small talk // daryl seitchik // cartoonist

i've known my good friend daryl seitchik since we were fourteen. we took ap studio art in high school as well as private lessons at the same art studio. then, daryl made a lot of realistic self portrait paintings and also kept an online journal that documented both funny and incredibly personal moments from her adolescence. she put it all out there and it was bold, brave and incredibly intimidating for the rest of us teens too immature to deal with our feelings. daryl was always interested in both art and writing. in the last few years, she has started making comics combining both of her interests in a seamless, inventive way. her work is still just as clever and funny as ever. now she's living in philly and we met up when i was there in january. daryl mentioned her desire to join a band and sing on stage. i have no doubt she would do that seamlessly too.

more about daryl below:

cultureisland: tell us more about you.

daryl seitchik: i spent my childhood in a suburb of philadelphia and my teen years in a suburb of new jersey, drawing all night and day. in college, i majored in art history/visual arts and unofficially spent most of my time studying and making comics. now i'm back in cheap old philadelphia, doing the same thing.

cultureisland: tell us more about your comics + the missy series. how did you start creating this kind of work?

daryl seitchik: i started keeping a diary when i was seven. my mom gave it to me after she and my dad separated and i named it missy because that was the name of the diary she had kept until she was grown up. she put all the volumes in a box in her parents’ attic, and at some point years later my grandma threw it out. when i first started my diary, i felt like i was bringing missy back to life. like most kids i also felt too much too often, so writing down my feelings gave them more clarity and significance. comics came to me a bit later. as a kid, i wrote and illustrated my own stories, but it wasn’t until i was a junior in college that i began to take cartooning seriously. the incredible diary comics of julie doucet and gabrielle bell inspired me to make my own terrible ones. it took me two years just to learn how to draw myself. and another to realize i could turn missy into a strip. the comic quickly developed its own life, one that is based on my experiences, but i’m more interested in mining them for emotional truths than in portraying “what really happened.” i never saw the sinking of the titanic, for example, but that’s what 8th grade felt like.  the middle school entries are the most fun, because i get to use hyperbolic metaphors like that and most of the text i copy verbatim from my diary. the entries from high school and up require a lot more editing or, in many cases, complete re-writing. i often have to condense 5+ pages of whining in my tiny handwriting into five short sentences. at this point, i’m comfortable enough with all the different narrative voices in the strip that i don’t need to read missy as much for material. it’s more exciting to make shit up, anyway. and probably better for my mental health. i often have to remind myself that i’m not a drawing.

cultureisland: you're working on two books right now, can you tell us more about them?

daryl seitchik: the first book will be one to three short stories, coming out from koyama press in fall 2016. right now, i’m working on the first one, which is also my first work of fiction. i’m excited about it, but i don’t want to say more yet. the other book is a missy collection, coming out from the same publisher in 78 years. so far, i’ve completed a little over 100 pages, most of which are online, and now i'm working on the other 100+ exclusively for the book. i’ll still post strips online, but not as often as before.

cultureisland: what is your creative process?

daryl seitchik: i stare at the pile of rubble across from my house, identify with it, and cry. then i draw cartoons.

cultureisland: where do you find inspiration? who are some of your favorite artists?

daryl setichik: to answer your first question, just from life! being conscious is so cool. i have too many favorite artists, especially in the comics world, so i’ll just name some whose recent work i feel strongly about. sophia foster-dimino draws so precisely, her lines cut into your soul! i’d start with her sex fantasy series. lala albert is the queen of the uncanny and her most recent comics, janus and r.a.t., perfectly capture the absurdity of life on/offline. gg is a genius. and my friend nate zeidman makes amazing paintings. i already mentioned julie doucet and gabrielle bell as heroes. add to that list leslie steinjohn porcellino, and chris ware. also, the work of virginia woolf and edvard munch changed the way i see and thanks to 7 years of blasting my bloody valentine, i have mild tinnitus.

cultureisland: what are your favorite places to see art in philly?

daryl seitchik: little berlin, because i love the space. it’s in this beautiful old textile mill with a gravel yard haunted by stray cats and it has a zine library. locust moon comics is my favorite comics shop in philly, and the art gallery part always has gorgeous original pages on the walls. like little berlin, there are cats, too. magical cats named inky and rooster who nap in half-empty boxes of superhero comics.

cultureisland: what are you listening to right now?

daryl seitchik: right now? i’m listening to white noise. in a minute, i’m going to put on hole, because i’m pms-ing. 

cultureisland: have you watched anything interesting lately?

daryl seitchik:  just finished paranoia agent, an anime series by satoshi kon. i love everything he's done, but this show is literally mind-blowing. each episode focuses on a victim of “lil’ slugger,” this mysterious teenage boy who knocks people out cold with a bent metal bat. the only thing all his victims have in common is that they were trapped in desperate situations before they were attacked. you get deep inside their heads, and see how their secret fears and fantasies distort their perceptions of reality. it’s beautifully animated. last year, i watched another amazing anime series called lain. it’s from the late 90’s, but i have yet to find another show that so profoundly explores the nightmarish side of the internet. i binge-watched it on youtube.   

 * check out more of daryl's work here // tumblr // etsy *