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Here is more of our interview with Tacoma underground cartoonist RR Anderson

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on Dec. 23, 2012 at 10:30 am with No Comments »
December 23, 2012 10:29 pm

Q: It seems the Tacomics that sell, I’m guessing, might be purchased by your victims, perhaps subjects?
A: Pretty much, yeah. Or somebody;s friends with them and they buy them as gifts so they can tear them up and throw them in the fireplace or throw them on their vanity wall. They’re the perfect gift and it is the holiday season.

Q: I must admit that when I first saw Cogswell Polytechnic I thought you made that up. But it’s an actual place.
A: Yeah. Their mascot is a dragon and it was started by Dr. Henry Cogswell who was a dentist for the miner 49ers. He came out with the goldrush to fix prospectors teeth which was a good business back then. It’s like a trade, engineering school…

RR Anderson refreshing selections in the Central Tacoma Free Radical Media Exchange. (Dean Koepfler photo)

Q: I don’t know that anyone else dared question the Haub Family Western Art donation?
A: I think I was the only one who even questioned it. Everyone else was like, ‘Hey, great. Next.” It would probably fit in better with the History Museum because they’ve got train sets. But you’ve got to make the German billionaire happy. I was kind of pissed off when Father Bix was going to donate this Picasso sketch that he got in Japan and that made sense because we have all the nuclear bomb crap that we’re still dealing with. So they were like, No, we don’t want that. And then comes the billionaire with his collection and we’re like “Hey, we love that.”


Q: The fez was adopted (by the members of the Cartoonist’s League of Absurd Washingtonians) why?
A: We met at the sushi place over by where the art supply store was and we were thinking we wanted to start some kind of graphics arts group and then we were like, ‘Let’s not make it a lame graphic arts group. Let’s make it like a old-school secret society. Let’s have fezes and weird rituals.’

Q: What was great about growing up in Juneau?
A: Isolation. Juneau is only accessible through boats and airplanes. And then just wilderness everywhere. It’s a lot like Tacoma too like there will be historical structures scattered throughout and you could walk off into the woods and find a mine or an abandoned building, huge metal gears buried in the forest. It’s pretty cool.

Q: How long have you had the Free-Radical Media Exchange?
A: Since this summer. I got laid off so I was working from home and needed something to do. And then Stadium Video crapped out and the Martin Luther King Library crapped out so I had to do something, I had to take matters into my own hands. Vigilante Libraryism.

Q: What made you think of it?
A: I always wanted to do something back there because it was just a blank wall and people were dumping mattresses. There’s a free library movement in Seattle and I can’t remember if I hung it up and someone sent me the link or I saw the link and then hung it up. I created a Facebook Group around it so people could see what was recent. I try to treat it like a combination of video store and library…it’s evolving.

Q: Have you ever done a cartoon, and put it out there, that you regretted?
A: Yeah, but not because of political reasons. More like quality, more like ‘that drawing sucked. I really hate that. In my books I have a chapter, the worst comics and I put all the ones I hate.

Q: But not because, ‘that was too mean?’
A: No, never too mean. Sometimes I’ll feel bad because I got it wrong, because more details came out. But I have no problem saying that was wrong and here’s an updated one.

Q: How did Tinkertopia come up?
A: Well, I got laid off and we always liked this store, The Creation Station up in Lynnwood and they have Scrap down in Portland, reclaimed materials sold as arts supply stores. They have them all around Portland but you have to drive all the way to Lynnwood to find anything similar. We were thinking we could apply for Space Works, get free rent and try out this business model here. People can donate supplies or also factories or shipping people who end up with a truckload of this little shape they usually throw out, like die cuts. We take all these different materials that alone it’s a cool material and you feel guilty throwing it away but you can’t really do anything with it. But if you combine it with a couple other, like of the same variety materials, you could make a kit and build something out of it. We were going to sell kits and think of interesting to build with all these byproducts or you buy a bag and fill it with different materials. They’re good for schools and pre-schools, they need activities and art supplies.

Q: Political cartoonists tend to have a certain set of politics. What are yours?
A: I’d say I am Chaotic Neutral. But I think pro-Socialist cartoons and ultra-left wing radical cartooning had suffered atrophy for awhile so I’m trying to do that kind of angle. You have all the crazy right-wing cartoonists. There’s not very many crazy left-wing cartoonists. I think it’s a nice release because its showing something they would never see in the Tacoma Weekly or the News Tribune or any other of the really lame political cartoons that every newspaper in America subscribes through syndication services. I try to do hyper-local so no one outside of Tacoma would care about this….it’s a celebration of the weirdo political people.

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