Saturday, October 02, 2010

Tom Devlin/Highwater Books

The fantastic and objective Peggy Burns posted an eloquent tribute to Tom Devlin in light of the Highwater tribute art show that just opened in Boston. I think this bears mentioning on this blog, because Highwater Books was a powerful force in my development as not only a cartoonist but also as an artist. In my senior year of college, I interned at the west coast branch of Highwater (also known as Jordan Crane's living room). Up until then, my education pushed a strong message of capitalism in every facet of art-making. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but having failed in that aspect, I might have long ago abandoned the notion of making my living from my art. Highwater showed me that money is the means, not the ends, of being creative, and lack of money should never hamper those efforts. My main contribution to the company was primarily production work. I scanned Marc Bell's seminal work, Shrimpy and Paul and Friends, Brian Ralph's Climbing Out, and James Kochalka's Fantastic Butterflies. Jordan Crane paid me in burritos from El Pollo Loco and showed me his mystical secrets of silkscreening. Tom Always made me feel like I was single handedly making all of those books possible, and he is still gracious and kind to me to this day, even though my beard is bigger than his. That internship still holds the record as the best job I've ever had.

Check out the art show if you're in Boston, and read the story on the Drawn and Quarterly blog.

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