Meet a Local Cartoonist: A Chat With G.E. Gallas
G.E. Gallas is a multimedia creator who is currently raising funds to make her short film Death Is No Bad Friend, about Robert Louis Stevenson. She's also working on two web comics, and has illustrated a new young adult book, Scared Stiff: Everything You Need to Know About 50 Famous Phobias. Recovering from emergency gall bladder surgery, she still took the time to answer our usual questions.
Washington City Paper: What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?
G.E. Gallas: I consider myself a graphic novelist. I am a writer, illustrator, and most importantly a storyteller.
WCP: How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?
GEG: I used to use Photoshop for all my illustrations. But now I much prefer pen and greyscale markers. I'd also like to get more into watercolors.
WCP: When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?
GEG: I'm 20-something and was born in Washington, D. C.
WCP: Why are you in Washington now? What neighborhood or area do you live in?
GEG: I moved away from D. C. in 2008 and only just moved back this past November! For now, I'm living in the burbs. But I plan to be in the city as much as possible. I'm actually about to start a collaborative stop-motion animation project that will be created in D. C.
WCP: What is your training and/or education in cartooning?
GEG: As an illustrator and graphic novelist, I am mainly self-taught. For as long as I can remember, I have been telling stories through words and images. I am a graduate of New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where I created my own major: a cross-cultural study of storytelling within film, literature, graphic novels, etc. In writing and illustration, I adapt this interdisciplinary approach, pursuing my diverse interests with in-depth research and imagination.
WCP: Who are your influences?
GEG: As far as visual artists/illustrators go: Edward Gorey, Hergé, and Ai Yazawa to name a few. And, of course, William Blake — the subject of my online graphic novel The Poet and the Flea.
WCP: If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?
GEG: I have no regrets so far!
WCP: What work are you best-known for?
GEG: I am best known for my ongoing online graphic novel The Poet and the Flea, a re-imagining of the life of the poet-painter William Blake. This past May, I spoke upon invitation to The Blake Society, London.
WCP: What work are you most proud of?
GEG: The Poet and the Flea. I'm really amazed by and grateful for all the support I've received from both Blake scholars and graphic novel enthusiasts!
WCP: What would you like to do or work on in the future?
GEG: I have endless ideas for graphic novels and screenplays. When I'm finished with The Poet and the Flea and The First Reich (a graphic novel collaboration with writer Shannon Brady about the Jewish-Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich), I would like to work on expanding a short story I wrote entitled The Ink Drinker into a graphic novel.
WCP: What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?
GEG: I never get writer's block! I know how to pace myself and how to find inspiration. If I reach my limit working on one project, I set it down and work on something else until I'm ready to go back to it. I do a lot of research, which could be anything from reading a book to going to a museum. And, if I'm really out of sorts, I just have tea time!
WCP: What do you think will be the future of your field?
GEG: I hope that comic books, graphic novels, or whatever you'd like to call them continue to gain appreciation and acceptance as artistic and literary expression.
WCP: What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, Intervention, or others? Any comments about attending them?
GEG: This past September, I attended and exhibited at SPX and hope to do so again. I had a wonderful experience chatting with other artists and small press fans.
WCP: What's your favorite thing about DC?
GEG: I really enjoy all the culture and history of D.C., especially the museums.
WCP: Least favorite?
GEG: There's lots of pollen and I have horrible allergies!
WCP: What monument or museum do like to take visitors to?
GEG: The National Gallery of Art has always been one of my favorites.
WCP: How about a favorite local restaurant?
GEG: Zaytinya for Mediterranean tapas!
WCP: Do you have a website or blog?
Gallas' next con appearance is Smudge Expo on March 8th, at the Artisphere in Arlington.