Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Conversation Gardening Guest Artist #2: Zak Sally

Back in 1999 I was just beginning to flirt with the idea of getting serious about making comics. As part of trying to figure out what that might mean I found myself picking up something called Recidivist #2 at a comic shop in Minneapolis. It sort of bowled me over. There were three stories in the little book, all of which felt finely observed and patient and pointed to something I didn't feel like I'd quite seen before, but wanted to see more of. But the third story was more than that. The third story, You Won't Let Yourself Be Touched, left me with the feeling that the author had reached into the depths of my mind and was clearly describing to me some part of myself that I had never really been able to quite make out before. That comic left me with the same feeling that you have when you wake up from a dream that has been profound and powerful and deeply specific and yet... indescribable. I'm not sure I've ever come across another work of art or literature that has done quite what that story did.

That's what Zak Sally is capable of. He continues to make mysteriously specific, ineffable stories that needle at you in your soul. He's also a brilliant musician, teacher, organizer and friend. He's joining Eleanor Davis in taking over the Conversation Gardening project, and I could not be more pleased or more humbled.

For what it's worth one thing I love about this project is the very different takes people have had on it, even if the bottom line is essentially the same (Eleanor's take is here, mine's here). Zak's pissed, and he lays it all out. Go here and read what he has to say – it is a conversation, after all – then buy a book and send him a question.

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