Andrez Bergen is an expat Australian writer, journalist, DJ, musician, photographer and ad hoc beer and saké connoisseur who has been entrenched in Tokyo, Japan, for the past 15 years.
He published noir/sci-fi novel ‘Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat’ in 2011, the surreal fantasy ‘One Hundred Years of Vicissitude’ in 2012, comic book/noir homage ‘Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?’ in 2013, and the coming-of-age mystery ‘Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth’ (2014).
In addition he has published two graphic novels: ‘Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat’ (2014) and ‘Bullet Gal’ (2015).
Bergen has published short stories through Crime Factory, Shotgun Honey, Snubnose Press, All Due Respect, 8th Wonder Press, Big Pulp, Perfect Edge Books, IF? Commix, Under Belly Comics, Pulp Ink, Another Sky Press and Solarcide, and worked on translating and adapting the scripts for feature films by Mamoru Oshii, Kazuchika Kise and Naoyoshi Shiotani.
Carrie: Welcome to Artist Strong Andrez, how do you express your creativity?
Thanks, Carrie. I express this through multi-media terms: via writing fiction as an author, through the comic books I create, the music I make (as Little Nobody) and even so far as journalism is concerned; I try to keep myself inspired!
Carrie: As you have multiple creative interests, how do you decide when and where to focus your creative energies?
I go what I’m feeling at any given moment. Sometimes it’s a short story, at others the components of a track or a page from a comic. Occasionally it’s work, especially when I place my journalist’s cap atop my skull.
Carrie: Do those varied creative interests inform one another? How so?
Definitely. The dada-inspired cut-up collages I do with music have heavily influenced how I conjure up comic book art, and writing to deadlines for newspapers and magazines has sped up my writing process. Subjects I’ve explored as a journalist, such as aspects of Japanese culture, have cross-pollinated into my novels.
Carrie: Can you describe your artistic process to readers? For example, do you follow the same pattern and track when you develop a book from idea to product?
Usually it’s very loose. As a writer I jot down ideas and vignettes, often based around dialogue, and then tie these aspects together into a workable scene. This develops into a short story, comic or novel. I love the freedom of movement this grants me. Sometimes minor characters take on a life of their own.
Carrie: What is the first thing you do when you feel stuck working on a project?
Look outside the window. See the world. Watch movies. Enjoy good food. The lucky thing is that if I get bogged down in one project, for example a book, I can start cutting a track instead.
Carrie: What are important strategies or choices you make that help support your creative process?
Waking up seriously early. I’m usually up around 3:00 or 4:00 am, when the family’s asleep, so I can potter on whatever current project before work. I also set myself fairly strict deadlines to achieve something.
Carrie: What’s one piece of advice or practice on your blog that you find indispensable for your own artist practice?
I’m not sure there is anything on my blog that achieves such an ideal, except perhaps the honesty – and sticking by a goal since you’ve already publicly announced it! Also, I do get to thank people and media types who have been supportive, and this is vital. Those people deserve kudos in return.
Carrie: How do you know when a project is finished?
Good question. It’s instinctive – or when I’m tired of something and no longer adding anything beneficial. You know then that you’ve done as much as you can.
Carrie: What are you currently working on?
A new noir/horror novel called ‘Small Change’, featuring the characters Roy & Suzie that I’ve used in a lot of short stories and the ‘Tales to Admonish’ comic book series, a new Little Nobody album through a Japanese label, and the ‘Trista & Holt’ comic book series that riffs on the legend of Tristan and Iseult—set in the 1970s and two crime families.
Carrie: What has been one hurdle you’ve overcome as a creative and how did you navigate that problem?
Laziness and putting things off. I did that for years, it is one reason I wrote my first novel 20 years before I bit the bullet and actively tried to get it published. Once you do achieve that you realize a lot of things are possible, so procrastination tends to slide.
Carrie: What is one piece of advice you have for struggling creatives?
Persevere, keep at it, and believe in your own work.
Carrie: Who/what inspires you?
Too many people to mention. Musicians, filmmakers, journalists, writers, friends, my family. The long-term movers and shakers? Musicians Cabaret Voltaire, artist Marcel Duchamp, comic book artists Jack Kirby and Steve Epting, comic writer Ed Brubaker, and authors Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.
Carrie: What writers/artists have you worked closely with?
People like writer Renee Pickup, filmmaker Mamoru Oshii, comic book writer/artist Matt Kyme, and musician Sebastian Bayne.
Carrie: How do you define Creativity?
Simply making something. Easy as that. I don’t care if it’s a sandcastle on the beach.
“Persevere, keep at it, and believe in your own work.” (Click to Tweet)
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: How do you deal with procrastination as a creative? I want to know! Tell me about it in the comments below.
Additional Contact Info:
Website: Andrez Bergen