canadian ~ twenty-first century literature since 1999

TDR Interview: Lorenz Peter

Lorenz Peter is a Canadian artist who has been doing comics and paintings since the early 1990s. 

He studied in northern Alberta, and soon started experimenting with the connection between comics and painting. 

His work is a blend of both disciplines, and has been exhibited on numerous occasions, as well as published in several anthologies, including 'Comics 2000' and 'Maow Maow'. 

He is the winner of the 2006 Doug Wright Award for best emerging talent. He also created the comic book 'Chaos Mission'. 

His most recent release is a retro/current perspective called Side Effect (Pedlar Press, 2008), which collects his works from 1993-2007. 

[January 2008]


TDR: How does the subject / idea of family play a role in your artist process?

LP: Mainly, it plays an indirect role. In Dark Adaptation I decided to write solely about family, so that is the exception. I'm often inspired by childhood memories & fantasies, so that would be a major link to family in the artistic process. In the wider picture family is everything, but it is not always my direct source.

TDR: What are you most proud of with the release of Side Effect?

LP: This book is the summation of a huge part of my life; it shows a natural progression in drawing style. I love to see that in other artists work, this book captures it perfectly balancing the art, sketches and comics together.

TDR: What would you say are some of the major changes (if any) your work has gone through since Chaos Mission was released in 2003?

LP: I used to take my sketchbook to cafes and draw there, getting coffee all over my drawings, using my shirt to wipe ink on, incorporating my environment into a story, etc. Now I like to be at my desk, with the radio on, with as little distraction as possible. I used to be a lot freer in my execution, not caring too much what happens on the paper, because everything looked good, it was the doing that was more important than the final piece. So I left all the mistakes and malformed images as completed work and it was fine. Now I don't do that, I'll carefully create the image to get the result I'm looking for. I guess it's a development.

TDR: Do you find working in the genre of the graphic novel that you are straddling in both the literary and visual pastures? Is there a difference for you?

LP: There must be a difference, but I cannot say exactly what it means to be a writer, working purely in the written word. I think and express through pictures first, and then find words to accompany the drawing. A lot of the times I don't notice I'm doing that, it is just the way I have always worked.

TDR: What informs your work?

LP: I am drawn to my drawing desk by a sense of purpose, to fulfill my day, 50% of the time it's without an idea of what Iíll do. I am often at odds with what I do; I am repulsed by it and many times regret drawing anything at all. This is the emotional side of it, the restless unnerving side that takes cartooning out of the career file and puts it into the obsessive-compulsive file. I try to hold onto the peace I get out of a good day of drawing. A lot of the work in Side Effect came from my immediate environment, at that time, the social climate of the moment. I was always living in a transient state, so the stories have a lot to do with restlessness and uncertainty.

TDR: Can you tell us a bit about your musical background?

LP: My Aunt plays the piano.

TDR: Who are some of your influences?

LP: I have admired many different artists at different times throughout my comic creating life. One of the first was an Archie comic; I loved the intermingling characters, the timelessness and absurd scenarios. I remember suffering a prolonged mystery illness as a child and I was given a stack of 100's of comics by a neighbour, I was in heaven. Little Lulu comics, ancient Walt Disney comics, romance comics, etc. My favorite Archie artist was Dan DeCarlo. I later discovered Robert Crumb, Julie Doucet and other underground stuff, but I could never really get into a lot of that kind of stuff, a lot of it is very shallow. Crumb & Doucet were different though, both are artistically unapologetic and unpretentious, the stuff of genius. I was equally influenced by the words and music of Lou reed, and books by Thomas Hardy, Starhawk and Hans Christian Anderson.






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