Friday, June 22, 2012

Interview with Ben Snakepit

I became familiar with Ben Snakepit's work through Razorcake - the DIY magazine that focuses on rock n' roll music, especially punk. It's a great mag that focuses on punk culture, which varies from the beer guzzling to the straight edge movement (see their article on Tenement) and all sorts of art that are wrapped up in it. They have a bunch of comics in each issue that are really all over the place, but the one that really stuck to me was Ben Snakepit's in the most recent issue. It was about how people can be stubborn in facing modernity, but it's always been like that. People really are only shooting themselves in the foot when they do that.

I was really impressed with the concept and the light air with which he treated the subject. I looked online at some of his earlier work, which was really cool - some of it can be read HERE.  This is some of his daily stuff, which deals with daily life, rather than the conceptual pieces that he does in Razorcake. In addition, he is in three bands, which he covers in the interview. He talks about how punk music and ethos, which clearly impacts him a lot. He also talks about a new collection of comics coming up. You can check out some of his earlier collections HERE.

It's pretty cool and the interview is fairly short, but I think you understand the guy a bit more and see where he's coming from. I definitely recommend hitting up the local punk newsstand or hole-in-the-wall book shop to check out Razorcake and Ben Snakepit's column.

Jordan: How long have you been creating comics?  What made you start?  Who influenced you?
Ben: I started my daily diary comic in 2000, after I found out Jim's Journal by Scott Dikkers wasn't real. I figured I could do it for real and it would be a cool project to try and do it for the rest of my life. So far I haven't missed a day in twelve years.
Jordan: Where did you first publish comics and do you still do so there?
Ben: I started of doing them myself, just making copies on a Xerox machine. After a while my friend Tod Parkhill of Young American Comics offered to start publishing them for me. That went on for a few years, and then Razorcake/Gorsky offered to publish my first real book. After that I moved on to work with Microcosm Publishing, who released three more Snakepit books, and finally in 2009 I did a book with Birdcage Bottom Press.
Jordan: What was it like working with razorcake?
Ben: Todd is a great dude and I've been honored to be a part of the magazine for ten years. 
Jordan: Do you feel like Punk music has any impact on your work?
Ben: Absolutely. It's the single most important driving force in what I do. 
Jordan: How would you characterize the subjects you tackle?
Ben: My daily comic is just that, daily. Went to work, ate dinner, watched TV. When I do my razorcake column I just generally try to pick a topic I know something about or am interested in, or tell a funny story or something. 
Jordan: What about your artistic style? Does t or has it changed up much throughout your drawing career?
Ben: You can see a clear improvement as the first few years progress, but I feel like around 2007 I sorta plateued.

Jordan: How many comics do you do?  Do you work on one at a time or multitask?
Ben: I do the daily one every day, and the razorcake one every two months. I also draw record covers and t-shirts for bands and stuff. 
Jordan: Are you involved in other creative endeavors?
Ben: I play in three bands: Shit Creek, Ghost Knife and Modok. 
Jordan: Whats in your future in terms of artistic output?
Ben: Planning to do another 3-year book covering 2010-2012, I'm in talks with a couple of different publishers right now. 

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