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Art & Life with Napoleon Doom

Today we’d like to introduce you to Napoleon Doom.

Napoleon, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
After being laid off from my job in video production back in 2009, I started exploring other options for employment. I’d always had vivid dreams, which I drew and wrote stories about, but I’d never seriously considered that as being something I might make a career out of.

By 2010 I wrote and pitched a historical fantasy novel with several hand-drawn illustrations. By 2011, I had acquired a drawer full of rejection letters, and ended a 10-year relationship, but hadn’t really acquired much to boast about.

In doing research for my novel, I had started volunteering at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. I eventually took a job there, 1st as security, then as a videographer and finally as part of the living history education program. More importantly, I met my future husband, who was the first person to encourage me to make art and writing my career.

Working at the maritime museum meant keeping odd hours, and I found myself indulging in sleep wherever I could. I noticed my dreams had become increasingly vivid and unusual. Though I was in a new relationship, many of my dreams seemed to center around the hurt I had suffered in my past relationship. It was as if my mind was warning me not to go down that path again, you can’t afford to sacrifice another 20 years to that nonsense. I decided to write these dreams down and draw the imagery from them.

Soon, I had a whole journal based on the stories from my dreams, which I developed into a comic book. I never considered it to be something viable, as I was still attempting to query my novel. I had been advised by an editor I’d hired to keep a strong online presence as publishers search social media for new talent. I had obediently set up twitter accounts for several of my characters in an attempt to gain these publishers attention.

I received a friends request from a podcast called Grimerica on one of these accounts and began tuning in. It was a paranormal podcast with a more laid-back feel, like Coast to Coast meets Pineapple Express. One episode, however, caught my attention. The hosts, Darren and Graham interviewed one Robert Waggoner of the Monroe Institute. Waggoner discussed the power of lucid dreams (dreaming while conscious of dreaming) to train and reprogram the mind. I came to realize that I had lucid dreams quite regularly and that this was something rare. I began to consider whether my dream journal might actually be something other people would be interested in reading.

I pitched my dream journal as a webcomic for Grimerica’s website, which featured blogs and essays from listeners. Darren liked it and I started posting my work through them. It quickly gained attention from their listening base, and eventually, I started doing their weekly episode art as well.

I am in the process of writing the third volume of my lucid dream graphic novel “Lost Bread” which is available for purchase at www.lostbreadcomic.com. You can also buy prints of my original art and request commissions for your own custom piece. I am currently reworking my original novel, which I have come to realize, ties into my graphic novel quite a bit. I’m constantly at work on new stories and artwork, which you can keep up with at my website or Instagram @lucid_nap.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I create fantasy art and graphic novels inspired by my lucid dreams. I want to express to people that the world within the mind is one worth exploring! I feel like people are too quick to consume entertainment from external sources. Every app, movie, program or video game you enjoy is the product of someone’s imagination. We are fortunate to live in a world where we can so easily take a journey into someone else’s head, but don’t disregard what’s in your own!

In your view, what is the biggest issue artists have to deal with?
I think the biggest challenge facing artists today is that people don’t really value art or aesthetics anymore. In fact, there seems to be more a culture of people shunning anything that might reflect a devotion to beauty- it is seen as too precious and frivolous, impractical and silly. We see it in everything from fashion to decor. Things are being stripped down in adherence to the modern fashion of appearing “down to earth” and prosaic. People spend such pains upon adherence to this that they are almost revolted by the idea of someone creating beauty for beauty’s sake.

Art is as Horace Vandergelder of Hello Dolly says “something no one needs any of the time” When people seek art, they want something they can get quickly and cheaply.

There are millions of sites where you can buy prints by famous artists cheaply, slap them up on your wall and never shed a tear when you, at last, dispose of that tired old piece and change your decor.

That sounds dismal, but I should mention that I have met a handful of people who are going against the grain and engaging artists to do custom work for them. I’m wondering if we might one day see people buck the system of homogenous, ready-made art and return to a love of handmade, personalized work that reflects the patron as an individual.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I’m hoping to do more conventions and gallery shows soon but nothing planned yet. I’ve been doing Comicfest for 2 years now and hope to do my first artist’s alley at San Diego Comic-Con International. I’m just starting to put myself out there, and always looking for new places to show my work. I do have a Patreon page www.patreon.com/lucidnap.

Even a dollar contribution helps me out more than you can imagine! You can also buy my art and graphic novels at www.lostbreadcomic.com.

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