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Rod Quam Art Exhibit

When Jun 03, 2010 05:00 PM to
Jul 31, 2010 05:00 PM
Where Decorah Public Library
Contact Name
Contact Phone 563-382-3717
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Rod says:

"The name of my show is “A semi career in cartoons, comics, and other bad ideas,” which really says it all. If I had listened to any of my art instructors while growing up, I would’ve abandoned my foolish dream of someday drawing for MAD magazine. But I didn’t really want to be a “serious” artist, and preferred drawing funny comics and making myself and others laugh. What’s the purpose of life without laughter?


Phase One:

 I started drawing as soon as I could hold a jumbo Crayola without tipping over from the sheer weight of the crayon. Every single child on the planet loves to draw pictures, it’s inherent. Some kids drew because they had to for school, or their parents were sick of finding them drawing on the walls. My parents were too smart for that nonsense, and always made an effort to keep me armed with pencils and paper.

 My discovery of the “funnies” in the Sunday newspaper was a major turning point in my very young life. I couldn’t believe that there were actually other weirdos out there who loved drawing cartoons. The next day at school I started raiding the John Cline library of every Charlie Brown book they had. After I went through all of those, my Mom told me to check the public library, which I did. It was kind of like celebrating Christmas every day, only without the guilt.

 In the 3rd grade I went to a slumber party at a friend’s house, and was first exposed to MAD magazine and Marvel comic books. Oddly enough, it was the same sleepover where I saw and heard my first KISS record. As supportive as my parents were, they could not have foreseen the beginnings of my journey toward the dark side. Just like the Sunday comics changed my life, MAD blew me away! Not only were those artists talented beyond my comprehension, but the magazine itself was the craziest thing I had ever seen.


Phase Two:

While attending East Side school, I was “introduced” to a teacher that would change my views on the world of art, Elizabeth Lorentzen. Prior to her class, art didn’t mean a thing to me. Drawing funny pictures was for amusement and for giggles. I never saw what I enjoyed doing as being art, nor did I consider myself artistic. But she got through to me by making art a fun thing to do, and a positive thing as well. The fact that she was terrific with a pencil and a great drawer made me love her classes even more.

Even with my newfound appreciation of all things art, my addiction to MAD had not subsided. At one point, and I swear I’m not making this up, they actually banned MAD books from East Side. Luckily for me and my fellow MAD devotees, we stashed those things in the reference section of the library. The teachers seldom looked for them there, and most of the kids were too dumb to go in that section anyway.


Phase Three:

 In 1990 I moved to Minneapolis with my portfolio and some ambitious hopes of landing a job in an art studio. I had attended college for a year prior to the move, but didn’t finish. Thinking that my drawing skills were honed enough, I started the process of interviewing and showing my work. The results were not especially gratifying however, and there seemed to be a common explanation. All of the art directors thought my cartooning was quite good, but they also thought my “regular” art was lacking somewhat. But I was able to take solace in knowing that I was perhaps one of the most talented dishwashers in the Twin Cities. Then one day it dawned on me; animation.

I scheduled an interview, tied my hair back into a pony tail, and set out to Mike Jones Film Corp in Edina. They took me on as a freelance assistant animator. It was like the American dream. Getting paid to sit on my butt and draw, a full size pool table in the back of the studio, and there was even cold beer in the pop machine.


Phase Four:

I’m doing this show for one reason really, and that’s because I’ve never had one. So have a little peek inside my world, and be happy that you listened to your teachers. And if you want to know what happened between 1992 and now, wait for the book."



Rod Quam 073110