The Amy E. Tarrant Gallery at the Flynn Center presents an exhibition of Bolton artist Alison Bechdel's artwork that spans her career (so far!). The exhibit features work from Dykes to Watch Out For, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2006), and her recently-published graphic novel, Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama.
Bechdel started drawing a monthly single-panel cartoon called Dykes to Watch Out For in 1983. This single panel evolved into an ongoing comic strip that was syndicated until 2008, when she made the difficult decision to end the comic strip. Bechdel admits that though it was not easy to let the popular comic strip go, it freed her to follow her new passion: writing about her own life. As she writes, "Actually, this may not be a new passion, just a less disguised version of the old one. Dykes to Watch Out For was an attempt to create a reflection of lesbians in general. My work as a graphic memoirist is an attempt to create a reflection of myself."
Bechdel's 2006 Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic was deemed Best Book of the Year by Time Magazine. Not best graphic book. Best book! This spring she published a second memoir, Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama.
In Bechdel's artist statement, she includes "a small disclaimer" stating that she always feels a little ambivalent about exhibiting her cartoon artwork because she is afraid it will disappoint people – for various reasons – but mostly because the viewer is looking at her original drawings and not the "final" published product. It is a fortunate moment in that we actually get the opportunity to see just that, the process!