Next up in our Artist Spotlight is Kimball Anderson, a long time friend of Open Door Arts, and featured artist at the Open Door Gallery in Boston.
Kimball makes comics for “people who fell off of the conveyor belt of life.” Since Kimball was young they’ve been disabled by ME/CFS and mental illness. They write and make art, and like to mix those together. Often this means making comics, or visual poetry. They are in a constant state of experimenting with format, medium, and writing, starting with a theme or a sensation and developing the project around it. This can lead to works that look and read very different, but they all have a similar gentle, probing sensibility.
Recently, Kimball has been playing with how to portray brain fog using repeated words groping for the rest of the sentence they are meant for, like a word just on the tip of the tongue trying to come out. And in an upcoming work, portraying the pressures SSI rules around marriage puts on romantic relationships.
In a broader sense, their work is always touching on the ignored, quiet spaces along the periphery that people with chronic illness fall into. Always in some way about finding beauty and transcendence in the state of rest, in “wasted time”.
Kimball has a complicated relationship with “professionalism”, as it comes to their art. It seems to them that professionalism is a standard built to weed out marginalized people, a way to put a good face on maintaining structural inequality. They often feel like aiming for perfect clean lines and writing words neatly is like trying to meet an ableist standard that it’s not healthy to chase. Sometimes their work gets messier as rebellion, and then cleaner as the rebellion just feels like shooting themself in the foot. And sometimes it feels like messier art has more character, more depth.
Kimball has recently had work in literary magazines such as Corporeal Magazine, Flux, and Driftwood. As well as comics anthologies like Ink Brick, When I Was Me, and How to Wait. And will be in the upcoming CBA double volume 56-57: Uncomics.
You can find more of their comics online at outside-life.com, or find them on tumblr and twitter as “earnestattempts” or “symbolandperson” on instagram. You can also check out their patreon where they make and mail a new comic/visual poem that is usually 12-20 pages long every month, at patreon.com/kimball If you act now they’ll catch you up on the 17 part series that is just about to complete, and is currently only available this way!