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A group distraction, presented by nige.


The first instalment of Interview52 is now complete! It started on Friday 18th July 2008 and finished on 13th September 2009. A little later than expected, but we got there.


52 mobloggers from around the world...

Some familiar, some not...

Each will publish a unique self-portrait, accompanied by a short interview.

Candid portrait meets candid interview.

The Rules

Every Friday the next interviewee in line will publish a new portrait and interview, consisting of their answers to the ten questions they have been given.

After they have published, the interviewee will then become the interviewer. They will be responsible for finding the next participant, as well as compiling the questions that this next person in line will answer. Interviewers can change as many or as few questions as they like, but they should change at least one before passing them on to the next lucky punter.

Thats it! Simple. More detailed instructions will be given to each interviewee as and when they are approached, so fear not.

The interviewees so far









Jig along



Laszlo Q. V. St-J. Xalieri








Jane Doe



Spiderbaby / Freakdog




George w/Blue Eyes






















Strange Little Girl




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Late Bloomer

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1. Where does this find you? Tell us the story of how you got there.

This finds me luxuriating in retirement. I now have the time to be able to explore not only all sorts of new things but also to be able to go back and reinvestigate old places and ideas. In my artwork, the challenge is finding the right balance between stimulating novelty and comfortable familiarity. I'm most enjoying the paths not previously chosen that turn out to be indirect routes into well known, but hardly exhausted, territory.
When I stepped out of the house the other morning, I noticed that this lily was flowering again, late in the season, and stopped to photograph it. Afterwards, it occurred to me that I could use it as a "self-portrait" for this interview, not because I think of myself as blossoming, but because I love the feeling of getting another chance.
I live in Montreal. I came to Canada from the United States in 1966 to go to university and have never thought of leaving.

2. Why do you moblog?

I think it was Jack Kerouac who said that "An artist's job is to subjectify the objective and objectify the subjective." Photographing our day to day lives and sharing our images as Mobloggers helps us to do it.

3. Where do you go to my lovely, when you're alone in your head?

I don't know where I go, but I do know how I get there. I get there through physical activity, walking for example, or yoga, or even something like knitting. As a sculptor, the physical work, which I enjoy (usually), is a means to explore space kinesthetically. I like to work with my hands. I'm a tinkerer at heart, and I enjoy working on all the different aspects of my work, whether theoretical or practical. That's part of the explanation for my username, Factotum.

4. What is that one random item you have hoarded away that you can't bear to throw away for nostalgia purposes and what is the story behind it?

Hahaha. Caine, who posed these questions, knows that my collecting and hoarding borders on the pathological. I'd claim that there's nothing random; everything is saved for a reason :)

5. What would your biography be called, who would write it, and who would play you in the film?

Well, Michael Holroyd is my favourite biographer. I've had a really interesting life even if I'm not particularly interesting as an individual person, and I think he'd be able to capture that. Let me skip ahead to question 7 and recommend Holroyd's Basil Street Blues, a biography of his parents and family, as well as his biography of Lytton Strachey.

6. Who has been an inspiration to you? Why?

The earliest people who dug clay out a stream and made something out of it, or drew in the sand with a stick.

7. What is one of your favourite books, and why?

I think many Mobloggers would really enjoy Maira Kalman's The Principles of Uncertainty.

8. What was your childhood obsession? What happened to it?

Reading was a childhood obsession, and it has continued unabated. I still love kids lit and picture books! I seem to be reading a lot of non-fiction these days, especially history and "literary journalism".

9. What (or who) would you most like to photograph?

How about the cave paintings at Lascaux or Chauvet? Or, even better, some other unexplored cave.

10. What and where is your most favourite place?

I like being outdoors,even in the city, and prefer my landscapes on the slightly rugged and bleak side. I love Cape Cod in the winter, and I thoroughly enjoyed traipsing across the Yorkshire moors with Viv and Swamprose. My favourite indoor places are museums and library stacks.

Posted by Factotum

17th Oct 2008, 02:03  


Caine says:

Boy, you're a slippery customer. Do I have to ask you which 3 things of all your hoard you'd go for in a fire? ;D Not that I could answer that one...

Where did you live in the U.S.?

I enjoyed your answers and your photo.

ETA: I meant to say I also share your passion for reading, including kid lit. I recently finished Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, a most enjoyable read.

17th Oct 2008, 06:53

Viv says:

Very you - did know who it was after the first paragraph.

Yes I think retirement is like another chance - to be yourself rather than a driven being. Even to find out what yourself is.

Love your inspiration answer too.

Coming back to children's lit - had been thinking about that being part of my answer - not only are some children's books wonderfully written and illustrated, but there is the joy of sharing them too.

And Caine I too have just finished my first Neil Gaiman - The Anansi Boys - yes a real flight of fancy. I enjoyed it.

18th Oct 2008, 11:05

Caine says:

Viv, I'm partial to American Gods when it comes to Gaiman. And Good Omens, written with Terry Pratchett. His books for teens are among my faves, including Stardust, Neverwhere and the new Graveyard Book.

18th Oct 2008, 15:58

factotum says:

I haven't read a Neil Gaiman book since Coraline. I'll have to get The Anasi Boys. Viv, your mentioning The Anasi Boys reminds me that one of my favourite books is Trickster makes This World, Mischief, Myth and Art by Lewis Hyde. As the blurb on the back of the book says, it's "authoritative in its scholarship [and] loose-limbed in its style" and great fun to read.
Caine, I was born in ithaca, N.Y, grew up outside of Boston and went to high school in Vermont.

18th Oct 2008, 16:19

Viv says:

I've added the book to my amazon wish list :)

19th Oct 2008, 02:16

nige says:

I look forward to these interviews so much. another good one, and i like your idea behind the portrait, even if you're cheating a little by using it!

19th Oct 2008, 20:22

factotum says:

Cheating?! Well, lazy I admit.... Honestly, I tried to make the interview as spontaneous and straight forward as possible, which ISN'T EASY!!!

20th Oct 2008, 00:01

I can't believe I missed this. I think it shows far more of you than the words actually say, and respect the modesty that I've seen when I was lucky enough to meet you as well as what you show here.

I don't think the image you posted is cheating at all. I believe how we see the world and how we choose to communicate that to others shows as much - and often much more - than a custom-made image

26th Oct 2008, 17:52

MaggieD says:

I am just catching up on this site ..... I will be back in the next day or so to do it justice and have a proper read through of all the posts ....

26th Oct 2008, 17:53

Spiderbaby says:

Another late catcher-upper here :)
A very fine interview. Only just read Good Omens myself (I got in the airport for the journey back to Michigan and was laughing sporadically during the flight). Must read more!

7th Nov 2008, 22:01

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