoon series Our Friend the Stove
- Recruiting new cartoonists to produce cartoons on feed Tacoma Sunday comics page.
- Working on zines and yearly anthology publication for CLAW comic strips
- Tacoma Con... comic convention, it’s going to happen (someday)
- 24 hr Comic Day (24 page comic book in 24 hrs, October)
- 200 Tacomics, Tacomic book Volume 002 a cartoon history of the City of Destiny 2010 - 201X
Q: Any last parting words or advice?
A: Tacoma Habitat for Humanity Store, used hardware store, is a great resource for backyard inventors and garage handymen.