With art and creativity bursting from the seams in our neighborhood of Bushwick, finding something to do on a Friday night may seem a bit overwhelming. Craving something different and new, I ventured out to Bushwick’s very own record/comic store, Vinyl Fantasy. A quaint shop on the corner of Knickerbocker and Jefferson, a welcoming sign reminiscent of something you’d find deep in the country help to make you feel as if you’ve stumbled upon something truly special. I wasn’t here on complete whim, though. I was here for the zine/comic drop of The Longest Commute Ever by local Brooklyn artist, Janet Hartman.
The Covers of Janet’s 2 New ‘Zines
The author in all her glory
When prodded about what inspired the zine, Janet simply stated, “I had a ridiculous commute, I think it was about 2 hours door to door, so I began doing a challenge of drawing a picture of myself every day. Because I was pretty miserable living at home and going through a bad break-up and working as a framing consultant, I found myself writing obnoxious things as captions of the ‘drawing a day’ exercise. It was cathartic. The drawings were kind of like my diary of how much my life sucked.”
A reader enjoys Issue #2
I perused through the portraits in The Longest Commute Ever and found that it is filled with poignant sketches of both the mundane and the outrageous portions of our lives through the looking glass of a sharp witted maven. A concise amount of realism as Janet explains “it’s all based on real life experiences and awful things I hear or say throughout the day.” Where it really hit home was when Janet mentioned how her creative process was “the stuff that you have to laugh at so you don’t go home and cry to Morrissey albums to, that’s what I draw.” Everyone’s been there at some point on the train, ferry, or even bike ride where you reflect on what’s happened throughout the day and wonder where your life is going. It was good to see someone else trying to make sense or at the very least bring some levity to the insane world that surrounds us.
Onlookers enjoying original panels of The Longest Commute Ever hung throughout the shop.
With each zine priced at a paltry $4, it’s hard not to snag both and enjoy them on your own commute, or even gift to a friend or two who share in a similar plight of a long, mundane ride home. The humor found within the drawings and the objectivity of each panel help to remind the reader that our lives, no matter how absurd, are ours and we should try enjoy them as much a possible. Overall, a Friday evening well spent at a new favorite local shop that will certainly see more zines, comics, and album drops in the future.