Archive for the ‘ST Interviews’ Category

Graham Roumieu, courtesy of Wikipedia

Graham Roumieu

Ever since Me Write Book: It Bigfoot Memoir landed on her coffee table as a gift from a friend, The Shy Traveler has wondered about the brilliant mind that authored it. In the interview below, internationally-renowned humorist, Graham Roumieu, tells The Shy Traveler about his life in art, possible beatings, feral cats, and the many uses of paper books.

Was there ever any doubt in your mind about pursuing a profession as a humorist/illustrator/author?

I aspired to do something with the drawing and writing skills I developed out of a love for the two forms of expression and through years of experimenting found I had some ability in melding them together in a way that complimented my natural sense of irony.
Professionally and academically I started with illustration, which is something I didn’t really know existed as a trade until I went to college and found out that there was something else to do besides become a graphic designer, fine artist or animator. Certainly, I had some vague prior notion of how useful humor, image-making and story telling were together as they kept me from getting beaten-up when I was a kid. Actually, they might have gotten beaten up more. It’s hard to remember, it was so many years and beatings ago.

Are you, or have you considered yourself at any point in life to be, shy?

I’m no extrovert but nor am I a Boo Radley. Spending a lot of time alone at work in a studio for years at a stretch has I feel put me close to that sometimes. It can be hard for me to compete in person if the person I am talking to has a good sense of my work. It’s fairly plain that I am more articulate with my drawings and stylized writing than I am in conversation. At the same time, to be fair to myself, I am again by no means a crazy shut-in that can’t hold a conversation or look a person in the eye because I am dying to get home and take care of my stacks of old newspaper and feral cats. I get out of the house plenty and socialize.

In addition to your books, various major publications routinely commission your work. What was the job that gave you the single biggest challenge and why?

I’m sure there has been more challenging, but a couple of the ones that have been interesting are the times I’ve been asked to take my illustration show on the road. A couple of years ago I was sent by a national paper with a journalist friend to a massive federal leadership convention in Montreal attended by thousands and thousands of people in a carnival-like atmosphere. Trying to make sense of it while standing in the middle of it and being unable to see what was going on in all places at all times was, well, challenging. Distilling complete chaos down into one encapsulating, entertaining image, especially at the times when there wasn’t much of a story going on was exhausting. Definitely exciting, though.

What is something (other than the obvious – pencil, paper, and the like) that you can’t do without when you are in the process of creating?

Funny this should come up as a question after my mention of being in Montreal where I was drawing with an audience in the middle of a press pit…

Stern Lecture by Graham Roumieu

Mostly, I need dead quiet so I can keep my thoughts focused and ideally a work space where everything is on hand so again, I am not caught breaking my train of thought to figure out where such-and-such a colour of paint is. I work quickly so I like having things close by so I can lay down stuff in a frenzy like the Swedish Chef.

What is something you’d like to do creatively that you’ve not yet done?

I would really love to do a cover for the New Yorker.*

What is your second favorite place on Earth? Second only to…?

Sos Del Rey, Spain, second only to flying first class anywhere in the world. Isn’t it supposed to be about the journey, not the destination after all?

Cat and Gnome. Bigfoot. Squirrels. Is it safe to say you had a somewhat unusual upbringing? Or is it pure imagination?

Mostly imagination, probably, maybe, sort of. I grew up in a remote-ish part of British Columbia where urban amusement wasn’t really ever on the menu aside from what was shown of it through cable television. In some ways I suppose that forced me into looking after my own entertainment and having a slightly different perspective on the world.
More so, I think I have a tendency to gravitate to subjects that are sweet, naive and innocent and nature because it gives more impact when I inevitably throw them into situations that are bizarre, human and dire.

Do you have any opinion about your fans reading your books on digital readers such as the Kindle or Sony Digital Reader? Is anything lost?

I think a little of the old tactile joys of analog books. You know, spin them around, throw them at things, use them to balance out short legs on tables and chairs. Certainly can’t dry flowers in a Kindle. I’m resigned to the likelihood of digital readers becoming the norm. If it results in more people reading my work because it is suddenly more portable or more sharable, then I would be a cranky old bastard to complain about how they certainly don’t compare experience-wise to paper books.

Cat and Gnome is your latest book and it seems to be selling like hotcakes (Amazon only had 2 left, last I checked). Congrats! What’s next for you?

I just turned thirty, and have put out something like six books and thousands of commissioned illustrations in seven years. I think I will take a nap.


To keep up with all things Graham Roumieu, why don’t you bookmark his website.

Purchase artwork and books by Graham, but not my favorites. For my favorites, the bidding starts at Rumpelstiltskin prices…

* Shy Traveler to The New Yorker: “I would also like to see this…please.”


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Peter and the Wolf at Emo's

Red Hunter, otherwise known as the shrouded-in-mystery musical sensation, Peter and the Wolf, recently spoke with The Shy Traveler over the World Wide Web about his music, his travels, owls and fake mustaches.

Allow me to offer you a beverage; what’ll it be?

This UK tour that just ended—we concluded that scotch is the coolest, better than beer, so that’s the official drink of PatW this season. Big on Glenmorangie these days.

I’d like to interview the Wolf. Is this Red Hunter? He will also do.

He does.

Are you, or have you considered yourself at any point in life to be, shy?

Totally. Especially when I first moved to Austin back in ’04. Used to go out and perform in different disguises so that nobody would recognize me later if I sucked, which I’m sure I did. Wore wigs, fake mustaches, all kinds of antics. Took a long time to get comfortable going out with people, still kinda weird, easier to keep to self and write.

Was there a specific owl that inspired the ubiquitous Peter and the Wolf Owl? In other words, what’s up with the owl?

Dan Eldon said “The owl, my hero” and other mysterious truths.

How do you feel about music videos, and are there any more planned for PATW?

Still haven’t really made one on purpose, guess there’s some stuff out there friends put together. Hope to make a nice one on the west coast this winter. Vids are awesome, they let you veg out, which is sweet.

I’d imagine you have quite a loyal following. Is it possible to describe the “typical” Peter and the Wolf fan?

Sexy bodies, weird visions.

Other than present day, in which time period would you feel most at home?

Paleolithic era, for sure. Fighting bears and stuff.

“The Ivy Remix” really came out of nowhere it seems. And yet I love it. Who done it and how’d it come about?

This dude Remy did it, I’ve never actually met him but we’re mutual friends of this rad dude, Wiley, in Annapolis. Check out Remy’s stuff, it’s rad.

What is your second favorite place on the globe? Second to what?

Bali, second only to Savu Savu in Fiji because I haven’t been to Bali actually, but they make the best music on earth hidden away in the royal palaces.

Could you tell fans something about the process of making “Mellow Owl” that might interest us to know?

Hmm, made it hanging out by myself in a Vermont cabin, and there were no drugs involved… only salads and stuff. Ate blueberries right off this little tree…health is dope.


And speaking of dope, below you can listen to Peter and the Wolf’s lovely, “Safe Travels” while gazing at an Alpine peak (Although, with magical shows on ships and buses and cemeteries, I’m sure we’d all rather catch it live):

Peter and the Wolf recently concluded a British tour and is now embarking on another word-of-mouth U.S. tour. To catch a show, a listen, or to buy some tunes (I also highly recommend the handmade buttons), check out PATW’s Myspace or website.

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