Virtual Memories Show 283:
Robert Andrew Parker

“In recent years I’ve been intrigued by the idea of what Gregor Samsa’s dreams were like, before he woke up as an insect.”

At 91 years old, Robert Andrew Parker can’t stop making art. We sat down in his studio to talk about his 7-decade career in painting, illustration and printmaking. We talk about how a childhood bout of TB led to his becoming an artist, how he studied under German refugees at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, the challenges of keeping his fine art career running parallel with his commercial illustration career all these decades, how he got hired as Kirk Douglas’ hands in the Vincent Van Gogh biopic Lust for Life, his fascination with Kafka and the Metamorphosis, how he got started playing drums and how he felt about 4 of his 5 sons growing up to be drummers. We also talk about the worst part of his macular degeneration (hint: it involves books), why he prefers watercolors to oils, his favorite places when he traveled the world on magazine assignments, his profane correspondence with Thomas Berger (and a funny exchange with Nabokov), his astonishing “German Humor” series and why it had to be etched and not painted, how he nearly burned down a barn with nitric acid while prepping plates, why art agents and dealers need to be realists (but have a sense of humor), touring the Dardanelles with Edward Herrmann, and much more. Give it a listen!

And check out a bunch of pix in my Instagram feed:

“In Africa I saw everything I ever wanted to see, in terms of animals and landscapes. And the aromas, the smells, and the thousands of miles of fields: it was heavenly.”

“My wife has a computer, but I’m literally not welcome in that room.”

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!

Lots of ways to follow The Virtual Memories Show! iTunes, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and RSS!

About our Guest

Robert Andrew Parker is an American artist known for both his paintings and prints of figures, landscapes, and animals. Parker has produced set designs for operas and films, as well as illustrations for many children’s books during the course of his career. “Robert Andrew Parker is one of the most accurate and at the same time most unliteral of painters,” the poet Marianne Moore wrote of him, adding, “He combines the mystical and the actual, working both in an abstract and a realistic way.” Born in Norfolk, VA in 1927, he went on to study at the Art Institute of Chicago during the late 1950s. After finishing school, he was recruited to play the role of Vincent van Gogh’s hands in the 1956 MGM film Lust for Life, though his hands never ended up in the finished film, he was able to live lavishly in the South of France during the production.Parker lives and works in Connecticut. Today, the artist’s works are held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others.

Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at Mr. Parker’s studio on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photos of Mr. Parker and his studio by me. It’s on my instagram.

Virtual Memories Show 282:
Lance Richardson

“We focus so much on the people on the stage, we forget about the people in the wings who help them get there. I wanted to write a book about the people in the wings.”

House of Nutter: The Rebel Tailor of Savile Row tells the story of two brothers who grew up above a trucker cafe in Wales and managed to achieve glamorous heights in London and New York. Author Lance Richardson joins the show to talk about telling a queer history in Nutters’ clothing, the realization that he’d struck gold with Tommy and David Nutter’s lives, his education in tailoring, Savile Row culture and the transformation on London in the ’60s, the impact of AIDS and survivor’s guilt, the professionalization of celebrity, and the joy of getting a bespoke jacket from Tommy’s cutter. We also talk about Lance’s upbringing in rural Australia, his culture shock about America’s bureaucracy and healthcare system, the blessing and curse of being a generalist of a writer, scaling up his reporting skills for full-length non-fiction writing, his next project (a big bio of Peter Matthiessen), the time he accidentally stalked Julianne Moore, the question of whether The Paris Review was a crutch for George Plimpton, and the reading list he had to build for himself as a youth, and more! Give it a listen! And go buy House of Nutter: The Rebel Tailor of Savile Row!

“There are so many stories that were lost because of the AIDS epidemic, and I saw an opportunity to restore at least one of them.”

“The ‘I’ in a book isn’t about the writer; it’s about creating a space for the reader to inhabit.”

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!

Lots of ways to follow The Virtual Memories Show! iTunes, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and RSS!

About our Guest

Lance Richardson has written for numerous publications, including The Guardian, New York, The Atlantic, Slate, The New Yorker (online), The Sydney Morning Herald, and several international iterations of GQ. He holds a masters degree in longform journalism from the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, NYU. Originally from Australia, he now lives in New York. His first book is House of Nutter: The Rebel Tailor of Savile Row.

Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at Mr. Richardson’s home on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photos of Mr. Richardson by me. It’s on my instagram.

Virtual Memories Show 281:
Bill Plympton

“I wish I could make more money on my films, but I love having complete control.”

Indie animation legend Bill Plympton joins the show to talk about his first short (the Oscar-nominated Your Face), his latest feature (Revengeance), and everything in between! We talk about his indie ethos, the economics of animation and the benefits of Kickstarter, collaborating for the first time, launching the Trump Bites series of animated shorts and how they dovetail with his early career as a political cartoonist, his dream project (it involves Beatles music), his influence on generations of animators and artists, and how he discovered his hatching-sketchy style. Bill also gets into sticking with pencil and paper, falling in love with NYC 50 years ago and taking inspiration from it ever since, starting a family a little late and changing the work-life balance, giving career advice to young animators, and ripping off his idols. Give it a listen! And go catch Revengeance!

“For Revengeance, the first project I ever did with someone else, it was a holiday, a lot of fun.”

“Yellow Submarine showed me you didn’t have to do Disney to make a feature film.”

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!

Lots of ways to follow The Virtual Memories Show! iTunes, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and RSS!

About our Guest

Bill Plympton is considered the “King of Indie Animation,” and is the first person to hand draw an entire animated feature film. Bill moved to New York City in 1968 and began his career creating cartoons for publications such as The New York Times, National Lampoon, Playboy and Screw.

In 1987, he was nominated for an Oscar® for his animated short, “Your Face“. In 2005, Bill received another Oscar® nomination, this time for his short film “Guard Dog. “Push Comes To Shove” won the prestigious Cannes 1991 Palme d’Or; and in 2001, another short film, “Eat”, won the Grand Prize for Short Films in Cannes Critics’ Week.

After producing many shorts that appeared on MTV and Spike and Mike’s, he turned his talent to feature films. Since 1991, he’s made eleven feature films. Eight of them, “The Tune”, “Mondo Plympton”, “I Married A Strange Person”, “Mutant Aliens”, “Hair High”, “Idiots and Angels”, “Cheatin’” and the new “Revengeance” are animated features.

Bill Plympton has also collaborated with Madonna, Kanye West, and Weird Al Yankovic in a number of music videos and book projects. In 2006, he received the Winsor McCay Lifetime Achievement Award from The Annie Awards.

Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at Plymptoon Studios on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photos of Mr. Plympton by me. On my instagram.

Virtual Memories Show 280:
David Lloyd

“Art should be an adventure, and once it ceases to be that, you’re done.”

From A(ces Weekly) to V (for Vendetta): UK comics legend David Lloyd joins the show to talk about his storied career, and how he made the shift from artist to publisher with the online comics anthology magazine Aces Weekly! We get into his roots as a cartoonist and noir storyteller, the co-creation of V for Vendetta with Alan Moore and what he thinks of the Guy Fawkes mask he designed for V being used by Occupy and Anonymous (and Trivia Revolution bar posters), his stint in advertising and what it taught him about storytelling, the youthful experience of having his mind melted by Ron Embleton’s Wrath of the Gods comic, the processes he invented to draw his 2006 graphic novel, Kickback, how he’s kept an ideas notebook most of his life and finds gold in decades-old entries, dealing with Moore’s tendency to overwrite and enforcing the boundaries between artist and writer, and what he’s learned about marketing in the internet era with Aces Weekly. It’s a career-spanning conversation, so give it a listen! And go subscribe to Aces Weekly!

“I’m really pleased the V mask has become an icon of protest and resistance to tyranny.”

“Collecting a physical thing is what stops comics from growing as a medium.”

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!

Lots of ways to follow The Virtual Memories Show! iTunes, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and RSS!

About our Guest

David Lloyd is the well-known illustrator and co-creator of V for Vendetta, and the publisher of Aces Weekly. His other work includes Hellblazer, Aliens, Marlowe, Global Frequency, War Stories, and the acclaimed crime thriller, Kickback. In recent years he’s worked on a volume of war memoirs, Words of Stars; an Asterix collection; his first limited-edition print, “The Prizefighter”; and a book on Sao Paulo. Dark Matter – a retrospective of his past short stories – has been published in Italy and Spain.

Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at the Stewart Hotel on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photo of me & Mr. Lloyd by me. It’s on my instagram.

Virtual Memories Show 279:
Hal Mayforth

“As a kid, I was scared of Superman comics. Robots, too.”

Illustrator-painter-cartoonist-musician Hal Mayforth joins the show to talk about making art out of the everyday. We get into his daily sketchbook practice (along with transcendental meditation), the shelf-life of illustrators’ styles, the music he makes out of found vocals, and how he balances personal art alongside his professional work. We also talk about his explorations into AbEx and how he made the shift from illustration to fine art, how he built his portfolio by doctoring alt-weekly articles with his own illustrations, why playing in a band offsets the solitary aspects of making art, his Screaming Yellow Zonkers animation that never aired, whether living in New England (Burlington, VT especially) helped or hurt his illustration career, the inspiration of EO Wilson on his Biophilia paintings, teaching himself portraiture by working his way through an old World Book encyclopedia, his campaign to get May 4th declared a national holiday and why he feels upstaged by Star Wars fans, and why he chooses soul over technical perfection (and Lightnin’ Hopkins over Steve Vai). Give it a listen! And go check out Hal’s art and listen to his music!

“I wanted to be a rock star; the arts thing came later.”

“I think George Herriman is like Shakespeare, Michelangelo and Leonardo in one package.”

Want a little bonus podcast action? Check out this minute-long video of Hal playing his favorite guitar prior to our pod-session:

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!

Lots of ways to follow The Virtual Memories Show! iTunes, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and RSS!

About our Guest

Humorous Illustrator Hal Mayforth was born and raised in Vermont. He was lucky to have graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in Fine Art because he spent most of his 4 years playing rock and roll in bars. He started his illustration career in Boston, returned to Vermont to raise 3 boys with his wife and recently, like a yo-yo, returned to the greater Boston area. Hal has been the recipient of many awards and honors including a swimming award at Camp Abnaki in the early ’60’s. In addition to drawing little guys with big eyes and big noses for money, he is also serious about drawing in his sketchbooks every morning and fashioning those drawings into paintings.

Hal Mayforth’s paintings have been featured in exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the US, including the Housatonic Museum in Bridgeport, CT; the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA; La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles; the Sylvia Schmidt Gallery in New Orleans; Monserrat College in Beverly, MA; the Wood Gallery of the Vermont College of Fine Art in Montpelier; the Virginia Lynch Gallery in Tiverton, RI; the Furchgott-Sourdiffe Gallery in Shelburne, VT; Studio Place Arts in Barre, VT; The Helen Day Art Center in Stowe, VT, The Quimby Gallery at Lyndon State College in Lydonville, VT and the Tarrant Gallery at the Flynn Center for Performing Arts in Burlington, VT.

As a nationally recognized humorous illustrator, Hal’s work is published in national magazines and newspapers, including Time, Newsweek, US News and World Report, Rolling Stone, Forbes, Outside, Road and Track, Reader’s Digest, Mother Jones, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Boston Globe.

He’s also recorded 4 albums.

Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at Hal’s home on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photos of Hal & his sketchbook & studio by me. It’s on my instagram.