A Q&A with Aislin

An interview on creativity with Montreal Gazette cartoonist Terry “Aislin” Mosher.

AB- How would you define creativity and, or, a creative person?

TM- SOMEONE WHO IS FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO BE ABLE TO CHANNEL WHAT COMES OUT OF THEIR IMAGINATION INTO ACTUAL COMMUNICABLE IDEAS.

What is it about Montreal that inspires you to draw it’s people and characters?

MONTREAL IS A MORE INTERESTING CITY THAN MOST. OVER THE YEARS, THERE HAVE BEEN A LOT OF DRAMATIC MOMENTS AND EVENTS HERE THAT HAVE INSPIRED QUITE A FEW PASSABLE CARTOONS, HOPEFULLY SOME WORTH REMEMBERING.

 

Do you have a routine throughout your day, or, when you’re about to draw?

VERY MUCH SO. I CONSUME KEY NEWS SOURCES IN THE EARLY MORNING AND LATE EVENING (RADIO, TELEVISION, NEWSPAPERS [MANY OF THESE NOW ONLINE]), ALL THE WHILE KEEPING NOTES ON IMMEDIATE CARTOON POSSIBILITIES – NEVER MIND STUFF FOR WHAT MAY BE COMING UP. I ALSO KEEP A COLLECTION OF POSSIBLE VISUALS ON MY COMPUTER THAT I AM ALWAYS UPDATING. AND I LISTEN TO WHAT PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT. OVERHEAR TWO SIMILAR CONVERSATIONS, AND I PROBABLY HAVE MY SUBJECT FOR THE NEXT DAY’S PAPER.

What inspires you to continue your work after all these years at the Gazette?

CURIOSITY ABOUT THE IMMEDIATE WORLD AROUND ME, I SUPPOSE. THAT, AND THE FACT THAT CREATING CARTOONS IS STILL A LOT OF FUN.

Is there anything (music, art, cinema, etc.) which helps get you into the creative mindset?

NOTHING FEEDS MY IMAGINATION QUITE LIKE A GOOD CASE OF STUPIDITY BY SOME PUBLIC PERSONALITY OR POLITICIAN!

How often do you work?

I DRAW FOUR OR FIVE DAYS A WEEK. BUT I’M ALWAYS TAKING NOTES AND THINKING ABOUT IDEAS FOR POSSIBLE CARTOONS.

I remember you once said you work most often from home, do you feel more creative in a comfortable environment?

I HAVE A STUDIO AT THE GAZETTE, BUT FOR EMERGENCIES ONLY. I’M MOST COMFORTABLE IN MY BASEMENT STUDIO AT HOME WHERE I DO 90% OF MY WORK.

SOMEONE ONCE SAID THAT HAPPINESS CAN BE DETERMINED BY HOW SMALL THE TRIANGLE IS BETWEEN WHERE YOU LIVE, WHERE YOU WORK AND WHERE YOU SHOP. WELL, MY STUDIO IS A DOZEN STEPS AWAY, AND THERE’S A DEP JUST AROUND THE CORNER…

How does it feel when you finish a cartoon or drawing, do you feel a sense of accomplishment?

YES, FOR A FEW MINUTES. BUT THEN, I PUT IT AWAY AND START THINKING ABOUT THE NEXT ONE.

Are there, any other artists in your family, and if so, how do they feel about your work?

MY DAD WAS A WRITER. MY MOM PLAYED THE PIANO. THEY BOTH ENCOURAGED ME TO FOLLOW MY NOSE AND DO WHAT INTERESTED (AND TO PRETTY MUCH IGNORE THE REST).

Do you have any passions, or interests, outside of drawing?

SURE. STANDARD STUFF: MY FAMILY (5 GRANDKIDS), MY DOG, AND MY LITTLE BOAT THAT I TRY TO GET OUT ON SEVERAL TIMES A WEEK. ALSO, MY WIFE AND I LOVE TO TRAVEL AT LEAST FOUR TIMES A YEAR. WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO WANDERING AROUND CHINA FOR A MONTH NEXT YEAR.

How are you able to convey messages or tell stories through your work?

I DON’T THINK ABOUT THE WHY AND WHEREFORE VERY MUCH. I JUST DO WHAT I DO. MANY READERS SEEM TO ENJOY IT. I SUPPOSE I’LL KEEP AT IT FOR AWHILE LONGER.

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About

Adam Bemma is a journalist and media development advisor.

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