Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Interviews with Kitchen, McKenna, Woodring, and Roper

While writing Too Much to Dream: A Psychedelic American Boyhood, I was fortunate to interview a number of wonderful and gracious folks, including the underground comix maven Denis Kitchen, the comic book phantasmagorician Jim Woodring, the visionary artist Arik Roper, and the Ethnopharmacologist and psychedelic investigator Dennis McKenna. Much of the material made it into the book, but the raw interviews are now available:

Jim Woodring: "It’s impossible for an artist to take LSD or mescaline or any other skullcracker and not have it influence their work. That said, the themes in my work haven’t changed categorically since I was in high school before I took drugs. Like surrealism those experiences confirmed and expanded my ideas rather than providing them."

Arik Roper: "What some people would call “scary” or “sinister” to me is kind of thrill because I’m not that way as a person. I’ve got that side of me but it’s a bit cathartic to depict it artistically, it’s like working it out. It feels like it’s exercising that part of myself instead of shutting it out."

Dennis McKenna: "Psychedelic and other ‘transcendent’ experiences should, if anything, inoculate you against dogmatism.  Unfortunately they don’t always do that because we have this reflexive tendency to seize control of it, defuse its numinous potency by stuffing it into some kind of conceptual or religious box. "

Denis Kitchen: "What the underground comics encouraged were total idiosyncratic styles, including lettering. Some artists lettered really neat and some in a way that was harder to read but it was a distinctive signature. You could tell one guy did it. At mainstream publishers the comic was passed from a letterer, to a penciller, to an inker, to a writer."

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