Monday, February 15, 2010

Buddy Monday - Graham Kahler

I met Graham many years ago through mutual friends while we were both attending Maine College of Art. I don't think I knew he was an illustration major for quite some time until he showed me some of his work. I think I have loved every piece I've seen since that day. To me, his illustrations and comics are a little magical and a little mysterious and everything my imagination could hope for. I have a lot of good memories of hanging out and being at parties with Graham and of him always looking sharp (partly due to his salt and pepper hair, which, to this day, Adam is still kind of jealous of). I have a painting he did for me when we did a swap a while back and I cannot tell you how much time I've spent just staring in admiration at it!

1. Tell us about yourself?
Salutations! My name is Graham Kahler, and I’m a cartoonist. I use my free time (such as it is) for making comics, illustrations, and paintings. I print other people’s work at a digital printing place to pay the bills; and can usually be spotted at bars and public outings as the overdressed guy with the bowtie consuming ridiculous amounts of gin.

2. What do you make?
First and foremost I write and draw comics, which are sometimes found in self-published mini-comic form, and are sometimes published by New Reliable Press. I’ve also been involved in a number of gallery shows, where I have a tendency to paint watercolors of characters based on puns and other forms of wordplay.

3. How did you come up with your shop/business/blog name?
My blog, The Curiosity Dept., takes its name from the title of a long comic that’s been in my head for a number of years now. I’m a naturally curious person, and wanted my own private corner of the internet (as private as the internet gets, anyway), to reflect that.

I’m also building a personal publishing imprint called Periodic Tables. The name comes from two puns: one based on my favorite sentence from Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse (“Crazy ghosts of chairs and tables.”), and the other from the fact that comics are sometimes labeled as periodicals. This was probably too much information.

4. Influences?
I have a laundry list of 19th and early 20th century illustrators and cartoonists that I draw inspiration from. The short list includes Arthur Rackham, Winsor McCay, E.C. Segar, Edmund Dulac, and Cliff Sterrett. Contemporary influence comes from Maurice Sendak, Sammy Harkham, Kevin Huizenga, Seth, my roommate and friend Julianna Swaney, and my girlfriend Rebecca Artemisa Urias. And those are just the art influences; I read a lot of classic and experimental literature, and watch an unhealthy amount of independent, foreign, and classic films.
read pages 2 and 3 here

5. Who would you like to collaborate with?
Rebecca and I are brainstorming up a collaborative mini-comic right now; so that’s pretty much at the forefront of my mind. In addition, I’d love to be in an anthology with some of the cartoonists I’ve been lucky enough to connect with on the internet and in real life: such as Chris Wright, Phil McAndrew, Sean Christiansen, Julia Gfrörer, Andrew Lorenzi, Kate Beaton, and Doug Frey.

6. 5 songs you like to work to?
In no particular order:
The Clash – Tommy Gun
Hauschka – Freibad
Efterklang – Step Aside
Wire – Ex Lion Tamer
Neutral Milk Hotel - Ghost

Listen here!

To learn more about Graham or see more of his work visit his blog, Flickr or click any images in this post.


  1. This was a tremendous amount of fun to do, Sarah. Thanks so much for the opportunity. Come visit Portland again soon!

  2. A publishing imprint? Impressive and exciting! This young man's work is strong and visually stunning. Like the Predator.