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Posts Tagged ‘Gabrielle Bell’

Nimble Surrealism: Talking with Gabrielle Bell

November 12, 2012 | by

Whether delving into memorable personal stories or exemplifying a sort of nimble surrealism, Gabrielle Bell’s comics are harder to classify than one might think. Reading her work chronologically, one can find her range expanding from sharp day-to-day observations to forays into the surreal and magic realist. The title story of the collection Cecil and Jordan in New York follows a young woman who moves to the city and searches for an apartment and a purpose. It’s fairly kitchen sink in its realism, right up until the point where the protagonist matter-of-factly decides to become a chair. It’s a dose of deadpan absurdism that opens up the storytelling possibilities, and keeps the reader on their toes.

The Voyeurs is Bell’s latest book, covering several years in her life, and taking her from promoting a film in Tokyo to finding a space for yoga in her Brooklyn apartment to San Diego for Comic-Con. Its introduction comes courtesy of Aaron Cometbus, whose long-running zine suggests certain parallels to Bell’s deftly autobiographical work. We met at a bar near Bell’s apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn—a neighborhood that has provided the setting for much of her work.

Lucky begins as a kind of slice-of-life documentation of your life. By the end of the first volume, though, it’s become less overtly realistic and more expressionistic. When did you make that leap?

It was towards the end of writing Lucky, when I got to the point about Francophilia, when I talked about talking with Gerard Depardieu. That must have been the first time that I did that. Or maybe it was when I had this fantasy about being an art assistant, and the artist taking all my ideas. Read More »

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What We’re Loving: Voyeurs, A Trip to the Moon

August 24, 2012 | by

Have you ever had one of those days where it’s best, for everybody, that you stay in your room and turn off your phone and promise never to talk to anyone ever again? Gabrielle Bell understands. Her autobiographical comic strip The Voyeurs just rescued one such Thursday night for me. Bell makes social awkwardness verging on phobia look cool, or at least perfectly rational, and even at her most despondent, her pen notices what’s going on outside the window or in a friend’s facial expression—and as often as not, it’s funny and endearing, even beautiful. For an artist who skewers her own fecklesness and self-pity, Bell spends a lot of time secretly celebrating the world. —Lorin Stein

As my friends know, I have long held a somewhat irrational prejudice against all shades of purple, and when pressed, have only ever been able to come up with vague allusions to wizards and Lisa Frank. Imagine my glee, then, when, in a Q & A with The New York Times Magazine, Monocle editor and full-time jet-setter Tyler Brûlé declared the following:

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