Saturday, October 27, 2007

Your Square Life - The end of an era

If you haven’t noticed, this week’s “Your Square Life” is the 300th strip, which amounts to six years with the Anchorage Press, give or take a week.

The history:

For those not in the know, “Your Square Life” was originally a ‘zine I started after my return from college ‘98. It ran about ten issues over the course of a couple years. I distributed around town at random and I found out later, it was ravenously collected by a few and pasted around for long after. Robert Meyerowitz, who was the editor at Anchorage Press at the time, saw some of the issues and asked me if I’d be interested in doing a comic strip for the Press. I said yes, even though at that point beyond doodling in my college notebooks and a page long illustrated story in the ‘zine, I hadn’t done any formal cartooning. Thus YSL was born, becoming whatever it became over the years.

Originally, if the ‘zine was started to meet people in Anchorage after collage, then the strip was a way to meet girls. Well, I met exactly one. Within the first six months, I met and got engaged to my lovely wife Alex. I can only blame my valentine’s strip that was published the day before we met and not my dull charm.

Over time, the strip opened so many doors to me. It that allowed me to do a YSL-inspired play with Duke Russel “the Simple Dating System” for Out North’s Under 30. I plied my fame into MC’ing the last three Spenard Socials. I had a successful YSL retrospective show at the late, great Noble’s Diner. I had a few strips published as “artwork” in two issues of the South African glossy art magazine “Itch” as well as hang a piece in one of their gallery shows. I’ve got to do concert posters for a great number of local friends and their bands. Best of all, the strip and the modest halo of fame I’ve accrued have allowed me to meet scores of people I now call friends.

Now the shocking announcement:

This is going to be the last “Your Square Life” comic, in this form at least. I’ve decided to pack it in. Over the last year or so, it’s become harder and harder to produce the strip each week. Part of that may have been due to our move to a new house and my parents move out of state on top of some changes at work, but a great part of it is my need to get out from behind the drawing board/computer each weekend and to start to challenge myself in some new ways. I frankly need to exercise more, read more, get out more . . . generally take advantage of my youth and vigor.

However, I’m not getting out of the art business. Part my reason for stopping the strip, is to allow me to better focus and refine my artistic energy, rather than worrying about my weekly deadline. I’ve recently had the good fortune to be contacted by two different local publishers to produce some new work in two different veins. For one, I’ve completed illustrations for an Alaskan-themed puzzle book that should be available in stores any day now and I’m just finishing work on a children’s book, “Alaska Big and Small” that I hope will be in press before Christmas. The other publisher would like to publish a “best of” volume and wants to publish some longer-form graphic work in the future.

I’ve also started a small shop to sell prints and hope to update my blog much more often of whatever my project of the moment is. Go to the blog for more information about the store, the books, and my offer of commissioned illustrations for the holidays (no better gift!).

To everyone, thanks you for your all of your amazingly generous support and encouragement over the years. Hopefully I can keep giving that back to you.

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