1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I love comics and comic book art and have grown over the years to love art that has kept a toe in the comic art world but drifts off into the realms of the fantastic, the subversive or the fine. Sometimes all at the same time. My CAF gallery reflects the gamut of work I collect, though I've started cycling pieces on and off view, so my whole collection is only ever hinted at. I've never been a big nostalgia collector, even though I grew up reading Batman, X-Men, Arak, Rom, G.I. Joe..... You name it, it was all fun to me. Then as I got a little older, I picked up the early original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles books, Cerebus, and such. I discovered the whole realm of indy comics when I hit my first comic book shop. It was a revelation.
2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite?
This fluctuates wildly depending on my mood. In the interest of listing a piece, I have huge nostalgic ties to this page from the Seasons of the Mist storyline in Sandman. Such a beautiful throwaway exchange between two characters. The narration of the page stands alone, but is part and parcel of how Gaiman's writing added soul and weight to such a complex series of story lines. For me it is one of the reasons the books resonate so wonderfully.
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
My wife and I have been avid collectors of art stuff for more than 20 years now. I picked up my first piece of original comic art in late '91 or early '92 from one of the many local comic book shows. It was a page of Pennington art from the Shade the Changing Man book, pre-Vertigo. It was the first time I'd ever seen an original comic page and a lightbulb went off in my head. The guy had a small handful of pages. I asked if he had any from Sandman and was told they were near impossible to get because the book was so "hot." I found my first Sandman page a couple years later. In the interim, I had bought other pieces by Dave McKean, Jon Muth, Kent Williams, and others.
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
Meticulously framed and hanging on the wall. I can't stand owning work that is tucked away in secrecy and out of sight. I need to live with the pieces, to walk past them every day. It puts a massive grin on my face. For years I had portfolios full of work, stacked carefully in closets that I would dig out and flip through every so often. A handful of pieces hanging on the wall. But the more work we framed and hung on our walls, the better we both felt, being able to experience it each day at home. We live in an art gallery of our own devising. Thankfully Sarah loves the art as much as I do, but when presented in a sophisticated manner it is as serious as all the other work we could have hanging at any point. Our formal dining room is only Sandman work. It is a great source of conversation.
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
I would love to have Phil Hale paint something for me some day. Kwan Chang also has my Hellboy cover. He hasn't sold it to me yet, but he will some day. As far as other CAF related work, I'd be perfectly happy if my collection only consisted of:
1. Albert Moy's Hale Legends of the Dark Knight #168 cover
2. Henry Baba's Jones Obessions painting.
3. David W's McKean Arkham Asylum p.20
4. Elizabeth Bouras' Fabry Hellblazer #81 cover
5. G.C's (or anybody elses for that matter) Mignola Wolves of St. August page
Or any combination of about four dozen other pieces scattered all over CAF. I love the place because it affords me seeing amazing artifacts from everyone's collections. Work we would almost never ever get to see otherwise. It is a treasure. My thanks to Bill Cox and the whole CAF family.
View Eric Seffinga's Gallery