Reflecting on the year, 2016 was a year of extremes, personally and professionally.
PUBLICATIONS (*all available in the webstore):
- Volume III of "In the Sounds and Seas": February 2016, self-published, offset printed by Salsedo Press
- Hardback collected edition of "In the Sounds and Seas:" May 2016 (TCAF), One Peace Books
- "Particle/Wave," made in Jan/Feb 2016 & published October 2016, So What? Press
- "Burrow," October 2016, self-published with support from the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, offset printed by Salsedo Press
- "Nest," October 2016, self-published, riso printed by Perfectly Acceptable Press
- Chicago Zine Fest: live reading of "Particle/Wave," April 2016
- Chicago Zine Fest: exhibiting artist, April 2016
- Toronto Comic Arts Festival: exhibiting artist, May 2016
- Chicago Alternative Comics Expo: exhibiting artist, June 2016
- Black & White & Orange, Geoffrey Young Gallery, October 2016 (7 new works on paper)
- Words Matter 2016, Arts on Elston, October 2016
- Pulitzer Arts Foundation: performative reading of "Burrow," October 2016
- St Louis Small Press Expo: *featured artist, October 2016
- Short Run: exhibiting artist, November 2016
- Chicago Book Expo: *featured artist, panelist "Beyond the Lines: Comics, Animation, Collage and Re-Imagining the Book:" November 2016
- Interview with the humblingly insightful Derek Royal on The Comics Alternative podcast about In the Sounds and Seas
- Notable Comics shout out in Best American Comics 2016 for In the Sounds and Seas: Volume II
- Best Comics of 2016 shout out in the AV Club end of year round up
- Less freelance illustration work than last year, but what I did was a blast: notably fun projects for Cricket Media Group publications and Chicago Review Press
- In response to a newly erratic schedule, I stepped down from my role as a coordinator at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo after almost 4 years helping run the show. It was a privilege to have a hand in making that show great, and I can't wait to see how the stellar new crew makes it even better.
- More class visits & guest lectures this year than years past, which is always a pleasure! Notable among them was a lively Skype conversation with an interdisciplinary comics class out of Sienna Heights University, co-taught by Erin Zerbe and Alexander Weinstein (who wrote one of my favorite books of the year, "Children of the New World")
In all of this, 2016 was also the year I became a parent. Almost two weeks after he was due, I gave birth to my first child in early March. He is a healthy, vibrant, beautiful boy; he cracked me open, physically and emotionally, and I emerged a bigger, better person, and a more committed artist. He is also a terrible, terrible sleeper. All of the accomplishments I listed above were worked on in stolen moments when it would have been kinder to my body to sleep. Because my husband has a less flexible career, and because we can't afford childcare, my time to work is now nights & weekends when he is home to take Alpha Parenting duties. The few hours of sleep I do get are frequently interrupted even now, almost 10 months into parenthood. It's no mistake that sleep deprivation is listed as torture by the Geneva Convention; I have been suffering from increasingly frequent panic attacks and darkening depression in recent months. Making the kind of art I aspire to make requires a deep & open engagement, and all of my resources are spent right now holding my own threads together. It has been a very difficult winter.
Yet: when I look back on the year, it is with no small sense of awe and gratitude. Because of the grace and generosity of friends babysitting, I was able to finish "Burrow" in the hazy raw first 6 months of my child's life; my infant and my partner got to watch me perform it surrounded by artists I admire in a space next to an Ellsworth Kelly painting, which is a moment that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Doing the hard work of making art, doing the hard work of opening up to our friends and neighbors, creating interdependent networks of meaning-making, is a privilege and a necessity in dark times. 2016 has been dark, and we don't know what 2017 will offer. But in spite of the darkness (/because of the darkness), I am committing to digging in deep and moving forward (in the work that I make, in my friendships, for my family, for my community, for my son) with arms/eyes open. This is unsatisfyingly vague (especially as a person who thrives on bullet-pointed lists), but earnestly meant.
See you in 2017.