AT: I got that mug in Japan. Initially I just liked the little graphic, but then I noticed the text. And I’m allowed to laugh at that because I’m Japanese.
FYD: Bye, bye coffee. As a recent devotee, what kind of tea do you drink?
AT: Despite what the mug says, I’m a coffee drinker. I need my morning dose of Cafe Bustelo.
FYD: Has New York changed since you’ve become a parent?
AT: To be honest, I didn’t really go out that much before becoming a parent, so that hasn’t been a huge change. A lot of people pay the exorbitant rents of New York so they can avail themselves of all the cultural offerings, but I pay the exorbitant rent so I can stay at home and know that I could avail myself of all that culture if I wanted to.
It’s probably some low-grade OCD thing, but I actually have a hard time working in a cluttered, pack-rat environment.
FYD: As an artist, it would be tricky to promote or illustrate for movies, bands, authors I didn’t like. However, John Wray’s LOWBOY character felt it might be Adrian Tomine endorsed. Was he?
AT: When I was more dependent on illustration work, I’d constantly find myself in these situations where I was weighing the money being offered versus how embarrassed I’d be to associate myself with whatever band, movie, tv show, etc. that was making the offer. LOWBOY was one of those rare opportunities where I liked the book, I liked the author, and I was paid nicely to basically draw the top half of a kid’s head.
FYD: If we were to catch up the crew of Summer Blonde now; where might they be?
AT: I can’t even remember where they were then! It’s really hard for me to look at my older work, so I honestly haven’t seen those characters or stories in years.
FYD: Is the old saying You Can’t Go Home Again true? I have stacks of journals with ideas, perhaps it’s better not to revisit your own work?
AT: I’ll go back and find unused ideas in sketchbooks and start working on them again. It’s just the published stuff that I hate to revisit, maybe because I know there’s nothing I can do to fix the mistakes that jump off the page at me.
FYD: Do you a ritual you still follow in the way of a favorite comic book store in the City or Brooklyn?
AT: These days it’s pretty rare that I make a designated comic book store outing. My visits to the various shops in NY are generally dictated by their proximity to restaurants that my wife and I like.
FYD: Any (relatively) new artists you like in the comic book world?
AT: If you asked me this ten years ago, I probably would’ve had to wrack my brain, but now it seems like there’s too many to list. Off the top of my head, though, I’d mention Vanessa Davis, who just had a great book called Make Me a Woman published by Drawn & Quarterly, and Jonathan Bennett, who contributes to MOME and The Believer.
I think it might help that I’m not a real New Yorker. Even though I’ve lived here since 2003, I still usually feel like some wide-eyed tourist
FYD: Scenes From An Impending Marriage; any late hints of wisdom you wish you had put in the book?
AT: I have no wisdom! Not when I was making the book, and not now!