February 03, 2007

Hello from Brooklyn, NY.

I had a wonderful time in Angoulême. When I arrived I was severely jet lagged and really couldn't hold a conversation, much less try to converse in French. I tried to at least introduce myself and tell them I spoke English, and like I heard... many will meet you on the English speaking plateau. Although, if I go back I must learn a little bit more. It was a fun and interesting challenge while I was there, and I could see why immersion is the best method.

I met and hung out with Charles Burns, Jeff Smith, Jessica Abel, Matt Madden, Joann Sfar, and certainly not last, and certainly not least Lewis Trondheim. He was a very amazing character. When I first met Lewis I was walking through a crowded bar and stumbled into a clearing around a table. Jeff Smith saw me and said "Aaron! This is Lewis!" And up he stood next to me. I introduced myself and he asked me how I was enjoying France. He then asked me where my dog was... and I told him I left him back at the hotel for the maids to take care of. He asked me if I was serious... in a way that was obviously joking and I again told him it was true. He then pointed into the crowd and when I looked, he began quickly rubbing my leg with his foot and barking loudly "ROW! ROW! ROW!, ROW! ROW! ROW!" I was startled and the crowd of people started laughing. I looked back and he continued on with his spectacle. Through the next couple days I spoke and sat next to him, and he proved to be very inspirational. Something I learned on my trip was to have what I call "blind confidence" ... that I spend a little too much time doubting myself. You really need to just produce what you produce... to find what inspiration you can, to speak with your voice... and if you're going to spend your time being an artist, you might as well trust that what you put out there, is something you'd put out there... and go with it.

I saw these amazing Comic Concerts at the convention where artist like, Charles Berberian, Philip Dupuy, and Blutch drew to a live musical performance, and their drawing were projected huge on a stage. I was treated very well by my french publisher Guy Delcourt. My dinners were amazing, breakfasts were filling, and every one's company was just so nice. I met a small band of Italian artist that work for Delcourt... and we hit it off really well. I hope to see them in years to come.

My American friends Alex Holden, Craig Thompson, Liz Prince, and Dan Zettwoch, were soon followed up with new french ones... Alban, Jean Pierre, Thierry, Fred, Sebastian, Maeka, Luca... just so many incredible people.

I then went to Paris. And it was more beautiful that I thought. The white stone buildings, the crooked streets, the rooftops staggered up hillsides, the cobblestone streets, boats parked along the Seine river with vegetable gardens growing on them. Notre Dame, the Eiffel tower, the 6 million skeletons in the catacombs, the Hergé exhibit at the Pompidou. The red light district, seeing the Moulin Rouge, seeing where Amelie was filmed, locating Picasso's studio, Toulouse Lautrec's... drinking wine, the bread the cheese, the chocolate. It was just so great.

I'm sure I'm leaving things out... like the fact I went there with only a moustache... and then came back clean shaven, or the many bookstores and drawing sessions on the streets. I could go into such detail about all of these things, but I will leave it like this. Back in the U.S. I want to take what I felt there and apply it to my drawings. Blind confidence. I'm sure a lot of us could use it.

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