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Anders Nilsen, Age 16
A three-time Ignatz Award winner, Anders Nilsen is the author of the graphic novels Poetry Is Useless, Rage of Poseidon, Big Questions, Monologues for the Coming Apocalypse, Monologues for Calculating the Density of Black Holes, and Dogs & Water, along with the graphic memoirs Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow and The End. Presented here is a collection of sketches he drew in high school, done in ink and pencil on a variety of materials, including algebra homework, a worksheet for German class, and a candy wrapper.
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— Anders Nilsen, Age 16
“Pretty sure that was taken my senior year of high school. I was super into skateboarding. I drew a lot. I was doing graffiti. I worked at a pizza place. I wasn’t a very good student, but my grades had improved since starting high school, partly because several of my friends had dropped out and disappeared and so I had fewer distractions. The first Gulf War happened around this time and a friend and I organized a walk-out at our school, and a teach-in. The previous year I was arrested at a demonstration against US involvement in Central America. I was reading Raw and The Dark Knight and had probably just been introduced to Ed the Happy Clown. I was a big fan of Jenny Holzer and Keith Haring and was listening to a lot of Iggy Pop. The next year I would buy a green 1967 Chevy Nova station wagon and drive across country to visit colleges in New Mexico and Oregon, and see my sister in Oakland, CA. My main memory of that trip, though, is playing Egyptian Ratscrew in several service stations while we waited for the carburator to get fixed, over and over. The car was a piece of shit. Looked great, though.”