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Starving Artist Interview #2: Sommer Browning
December 22, 2009, 12:42 am
Filed under: art, interview | Tags: , , , , , ,

Sommer Browning writes comix and draws poems in Brooklyn. She works in a fort, co-founded Flying Guillotine Press and just downloaded Judas Priest’s Sad Wings of Destiny. MP contributor Leeyanne Moore asked Sommer a number of questions about what the term ’starving artist’ means to her as an artist and poet living in a city that’s as huge on money as it is on art.

Originally published on our MySpace page, this is the second in an ongoing series of Starving Artist Interviews.

1) When you use the term “starving artist” in relation to yourself, how literal are we talking in terms of actual starving?

Sommer Browning, & pelvis

If I was to call myself a “starving artist,” I would feel very uncomfortable. I never have been cool with the word “artist,” it gives me the fantods. And I have never starved or even come close to it. I don’t know how poor you need to be to be an artist. I think I know some rich artists. I want to live in a motel one day.

2) What would you say is your general level of starving as a starving artist? By that, I mean, when you look around you, or think about starving artists in history, how would you place yourself in a kind of spectrum?

I am so privileged it would be ridiculous if it weren’t so true. Sometimes I feel like the pate goose right before it’s slaughtered. I have a funnel attached to a pneumatic pump shoved down my esophagus and it’s feeding me heavy starches and poly-saturated vanity and flimsy images of human Being. So maybe I am an Overstuffed Artist, a great big gluttonous artist sack, about to burst open and spew Everybody Loves Raymond all over the place.

3) What’s been your most profound moment as a starving artist in terms of suffering? Has this shaped how you view your art or how you view the world & humanity?

I am due for another profound moment on Thursday, I have to schedule them in now that I live in New York. I used to have them quite often when I took a lot of LSD. They were great. Anyhow, my new thing is discipline. I’m going to explore it. I’ve fought against it my whole life, it just didn’t fit into my hedonism. But I think I was wrong about hedonism. Wrong about how I defined it. And I don’t think I like hedonism anyway, so eff it. I’ve been thinking about discipline and patience these days. Through control I might find happiness. That would be nice.

4) What has been your most profound moment as an artist in terms of what you would consider success?

Vale Tudo is available through Horse Less Press.

Getting my first poem published. Nothing since has been as thrilling or meant as much or changed my life more.

5) How much pride do you take in being a starving artist? Ultimately, do you think it’s worth it?

I don’t have pride about it. That would be like being proud that you have big boobs. I do have enormous breasts.

6) As a starving artist, do you enjoy NOT being part of mainstream America? Do you restrict your American cultural consumption calories, and if so how?

I eat a lot of French Bread Pizzas. I’m starting to really like football. But so far I’m fucked in the head enough that these things haven’t dulled me into a glassy eyed torpor. I remember when I was a kid, trudging through a stream with my family, my crazy brilliant sister, mother, aunt, and cousins, in Western Pennsylvania. About twenty minutes into our adventure we see a pipe jutting from the creek bank trickling a clear substance. A few yards past the pipe, the stream water gets thick as cake frosting, and pinkish, like baby puke. The water began to hug our ankles and jelly our sneakers. We called it “Caca Water.”

7) Is there anything else you’d like to say about your journey, or your future, specifically to other starving artists out there?

I am so freaking curious about my future! I thank the functionality of time that I’m forced to wait for it.

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This is such a fabulous post. In context of the world an “American Starving Artist” is quite absurd. However, I do have to say that the drama of the term “Starving Artist” helps to hold our society accountable for its neglect of the arts.

Comment by scottleeheckman

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