Cartoonist Henry Chamberlain took on a big task last weekend: Making a comic about Ballard in 24 hours.
Drawing Ballard in 24 hours
This past weekend, local cartoonist and Fremont resident Henry Chamberlain set forth to explore and capture the Ballard neighborhood in a comic.
As part of 24-Hour Comics Day on the first Saturday of October, which artists all around the world participate in, Chamberlain wanted to draw something that he had been eyeing for a while. He said there was a funny aspect between the laidback locals and the fastpaced, market-crazy hipsters in Ballard.
He wound up on a quest to find Ballard's soul, which is epitomized by none other than local icon and hero, Edith Macefield, who would not sell her house even for a million dollars to developers of the Ballard Blocks. (It was also wonderfully coincidental that Macefield Fest lined up with his comic event.)
Macefield's story is symbolic of the greater Ballard story -- the clash of the old and the new, of a history full of industry and grit being confronted by an influx of condos and apartment buildings and hip restaurants and bars.
For his comic, Chamberlain focused on the historic Ballard Ave, visiting Hattie's Hat, Stoneburner Restaurant, The Tractor Tavern, Hi-Life, Kickin' Boot Whiskey Kitchen, the Ballard Inn and more.
“We (he and his girlfriend) like the feeling of just strolling down Ballard Ave, we like the feel of it,” Chamberlain said. He remarked on how Ballard has recently become attractive to marketers (and people in general) because of it's authenticity and grit, in addition to its wide variety of superb restaurants, breweries and boutiques.
Chamberlain doesn’t come without some knowledge of the area. He said he lived in Ballard in the early 2000s, just before the huge Ballard boom set off. He remembers when the brothel-themed Madame K’s Pizzeria was still around, and he and his girlfriend have hoofed it around town to have a rather “intimate” knowledge of the geography.
This marks the fourth year Chamberlain has done the 24-Hour comic. In previous years, he has drawn at the Phinney Neighborhood Association Center and Sorrento Hotel.
On his website, Chamberlain says he lives and breathes comics. He draws, teaches and writes about them. His most seminal work to date is the graphic novel “Alice in New York” (which, he jokes, people tell him he should’ve called Alice in Seattle). He also successfully completed a Kickstarter which seeks to put together his comic from the Sorrento and other short comic stories.
Chamberlain will be posting the result of his 24 hours in Ballard on his website, http://comicsgrinder.com/
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