Monday, June 28, 2010

Good Minnesotan Interviews: Justin Skarhus

Justin Skarhus is, along with Raighne Hogan, the co-publisher of 2d Cloud. He's a frequent collaborator with Raighne (see Good Minnesotan 1&3) and often plays a part in the layout and design of various 2d Cloud releases. In addition, he regularly represents the small-press publisher at cons and festivals. He has recently begun to edge his way into the world of cartooning with the release of his first mini comic, RDCD Fist, as well as his contribution to Good Minnesotan 4, titled Indestructible Breeze. He currently lives in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis with his girlfriend and 2d Cloud member Sarah Tulius.

IKAF:1.) What do you do to make ends meet? Does this interrupt the output of your own creative projects, comics and otherwise?

Justin Skarhus: Currently, I work as a mail clerk at Target's Corporate offices out in Brooklyn Park, MN. It's a full-time job and, as you can probably assume, it does take a toll on my creative energy and subsequently my output. I try to make time to work on comics every other day, but between being in a relationship, trying to maintain some sense of a social life, and other competing interests, it does fall by the wayside more than I'd care to admit.

IKAF:2.) Is there something in particular you have done to balance your art and the need for monetary sustenance?

Justin Skarhus: Not really. Ideally I'd like to find part-time work so I could spend more time and energy on pursuits I value, but student-loan debt, saving money to move to New York, and my reluctance to let go of the comforts of my relatively lower middle-class existence have prevented me from doing so.

IKAF:3.) When was the last time you bought a comic anthology (or any kind of anthology)? Was there anything in particular that attracted or repelled you to that specific one?

Justin Skarhus: I actually bought 5 anthologies and picked up 2 free ones at Stumptown in Portland OR this past April when 2d Cloud went out there. The free ones were the newsprint anthology Caboose put out by CCS students and Dope Flounder, which was put out through Sparkplug, Teenage Dinosaur and Tugboat. Besides the monetary lightness, they each had work that looked interesting and I liked the newspaper format of Caboose and the cover of Dope Flounder.

Two of the anthologies I bought were of the one-person variety (Jason Overby minis he was selling at the Comets Comets table and Trigger by Mike Bertino at the revival house table), but I believe you're asking about multi-person collections, so the three that fall into that category were the Diamond anthologies put out by Jason Leivian of Floating World Comics, which is purportedly an awesome shop out in Portland, Shitbeams on the Loose 2 by Revival House, and Nome by Profanity Hill. The Diamond anthologies were given out for free in Portland, but Jason was selling them at the show, which was fine by me, as they had a lot of creators that I already liked, was interested in, or had work that looked 'cool'. They are also printed on newsprint, which is a format that has been gaining in popularity over the past couple years (we have Nick Breutzman's You Can't be Here, for example), and considering we will probably be printing more work in that format at some point, it's nice to see what other people are currently doing with it.

As for Shitbeams on the Loose 2, I had read about the first issue when I believe rob clough grouped it with his review of Good Minnesotan 3 on his old High-Low blog. From that and looking at the contributor list and a flip-through, it looked like it was worth picking up. The quasi-ben jones cover helped too. Nome was for mainly the same reasons: contributors of intrigue and looked alright from a flip-through. I'd have to say that it was the least interesting in terms of design of all of the anthologies I picked up, but I get the feeling it was meant to be presented as a lo-fi oversized mini more than anything. Liked what I'm guessing is a mocking title too (a jab at the sometimes a little too self-important Mome anthology put out by Profanity Hill's neighboring heavyweight, Fantagraphics).

IKAF:4.) What are some of the projects you are working on now?

Justin Skarhus: I'm in the early stages of REDCD Fist deuce and am waiting for my collaborator Raighne to get cracking on a graphic novella called Nearflight we're working on together to hopefully have out at the end of this year or in the first half of 2011.

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