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Richard Fairgray Artists Answers

Posted by Simon Birks on


Richard Fairgray

In a sentence, who are you and what do you do?

I'm a blind guy who writes words and draws pictures, surviving on no sleep and trying to be a better form of human garbage every day.

What got you started? Was there a specific moment or time when you realised 'this is what I want to do'?

When I was 3 or 4 I was in this huge toy store called The Toy Warehouse. It was literally just a giant warehouse full of toys. I'd been there a bunch of times, but this time was different because we parked on the roof. It was the first time I'd ever been in a car that had driven up a ramp on the side of a building and then just gotten out on the roof. I still think it's magical to be on the roof of a place, or anywhere that's not the normal part of a place to be in. Anyway, the roof entrance led to this catwalk that went across the whole store and I really clearly remember looking down and seeing all these people buying toys of things from book and TV and just being completely overwhelmed by it. That was the day I wrote my first book. It wasn't very good and involved Donald Duck killing himself, but it was when I made the decision to do this forever.

What was your favourite comic growing up?

I never even saw a comic until I was 17 (I Feel Sick by Jhonen Vasquez). I'd made a bunch of my own but I'd never been to a convention or a comic shop (there were only 4 in the whole country and none near me) so I just didn't have a favorite.

What was the first piece of work or project that you were really proud of?

This is tough, because I'm really proud of everything I finish for at least a minute after it's done. Even now it's really hard for me to think of a book that I don't only see the flaws in. There's good stuff in the world because of me, but my nightmare is being present while someone reads my book and not having the chance to apologize for it in advance. There are things in Black Sand Beach I'm really proud of. The relationship stuff was really hard and the way it all dovetails thematically in book 2 with the trapped monster still makes me feel all good inside for being such a clever writer, so I'll say that one. I'm really proud of the book that just came out.

What is your preferred material to work with?

I'm a month into trying to draw digitally and I am missing paper so so much. I'm traveling (fully vaxxed) so an iPad is my only option but I'm having dreams about smooth bristol board, blue mechanical pencil (polymer leads, not wax) and Fudenosuke Hard Tip Brush Pens.

What is your least liked material to work with?

I think glitter and elbow macaroni would make a terrible comic medium.

What's your dream project? Forget about money, time, popular demand or any other variable. If that was all covered and you would work on whatever you wanted. What would it be?

I just want to make everything. Right now I'm doing two books (with Lucy Campagnolo) that are about women overcoming internalized expectations, I'm 6 issues into a surrealist soap opera about being 35 in Hollywood but also there are some ghosts, I'm writing a horror novel, 2 ongoing middle grade series, a gay teen love story about super hero comics, and I still need to finish Blastosaurus. I can't stop making things and what I care about most changes every day.

If you were hired to create a book cover based on a classic story. What would the story be and how would you tackle creating it?

Frankenstein. It would be an interactive cover made of dirt that you had to dig through to find pieces of the book (but from the different versions) and then reassemble it.

What are you currently working on and what’s coming up in the future?

I just finished book 3 of Black Sand Beach and I'm scripting book 4 at the moment. Book 1 of Cardboardia (with Lucy Campagnolo) comes out in September and we are working on books 2 and 3, I have an unannounced book that's tentatively called Four Color Heroes that is being planned. I'm drawing a book called Shed about a woman in a small town, manipulative old women and a sea monster, I am eager to get back to Haunted Hill (the soap opera I mentioned above) but I need paper and a lightbox and markers for that one but it's just my favorite thing right now.

Which artist(s) would you like to see interviewed? Why?

Any artists, I just want really in depth process interviews where I can magically stop them and ask specific tool settings or ink brands.

What questions (apart from these ones!) would you like to ask them?

I want to ask everyone how much they'd have to be paid to drink a small mug of cold vomit every Friday afternoon but they have to tell people it's their job whenever anyone asks what they do. Like, they can say they're an artist after that, but they have to start by saying 'well, a man in a green truck pulls up to my door every Friday and pays me to dink a small mug of cold vomit. They wouldn't get sick, there are no other consequences, I just want to know how much they would need to be paid to do it. I think it's the best way to find out how successful or stable someone's career is because when you really think about it there are points in your life when the number would be way lower or way higher depending on your bank balance. I think about it a lot. I would currently need $4000 a week to take that job.

Tell us something about yourself that people wouldn't normally know!

I've never eaten an orange.

Black Sand Beach 2 comes out today! Buy it here.

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