cover image Creation


Sylvia Nickerson. Drawn & Quarterly, $21.95 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-77046-377-6

Nickerson chronicles her life as an artist and single mother in Hamilton, an aging industrial city and “the armpit of Ontario,” with honesty and imagination. Alternating between self-examination and social engagement, she searches for direction, as does the city, which suffers simultaneous decay and gentrification as its population of blue-collar workers, transients, and starving artists is pushed out to make way for wealthier residents. The death of Nancy, a local homeless woman, becomes a focal point for Hamilton’s identity crisis. Meanwhile, Nickerson juggles dealing with her parents’ failing health, raising her young son, and remaining active in the local art scene. While hosting visitors to her art studio, she worries that “I’ve turned into a baby cooing, babbling, brainless, child-centric bore.” Nickerson’s art depicts city life in impressionistic black-and-white ink wash. The human characters appear as blobby, Keith Haring–like figures, while the busy streets, apartment interiors, and crowded skylines are drawn with jittery detail and personality. Multipage spreads of people and animals lost among clouds, smog, park corners, and broken glass suggest the chaos of a city struggling to survive. Nickerson’s study thoughtfully considers the connections between people, places, and artistic expression. (Sept.)