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March 18, 2010


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Patrick Rosenkranz

Nice insight into Robert Williams' work. He is the Picasso of our generation, with a fertile and unstoppable imagination. Ceaseless "outrages" and "abominations" flow from his brain to his hand. He's an inspiration and a revelation. And that's my picture of him, at the top of the article, shot at The Reading Frenzy in Portland at a book signing in 1998, when I was trying to decide if I wanted to take on the massive task of writing Rebel Visions. My encounter with Robert that day made me decide to go for it, even though I fully knew what I was getting myself into. He was a personal spark for me.

Patrick Rosenkranz


Patrick, great to see your comments here. Thanks for checking out the blog and filling in some gaps for me! Much appreciated.

Glad to "hear" your voice again, after too long a gap. Hope you're well, and doing stuff you like doing.

I nicked the portrait photo up top from the Williams bio on the FB website. Didn't realize it was yours! (Cue red-faced embarrassment here.) I'll revise the post to give you photographer's credit straight away.

Was that really as long ago as, uh, twelve years? Wow. I'm afraid I haven't been to Reading Frenzy (yet); my trips to Portland have been rare and brief. But the profile and history on their website makes me want to visit (http://www.readingfrenzy.com).

I first met Williams, briefly, at the 2003 UF conference on undergrounds, where John Ronan introduced him as his favorite of the underground comic book artists.

Williams came to the Gary Panter talk at Pasadena City College just a few days ago. I hope to get to describe that one on TB as well, my crazy schedule permitting.

Sketch V

Great article and it was a great lecture. I am currently editing a movie I took of the event but if you are as huge a Williams fan as I am you might enjoy the movies I made of Williams Tour of the show as well as his appearence on KCSN prior to the opening:

Show Tour:
KCSN Interview:

Enjoy! And yes, that was me "crouching over" my copy of Yellow Dog, Score!
Sketch V


Hey, great to hear from that "guy"! The WWW works wonders, eh?

Seriously, thanks for weighing in. It's good to be able to make our anecdotes more personal, and I appreciate the links.

Folks, I highly recommend following both those links. The first shows Williams giving a talk in the exhibition gallery; he's a bit more sedate, or a bit less wound up, than he ended up being during his Burkhardt lecture, but it's fresh, insightful stuff. (Favorite line: "I'm straining to keep down the profanity...")

The second is a visual riff (cool) based on the audio track of Williams' interview on Molly Barnes' radio show "Art News." This show is on the campus station KCSN, 88.5 FM (as I mention above, Barnes introduced Williams' Burkhardt lecture).

Sketch V, I bet you're a deeper, more experienced Williams fan than me; my tastes in underground comix have tended to run toward the Green/Kominsky/Crumb confessional autobio axis. Y'know, angst and sensitivity. But I am learning my Williams!


PS. In the show tour clip, Part 2, note Williams' description of process, in which he calls his under-painting or under-drawing "comic book drawing." Also, he refers to his "exclamatory" paintings as cartoons.

Sketch V

Well it took me a bit but here is a link to the Video of the Lecture I made. If came out pretty good and gets the info out there.


Charles Hatfield

Sketch, thank you for this follow-up! I appreciate it.

Nice to get this reminder of the Williams talk in the midst of all the Blackest Night chatter. I love grinding gears mentally. :)

Seriously, thanks so much. And good job on the video, which is nicely done and very watchable, a valuable record of the event!

Sketch V

My pleasure and glad you enjoyed it!

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