Last week we met Angella Jacob from Mysterious Ink and now we meet the bet…er… other? half of this duo.
Meet Pierre C Arseneault, artist and writer extraordinaire:
1) Last week Angella told us something about you she thought you wouldn’t be so quick to reveal yourself. It’s your turn! Please share with something about Angella and tell us why you wouldn’t have wanted us to know that about you.
Angella likes to dress up in a Spiderman costume and hide in the local parks trapping squirrels. Once she has the squirrels she then likes to skin them alive collecting all the fur to make things from it. So far she has made herself a hat, scarf and mittens. She has recently become very ambitious and is now planning on a full length fur coat. Also she cooks the meat and feeds it to unsuspecting guests telling them it’s really deer meat and that’s why its taste gamey.
Oh, and when someone trusts you enough to reveal their true self to you, my advice is don’t betray their trust for the sake of a juicy interview.
But I will tell that even though she now owns an E-reader she is still very passionate about the physical book.
2) You’re a cartoonist as well. Do you find writing and drawing work well together or are they developing separately?
It’s a combination of both because unless I am only working on cartoon puzzles like I did in the beginning there is writing involved in cartooning. When one writes a panel or a strip cartoon, unless you are like one of my idols Sergio Aragones one can’t only rely on the pic itself to relay the humor of the situation. There are many forms of writing and all stem from the same place and that’s the imagination. The ability to tell it in a way that will be fun to read or look at is a different thing altogether. With that said to answer your question; whatever my imagination comes up with whether it be combining the two or not is what I do.
3) You’ve been working for newspapers since 2004. Do you feel your imagination is challenged enough with them or do you feel the need to think beyond the political pages and create something new?
I started cartooning by making cartoon puzzles back in 2004 (see my cartoon web site www.pcatoons.com for samples) with the idea of using these to learn about the newspaper publishing industry. What I did learn since is that the newspaper industry is a hard nut to crack. For the most part I have met people in the industry that are extremely supportive and very helpful. But I’ve also met some that were not willing to publish my puzzles because I would have the power to decide what they run in their paper each week. I also learned that the newspaper industry will need to evolve or it will die. Today we live in a society that has access to instant news online and so waiting for the next day’s newspaper that may have news that has come and gone in the world of cyber news is looking like a thing of the past.
Most newspapers are online now and are finding ways to evolve and the reason I mention this is that cutting cost is one of those ways. Why pay for a cartoon when you can sell an ad instead and make money. And another hurdle I’ve encountered with newspapers is that many are not willing to support the small (local or not) cartoonist instead opting to buy from larger syndicates. In Canada most of the cartoons published in newspapers are American which really shows at Thanksgiving, theirs and ours. Our Thanksgiving holiday going mostly unnoticed while theirs is plastered in the Canadian newspapers on a day that is not a holiday in Canada. Don’t get me wrong as I am a fan of most of those American cartoonist, many of which I admire the work they do.
4) You wrote an article last year about following dreams and started a writing prompt with a play on a well-used phrase “On a Dark Tuesday Night”. Do you enjoy using cliches in a cliché manner when it comes to a first draft? Do you cringe when you find them in what you read or do you find most of them so true it’s fine?
The cliché “On a Dark Tuesday Night” was used as a slice of humor in something that was written as a simple piece of satire I call “Jimmy Crack Corn”. If you take the time to read this mini tale that was later turned into an article about a writing exercise on the Mysterious Ink site, you will get the idea that most of it was not meant to be serious. Even though it is a dark tale it was written to be humorous.
But that brings me to a point I like to make which is that I don’t believe in rules. If everyone always followed the same rules when writing, painting, drawing or anything artistic then we would always churn out the same stuff over and over. I often tell people to make up their own minds whether they like something or not. Yes I value people’s opinions but I don’t live and die by them. I often remind myself that not every piece I ever make will be considered a masterpiece and to take the work in whatever direction I feel like. People are allowed to like or not like what I or we do. We ourselves don’t always like everything we ever experience so why should they like everything we do.
Clichés are not an evil thing and they do exist for a reason. Should one stay away from them… maybe… but that I believe should always be up to the artist to decide. I say be daring and carve out your work and take pride in it (humble pride) but don’t be afraid to take chances.
5) What do you read?
At the moment I am reading a Stephen King book called “Everything’s Eventual” which is a book of 14 short stories. But like most people there are not enough hours in a day to read more.
6) What scares you?
Oddly enough not much scares me and that is not said as a macho man thing either. What stresses me out would be a whole different conversation but what scares me the most in life is my imagination. Your imagination can create monsters in the dark or under the bed if you let it. It can create scenarios out of everyday life that are simply not real.
I mean I might soil my trousers if I was to accidentally fall into a lions cage at the zoo mind you as I am no Tarzan. I might get a scare if my car brakes fail me at a breakneck speed coming down a mountain side in a Volvo… speaking of clichés.
I guess what I fear most is not trying to accomplish my dreams even though I may never achieve them. I won’t sit back wondering if I could have. I had to grow older, wiser and live some to realize that one.
Thanks for reading,