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Interview Mon May 11 2015

New Yorker Cartoonist Roz Chast Comes to Chicago This Wednesday

cantwetalk.jpgIt takes great skill and dedication to be recognized as one of the top names in any field. For cartoonists, Roz Chast is one such person. Chast is an award winning cartoonist and author of her own books, as well a staff cartoonist for The New Yorker. Chast's most recent book is her memoir titled Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

I got to talk with Chast via email about her memoir and her work as a cartoonist. Chast will be in Chicago on Wednesday, May 13 as keynote speaker of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis Annual Benefit, at the Standard Club, 320 S. Plymouth Ct.

In your work Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? you deal with the subject of aging and loss. What made you choose this subject matter as the focus for your graphic memoir?

It seemed like a very rich and emotionally engaging subject, one that I hadn't known much about until I was more or less forced to deal with it. Also, my parents were unusual people. I felt it would be interesting to draw and write about our relationships with one another.

I first saw an excerpt from this collection in The New Yorker. Was the entire memoir released in serial format there, or did some of the work appear only in the collection?

The excerpt in The New Yorker was just 12 pages, and the book is 240 pages. The editors and I worked hard to create an excerpt that would be a coherent overview of the entire book, not just, "Here are my favorite 12 pages." In order to do that, some of the pages in The New Yorker excerpt were cobbled together from two or three of the pages from the book.

You'll be in town for the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis annual benefit. The subject matter in your memoir is so personal. How do you feel about sharing your work in front of an audience?

I am happy to share the memoir with other people. It's a good topic, I think. It's something we all have in common, to one extent or another.

Roz.jpgBeing a regular contributor to various publications, how do you find a balance between your paid commissions and your personal projects? What does that creative process look like?

The New Yorker is on a weekly deadline. I try to turn in about six or seven cartoons every week from which they might or might not choose one. The rest of the week, I work on finishes (redrawing the sketch for publication) or other projects I'm working on.

Your style is so distinct and seemingly made for print. How do you feel about digital content and the fact that cartoons and animation have become popular in that medium?

I don't have any web only content at this point. Both print and digital media have their advantages and disadvantages. I hope that people who put their cartoons on the web can make a living from being cartoonists, if that's what they want to do.

Is there anything you're looking forward to while in Chicago?

If I have time, I always like to go to art museums in whatever city I'm in.

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