At PRINT magazine, Steven Heller talks to Washington University American Culture Studies professor and illustrator DB Dowd, whose ongoing illustrated journal of graphic nonfiction Spartan Holiday has just seen the publication of its third issue.
This is #3 of Spartan Holiday. What is your rationale for these “zines”? And why is it Spartan?
Above all, drawing is a kind of sense-making for me, a strategy to remain sane. As you have plainly noticed, judging from some of your recent posts, we are living through a plague of bad faith. What is true? What can I be sure of? I can use my senses. The observed world has come to seem quite urgent. Listen. Look. Make marks. Describe first, interpret second. That’s what’s “Spartan” about the “holiday.” Pencil and paper. Drawing and writing.
As for the zine itself, the fact that I am a writer and curious about other places guarantees me interesting subjects to report on. So I go here and there, near or far, and take on the role of correspondent, both verbal and visual. (I am also interested in visual journalism for publications. Trials, conventions, sports, day-in-the-life, etc. Spartan is proof-of-concept in certain respects.)
Spartan Holiday‘s third issue is focused on France: As Dowd writes at his blog, “French Lesson tells the story of a visit to Paris, woven into a reflection on Massillon, Ohio, the town I grew up in.”
Read Heller’s interview with Dowd at PRINT. Buy Spartan Holiday.