More About the Author
UDATED SPRING 2013:
(To follow the screaming end of Erika Lopez's art career, go to her Cartoon Log, http://clog.ErikaLopez.com [now deleted for others' anonymity/privacy] and signed regular/special editions of books are available directly from her "Monster Girl Media" or "Erika Lopez" sites.)
ERIKA LOPEZ was momentarily back, and was totally ready to take back her place at the head of the rickety kids' table until the consequences of this newer, short-term, insane capitalism set in and rendered her bust again. Erika was dancing like a crazy, dying monkey for people who'd show up at readings at the few remaining book stores in business to say how much they loved her work, but then leave and go home to buy the same few USED books right here online, making the business of writing any book seem ABSURDLY insane and more brutally costly than she'd ever imagined...
So in 2010, she published what would become her final set of books, "THE GIRL MUST DIE" with a matching book of "THE GIRL MUST DIE POSTCARDS" through their new publishing company, Monster Girl Media, which is now bust and getting ready to shred the remainder of the 3,000 books.
She quit trying to make art for others, and has quit in order to become art for herself in private, analogue time. She's stopped worrying about others to become her own superhero: Erika quit the biz and lost 100 pounds, can now bench press 125 pounds, and wears pink anything because she was always trying to be too cool to be the kind of girl who wears pink.
(Besides, she lived her life constantly SHOWING a little pink.)
Now that she's not worried about seeming weak as her own superhero, she loves pink things shamelessly.
And forget trying to inspire or save the world: now that she's a superhero with big breasts and the prerequisite little waist, she needs to inspire HERSELF to get a crappy retail job like everyone else in America now (if you're lucky).
The rest of us can't kick back and lounge back in the vinyl American Dream. We're fighting to not be crushed by the impending American Nightmare.
But don't cry for Erika. She's tasted the sugar of her own tears and is fine with how things turned out. She didn't know that when she finished "The Girl Must Die," she'd only BEGUN to die. There was a whole lot more loud, screaming, dramatic, silent, fetal-position dying--inside and outside her---to be doing.
This book re-wrote HER and she's still killing off herself to see what's under the bullshxt of fitting in America.
"...And I, Erika Lopez, am finally coming fully alive now that I've 'committed a living suicide' by killing off and letting die what needed to die so that I may burn to life and become the Woman I've always dreamt of becoming. I'd already become The Woman of My Dreams, but never dreamt I'd become my own Superhero, too. Daaaaamn.
"That's bigger than capitalism or America. You can't buy this, or book a tour for this kind of thing. You can have the illusions and fantasies. It's all the slamming sugar rush of high fructose corn syrup. I want to rip into the meat and tendons and eviscera of life.
"All I can hope to do is ride the bull til the buzzer goes off. And I love how I keep coming through for MYSELF.
"Thank you and good luck in your own Beautiful Death as you struggle to truly LIVE for a change. We really do need you and all that you know. Those of you who've lived under rocks have too many tales to tell, gifts to leave behind before it's time for you to go."
(Prior biography from www.ErikaLopez.com ...)
After poor--but happy--frolicking years of art school in Philadelphia at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (and stints at Moore College of Art and The University of the Arts), Erika was surprised to find herself out on the streets with a lot of attitude and an inability to hold down a job. So after a couple of crappy jobs, bad room mates, and a couple of days in jail, Erika was losing the dream of being a rich and famous artist strung out on heroin supplied by NYC gallery dealers.
Erika quickly adjusted her ambitions and aimed to become a famous cartoonist for porn magazines. That didn't go so well either. But her cartoons kept getting published in San Francisco and so she moved there and ended up living with a Gothic meth lap dancer and a bleach-blonde Eskimo call girl from Canada.
Soon after getting her own apartment with no job in sight, Lopez got a couple of grants she'd--half-jokingly, but desperately-- applied for during one of her previous "fired" periods back in Philadelphia: She was a Pew discipline winner a couple of times, but the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts each gave her $2500 to write. Write? Write what?
So following through on her own dare and having nothing left to lose, she learned to ride a crappy motorcycle in a week, and rode cross country so she could at least write about doing something. When she made it safely home, she penned her way through her first novel, "Flaming Iguanas," sprinkling it with enough illustrations to distract the reader from the writing.
It worked. It sold. Her editor at Simon & Schuster offered her more money to write again and again, and so she wrote and wrote until she realized she was getting weird and creepy after so much time alone. The future seemed so bright for young Erika, she thought she'd have a Victorian house in San Francisco within an hour. But with a shrinking economy and "creative differences" with her publisher, the jig was up. She unwisely shot herself in the foot at the beginning of what was to become a massive economic downturn. In no time at all it seemed she was going down in flames...
Again, Erika simply went with the flow. She embraced this challenge with a pinch on the cheek and a pat on the head, by gaining weight, wearing muumuus, listening to AM talk radio too loud, and calling herself "Grandma Lopez." She was going around calling people "toots", pinching their cheeks too hard, and giving everyone unsolicited advice as she limped on over to the welfare line.
Becoming a burden to the state and calling the welfare checks her "special mini art grants," she turned those salmon-colored notes into "Nothing Left but the Smell: A Republican on Welfare." As far as anyone knows, it's the first known Food Stamp Variety Show with lots of theatrical complaining, some papery cartoon moments, and tender, bitter singing. It's a show about being a sorely-mistaken, middle class pipsqueak ... one of those totally unsympathetic characters who grows up thinking all the civil and voting fights have already been fought so now she's free to sit back and buy lots of crap from mail order catalogues. Instead, she ends up in the welfare line so she can star in her own variety show about it later.
This started a new chapter in Erika's adventure, one that embraced a multi-media, rebellious, kick-ass "gang" approach to life. No one focus, but a broad view on that "what's next" question buried inside each and every one of us. This new and improved Erika had been travelling around the world, Oslo, Edinburg, London and Manchester, performing and inspiring other pipsqueaks all over the planet.
But that chapter ended with a quiet artistic beat down in an alley, and now Erika has quit art to BECOME art now that Rome is burning. Art in real life, analogue time, as opposed to photographed, distilled, edited, and holding its stomach online. She thinks the internet has become as boring as an old mall people used to go to.
You can have it. She wants to see eyes for a change. Reality. Not an endlessly curated, smarmy-resume, networking reality. That's not reality at all. Wait and see...
In the meantime, thank you to those who've supported us, fed us, nurtured us. And good luck to all! You're gonna need it.
La la la...