To celebrate the unveiling of the killer cover artwork for TLB27, our Art Editor Katie Parrish quizzed NYC-based comics artist and animator Lale Westvind, in the second of our series of short interviews with Brow artists. Lale’s work graces the cover of TLB27, as well as three pages of comics inside the new issue, which hit newsstands and bookstores this past week.
I met Lale Westvind for the first time at a reading for the big arts comic festival CAKE, in a warehouse on the outskirts of Chicago with a bunch of other cartoonists and punks.
My first impression of Lale was that she was exactly like her comics: fast and loud and compelling and tough. To end her introduction before her reading she kicked over a chair. Afterwards, we flirted so ferociously that it became a little stressful; she was about to go on a two-month solo motorbike trip and she invited me to her cabin in the woods in Montreal. I liked her instantly.
Lale’s comics are about bodies, movement, machines and utopia. They’re filled with muscular woman and shiny, fast-moving machines that resemble body parts. Communicating movement in comics is hard, but Lale does it beautifully; everything in the worlds she creates shimmers and moves.
A little before CAKE I was sitting on a train with my friend Marc, reading one of Lale’s comics. We went through it slowly, discussing the poetry and drawings every few pages. We must have read through it three or four times, and each time the work expanded in depth. The comic was about a woman split in half during a car crash, and each half formed a new and separate person – one half sensitive and self-conscious, and the other bold and solitary. We eventually agreed that the comic explored the existence of all the different opposing selves that inhabit one body. If I read it a few more times now I’d probably find further meanings.
— Katie Parrish
TLB: How do you reconcile the movement in your comics with the stillness required to produce work?
Lale Westvind: I love to be moving; if I’m drawing movement I don’t feel so much like I’m sitting still – in fact it can be very exhilarating. Movement makes things living. Drawing movement requires rendering the shapes made by the air, and that’s something the static image has time to capture. It’s worth the stillness.
TLB: What is it that compels you to make comics and animation?
LW: It’s a reflex, a reaction to the joyful experience of reality, it is my response and I can’t help but respond. It’s also a desire to make something “good” or “great” even. Always trying to make something that is undeniably “great”, striving for that I mean. Whatever that is. Something that would give anyone a gut reaction of “wow!” or “YES!” Something that makes one excited. It happens sometimes while I’m making things and it encourages me to keep trying.
TLB: A perfect day?
LW: Any day that I’m feeling healthy is great. A perfect day would be one that is fully appreciated and enjoyed, the content/events of that could be anything. I love it when I get a lot of things done.
TLB: What are you excited about working on for 2015/2016?
LW: Hyperspeed to Nowhere 3 and finishing Cunt Eyes, an animation I’ve been working on, on and off again. And possibly getting started on some sculptures and paintings I’ve been planning.
Lale’s work appears in The Lifted Brow #27.
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