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News Briefs featuring Ron Regé, Jr.

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Buy Original Ron Rege Art for $50.

Updated February 19, 2008

While his band Lavender Diamond is on hiatus, Ron Rege Jr is selling original art for $50. Yes, $50!!!! Check his blog for more details.
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Featured artist

Ron Regé, Jr.

           Featured products

The Awake Field
Skibber Bee~Bye

  Uninked in Phoenix:

Updated May 6, 2007

UnInked: Paintings, Sculptures and Graphic Works by Five Cartoonists

Five of the finest cartoonists currently working are also, not surprisingly, five of cartooning’s finest artists. While the original ink-on-paper drawings which compose literary graphic novels and comic strips are generally only one step in the arduous process of creating a visual book, they are not necessarily intended to be seen as finished works in and of themselves. This exhibit chooses instead to focus on those artists whose work intentionally already extends beyond the page: rarely-seen drawings, paintings, lithographs, and sculptures which develop the extensive narrative worlds and ideas which every cartoonist has spent years, and in some cases, lifetimes,developing. The prolific artists presented — Kim Deitch, Jerry
Moriarty, Gary Panter, Ron Regé, Jr. and Seth — have all devoted themselves to their imaginative work with an multifarious intensity at a time when a great deal of contemporary art mines its so-called visual “source material” from narrative popular culture but then chooses to blur or disregard its story content before enlarging it onto a gallery wall. By contrast, the work by these five artists — for whom storytelling is second nature — is unusually original,direct and full of life.

The exhibit runs from April 21st through August 19th, 2007 at the Phoenix Art Musuem, 1625 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona (602 257-1222). A 112 page full-color hardcover catalog edited and designed by the show’s curator,Chris Ware, picturing works from the exhibit as well as selected samples of each artists’ published work,will be available in mid-July from the museum’s store.

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Featured artists

Gary Panter
Ron Regé, Jr.

           Featured products

Wimbledon Green
The Awake Field

Ron Regé Jr interviewed by Paul Gravett

Updated March 16, 2007



Ron Regé Jr is one of America's new movement of 'peace-seeking artists'. Overnight success has taken Regé, 36, the best part of a decade creating Yeast Hoist and other comics and graphics in his 'cute-brut' style, a hybrid of psychedelia, faux-naive and folk art, Outsider rawness and cartoonish joy. More recently he's been finding wider fame through commercial work, such as his designs and action figures for Tylenol's 'Ouch' campaign, and making music for Lavender Diamond, voted Spin's best unsigned band.

Regé, not pronounced like reggae but 'ree-gee' like Fiji, approaches each new comic differently, like a freelance writer, the script and ideas often coming to him fully formed from his subconscious. Regé's 12th Yeast Hoist is out from Buenaventura Press, brimming with exuberant sketchbook observations and intense daily comics.

He currently lives in Los Angeles, after completing a two year residency at the Narragansett Grange Hall in coastal Rhode Island - an artist space co-owned by musicians Geoff Farina and Jodi Buonanno. The Grange Hall has a number of large studio spaces, which Geoff and Jodi provide as inexpensive living and studio space to an annual artist-in-residence who needs these resources to persue a specific project. Out of this came the next 'lucky' 13th Yeast Hoist, from Drawn & Quarterly. This two-tone anthology of subconsciously autobiographical comics and drawings in nine chapters ranges from eloquent silent landscapes full of dreams to sly funnies about our supposed desire for peace.

Slow down when you read his pictures and ornately lettered words, quivering, scintillating, radiant, and they will leave you awake and awakened.

The following interview was conducted by email on April 11, 2006.


Paul Gravett:
What role and effect do you think "peace-seeking" artists can have today?

Ron Regé Jr:
What a great question! - and a hard one to answer... I think that we can approach what we do peacefully, and with a great sense of peace. I think that we can lead by example, perhaps? I am not a competitive, or confrontational person by nature - so I don't like to shout too much, or too loudly (which is why I like to speak through such a silent artform) So much media is petty, and mean and selfish - I think that we can put forth a different idea. As far as the effect we can have? I don't know - I'm not worried about that as much. I mostly default to the works & ideas of John & Yoko. Peace is here if we want it. If we think about it, if we live it. Everyone everywhere says it is what they want, but there is still so much conflict! Why? Stop it! Peace is here. Earth is paradise, if we let it be.

What appeals to you about comics over other forms of expression?

I like comics because they can be such a slow & quiet medium. I also like the way comics are directly personal, like writing - but even more so! The connection between the artist & the reader is so direct. When they read my words, they can see what has come directly from my hand. It's really quite amazing. I have always loved picture books. As a two dimensional, visual artist, I am so much happer to have someone examine what I've made slowly, at their own leisure. I like this so much more than forcing them to see my work momentarily, on a wall in a room. I also feel that picture stories are one of the most ancient, and universal forms of human expression.

How do you comics-making and music-making connect and contrast?

They don't really connect at all from my own personal experience - which is why I do one as a rest from the other. But I DO like to make comics about music & the process of making it - and I like to include music with my books whenever possible. Is this a contradiction? I don't think so.

How much do you plan and structure your comics beforehand, and how much do you trust intuition and the subconscious?

My comics are completely scripted beforehand, and I rarely make changes from those scripts - except to fit the size and format of the piece. I have hundreds of pages undrawn comics that I've scripted out. I am unable to sit down with a fresh piece of paper, and create a comic from panel to panel. I have no idea how to do this. BUT - at the same time - my scripts and ideas often come to me fully formed from my subconcious. A great deal of The Awake Field came to me as a single idea - fully formed.

Why are "difficult comics" worth making the effort to read and understand?

Hmm... for the same reason that any piece of art needs to be studied and examined to be experienced? Why look at anything? The "comics" world makes me tired with such questions. Some people create works that fit into a standard "format" and some people don't. I like so many different kinds of drawings that incorporate words, for so many reasons... I often get asked questions like this - and it makes me wonder - have the people who find my work "difficult" ever seen any other art from the 20th century? It's like asking Picasso why we should look at cubism. Wasn't this all cleared up a hundred years ago?

There's a cuteness and a bruteness to your work - how do you juggle these two (competing?) tendencies?

I don't know, it all just ended up that way... There's a lot less violence in my work these days... That's mostly gone... I think... So then is my work "cute" I guess? That's what people say. I don't see or intend it that way.

What did you get out of that 2-year residency and how did it change your work in Awake Field?

My time in southern Rhode Island was very special to me. It gave me a chance to slow down, and to concentrate exclusively on my artwork. It gave me great amount of time to be peaceful, alone, and reflect. Previously, I've always needed to hustle and work other jobs to survive. Now, I am (just barely) surving off of my art, and my time at The Grange helped me achive this. I created my last book (Yeast Hoist 11) while there, as well as many internet comics, which have yet to see print. The Awake Field is dedicated to this place, and to my time there.


Yeast Hoist:
#1-8 were handmade minicomics and are now out of print
#9 was included in Expo 2001 anthology
#10 was included in Ganzfeld #3, 2003
#11 was published by Highwater Books, 2003
#12 was published by Buenaventura Press, 2006
#13 was published by Drawn & Quarterly, 2006

The collected Yeast Hoist #1-10 will be published by Buenaventura Press in 2006.

Other Books:
Skibber Bee-Bye, Highwater Books, 2000
Boys, Highwater Books, 2000

Short Stories:
She Sometimes Switched in McSweeney's Quarterly #13
We Must Know We Will Know in Drawn & Quarterly Vol 4
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Featured artist

Ron Regé, Jr.

           Featured product

The Awake Field


Updated July 12, 2006


Further Illuminations: More comics for your Summer Reading pleasure

by Philippe Dupuy and Charles Berberian
Drawn and Quarterly, 144 pp., $19.95

by Philippe Dupuy and Charles Berberian
Drawn and Quarterly, 136 pp., $16.95

When Americans talk about European comic books, they'll sometimes refer to them – for reasons of precision or of desire to be perceived as hipper than thou – as bande dessinée. These Yanks may also suggest that modern European comics are better in general than modern American comics, and that this is likely due to the Euros not having been historically yoked with the Spandex-clad superhero genre. I'd name names sooner than debate these points, and I won't debate these points at all. Especially not after having read Dupuy and Berberian's Get A Life from Drawn & Quarterly.

Philippe Dupuy and Charles Berberian have been collaborating for 20 years, together creating the long-running, award-winning series about the life of Monsieur Jean, a "laconic, single Parisian male struggling through the usual calamaties of life: bachelorhood in his 20s and early 30s and the impending responsibilities of marriage, kids, and deadlines for his publisher." Mssr. Jean is just another one of the guys, in other words, albeit one who's a semi-successful author and bargain-basement Casanova in the City of Lights, and his misdaventures are no more outlandish than the sort of quirky yet quotidian shit you, dear reader, are liable to find yourself knee-deep in. It's that everymannishness, in conjunction with a superb rendering in full-color, cartoony (okay, then) bande dessinée vernacular, that makes these stories so appealing. Get A Life is a collection of more than a dozen early short narratives – including "Love and the Concierge," "Ice Cubes in Formaldehyde," and "Cathy (Norwegian Wood)" – that will provide an excellent introduction to this likable character.

And, in case you're wondering what it's like to collaborate on Monsieur Jean – or on anything – for 20 years, D&Q has also released Maybe Later, a graphic exploration, with surreal digressions and moments of talk-show-personal confession, of what the duo has endured, together and alone, while working on the series. Midlife crises, publishing dilemmas, the apocalypse of relational break-ups, and What It's Like to Be a Professional Cartoonist: These are pictured in the creators' familiar line drawings, in sharp black and white, in a humor-laced parallax view of the creative process and how it affects and is affected by life's relentless vicissitudes.

by Ron Rege Jr.
Drawn and Quarterly, 24 pp., $7.95 (paper)

Somewhere near the indie-comic crossroads of cuteness and sincerity – where, it is rumored, you'd have to bury the heart of James Kochalka in order to properly kill him – you'll find the ouevre of Ron Rege Jr. The more scholarly and clever will call the neighborhood "Cute Brut," and will champion the young Rege for his intensely personal and innovative iconography and the ingenuous thoughts and feelings he chooses to capture in pictures and quirkily calligraphic text. These clever scholars may well be on to something, but you don't need an even metaphorical sheepskin to appreciate what the man does with pen and ink and, especially on the cover of this latest volume from Drawn and Quarterly, a bright palette of colors.

Rege has released an annual collection of his work under the series title Yeast Hoist since 1995; unlike the first several issues – self-published minicomics, for the most part – this latest one, number 13, is a slick-covered and perfectbound volume of cartoon illuminations, exploring the artist's usual preoccupations: relationships, rock & roll, and the lowercase rapture of earthly existence. This one is called, after one of the interior stores, The Awake Field. This one, too, will be a joy for emo kids everywhere. Or, yes, for those who appreciate personal and innovative iconography.
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Featured artists

Dupuy & Berberian
Ron Regé, Jr.

           Featured products

The Awake Field
Get a Life
Maybe Later

RON REGÉ, JR'S AWAKE FIELD reviewed on Consumatron

Updated July 12, 2006

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Title: The Awake Field
Author: Ron Regé Jr.
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
ISBN: 1896597971
List Price: $7.95

Though this thirteenth installment of Ron Regé's ongoing Yeast Hoist series is assuredly a piece of a larger puzzle, one doesn't need to start from the beginning to appreciate the finely crafted stories and vignettes within.

The Awake Field is a collection of eight minimalist comics, of varying length, strung together by a feeling more than a theme. Because Yeast Hoist serves as one artist's public sketchbook, a feeling is all it needs. The feeling (in case you were wondering) is the simple joy that can be achieved by noticing the small corners of life and by slowing down. Appropriately, The Awake Field was written during Regé's recent two year sabbatical in Rhode Island where I imagine life was a refreshing slow down from his home of L.A.

The title comic in The Awake Field is no more than a series of full page panels depicting a small townscape where sprites float overhead, floating from house to meadow to house, making sure everything is peaceful and serene. No words are used, only sparse line drawings and a dream-like jump-cut pacing.

The remaining seven pieces deal meditatively with the relationships between the author's comic subconscious and his loves, his friends, the state of the world, and ultimately, his family. Some of the funniest moments are also some of the most serious, coming across as a polite request of the reader to realize that the personal operates in conjunction with the rest of the world. It is as if Regé is saying to us, "I know it seems ridiculous, but all we have to do is care a little bit more. It's true!"

Regé's line work is equally meditative, simple and innocent (yet not naive). His sketched and loose characters allow for the maximum array of emotions using the minimum array of detail or features. Like a poem that hints at a message but leaves it up to the reader to decide, The Awake Field presents itself in much the same way. Topped with a simple one color scheme that will make a reader either shut off or pay close attention at what must be behind the simplicity, I found myself appreciating Regé's work more with each subsequent reading.

The Awake Field serves as a biography of Regé's subconscious. At 48 pages long, it is just the right size to give us a glimpse into another life and inspire us to propel our own.

Rating: 3.25 / 5
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Featured artist

Ron Regé, Jr.

           Featured product

The Awake Field


Updated June 26, 2006


Skibber Bee-Bye
Ron Regé, Jr.
Drawn & Quarterly / July / 1896597963

Skibber Bee~Bye, first issued in 2000 but out of print for three years, is a perfect illustration of the work that made Chris Ware call Ron Regé “one of a handful of cartoonists in the history of the medium to not only reinvent comics to suit his own idiosyncratic impulses and inspirations as an artist, but also to imbue it with his own peculiar, ever changing emotional energy. “With direct, clean illustration that belies the sometimes dark content, Skibber’s a dreamscape in which a shy and lovesick elephant furtively pursues the company of two reclusive mice. With strange, one-eyed fairy-like creatures and treehouse fortresses, magical elements wander through the narrative—primarily visual, with little text—but as it progresses, the innocence of the two mice is degraded by their contact with the real world. “Skibber first existed as a series of unrelated stories I had written,” says Regé. “They all had similar ‘dreamy’ themes and elements in them. I changed the stories around so that I could thread them together into the narrative.” Though Skibber deals with death, violence and self-immolation, the whimsical, almost-childlike quality of the art made the author an apparently perfect fit for Tylenol’s “Ouch!” advertising campaign, launched in 2003. The campaign was an attempt to rebrand and attract younger consumers, in pursuit of whom Tylenol had begun to sponsor extreme-sports competitions and film festivals. They also sought out the best young graphic-novelists, and quickly found Regé. A representative for the campaign met him while buying one of his larger scale images. “The print was fairly violent,” says Regé. “But [it] reflected on the nature of pain and suffering.”

Abandon the Old in Tokyo
Yoshihiro Tatsumi
Edited by Adrian Tomine
Drawn & Quarterly / September / 1894937872

In 2005, Drawn & Quarterly published The Push Man and Other Stories, a collection of short graphic narratives by a relatively unknown Japanese comics creator that reflected the mundane and perverse nature of everyday life in 1960s Tokyo. In 2006, that artist, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, has become a household name in alternative and literary comics. This year, he will grace the pages of the Paris Review and Giant Robot magazine, and will have the second volume of his work published. In Abandon the Old in Tokyo, Tatsumi’s stories are longer and even more unsettling. A few of the narratives, including the title story and Forked Road, end abruptly and evoke the haunting feeling of tragedy. “Tatsumi seems to push himself further in several disparate directions,” says editor Adrian Tomine. “Some stories are more explicitly humorous, some are more explicitly ‘horror’ based, and overall, there’s an increased level of irreverence and daring.” Readers may also be surprised to find elements of manga enmeshed in Tatsumi’s noir sensibility. The book includes an introduction by Koji Suzuki, author of the Japanese horror novel The Ring, who writes, “That the subjects of nostalgia may be ridden with mischief, crime and passion, as they are in these stories, does not make the subjects any less nostalgic.” This fall, readers will have the chance to feel the nostalgia of Tatsumi’s world once again.

My Most Secret Desire
Julie Doucet
Drawn & Quarterly / June / 1896597955

A pioneering female comics artist,Julie Doucet became famous in the late ’80s and early ’90s for her unapologetic portrayals of female sexuality and desire and her explosive,chaotic drawing style. In works like Dirty Plotte (“plotte” is French slang for a part of the female anatomy), and Lift Your Leg, My Fish Is Dead, Doucet blew the sometimes clannish world of male graphic-artists wide open, using material from her own life to examine the female psyche. In My Most Secret Desire, Doucet once again explores her own unconscious for material. It is an unconnected series of hectic dreams Doucet has experienced, in which she turns into a man, gives birth to struggling kittens, goes bra-shopping during the Apocalypse and launched into deep space with only her mother’s cookies to keep her company. “I am not the type of artist who can self-analyze herself,” says Doucet. “I don’t feel I exposed myself too much. There are things I would absolutely never talk about. And I won’t tell you what they are!” This version of My Most Secret Desire is in fact a reworked reissue of a dream journal that was published in 1995, and is being heralded by fans as a triumphant return after a five-year hiatus from comics. “Actually, it is not a break. I quit,” notes Doucet, who’s spent the intervening years working on woodcuts, sculptures and writing. “After 12 years of comics, nothing but comics...The thing is that to be able to live off my comics I had to work quite a lot, so I didn’t have any energy to do anything else, art-wise, not even having a sketchbook. [And] I got very tired of the all-boys crowd.”

We Are On Our Own
Miriam Katin
Drawn & Quarterly / May / 1896597203

The shadow of the Nazi regime darkens the world of Miriam Katin’s elegantly illustrated, captivatingly told memoir. At 63, MTV and Disney animator Katin is a bit older than most graphic-novelists, but she shows an assured maturity in her detailed art and evocative lettering, as she follows the narrator, her younger self. Young Lisa, as she is called in the book, grows up during the Nazi invasion of Budapest. With her father away fighting for the Hungarian army, she and her mother fake their deaths and flee to the countryside, where they disguise themselves as Russian servant with illegitimate child. Even at that young age, Lisa questions how God could allow such horrors. Her iron-willed mother’s determination that her father would find them is as stunning a tribute to love as we have ever seen. “Only when I was about 30 did she tell me all the most difficult parts of the journey,” says the author. “But even then, I was unable to ask her to elaborate. I choked up and just listened. In my head, I was narrating these stories throughout my life, but I am not a writer. Somehow the comic form of telling a story allowed me to express myself.” With rare but powerful full-color scenes depicting how her childhood has affected her life in America, this stunning book is that rare achievement that reveals the potential of the graphic-novel form to be so personal yet universal, despairing and yet ultimately life-affirming.

Featured artists

Yoshihiro Tatsumi
Miriam Katin
Ron Regé, Jr.

           Featured products

We Are On Our Own
Abandon The Old In Tokyo
Skibber Bee~Bye

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