I’ve been reading Vice Magazine and Vice.com for years now, so Nick Gazin is a name that I’m familiar with. He’s responsible for Talking ‘bout the Boards, Comic Book Love-in and interviews for Noisey on dozens of different bands. I got in contact with Nick and muddled together a series of general questions that have little to do with Nick or his interests. Apparently, Nick doesn’t appreciate bland questions that show no knowledge of him as a person. Here is how he chose to answer those questions. Also, note that I haven’t edited my questions or their responses to preserve how bad this interview really was.
LG: Your art is pretty ubiquitous in the alt indie whatever the fuck you
want to call it scene, where do most of your ideas come from?
NG: My ideas tend to come from the alt/indie scene, which I am deeply entrenched in! Glad you noticed!
LG: Does the culture around your art affect the work produced?
NG: The culture around my art is caused by mold.
LG: Do you prefer commissioned art or doing it on your own terms?
NG: I do everything on my own terms. I’m not enslaved. I am fully capable of making my own decisions and acting on them.
LG: What influences do you have in the art, music, and life wise?
NG: Are you asking me who I’m influenced by or who I’m influencing? Yeah, oh let’s do it. I influence drug-dealing music.
LG: Is there any artist you particularly don’t care for or that you’d like
to see get a little less credit?
NG: Sure, I hate everyone.
LG: Your work with Vice ranges from critiques to editorial, art and
journalistic. Do you prefer doing any one thing to the other? What’s
the process behind each one?
NG: I don’t really know what you’re talking about here. I wake up and I go to my desk and I do the things I have to do.
LG: How do you think the Internet and the much larger emphasis on design
and appearance have affected the art world?
NG: I keep rereading this question and it makes no sense to me. It seems like you think that graphic design is really strong right now which baffles me because it isn’t. Quality design has never been less of a priority to American culture than it is now. Look at how ugly movie posters and advertising is these days. What makes you think there’s on design? And what the fuck do you mean by “appearance?” Appearance of what?
I also don’t know which art world you’re referring to. You reference an art world and art community a few times. I don’t know which art world or community you’re talking about but there definitely isn’t just one.
LG: Is there any artistic medium that you are really into right now?
LG: Do you have anything you’d like to say to the art community as a
whole? I know Vice gives you a pretty huge voice but I’d like to give
you a chance to just say whatever you’d like about whatever you’d
NG: I do have the advice for the art community, which is totally a real community made up of every artist: If Cameron Patton e-mails you for an interview just say “no.”
All right, so I fucked that one up, but if you’re going to try to coast on an interview I suggest you don’t choose someone with ten times your writing experience. Especially if that someone makes a living ripping the shit out of people.
So, I freaked out a little bit went through the stages of grief and watched Mean Girls in my pajamas with my puppy. While I was wallowing Cody wrote some questions that Nick actually liked. Here are those:
LG: The death of Moebius left a lot of comic fans bummed out. With more and more of his work being reprinted, a new generation of fans are now able to access it. The same with Milo Manara, one of my personal favorites. Are there any unknown comic writers or artists you think deserve reissues? Anything you’ve been hoping or waiting for?
NG: Moebius and Manara are definitely the two people whose work I wanted the most. Fantagraphics has been doing the best collections of out of print comics lately. Their Prince Valiant, Popeye and Carl Barks books are perfect. A lot of the great golden age comics auteurs have had their work collected recently. Fletcher Hanks is a big one.
I’d really like a complete collection of Dick Briefers’ Frankenstein comics and Boody Rodgers as well. There are collections of those comics but they’re kinda like a best-of CD that you buy at a gas station. What else? I’d really like a collection of Mac Raboy’s work. He drew Captain Marvel Jr. and his art is insanely beautiful considering what it was for. Also, I’d like to see more of Katsuhiro Otomo’s work in English and Suehiro Maruo and a lot of good manga.
I’d also like to see a comprehensive reprinting of Alan Moore’s Marvel Man comic series. It’s one of the best things Alan Moore ever wrote and then Neil Gaiman took over for him and it hasn’t been in print since the late eighties due to legal battles over ownership.
LG: I completely share your sentiments about seeing a cover drawn by Mike Mignola and then opening up the book and it being drawn and written by someone completely different. Mike Mignola is one of my personal favorite artists and writers. Whats your favorite body of work of his?
NG: Hellboy is his opus. I like seeing his early work from the eighties and nineties because he was still restraining his style but you could see that he was just waiting to let it burst out.
LG: You cover indie comics a lot but I rarely see you talk about the Big Two. Any opinions on Marvel or DC? Who is your favorite mainstream superhero? And your favorite writer on either of those teams?
NG: I prefer the superhero comics of the golden and silver ages usually. I grew up reading my dads silver age DC comics and I really like Jimmy Olsen comics and any Batman comics that feature Bat Mite. Bat Mite was a grafitti name i used for a while. I’d write about more mainstream comics if Marvel and DC sent them to me to review but Marvel doesn’t give out review copies and DC only does it on request. I hardly visit comic stores anymore since I get mailed tons of shit to review and it sits in piles around my house.
I really love David Lapham and Kyle Baker who do Deadpool but I liked them more for their comics Stray Bullets and the Cowboy Wally Show. I also like Mark Millar who wrote Wolverine and Kick Ass. Frank Quitely is fucking awesome and that All Star Superman mini-series was amazing.
The problem with most super hero comics is that they usually don’t have a beginning or end. Part of what makes All Star Superman, Watchman or Dark Knight Returns so popular is that they have beginnings, middles and ends which most people want from a story. It’s why people are buying single issues less and prefer the collected books,
LG: You talk a lot of shit on people who’s comics you don’t like. Are you that confident in your body of work that you think you can get away with that? Do you think you’re a better writer/artist than the people you talk shit on?
NG: Yes, I honestly believe that I am better than most of the people I discuss in my column. I try to be as objective as I can and I am smarter, have better taste and more skilled than most of the people whose work I judge.
While this was happening I was pulling myself together with a pep talk, “You can do this, you’re good at this, show Nick Gazin that you’re not a total idiot and ask him some questions that people actually want to know the answer to. Do some research you jackass and impress him.”
So I read his interviews, I looked through his work, I put together questions I was proud of, and completely failed to take any interest in the man, again. I sent Nick some questions that were better written, less vague, and still terrible. Here’s that interview.
LG: In your complete deconstruction of my interview questions youmentioned your 12 years of interview experience. How did that portion of your career start?
NG: I did some interviews for my high school newspaper that were awful. In high school I started doing a zine called Squid Vicious. Then I wrote for a few people and did a lot of interviews for different things.
LG: Did comics come into play before or after writing, it seems like a perfect medium for and illustrator who also manages to laugh at the world. Did you start out along the classic art school Illustration path or was it kind of DIY thing?
NG: Comics came to play in my life because my dad had a big collection of comics, mostly Silver Age comics published by DC. I hated school, my parents and myself as a child and found escape in comics. I would read any and all comics over and over because it was great. My dad liked comics for the same reason. It was an escape from his Hell-ish home life. I read every book containing comics or about comics at the local libraries and read all of the books containing comics in our house. I think it’s safe to say now that I was addicted to comics. I was also addicted to candy. Now I am an adult and I spend all my money on comics and candy.
Comics never came into play too much as something I actually did. I tried making some when I was in middle school and high school but they were never any good and I would give up. In college I got really into doing jam comics with friends. I am halfway through my first attempt at a full-length comic called Negative Dad that I am drawing and editing. It was written by Nathan from Wavves and Matt from Heavy Hawaii.
LG: This is going to sound fairly cliché but is their any illustrator that you had an obsession with growing up? You’re work ranges from for lack of a better term punk-art to erotica to just hilarious sketches of people doing fucked up things. I’m just trying to see what went into all of that.
NG: I have a lot of heroes. Mike Allred might be one of my primary influences. I was really into the Maxx by Sam Kieth, Gen-13 as drawn by J. Scott Campbell and R. Crumb during my younger years. Then I got obsessed with Clowes and other people. Egon Schiele was a huge one when I was figuring out figure drawing.
LG: In an attempt to not sound like an idiot in this half of the interview, I went back and re-read a dozen or more Comic Book Love-In’s and a few Noisey pieces you did. The most common theme is that you seem to enjoy each thing you cover. Is that a prerequisite for your work? Or are you just really good at bullshitting assignments
that are given to you?
NG: I don’t know what you’re talking about, I hate a lot of the comics I review and say so. I go to shows that I don’t like and I don’t write about them because I usually leave or take a nap. I take photos of everything I do, only the interesting things become articles.
LG: I’ve never been critiqued so hard, like I kind of had to sit back and chill out for a second. I probably should have expected it from the sense of humor you show in Talking ‘Bout the Board’s. What goes in to picking each comment to draw? Is it more controlled by how funny the comments are, or is it just stuff that would look funny edited?
NG: I just look for comments that have some sort of visual description in them or are hilarious.
LG: From my completely not creepy fanatic reading of your work I noticed a lot of eroticism in both the art you do and the art you favor. Do you believe there to be something intrinsically artistic about sex? Or are boobs and dicks just eternally fun to draw?
NG: I don’t know. Are you still lacking about my Drawing About the Boards column? There are multiple facets to most people. Just because there’s nudity doesn’t mean an image is meant to be erotic. The nudity in the drawings I do for my Talking About the Boards column is always meant to be funny. Which drawings of mine are you talking about?
(To clarify I was discussing a lot of the work that I’ve seen Nick do on Vice, not just ‘Boards, and the comics that he’s spoke of in Love-in)
LG: Are you still sending pornographic images to your friends’ IPhones, on
draw something? Also, how does it feel to create new niche porn? It’s
hard to do in these times.
NG: I took a break from that. I think everyone got kinda sick of Words With Friends. I did over a hundred dirty drawing though. Most of my friends have stopped playing.
LG: Are you working on anything people should know about right now?
There’s always you’re articles and other writings for Vice, but do you
have anything else coming out that people should get ready for?
NG: Yes there are many things I am working on that people should know about. Add me on Facebook to see what they are.
LG: How did this half of the interview go? It was good for me; I hope it
was good for you.
NG: This was better than the first half but you’re still really terrible at this.
So… Just writing more words, and casually browsing over someone’s work is probably not the best way to go about interviewing them. Also, and I can’t stress this enough do not interview Nick Gazin if you aren’t on your game, because he will make you pay for it. I was again crushed by Gazin’s critique, and while Tina Fey’s writing may have picked me up the first time I was going to need a little more closure on this one.
I freaked out a bit and then opened up Gchat and got a hold of Nick again. What was I doing wrong? Why couldn’t I do this? I’ve put together plenty of interviews before and this shouldn’t be that hard. So Nick gave me some advice on how not to be such an idiot.
1. Send a link to your Facebook, give them a face to connect with, not just a series of words.
2. Send a sample of your writing, not just the publication
3. Don’t send more than five questions at a time, Do them in a series of emails and then edit them together. A good interview needs a back and forth it should feel conversational if it’s like A B A B A B AB it’s dull and has a shitty rhythm. Allow stories and things to continue and flow.
4. An Interview doesn’t have to be in the order you asked the questions. Unless the answers the person gives reference back to other things they said. Start off with a first question that is flashy and grabs the reader, then maybe a few softballs that are fun and light, then build towards the heavy shit
and then usually some light finish where the person says something funny.
Even though Nick critiqued the shit out of my work, as he is known to do, and made me feel bad on the inside, he was nice enough to take time out of his schedule and actually discuss what I was doing wrong and how I can improve. Hopefully, I’ve learned something from this and won’t piss off any more artists.
I sincerely thank you Nick you’ve taught me more than three years of college and two internships.
Or in his words,
“College is a fucking waste of time, usually, people become teachers because their time is worthless and no one wants them. I made myself. I had a handful of good art teachers, but I learned how to write and take photographs and DJ and shit by myself.
I made me
No one else
Maybe my parents.”