i am other people: Adrian Comeau

Adrian Comeau studied at NSCAD in Nova Scotia, and is currently living in South Korea. He is my brother, to the best of my knowledge, born one and a half years after me. He's on the left in both these photographs. He is the handsome son.

Joey: It always seemed to me that you found as much romance in the end of a relationship as in the beginning. In a way, you're the only person I know who effectively makes a story out of everything they do, or who finds a way to weave everything into the overall story, anyway. I mean, romance is all about making a story out of our love and you always seemed to acknowledge that the ending was just as important to the story as the beginning. With love, you never seemed bitter, only... resigned. Or even, poetic about it. In a very manly way, of course. If love doesn't last forever, is it a failure? Or can it be successful even if it ends? Or if the relationship ends?

Adrian: Beginnings and ends are pretty important to me, it's true. (The middle bit is alright too I guess.) I have always felt the need then, I suppose, to have a complete narrative with every love or at least get that kind of closure, be it the romantic type or love of other kinds. I wouldn't say I am a very romantic person, but like you I tend to find romance in unconventional places whether that sounds cheesy or not. Sometimes finding beauty in the feeling of fear from watching a good horror movie, or simply the fear of letting my imagination run wild can be such a treasured thing. I guess if you really want to you can find that same comfort and respite in the first coffee of the day, the first cigarette, and yeah sometimes in the ending of something that was great. Some people define love as something that, if your lucky, you will get it right once, but it really depends on your definition of getting it 'right'.

Sometime ago I fell madly in love with a girl I only knew for two weeks. She was perfect and flawed in all the right ways, and I found myself thinking such marvelous things and really feeling the wonder of loving and yes, for a short time, being loved by her. The tides of fate had different ideas for us though, and not for any lack of love, we had to go our separate ways. I think even in that ending it was successful if not complete. I will keep loving her in absence and I know she will too. Looking at that example I can still say I got it right that time whether or not the outcome was a happy one.

I guess part of what love is, is really your notion of comfort with another person, and when you construct stories from that be they my large rambling ones, or the occasional comic of yours that hits the same vein...(albeit in less words and three panels) you are really giving that love the fruition it deserves. Like the warning at the end of Blade Runner, you and me both make these grand and simple things more important then maybe they sometimes seem to others because we don't want those moments to 'be lost in time like tears in the rain' our notion of love I guess is...mmm...flexible.

Perhaps, it is that flexible concept that defines relationships and how they develop, maybe you need to not be with someone in order to love them properly. Maybe it is just a shitty old world and you gotta accept love anyway it comes to you. With me, I usually only ever get love in small portions or in abnormal or conditional ways that never stay too long. Do I like it like that...who knows. That is like wondering if you had a different mom, would you be better off. No, instead you cherish what you have. I love my mom, because she is the only mom I will ever have, and I love my fucked up incomplete loves, because they are all I have ever known.

If you cant smile at shit, you'll probably cry. Love will rear its head, and if you’re lucky you will find someone who can stand your shit for the long run...in that sense all love, even the difficult ones are successful as long as you leave it having gained something, even if only the learning experience of having your heart broken, again.

You have yourself had quite similar views on love, and romance to myself, in spite of us having very different lives for the last 10 years. How is it that you think you have come to accept love in less than storybook forms, and romance you won’t see in the movies?. (well maybe a select few quirky french flicks, but fuck the french, I'm talking about us)

Joey: I don’t know. I remember, even from my first girlfriends, our grandmother used to say, “You’re not settling down are you? You’re not going to get married, are you? You’re too young.” and I got this impression that she didn’t want us to make the same mistakes she’d made. That can make you a bit wary of the people who decide they’re going to spend the rest of their lives together, even though they’ve just met. Or they’ve been dating for six months.

But I don’t know. I think there’s a place for romance in the world, even if romance can be delusional and damaging in a relationship itself. You know, the kind of dudes who are "romantic" by being in love with the idea of a girl, and don't see the real girl at all. And I think even though we've always been aware of that trap with relationships and love, sometimes you and I are like that with life itself. Like, there’s a romance to danger. There’s a romance to drinking, to drugs, to petty crime and to heartbreak and loneliness. All of those things can be used to make the STORY of our lives better.

Do you think that’s an important way of understanding the world? Through stories? I read something about memories, and how in a way, every time you remember something, you relive it and destroy the old memory, leaving yourself with the new version that is filtered through who you are now, changed a little bit. I do that with comic strips. With movies. I read old Peanuts strips, and I see myself in them a little, and maybe I change how I understand myself a little, too. I build the story a bit differently. I don’t know. Maybe that’s part of why people connect to movies, because in a way they don’t just remind us of our stories, they become our stories. Seeing our own patterns in Peanuts or Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Or seeing our philosophies about love in the closing monologue in Blade Runner? I think movies and comic books and music are the most important art forms in my life, but what about you? You’ve got a fancy pants degree from art school, but you’re dissing on French films and quoting Blade Runner. What are the most important art forms in your life?

Adrian: Hmmm you got something there... I think there really is something to creating a better life story, but instead of editing it in my memory, I usually try to get it right in the first take. A great example is last year I got arrested just before moving to Korea.

I remember sitting on a bench looking tough in my leather jacket, when these beefy security guys came up to me and said, " Come with us." The first thing I thought was, "How would I do this if I had a camera on me?" So I gave them my best Eastwood squint and said, "Spin on it."

One of them threatened me, but I knew full well they couldn’t do shit, so I said, "Yeah you could take me by force. Or you could ask nicely. If you try force, well there are three of you, so you’ll probably succeed. But I guarantee it is gonna cost you some teeth and some pride." I don’t know where I get off sometimes, really.

Anyway long story short, they asked nicely and took me into custody. When the cop showed up, he remembered throwing me in a drunk tank a year or so before. He asked, "Do you still live at blah blah street?"

“Why? Are you going to send me a Valentines Day card?” Even getting arrested, when I was worried about ending up with a criminal record, I had to play it Bogart and make it more than an event... It had to be worth telling. A good mantra for life I suppose.

"Make this worth telling"

This brings me to your question about me and Art. Yeah I got a fancy pants degree, and yeah sometimes I might even consider myself an Artist... and yeah sometimes even with a capital A. The Art I like though is everyman's art. I would trade the Mona Lisa or The Gates of Hell any day for a bag of gummi worms and a George Romero movie marathon... and not just the Dead films, the Crazies too.

I suppose what pisses me off is people and Artists trying to be more than what they are, and that is usually embodied by them trying to work apart from the world instead of reflecting it. People can bash a shitty movie all they want, but it is movies like Night of the living dead, Harold and Kumar, and comics like Tales from the Crypt that reflect what our primal wants are. It is easy enough to act elevated but why bother. I used to describe my Artwork as a Pirate Cowboy Art (That is to say it doesn’t mean much, if anything) but I soon realized that it was just a mentality pushed on me by the need to define myself away from Art and, more so, Artists.

To be more honest and accurate, my work and the Art that connects to me tend to be the polar opposite of yours (I mean your comic, as we have shockingly similar tastes in film and literature), but oddly it is only skin deep because they speak the same points. I have always found your Comic and writing to be very outwardly romantic, and maybe with a hint of melancholy. My work more outwardly is quite disturbing to many...but it plays off the same fears and insecurities of our society in general. Just like telling small personal stories... each one brutally honest, yet innocent. It is like those moments when you are standing on a rooftop or in the subway and suddenly the thought of jumping or pushing someone pops into your mind. It is scary because you wonder if you are a terrible person for having these sudden urges to up and do something stupid and unprovoked. I don’t know if you ever get that sensation... maybe I am not saying it right, but it is in that moment, that beautiful romantic and flawed Art of our psyche, that our work meets at. Yours may be pretty, but is speaks on some of the same serious notes as mine does. Does it ultimately mean anything? Fucked if I know... What do you think?

Joey: I get that same urge, when the subway pulls in. Or, like, I get worried. What if I jump in front of it? Not, I want to jump in front of it, or oh, I’m so depressed, just, what physically would happen if I jump in front of it? And I get freaked out. Because, where does that thought come from? So, yeah, I think the comic and your work both deal with those insane urges, me trying to make fun of them, you trying to articulate them differently. I think a lot of people get those urges. I remember having a conversation with a friend of mine a few years ago about how when a bus is pulling past, and he’s standing on the road, he has to reach out and put his hand on the bus. He has to touch it. He thought it was crazy, and that he was the only one, before we talked about it.

Lately I’ve been thinking more and more about art and writing, and whether they’re meant to be something we leave behind or something we use to reach out and communicate parts of ourselves now. What do you think? Is your work how you’re going to be remembered? Or is it how you’re going to be understood? Or, I don’t know, is it just a good way to impress girls?

Adrian: Ha... certainly it won’t be how I am understood. I suffer from spilling too many words and images that are too strong because my desire to be understood directly conflicts with my aversion to being understood too well. Like most Artists visual or literary, there is an underlined fear of being too honest or straight forward with my work. It is like people will know you’re full of shit if you say what is really going on in your head. So you explain these things in the dimmest way possible, if you explain at all. Of course this has the benefit of allowing people to read into it how they like and see what they want... which is more important than any silly message you might think is important on a whim.

I think if I am to be remembered, it will be for something other than Art, as it only reflects the horror and beauty I see. I guess I don't really dig the idea of having people think back and say, "Oh Adrian, yeah, he was a pretty odd mirror of the world." No, I would say that what really defines me comes right back to the story. The narrative. I want my life to be worth re-telling. For the glory of the story and some shit. I want in the end perhaps simply to be the character your life wouldn’t have been the same without.

Of course that doesn’t mean I'm gonna throw my shit like a monkey if I get famous. In North America today voyeurism is an obsession, and fame is not what it used to be, believe it or not it is much easier to achieve now than ever before... I mean if I fucked Nicole Richie I would probably get famous. But what does that really amount to... I do what the fuck I want now, and it seems to be going pretty well for me. I also am acting in a movie coming out this autumn called, "Nonsense Revolution" or possibly, "Res-Erection" so who knows. If it is not total shit, maybe I will try my hand at another flick... in the meantime I am just playing this day by day, and my legacy can work itself out.

Anyway bro, I love ya.

Joey: love you too.

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