Is the Subway Slim character close to your personality type ?
“What ? You mean a desperate loner who can’t connect with anyone because he is emotionally dysfunctional ?”.
Yeah, that’s exactly how I see you. No, seriously, Slim may have a bit of that aspect about him but knowing him in some depth I would say he is an observer and he is seeking something much deeper than the scope of normal human relations, is this something that resonates with you personally, does this come from your own experience ?
“It evolved organically. It emerged from the wellspring of the imagination so I would hope that these are universal themes that most people can identify with in one way or another. Subway Slim emerged from the subconscious and, if Carl Jung is correct, the subconscious is the great repository of all human experience – it’s the engine room of life, that’s where we will find all the answers; “He who looks outside dreams, he who looks inside awakens”.
So the ‘relationship with the subconscious’ is what drives you ?
“It drives me, it drives you, it drives all human activity. If we are going to sort out the human race, sort out this world of ours, the subconscious is where we need to start – deal with that and we will be able to deal with everything else”.
You say that with some confidence.
“I guarantee it”.
Can we expect to see more on the subject of the subconscious ?
“Definitely, Jung, again, said ‘Psychology is modern mythology’ and this is a theme through all the books… we’ll also be seeing something on the subject of the Quantum Entanglement theory”.
The idea that the photons that make up all matter in the universe are all connected ?
“Precisely, except it is no longer just a theory, Dr Wisemans team at the University of Tokyo have proved it. Everything really is connected !”.
How does that relate to the theme of the subconscious ?
“When we access the subconscious we can access the subconscious of all humanity. It hasn’t been proven but it’s a widely discussed idea in psychology. So there you have the social/human equivalent of entanglement”.
Do you use your relationship with the subconscious extensively in your work ?
“Yes, I rely on it, I trust it, it is where our most powerful instincts are honed. Its also where we can face our inner demons and try to better ourselves. But this is something we can talk about in more detail in Issue 4 when the next book begins, and we can look at how that works and how it is applied to the process of storytelling and illustration”.
You didn’t start out with a clear idea of what the book was going to be ?
“Before Convergence I had been working for years on projects that began with a specific set of themes right from the start – highly structured, and this was the first time I could just allow the thing to come into focus by itself. I wasn’t even considering publishing it until after I had completed the second book so I had a lot of freedom to explore”.
Despite the passion and the intensity of the love affairs, it seems to be rooted in a fairly humdrum reality ?
“That is in the nature of the transrealism genre. I wanted to establish a very recognisable everyday reality in the first book because we will gradually be drifting further and further away from that into the realms of mysticism and anomalous phenomena”.
What is happening here at the end of Issue One ?
“The city is a metaphor for relationships, seen as a harsh and unforgiving mistress but he is fascinated all the same, “I have to reach the centre of the state that you’re in, I have to find out why I’m living under your skin” applies to both the woman and the city. So that’s what he resolves to do at this point. It’s hinting that he has decided to pursue a woman. Despite the obvious dangers involved he is going to jump in and the same can be said for the people who take on the big city, it’s a tough choice and it’s a deadly place, but people still want to do it, there is some redeeming factor that makes them think the risk is worthwhile and Slim feels the same about this woman so we know that there is obviously some history there – he’s taking a risk on her”.
Interview by Natasha Grey.