Q&A with Jim Westergard

This is your first collaborative work. How did you come up with the idea?

Fly on the Wall happened when Jason Brink approached me, after seeing some of my wood engravings of insects and asked if I would be interested in working with him on the project and he showed me a couple of stories he had written. I knew immediately we were going to make it work.

What was the creative process like for you?

The process started with Jason sending me a story, which always opened with a fly sitting or flying somewhere, observing an incident. We would discuss points of the story, which might be problematic and make adjustments, and then I would create a sketch for a drawing of the fly in that situation and I would show it to him. We would discuss whether it might work or not and make any necessary changes in the sketch. After a while I began to send Jason drawings, which he sometimes was able to use as a basis for a story.

Who did you read as a kid, and how did these first forays into reading fiction affect your sensibilities as a writer?

I read science fiction and comic books as a kid. The artists in the comic books such as EC Comics and Mad Comics inspired me to draw.

What are you reading right now?

I read history, biographies and fiction authors such as Cormac McCarthy.

How and where do you work?

When I have finished my research for a wood engraving or drawing I sit down in the studio and digest the information and write short descriptions of the people who are the subjects of my prints.

Do you create with a certain audience in mind? Who is your “ideal audience?”

I try to create the images in my wood engravings and drawings for myself and when I write, it’s also for myself.

Name one person in your life who profoundly influenced your work, and why did you choose this person?

The wood engravings of Leonard Baskin influenced me profoundly.

Tell us a little about the overarching theme of your work, and why you felt compelled to explore it.

The theme of the drawings in this work is somewhat dark and satirical and the concept of voyeurism, which is at the root of the stories, motivated the drawings.

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