Five Rapid Fire Questions for Harry Bliss
“I was a wild kid growing up,” says New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss. “But art saved me. No joke, I probably would have been incarcerated.” Instead of roaming the streets of his hometown outside of Rochester, New York, Harry would take out armloads of art books from the library after school and lose himself in Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, Modigliani. “That would get me through the night. I was able to escape the dysfunction that was everywhere.”
Harry’s cartoons nudge the dreaded into playful (ever see his lovable Grim Reaper?) and elicit humor from our myriad foibles. “Cartoons should be like social commentary,” he observes. “Everyone should ‘get’ them.”
His work has appeared in the New Yorker since 1997 and daily in national newspapers, including the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune and L.A. Times. Fans can also sign up on his website to receive a cartoon of the day. (Who wouldn’t want a daily reminder to laugh at ourselves??)
But Harry’s bread and butter are children’s books. His best-sellers Diary of a Worm, Diary of a Spider and Diary of a Fly teach kids about the environment and to respect the little things they take for granted. He’s published 17 books so far and just completed My Favorite Pet, about a farm boy enthralled with his herd of sheep.
Harry loves visiting schools and talking with kids and educators about mindfulness and the importance of creativity and drawing, vital skills especially in our tech-obsessed world.
“I love my iPhone,” he acknowledges, “but I create with my quill pen.”
Edible Green Mountains: What did you have for breakfast today?
Harry Bliss: Greek yogurt with homemade Concord grape “butter.”
EGM: Cake, pie or cookies?
HB: Banana cream pie.
EGM: Favorite meal growing up?
HB: Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup with crushed-up Fritos in it (blame it on the munchies).
EGM: Guilty pleasure?
HB: French onion dip with Cape Cod potato chips, in bed watching Homeland.
EGM: Midnight snack?
HB: Pancakes, banana or together.