Sunday, 19 February 2012

Beatrice Schleyer

Here's the next of our Stripped artist Q&As.

Beatrice Schleyer is a New York based artist who will be joining us in person for the opening of Stripped.

What kind of art do you usually do?

I am a photographer, but I am beginning to stretch the medium a bit by painting on and hand coloring images. I will soon add video to my arsenal, as well.

When did you first start reading comics?

  I was raised without a television, probably because the entirety of budget for family entertainment was being spent on two to three long boxes worth of comics a month from the local comic book store. My mother was an avid collector, and everything from Tin Tin to The Maxx replaced the Thundercats and Transformers, making my pantheon of childhood heroes quite different from that of the other children my age. The monthly arrival of our subscription was a highly anticipated family event; we would sit in the living room for hours, perusing our new treasures, seeking out the new issue of this or that. Although this isolated me somewhat socially, I will always be greatful for the rare gift of a mother who exposed me to Jean Giraud and Vertigo and a father who introduced me to Krazy Cat & Ignatz and Pogo.
     My mother's love of constructing Halloween costumes also stimulated an early interest in cosplay; at age 6 or so, she made me an incredible Lockheed costume, complete with beaked mask and coathanger boned wings. Even if I had been accompanied by a Kitty Pride, I doubt anyone in my hometown would have understood who I was; regardless, my mother couldn't do it, because that year she had already decided to go as Sorayama's sexy robot, dressed head to toe in a silver mylar bodysuit. 

    It follows that two and a half delicious years of my life were spent as an employee at New York's Forbidden Planet; to this day, it is on the top of my list of amazing jobs. Those were also my first two years studying photography at the School of Visual Arts; the Nan Goldin and Julia Margaret Cameron looked so flat when compared to Dave McKean's epic photo collage covers. Being constantly wired into a pop medium and it's weirder, crazier underground proved the perfect compliment to my studies; it kept me surreal, fantastic. To this day, I cannot imagine my work without such an excellent sci-fi education. 

What is your most treasured comicbook?

An erudite with whom I shared several years of my life fabricated an enormous hardcover volume of Shintaro Kago's manga translated into english for me. Not only is Kago's work unpublished in the United States, it is also nearly impossible to find it in english in print form, which makes it a truly unique and irreplaceable object. Not to mention that For B is embossed in silver on the cover. It is probably the best gift anyone has ever given me.

Do you consider yourself a fan of 'pop art'?

Absolutely. Freedom from the language and politics of fine art enables pop art to reflect cultural mores with far greater accuracy and vibrance.  

What is the best bit of a comic book for you (the characters, story, covers, paper stock, the smell etc..)?

It is the fact that it is a prime example of sequential art, and the incredible efficacy with which the medium combines text and image, which any artist will know is an incredibly difficult challenge.

Have you ever made a comicbook?

I will be making my first attempt for this very exhibition! Only about a page's worth, but it will be a complete story. It's a very exciting opportunity.

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