Marcel Dzama
Dzama's show closes Sat Oct 27. See it now! Greg Kucera Gallery, 212 Third Ave S, 624-0770.

There are these strange repeating elements in your drawings--bats, amputees, animals wearing clothing. Where do they come from? "The amputee is usually a cowboy, which is me kind of trying to be a cowboy, trying to be macho. I'm not sure where the bats came from. Sometimes they're vampires. The animals in clothing--well, that's just because a lot of animals have better personalities than people. They're much more interesting characters."

What kind of world do these drawings inhabit? They're more like isolated incidents--there's no background, both literally and narratively. "They're like storyboards cut up, from different movies, and then placed in the right spot. Just skits, little moments."

They stay mysterious that way. "It's a lot more interesting when you don't know what's happening. Here, you have to bring your own imagination into play."

You must have done thousands of drawings by now. "I think probably around 5,000, I guess. The early ones were simple, just one character, like a cat smoking a cigarette."

Has anyone wanted to animate them? "I did a short animation in a movie called FILM(dzama). It played at the Toronto Film Festival and won the first-place award for short film."

Were you a doodler? "Oh yeah."

Like in the margins of telephone books? "Everywhere. In high school, my books were filled with doodles, and university too."

It's got to be a little surreal to have people paying for them now.

"It's kind of overwhelming, and kind of sad. I liked it when they were more affordable."

Interview by Emily Hall