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amanda church

e-mail interview, february 2006
amanda's artwork features on the mr beast and friend of the night sleeves.

bl: most mogwai fans will only have seen your work on the mr. beast sleeve, so perhaps you'd be kind enough to introduce yourself and give us a little background.

ac: well, i was born in vancouver, bc, canada. i went to an art college there called emily carr institute, and graduated in 2002. since then i've moved to a small mountain town, and concentrated my efforts on making graphic-type novels (one of which has just been published) and also into some gallery stuff. to support the art habit, i've worked the usual service industry type jobs...

bl: how did you end up working with mogwai? were you familiar with the band before you started working on the project?

ac: i had a roommate in college that got me hooked on mogwai. i listened to them a lot when i was up late trying to complete some project or another. the music always put me in a sort of "on the edge and could fall" state of mind. i really liked the integrity of the group, so i thought "why not" and e-mailed them some samples of my work. i guess that they liked something in the work too, 'cause they e-mailed back.

bl: was 'milkbar' a specific commission for the album sleeve, or something you'd completed that fitted the bill?

ac: for the "mr. beast" album, i got total free rein, which was a little scary and great. mogwai sent me a rough mix of the album, and when i listened to it...
i made those two painting ("milkbar" and "poinsettias") for the album as i heard it.

bl: do you know if mogwai plan to use "poinsettias" in the future?

ac: as far as i know "poinsettias" will be the picture on the back of the album. it runs with the theme on the cover. they also have the rights to "goodnight apollo" and i think this was to be laid out in the center, although there was trouble with this images' clarity and getting a high enough dpi for reproduction.

bl: a number of people have commented on "milkbar" on our forum. can you give me/us some insight into the image from your perspective? what was your inspiration? is it part of a series of images (in the light of your graphic novel work)? any significance in the nine tiles?

ac: ha ha. it's always a little strange seeing what people will say about your work. the thing about art is that you can't do 100% of the work. i mean, all you can do is make the image as best and as honest as it comes to you. but as soon as it's placed in the view of others, their own perceptions take over and they see what they will. no matter how carefully you think you might have guided them to see it as you want them to see it. with that in mind, here are some things that i was thinking about for "milkbar". you know that scene in "aliens" (the second one i think) that bishop the robot is all messed up by the alien and lying on the ground? he's got this white milky stuff pouring out of him instead of blood, and as a kid watching it, that was so completely horrific and profoundly sad to me. i remember thinking too that it made a lot of sense for him to be lubricated by milk. "mr. beast" gave me the same feelings of horrible (un)sense but also sustaining beauty. that kinda got me thinking about what it means to be human and to be alive, which got me thinking about all those good things like birth (and milk) and death (and milky blood) and sex (and semen) and everything else. sorry to answer in such a long winded and convoluted way, that's just how i was thinking about it...
as far as style goes, i can do photo realism and other styles, but since this was to be on a cd cover, a small format that has to grab you and speak to you quickly, i thought comic book style would be the best.

bl: what are your plans for the future?

ac: i've just finished a new graphic novel called "the dogs of mexico" that should be out hopefully next year. beyond that i've a couple of vancouver art shows coming up this summer, but mostly i wanna be lucky enough to keep doing what i love, and keep working with others who feel the same about their work.

thank you, amanda.