Virtual Memories Show 340:
Sylvia Nickerson

“You go along in the world and you experience a lot of people, but how deeply do you experience them, or know them, or connect with them?”

With Creation (Drawn & Quarterly), Sylvia Nickerson explores the decay and renewal of the Rust Belt city of Hamilton, Ontario, tying the personal and political together in an extraordinarily graceful debut graphic novel. We get into her entré to comics, her dissatisfaction with traditional art education, the interplay of her academic and artistic careers, and the encounter that pulled her out of an artistic morass. We also talk about her experience living in Hamilton, how becoming a mother changed her understanding of the city and its citizens, the differences between gentrification and development, how both she and Hamilton have changed in the decade-plus that she’s lived there, the comics her dad drew for her mom when they were courting, and plenty more! Give it a listen! And go buy Creation!

“Art can be a renegotiation of terms between you and your subject.”

“The figure can be very simplified while the environment can be very specific, allowing the reader to experience the environment in a different way.”

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

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About our Guest

Sylvia Nickerson is a comics artist, writer, and illustrator who lives in Hamilton, Canada. Her focus is storytelling in community arts and writing comics examining parenthood, gender identity, social class, and religion. Her illustrations have appeared in The Globe and Mail, The National Post, The Boston Globe, and The Washington Post, and her comics have been nominated for a Doug Wright Award. Her new book is Creation. She’s on Instagram as sylvianickerson.

Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at the Bethesda North Marriott 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 & Ms. Nickerson by me. It’s on my instagram. Fancy photo of Ms. Nickerson by Sandra Mulder – Banko Media.