Editors' Notes

Maria Damon and Michelle Greenblatt
Jim Leftwich and Michelle Greenblatt
Sheila E. Murphy and Michelle Greenblatt

A Visual Conversation on Michelle Greenblatt's ASHES AND SEEDS with Stephen Harrison, Monika Mori | MOO, Jonathan Penton and Michelle Greenblatt

Letters for Michelle: with work by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Jeffrey Side, Larry Goodell, mark hartenbach, Charles J. Butler, Alexandria Bryan and Brian Kovich

Visual Poetry by Reed Altemus
Poetry by Glen Armstrong
Poetry by Lana Bella
A Eulogic Poem by John M. Bennett
Elegic Poetry by John M. Bennett
Poetry by Wendy Taylor Carlisle
A Eulogy by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Joel Chace
A Spoken Word Poem and Visual Art by K.R. Copeland
A Eulogy by Alan Fyfe
Poetry by Win Harms
Poetry by Carolyn Hembree
Poetry by Cindy Hochman
A Eulogy by Steffen Horstmann
A Eulogic Poem by Dylan Krieger
An Elegic Poem by Dylan Krieger
Visual Art by Donna Kuhn
Poetry by Louise Landes Levi
Poetry by Jim Lineberger
Poetry by Dennis Mahagin
Poetry by Peter Marra
A Eulogy by Frankie Metro
A Song by Alexis Moon and Jonathan Penton
Poetry by Jay Passer
A Eulogy by Jonathan Penton
Visual Poetry by Anne Elezabeth Pluto and Bryson Dean-Gauthier
Visual Art by Marthe Reed
A Eulogy by Gabriel Ricard
Poetry by Alison Ross
A Short Movie by Bernd Sauermann
Poetry by Christopher Shipman
A Spoken Word Poem by Larissa Shmailo
A Eulogic Poem by Jay Sizemore
Elegic Poetry by Jay Sizemore
Poetry by Felino A. Soriano
Visual Art by Jamie Stoneman
Poetry by Ray Succre
Poetry by Yuriy Tarnawsky
A Song by Marc Vincenz

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An Interview with Gary Panter
by Jeremy Hight

Jeremy Hight: Who are some of your influences?

Gary Panter: My mother said I started drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil. That may be because we lived in a house trailer for my first few years and my father was obsessed with painting and played drawing games with me. By the first grade I wanted to be an archeologist until I discovered that paleontologist was what I was after, but everything I wanted to do was connected to drawing or painting. In the fifth grade I had formal oil painting lessons, but my parents didn't have money to continue for very long. By about ten or so I got into modern art and wanted to be a painter and started hanging out at the library studying art history.

Yes, it has been a natural process. What was considered painting kept broadening throughout the 20th Century. And so anything I got into I related to painting.

JH: You are a huge influence on many of us who explore a collapsing of high and low culture. How did you come to explore this in your work?

GP: I liked comics as a kid and my father was really good at copying stuff line by line. When i saw Zap Comix I got very excited because I was into experimental art and most of the art I could see was on album covers so I wanted to do those things. Studying Japan I saw Bunraku puppets and wanted to do that. The same for woodcuts, silkscreen, posters. I got into stuff and didn't need to define it as "in" or "out." The real mental struggle was with the Church of Christ, not art. Art was freedom. Religion was shackles for my brain.

JH: What was your experience working on Pee Wee's Playhouse like?

GP: As a kid I always wanted to design a kid's show so it was a dream come true. I worked with close friends which made it a joy. Paul Reubens was very talented and making the way for us with his ambition, so I didn't have to knock down doors, only conventions. Hollywood was a real education in big-fish-eat-little-fish. Product designing for Pee Wee's was very intense, and ultimately not so funn. Too many people screaming at me. Too little money. But I am very proud of the work that I did on the show and that kids and their parents often liked it. It was a big commercial art job, though, and I didn't think of it as my art.

JH: Your set design on Pee Wee's is such a fascinating and playful extension of the work you were already doing in graphic art, back at Slash and in underground comics. What was it like moving into "fine art" and the gallery system?

GP: Art and galleries came first. But I became a famous illustrator and cartoonist first. My comics came out of painitng and even my illustration was informed by ideas of infiltrating media as a fine artist. A lot of cartoonists don't like art. I am enthralled with the art I love and the conversation across time. So Ric Heitzman and Wayne White and I—who all trained as painters—infused Pee Wee's with art history and playfulness.

JH: You are also a musician. You have been doing a lot of interesting music lately. Can you describe it and what you are working on?

GP: For the last eight or nine years I made music, once a week, all night, with Devin Flynn. Later we were joined by Ross Goldstein. We love many kinds of music. This band has focussed on obscure psych-pop and space jams and concrete music. We are all together in that and form a uni-mind, as one can in a band. It is a joy. Devin, the leader of the band, moved to Los Angeles, so our weekly rehearsals are missed, but Ross comes to town every week or two and we work on new ideas for our next record. Kramer from Shockabilly joined us on bass which is a real thrill as we are fans of his music.

Because of the Church of Christ I learned singing, but instruments were suspect and dancing forbidden so my band participation as a young person was stymied—which makes me so happy to do it nowadays. I played trumpet in marching band in public school and also played lead trumpet in stage band in high school. A couple of years ago I got a french horn, which is very challenging, but fun to attempt to play, which I do on our recordings in a limited way.

JH: Who and what have been some of your key influences?

GP: Picasso, Ed Roth, Forry Ackerman, Oyvind Fahlstrom, Jack Kirby, Eduardo Paolozzi, Karl Wirsum, Jom Nutt, Peter Saul and on and on.

JH: How would you describe your style?

GP: My styles are in the service of ideas and not the other way around. I am kind of shaky and spazzy ad have some learning disabilities of some subtle sort (maybe called Texas) and these have an influence on what i can deliver.

Check out a selection of sketches by Gary Panter in this issue of Unlikely Stories: Episode IV!

Jeremy Hight is a Staff Interviewer at Unlikely Stories: Episode IV. You can learn more about him at his bio page.

Gary Panter, painter, cartoonist and designer, was born in 1950 in Durant, Oklahoma and grew up in Texas. He attended public schools in Brownsville and Sulphur Spring, Texas. He studied painting at East Texas State University in Commerce, Texas from 1969-74. Currently he lives in Brooklyn with his wife Helene Silverman and daughter Olive Panter. He is represented by Fredericks ad Freiser Gallery in New York and teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He won three Emmy awards and was nominated for five for production design for Pee Wee's Playhouse, was awarded a Chrysler Design Award in 2000, and is a fellow of the Cullman Center For Scholars and Writers in New York. He is in a psychedelic rock band called Devin Gary & Ross and collaborates on lights shows with Joshua White.

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