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'The Guardian' Interview with SVA Alumnus Dash Shaw

From The Guardian: "At 33, the cartoonist and film director Dash Shaw is well ahead of the game. A regular feature on best-of-the-year lists with his graphic novels Bottomless Belly Button and Bodyworld, Shaw’s sideline in animation—which includes an especially beautiful Sigur Rós video—has given birth to a full-blown feature-length cartoon, screened during this year’s New York film festival.


In his debut film, My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea, Shaw riffs on his own identity—the hero’s name is Dash—and the vast catalog of comics, cartoons and indie films that obsess him. Filtered through those influences and tendencies, though, are Shaw’s gestures at what makes teenage life so lonely, and how hard it is, when you’re young, to turn into the person you’re supposed to be.

The whole film looks like your work. How much of it did you draw?

That’s a good question and it’s hard to answer. There are other people involved—Jane Samborski is the lead animator on it. For some sequences she’d pencil the figures and I would ink. For others, maybe it’s all my drawings but she’s compiled it into aftereffects. So it’s a lot of my drawings. I storyboarded the whole movie, and so there are kind of indications of how the whole thing would look. It was kind of a collage—replacing temporary elements with better elements and adding more elements. I can’t really give you a percentage.

You’re both very accomplished and very young. How did you get started in comics?

I’m gonna answer in the best way I can: I was really a workaholic at a very young age, in comics and in illustration. I did illustrations for the Richmond Times-Dispatch when I was in high school and I started making zines in middle school, and I had participated in mural projects in high school, and even when I was in college at SVA [the School of Visual Arts] I had been published a lot. With comics you don’t have an agent, really—you start making them by yourself and maybe someone who has a small printing press wants to put out your book, and it’s less of a, you know, official thing. You just end up making a lot of things. That happened a lot in high school..." (continue reading)

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