10 Questions with Mickey Paraskevas, Artist
Southampton Arts Center’s retrospective of iconic Dan’s Papers artist, accomplished cartoonist and illustrator Michael Paraskevas’s work, Paint Your World: 40 Years of Illustration, Painting, Animation and Sketchbooks, presented by Dan’s Papers through Sunday, November 10.
The show takes a deep dive into the Paraskevas’s numerous children’s books and animated television programs, including Junior Kroll, Maggie and the Ferocious Beast, Shamlanders, The Tangerine Bear and many more, as well as his decades of Dan’s Papers cover art, fine art paintings and illustrations for a wide range of topics.
To celebrate the momentous exhibition, and his upcoming in-person talk about his work and process on Thursday, October 17 at 6 p.m., Paraskevas answered our 10 Questions, a standard set of rapid-fire queries we ask many of our most notable subjects.
1. Favorite book?
Well besides Jaws and Slaughterhouse-Five I would have to say Against the Fall of Night by Arthur C. Clarke. Against the Fall of Night was the first book I ever read that I connected with, and it started me on a lifetime of reading. Its sweeping vision of the future took me to places I never imagined. And yes, I have a first edition. Clarke is the vision behind 2001: A Space Odyssey one of my top 10 favorite movies of all time. It’s never fallen off the list.
2. The last thing that took your breath away?
I would have to say countless moments on my wedding day. Too many to list here. The second thing was waking up one morning in Iowa, walking outside the house we rented and looking at the sunrise. My brain is still in Iowa. We’re going back one of these days. I need to paint more.
3. The last thing that made you cry?
My agent John Goldsmith came all the way from LA to be at the opening of my retrospective show at the Southampton Arts Center. I gave him a hug and whispered to him that my mom, who he represented, too, always liked him and would have been so proud that he showed up.
4. It’s the eve of your execution… What would be your last meal?
Blueberry pancakes with sausage and a good cup of coffee…. and a metal file or a hacksaw.
5. Something worth fighting for?
Freedom of speech and the American flag. I think people today should stop yelling at me about my political beliefs. I don’t mind debate, but out and outright screaming and yelling is just silly.
6. Something worth giving up?
I never drank or smoked so…I could give up coffee. I have in the past, but I’ve always come back to it. I could give up cable TV. Netflix and Hulu are better.
7. Spend an afternoon with anyone—alive or dead—who would it be?
Well, obviously my mother, Betty. She is very missed in my life. I’d like to spend an afternoon with Artie Bruno, my father in-law, and explain to him why it took me so long to get married. I suppose he’d have to forgive me. I hope.
8. An interesting object in your home or studio?
I have a hoe that Artie made for my wife when she worked on the farm. He made it himself. She used it all the time. And now it’s hanging on the wall in my living room. I see it every day and it’s a reminder to me about how hard my wife Maria worked in her life.
9. Last film you watched?
Sadly, nothing mind blowing. We watched Coming to America again and it’s still very funny. We laughed and laughed. Eddie Murphy was at the top of his game.
10. What is your favorite cartoon or character that you did NOT create?
Hmmm…. I love Foghorn Leghorn. There are only seven full cartoons with him as the star, but they are all brilliant. I say, I say.
Join Mickey Paraskevas for Paint Your World Illustrated Talk at Southampton Arts Center (25 Jobs Lane) in Southampton Village on Thursday, October 17 at 6 p.m.