10 With Tom
10 questions in 10 minutes
Andrew Farago has one of the coolest careers there is. He's the curator of the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco. Comics curator and San Francisco! Sounds like a perfect life. Unfortunately, the museum is in flux, as it has to find a new home, but Andrew is upbeat and has plans for a new place soon. I had the chance to ask Andrew the 10 With Tom questions. Here they are:
TOM: I know you are looking for a home for the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco, why is this? Why do you need to move?
ANDREW: The Cartoon Art Museum's lease at its previous space expired as the building's owners were planning to sell. We're closing in on a new location in San Francisco now, though.
TOM: When I was a kid I visited the Cartoon Museum in Greenwich, CT, it was overseen at the time by Mort Walker, Beetle Bailey cartoonist. Is this the same museum, now in San Francisco?
ANDREW: We're a completely different museum, founded by San Francisco-based publisher Malcolm Whyte and friends in 1984. Malcolm drew inspiration from Mort's museum, however, and wanted something comparable on the west coast.
TOM: The Greenwich museum had lots of money problems back then, in the 1980s I believe it was. Why do these comic museums always have such problems with attracting visitors?
ANDREW: It's not strictly an attendance issue - it takes a lot of work to keep any non-profit organization up and running. You need visitors, sure, but it takes a combination of grants, fundraising events, individual and corporate supporters, members, and community support for a museum to thrive.
TOM: I know it's like choosing your favorite child, but what are your three favorite comic strips/panels?
ANDREW: Tough call. I've got complete sets of Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, and Cul de Sac on my bookshelf at home, but I could name at least five more that I couldn't live without.
TOM: Do you draw?
ANDREW: Not as much as I'd like, but I majored in Studio Art at Colorado College. I manage to fill a couple of sketchbooks a year, and usually produce one or two mini-comics for conventions like the Alternative Press Expo.
TOM: What seems to be the most popular item at the museum for guests?
ANDREW: Across the board, people want to see whatever their favorite comic was when they were six years old. Peanuts, Pogo, Popeye, Bloom County, Calvin and Hobbes...nostalgia triumphs over all.
Contemporary six-year-olds are really into Raina Telgemeier, Lincoln Peirce's Big Nate, Patrick McDonnell's Mutts, and Garfield. There will always be a new generation of six-year-olds coming up, and they'll always love Garfield.
TOM: If the Cartoon Art Museum had to move from San Francisco, to another city, would you move with it?
ANDREW: I've always dreamed of having a mobile base of operations, kind of like The A-Team, where I'd drive a vanful of comics across America, bringing art directly to the people, but barring that, Cleveland's really nice this time of year.
TOM: Starry Night, Mona Lisa or Les Demoiselles d'Avignon by Picasso?
ANDREW: I love da Vinci, but Starry Night would look better in my living room.
TOM: Who is the most famous person you have ever met?
ANDREW: Stan Lee or Hayao Miyazaki, depending on the continent.
TOM: What's something you always wanted to do as a child but never got to do?
ANDREW: Going to Disneyland, calling Bil Keane on the telephone, and visiting a warehouse full of Batmobiles are all things I've had to do on the job as an adult, so I don't think my childhood self has anything to complain about.
Thanks, Andrew. Curator of the Cartoon Art Museum. I think other than being a professional cartoonist, that is the best job to have!
This is just one of the celebrity interviews Tom Falco does as part of the 10 With Tom series. You can see the other interviews at Tomversation.com