Robert Crumb interview

Robert Crumb (2014)

Robert Crumb (my 2014 portrait of him above) has been a lifelong influence for me. I first saw his drawings when I was 11 years old (I know, I know…) and they totally blew my mind. At first glance they looked like the same comics characters I read about every week in Whizzer & Chips or Monster Fun but on closer inspection, they were corrupted in some way, having passed through the psychic prism of one of the strangest men America ever produced. Crumb is lucky to have emerged when he did. Imagine trying to get away with Big Ass Comix in today’s political climate, but rather than continue to run afoul of the Gestapo of cultural taste he’s enjoying his quiet life in rural France. He remains attuned to the freak show of his home country (on Donald Trump: “When you see a man with hair like that, alarms should go off”) but long ago proved his point about his fellow species and no longer feels the need to repeat himself. This recent – and rare – interview with Crumb and his family has only served to reinforce my belief, formed when I was 11 years old, that he was a more important artist than any of the “old masters” I had been told were “important.” I prefer to make up my own mind about these things and it’s always seemed to be that if humans in the future want to get their heads around the 20th century, they’d be better off looking at Crumb’s art than most of the other shit that has washed up in art galleries.

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