Artist Interviews

Eight Questions interviews with artists of all kinds
There was a time, not too long ago, that if you wanted to know why your favorite author wrote a scene the way she did, you’d need to write her a letter, and hope it somehow got from the people who screen her mail to her, then hope again that she wasn’t too busy to respond.

Fortunately, the Internet changed all that.

Now our favorite artists are merely an email or social media post away.

I started my interview series, Eight Questions back in 2000, when I used to do a comic strip on the web. I interviewed other comic artists I found interesting. I thought it was awesome that I, an unknown at the time, could reach out and ask well-known artists questions, and they’d answer!

And as I became more well-known, it was a way to introduce others to new artists.

Since then, as a reporter and as an artist, I’ve interviewed people ranging from political leaders to musicians to writers to war heroes to everyday people whose lives somehow intersected with the news.

And, as the saying goes, everyone has a story to tell.

But I’ve always been interested in the story behind the stories.

Those readers who know me from the podcast Better Off Undead, where I am known for my … curmudgeonly persona that finds people tiresome and annoying, may be surprised that I also find people … interesting.

There’s a part of me that is infinitely curious about what makes people tick, particularly artists.

In this usage, I define artists as anyone who creates — whether it be writers, painters, illustrators, graphic designers, comic strip artists, photographers, movie makers, musicians, dancers.

I love knowing the hows and whys behind their work.

What are their work habits?

What is their daily routine like?

What inspires them?

What scares them?

Why do they create?

Hell, I’m even interested in mundane details such as the tools they use.

Courtesy Flickr user Do8y. Click on image to visit source.

Courtesy Flickr user Do8y. Click on image to visit source.

If you’re like me, and interested in knowing more about how the work of art gets done, stay tuned.

Each week, I’ll be bringing you an interview with an artist of some type.

Many will be writers, others will be from fields you might not expect to see here.

I think we can learn from artists of all stripes, even if their work has nothing in common with our own.

Now, a few things about what you can expect from this series:

There won’t always be eight questions. Sometimes, we’ll run long. But I’ve grown attached to the name, Eight Questions, so we’re keeping it, and will attempt to stay true to the spirit of the title.

This series is by invite only. It has to be that way in order for me to maintain interest in it. The surest way for me to lose interest in a series, or the subject, is for PR people to start sending me requests by someone looking to pimp their stuff.

We’d love to show photos of workspaces as part of the series in the coming months (for people who want to share their workspaces).

Lastly, please be respectful of the artists we interview.

From time to time we may interview someone who offends your personal sense of right and wrong when it comes to creativity.

That’s OK.

There are no right or wrong answers here, folks.

There’s a contingent of artists out there (and this is true in most professions, not singling out artists) who think that anything that flies in the face of their personal experience is wrong.

It’s an oddly limiting belief system, particularly for people who fancy themselves as creatives.

I happen to believe that artists can achieve outcomes in wildly different ways. What works for one, will not work for all. Yes, I know I’m the guy who was against genre hopping. But I also think Sean and Johnny are 100 percent right to do what they want to do.

Fortune favours the bold, right?

Courtesy Flickr user Matt Jones. Click on the image for source.

Courtesy Flickr user Matt Jones. Click on the image for source.

Let’s face it. There is no “One True Way,” when it comes to something like art.

It’s easy to be blinded by our own experience and filters. We’re all biased in some way. And our experiences shape us and create our filters.

But I also think when we’re able to look beyond ourselves, beyond our own experiences, and see someone through their experiences, we can truly begin to grow ourselves and our art. We look forward to introducing you to lots of new artists, and perhaps some new ideas.

Click on any artist’s name below to read their eight questions:

Sean Platt | David Wright | Johnny B. Truant | Austin Kleon | Carl SinclairCJ LyonsDarren WearmouthDavid Gaughran |Ed Robertson | Erin Mehlos | Garrett Robinson |  Hugh Howey | J. Thorn | Jason Gurley | Jenny Lawson | Joanna Penn | Kevin Maxon | Lexi MaxxwellMichael Goldberg | Mimi Strong | Ray Chase | Richard Brown | Rysa Walker | Tim Gibson