Meet Artists & Creatives working across the state
Jill Burke, comic artist, originally from Bangor, ME currently residing in Brooklyn, New York, is experienced in other-worldly storytelling. Inspired by alienation and changing life events, Jill uses digital drawing techniques to create a world of her own through her alien comics. The intergalactic theme found in Jill’s art provides both her and the viewer with the freedom to imagine and create beyond this planet.
More about Jill
My name is Jill Burke, I am a Comic Artist using Digital Drawing techniques to create my images., and I live in Brooklyn, NY. If you’d like to learn more about my work, check out vvcomics.net or follow me on Instagram @vvcomics.
You’ve really dove into your alien/space-themed work as being your brand. I would love to know how that came about and how it typically inspires you?
I began my alien comics around age 20 during a period where I was feeling extremely disillusioned by my reality. I was working a menial job I hated, I had just suffered a heartbreak, and I was dismayed by the complacency of the people around me. I was a college student midway through a fine art degree, and I felt surrounded by messaging that said “don’t dream too big, because it probably won’t happen.”
My feelings of alienation inspired me to create a character who was going through a similar situation. So I started drawing a brilliant green girl on a planet where productivity reigns supreme, a girl who was yearning for something else, a girl who I could relate to. And to offset her encyclopedic, rigid mindset, I created a free-spirited, goofy astronaut to pull her out of her routine and bring color into her world. In a way, my astronaut Fritz is like a gender-bent manic pixie dream girl, and 64318 is the square who needed her reality shaken up.
As far as space goes, there are a few things about it that inspire me endlessly. For one, it’s limitless. I can build any planet, any species, any phenomenon, and it can exist in perfect harmony in my cartoon universe. I also adore that space liberates my characters from societal expectations, constructs, and situations. It quenches my childlike idealism to imagine worlds where the painful burdens of Earthly society do not weigh my characters down. And lastly, at the end of the day, space is visually stunning. If you ever want to feel hope about this universe just browse through NASA’s image gallery, holy cow.
Tell me a bit about your First Friday showing at the Bangor Arts Exchange. Was this your first gallery show? Any plans for another in the future elsewhere?
In 2018 I showed a drawing in the Deadly Ambiguity of Guns art show at the New Orleans Art Center. In 2016 and 2017 I submitted a total of five drawings which were chosen for the Juried Shows at the Newcomb Art Gallery at Tulane University (my alma mater). In 2016 I also hosted my own gallery show at the Coespace gallery in Downtown Bangor.
This gallery show at BAE was very special because I had spent the past year and a half in the Covid-19 pandemic focusing on my comics and deciding exactly what I wanted to do with my art career moving forward. I felt more precise than ever with this show, and was able to select from a wide variety of pieces which I had completed in the past year. This felt like the “truest” showing of my work, and certainly the most evolved. Right now I am working on finishing my serial comic and formatting it into a book, but I definitely see myself taking part in more shows in the future.
You had mentioned your move to Brooklyn, New York recently. Are you excited about continuing art opportunities there? How do you think this will play into your creations moving forward?
I have been in Brooklyn for about six weeks now, and already I am noticing new trends in how I approach image-making. The architecture of the city is diverse and dense, and I am currently enjoying explorations of putting people into different architectural environments. There is an abundance of street art and graffiti in my neighborhood, which is such a gift to the community, and these are also the kinds of projects that I would love the opportunity to execute.
Dustin Saucier is an introspective musician and songwriter currently residing in Bangor, Maine. He aims to reach people with his music and give them something to feel and relate to. You’ll find that Dustin’s songs are wrapped in stories of emotional and meaningful life experience.
More about Dustin
What inspired you for this upcoming record?
A multitude of events that happened in a short span during the pandemic were the inspiration for my record. I experienced a decent amount of loss in many different facets of life, and were things I had to learn how to acclimate to. Luckily for me, songwriting has always been a cathartic process.
Are these shows some of your first headlining back after the pandemic break?
Yes! I’m overjoyed to be able to play out and hopefully meet some new people.
What are you looking forward to/enjoyed about playing your album release shows?
I write a lot of the music I do to evoke emotion or to give someone who might be experiencing a similar situation that they are not alone. I’m looking forward to being able to share my stories and hopefully connect with people
Any collaborations during this record that you were excited about?
I got to work with some musicians I’ve been able to work with in the past for this release. Nathan Polhemus did a lot of the keys and synth work. Darren Hicks did fantastic bass work. The album’s drums and engineering were done by Zach Chafee. As far as new people I got to work with, my friend and talented steel guitar player Hamilton Belk provided a gorgeous steel guitar part to the song “September”. I hope to work with him more.
What are you most proud of with this new project in relation to previous work?
Most of my work I’m still quite proud of. I love telling stories through song and I think that’s something I’ve done well over my career. I will say that this album probably hits some of the most personal thoughts and feelings I’ve ever shared.
Give us a few sentence bio on how you’d present yourself as an artist and your work…
I’m an introspective songwriter looking to make a connection through music.
How would you describe the medium of your work?
What are you up to currently?
Currently working on new songs for a follow up.
Anything you want to plug or any links we should list?