We got a chance to sit down with Laura Brown (’22) during a very busy time. As her last summer term approaches, she’s working on her thesis story! Laura told us a little bit about the project and her thoughts on why she chose the amazing Mimi Pond as a mentor.
What is your background in visual communication?
I majored in graphic design as an undergrad and have worked as a graphic designer since I graduated (a lot of years ago), designing and producing promotional and educational material for corporate communications. This includes event branding, signage, display, and advertising, as well as books, brochures, information graphics, and marketing for print, web, video, motion graphics, and onsite event installations. I’ve also designed book covers and interiors for small literary presses on a free-lance basis. Additionally, I’ve had two novels and several short pieces published with both mainstream and indie presses.
What is the working title for your thesis story? What is it about?
‘Fallen.’ It’s a story of friendship and loss.
When Kelcee (age 33), agrees to sort through the belongings of her successful formerly-close friend and mentor Josephine (age 51), who has committed suicide, she steals a few items. No biggie, she thinks. Kelcee has always been jealous of Josephine’s wealth. She and Josephine have been estranged for a couple of years. Once she takes the items home though, each one becomes a portal through which Josephine haunts Kelcee. At first, Kelcee finds solace in Josephine’s visitations, remembering how wise she’d once considered Josephine, how expansive and significant life seemed when she’d basked in the glow of Josephine’s affection. The rift in their friendship has been an ongoing source of pain for Kelcee. But Josephine’s ghost becomes more demanding and irrational, tormenting Kelcee, who tries to return the objects but can’t. The haunting cracks Kelcee open. She’s forced to grapple with all the ways she failed her dead friend. And all the ways she currently fails herself.
What medium did you use to tell your story? Why?
I chose the webcomic medium due to its versatility. Easy distribution, fluid editing, interactivity, animation and it can always be printed down the line. I enjoyed creating my digital short story last fall and would like to further develop my story/visual skills in this medium, with a different visual style, creating interactivity with the stolen objects and other aspects inherent to the story.
What is it about your mentor that has you so excited to be mentored by them?
Mimi Pond’s drawing is masterful, her writing spare and potent, and I’m continually impressed by the balance she achieves between text and visual. I’m particularly drawn to her idiosyncratic, utterly human characters and the infinite ways she illuminates life’s absurdities and hardships. Her portrayal of the complicated foibles of loving and being loved is heartbreaking and hilarious. She creates characters full of depth, complexity, pathos, and humor that leap off the page, characters with whom I feel a kinship. She goes to dark places and reveals the love and light that shines through. I want to do that, too. She also seems like a generous, kind, open-minded, open-hearted person.
What work of theirs would you like to highlight, and why?
I LOVE her books Over Easy and The Customer is Always Wrong. I also laugh out loud at her New Yorker comics and her other shorter comics. She’s currently working on a book about the Mitford sisters and posts pages on Instagram and they’re pretty brilliant.
Thanks for speaking with us, Laura!
Mimi Pond can be found on Instagram, too.