Monday, December 05, 2005

Kathleen Judge Part II

Click here for Part I. What follows is an "email interview" and two examples of Kathleen's charcoal drawings...

When did you start doing show posters?

Since 2000. Came back from a job in NYC & ended up bartending at the lovely Hideout & started doing posters for a number of bands playing there or residency type shows (Honky Tonk Living Room, Deanna Varagona's Gospel Jubilee). I had been experimenting with using scratchboard in the mid-90's & then really fell into the medium when i started making posters. The boldness of the B&W seemed to work well with posters (& hold up well when xeroxed). Then I did some Hideout Block Party posters --following in the footsteps of the awesome Robert Valdez. Since then I just take 'em as they come. Originally I didn't silk-screen the posters. I'd do the image & the excellent Steve Walters, of Screwball Press, would print them for me (note--many of my early multi color posters Steve printed for me--I'm not so fancy when I print them myself--they tend towards 2 or 3 colors AT THE MOST). Steve ended up getting pretty busy w/ jobs so I figured I better learn how to print. So I taught myself from books (poorly, as I'm not too good at following written directions) Steve took pity on me and started letting me print out of his shop on Western Ave.(a few years back). I've enjoyed the camaraderie of a shared space. So many different artists w/ different techniques, images, ideas. Keith Herzik prints out of Screwball also Jason Fredricks and a load of other fine folk. I have recently been getting into woodcut prints (artprints not posters) & that has really captivated me.

Is there a show you are most proud of promoting?

HMMM? I'm not making loads of money making posters so I try to take jobs I'd be proud to promote, and have fun making the poster. I've worked jobs doing artwork that I hated & thought would go away, & then was haunted by it being printed up & showing up everywhere--that's a lesson and a nightmare. I try to like who I make a posters for and like the posters I make. Let's see...I'm pretty excited to make a poster for an amazing musician especially those who are still going strong in old age, for example: Ralph Stanley @ Schuba's, B.B King & Bobby Blue Bland @ The Sabre Room, Oscar Brown Jr @ the Hideout, Jimmy Martins Documentary by George Groehl. I have loved doing one of a kind tickets for shows--which thanks to the Hideout, I've had a few opportunities to make tactile tickets to shows such as Neko Case/Kelly Hogan tix (one time on sandpaper the other each ticket was a polaroid), Alejandro Escovedo(one set in wood & metal, another set of tix in leather), The Handsome Family,(that ones too hard to sum up), Oscar Brown Jr (seed packets) & Bobby Bear Jr. (fake fur) I love making tickets. As the world moves foward in technology I move two steps back. Who REALLY wants to print their tickets out on their home computer when they can have a ticket made of wood & metal (made in a HIGHLY inefficient manner)? Who?

Is there an art piece you are most proud of?

Last year I had an opportunity to do illustrations for a book of Slave Narratives. It was a great honor. I love history. These stories are really amazing (go read the book 'Growing up in Slavery'). Here I am this white woman 100-200 years later getting an opportunity to translate visually some aspects of these people's life stories. These people's stories are truly inspiring. I was overwhelmed and honored. It's funny--all my life, unconsciously, I've wanted to be able to show my parents something like this that I did art for--my Dad was deceased before I received this assignment but my Mom was still alive and she read the book & was inspired by the stories. I'm currently working on illustrating a children's book w/ Jeff Bulington --& though we've been developing it a looooong time, I'm pretty proud of it so far & hope I feel the same when it wraps up & hopefully gets published.

Inspiration? Heroes? Mentors? Idols?

So many. Most recently I've been inspired by Paul Farmer (Read 'Mountains Beyond Mountains').

Boy, heroes? Other than people I know, and family, there are probably too many to type & my memory has gone scattershot on me. A few years ago I saw this puppet theater group from South africa (I believe they are called Handspring) they integrated this fantastic animation into the performance. It was drawing under a camera technique with charcoal. Found out it was animated by William Kentridge. Strange, I've had some people tell me about him before I'd ever seen his work & that I draw in a similar style. Now that I've seen his work, & become a fan, I can understand why some folks have said that--I think it's the way he draws w/ charcoal. I watched a video about how he animates & I was highly distracted that he managed to draw in nice dress slacks! In all my days of working in charcoal I can't figure out how he does that.

I know you traveled with Neko. How many tours have you been on and what is your role?

I've toured with her since 2000. My role has been taking care of merchandise. Share in the driving & whatever else may need doing--within reason. They're some of my best friends there (Neko, Jon, Tom & many others, depending on tour). The tours have ranged from a week or two to a few months. Works out well w/ my freelance lifestyle & my severe love of the road & rest-stops. A year or so ago, I went on the road w/ Neko and also researched the poster scene in various cities and how the clubs work with poster artists. I was surprised at the lack of venues seeking out silkscreened poster art for shows. In fact I spoke w/ one promoter and basically the deal he has w/ the artists is they get some booze. Made me realize how great Chicago is right now. Bands & venues are hiring artists to make posters for them. Pretty much every block in certain populated areas have layers of posters hanging. That's exciting. when I was in L.A., San Fran, Seatle and other cities, I was surprised that most the posters are xeroxes. Don't get me wrong there are plenty of artists all over making posters I just don't see their wk on their streets like I see it in Chicago. Made me feel proud of this town & the bands and artists in it. Yeah chicago!

Age (you don't have to answer, hell you don't have to answer any of these)?

Late 30's. Hope that doesn't affect my budding hollywood career.

Where are you from originally?


Why Chicago?

I like industrial cities. Cities with metal. I'm still surprised that I've been here this long.

Favorite food, domestic animal, car part?

I like all kinds, lately I'd say Indian. I'm also a big fan of Okra, fried or pickled. I'm a fan of dogs. ENGINE.

Anything else you'd like to say?

Not now but after I send this to you I'm sure I'll have many other things to say. Feel free to write back if you want me to give more info or answer any new questions.

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