Rare new video interview with R. Crumb

Legendary underground cartoonist R. Crumb in a rare video interview recorded a few months back during the Louisiana Literature festival at Humlebæk, Denmark's Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. From a summary of Crumb's comments:

“I was so alienated when I was young, that drawing was like my only connection to society. That was the only thing that I could see was going to save me from a really dismal fate of God knows what.” Crumb describes his social skills as a young man as being “completely nil.” At the same time, he was driven by his “fucked-up ego,” and he had to balance those two sides. Drawing became a way for him to deal with reality, and in the 1950s, where “being a comic-book artist was the lowest level of commercial art,” he pushed toward a more personal use of the medium: “At a certain point I decided I don’t want to be America’s best-loved hippie cartoonist. I don’t want that role. So I’ll just be honest about who I am, and the weirdness, and take my chances.” Consequently, Crumb alienated a lot of people with his often provocative content: “It was just too disturbing for most people, too weird.”

Crumb has an urge to question things and is acutely aware that he’s going to get hell for what he’s doing – even lose friends – but he is willing to take the heat for it. He feels that he plays with images, emphasixing the word “play.” Nowadays, he argues, there’s a tendency to take everything at face value – including his artwork: “The artwork I did that used those images and expressed those kinds of feelings, I stand by it… I still think that that’s something that needed to be said and needed to be done… It probably hurts some people’s feelings to see those images, but still, I had to put it out there.” Putting down anything that stands in the way of political correctness, he feels, becomes extreme and suppressive: “I can even lead to censorial policies in the government and stuff like that. They don’t realize that they’re playing into the hands of some very bad people.”