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Top 20 Jews In The Arts - Lisa Brown

Illustrator and Writer, Lisa Brown, chats with Shalom Life for Day 17 of our series

By: Ashley Baylen
Published: April 27th, 2011 in Culture » Books » Interviews
Lisa BrownPic: NILL

Over the next 20 days, Shalom Life will be presenting the Top 20 Jews In The Arts. One artist will be featured a day from various disciplines including visual arts, acting, writing, comedy, and music.

We sent the participating artists the same 30 questions with instructions to answer all, or just a few. Have fun learning about these fascinating individuals, and please check back daily to compare their answers. Enjoy!

Lisa Brown

Lisa Brown became a New York Times bestseller by illustrating The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming by Lemony Snicket, to whom she is allegedly married. Her other less-bestselling-but-still-worth-something books include How to Be and Vampire Boy’s Good Night for children, McSweeney’s Baby Be of Use series of board books for new parents, and, with author Adele Griffin, Picture the Dead, an illustrated ghost story for young adults. She creates the syndicated cartoon strip The Three Panel Book Review for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Please visit Lisa at www.americanchickens.com or follow her sporadic tweets @lisabrowndraws and tumbles at http://americanchickens.tumblr.com/.

Where do you go when you’re lacking inspiration?

I take a walk around my neighbourhood, which has a lot of crazy beautiful hills, and end up in a café. Drinking coffee and eavesdropping always helps.

Where's your favourite place to travel to?

Cape Cod. I am addicted to the smell of the Atlantic Ocean.

Do you have any pets? Tell us about them.

I can only seem to nurture one thing at a time, and that includes houseplants. Right now, lucky for him, the one thing is my seven-year-old son.

What's your favourite dish? Where do you normally get it?

Pizza is number one with a bullet. I make a mean homemade version, but any old port in a storm is fine by me. I like bad pizza better than good anything else, which is a little embarrassing.

Are you religious? Spiritual? Nothing at all?

I was raised conservative Jewish, kosher home and all that, and now I might call myself secular, with the occasional Yiddish exclamation, holiday celebration and uncomfortable feeling during the Christmas season.

What's your favourite movie?

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

TV Show?

Law & Order. I like shows with a beginning, middle and end.

Musician/band?

I love music, but I find myself listening to NPR all day long. Does Terry Gross count?

If you weren't working in the arts, what would you be doing?

I’d be in bed with the covers over my head. It has happened before.

Can you offer a piece of advice to aspiring artists?

Try to make at least one piece of art every day. Even if you throw it away afterwards.

What are you better at than most other people you know?

Identifying minor character actors in old movies.

Tell us something about yourself we might be surprised to hear.

When I dream, it’s often about vampires.

How would you describe your personal style?

Small, dark and funny.

Where is your primary residence? Do you consider this place "home"?

San Francisco. But I grew up primarily in New England, and I still feel like an East Coaster most of the time. I have trouble smiling in public.

Who's your favourite author?

If I had to choose, which would be very very difficult, It would be Edward Gorey.

Do you watch reality TV?

What’s that?

What one word would you use to describe yourself?

Short.

What item do you never leave your house without?

My keys. Oh wait, I actually forget them a lot.

Tea or coffee? From where?

Coffee. Almost constantly. Usually from my kitchen. My husband makes me a pot every morning, so it’s there when I wake up. Once, for about a week and a half, he accidently made that pot with decaf and practically killed me.

Related articles: Lisa Brown, Latke Who Couldnt Stop Screaming, Lemony Snicket, How to Be, Vampire Boys Good Night, Baby Be of Use, San Francisco Chronicle, American Chickens
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