Born on Long Island, illustrator Ellen Lindner now lives in London, England. Lindner’s classic style, intricate detail, and sharp storytelling let her readers explore a world that is otherwise unknown to them. In 2009 she self-published Undertow, a tale of Brooklyn in the early ’60’s. The main character is struggling to learn who she is and where she’s going – required reading for those traversing those same rough waters.
Over the last few years she has participated in two UK comics collectives, Whores of Mensa and the Comix Reader - both of which exhibit the work and talent of underground comic illustrators and their underground work. Lindner is also currently engaged in organizing public workshops with the team behind Alternative Press Fair.
It’s worth your time to explore Lindner’s little corner of the internet where you can get lost in her art and stay up to date with all the cool work she’s doing with her comics and the fine artists with whom she works.
1. What is your hometown?
Williston Park, New York – a 1920s Long Island suburb full of rather sweet, tiny houses, about 30 minutes by train from Manhattan. It’s very walkable and still has a really fab 1950′s lunch counter, along with some of the best pizza in America.
2. With what fictional character do you most identify?
A decent relationship with a normal person has cured me of the Jane Eyre over-identification that plagued me for years. These days I’d have to say Kurt on Glee – that show’s bringing back some very harrowing memories of being bullied at school.
3. In the movie of your life, cast an actor to play you.
Someone at a long-ago NYC Pride told me I looked like Chloe Sevigny, and that stuck. It’s sheer fantasy, but to be played by someone with such great style – and great taste in roles – would be a privilege.
4. What work of art speaks to your soul?
Film, generally. I’m a cartoonist, so I should say comics, but reading a graphic novel just reminds me how much work doing a great comic is. I can pretend that a good film is effortless, the way it feels. Claire Denis’ “Nénette et Boni” is the last film I completely lost myself in – it has wonderful music by Tindersticks. If I were to name a comic I’d say “Special Exits,” by underground trailblazer Joyce Farmer – it’s an emotionally intense memoir of taking care of her aging parents.
5. What books are you currently reading or recommending?
I’m reading Hermione Lee’s biography of Edith Wharton in dribs and drabs, alongside Don DeLillo’s “Falling Man” and David Byrne’s “Bicycle Diaries.” I tend to grab whatever looks interesting on the shelf, read a bit on public transport, a bit when I wake up on the morning, but I’ve gotten to be very poor at actually finishing anything. The last book I finished was “The Night Bookmobile” by Audrey Niffenegger, a lovely painted comic that clocks in at about 50 pages!
6. What song or album is currently in heavy rotation on your iPod?
I got a copy of 2009′s “End of the Road Festival” cheap at Deptford Market, here in South London – it’s got Fleet Foxes, The Acorn and Neko Case – very enjoyable. A friend lent me the last album by Phoenix, which is super-fun. And I never stop listening to “L’Histoire de Melody Nelson,” by Serge Gainsbourg – the Light In The Attic reissue from a few years back is fantastic.
7. What’s the last movie that made you cry?
The BBC adaptation of Sarah Waters’ “The Night Watch,” a story about ambulance workers during the Blitz, came very close. Things involving heroism or self-denial always make me cry.
8. Cat person or dog person?
I’ve lived with cats, and like it very much, but always fantasized about having a dog. I dogsit occasionally for a friend’s Shiba Inu – I definitely got more exercise as a dog person, but it was a lot more work. Being selfish by nature, I guess I’ll stick with cats.
9. What is more important, truth or kindness?
Kindness always. Unless someone specifically requests the truth – regarding their work, for example – I tend to err on the side of kindness.
10. How do you define sin?
Hurting people. It’s also the most important sin to atone for.
11. How do you define virtue?
This is hard. I’m not particularly virtuous…not hurting the people you love is a good start. Aside from that, I try to help people out when I can.
12. Design your headstone: What does it say? What does it look like?
It says: Watched Every Episode of Law and Order, with a really tacky, horrible lasercut portrait of Jerry Orbach and Benjamin Bratt. Burying that sad truth alone is a good reason to be cremated.
Bonus Question: Who would you like to see answer these questions?
Gabrielle Bell, Mardou, Sarah McIntyre, Amneet Johal.