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These Things Take Time




The following is an excerpt from the online 'blog of Tiny Sims.

When I was born, I was only 4 lbs, 3 oz. My father was high, and mother was hopped up on numerous pain-killers. And those are the reasons why I am named Tiny.

My parents are famous, which doesn't mean much because everyone's parents are famous these days. I'm told I'm smart, which also doesn't mean much because everyone thinks they're smart these days. But I'm also told not everyone graduates from college at 19. It's hard to know who to believe.

Whenever I meet someone, one of my first questions is, "What do you do?". I like to see if their automatic response is the stuff they genuinely love to do, or if it's just some job. So what do I do? I sing in the rain; I look at clouds from the roof of my apartment building; I people watch; I sew my own dolls. I'm also a cartoonist. You might have heard of my graphic novel series, Electric Dollroom. I was told the New York Times reviewed it, though I was too scared to actually read the review.

(What Tiny doesn't want you to know is that he also dances naked in his bedroom, pretending he's Mick Jagger; Has a weird man-crush on Rivers Cuomo; is afraid of that guy on "Dateline NBC"; owns every album Elton John put out; and secretly likes wearing dresses sometimes. But you didn't hear it from me.)

When I was 11, I made a 6-page comic about David Bowie traveling to Mars with Mick Ronson. It was the first thing I'd seriously drawn, other than stick figures in the margins of my school notebooks. I showed it to My Father The Rock Star, and he told me a story about a time when he saw Bowie making out with Mick Jagger at some party in the early '70s. My mom was at Fashion Week, and by the time she came home I'd forgotten to show her. I ended up mailing it to Bowie on a whim--I didn't really have any friends who would understand. After all, what pre-pubescent kid writes tales of rockstars and intergalactic space travel with slightly homosexual undertones? Not that I even knew this was abnormal. I just knew that no one would be interested. I did get a letter from David--a pretty dry form letter, thanking me for my support and asking how my father was doing.

A few months later, one of the panels from my comic showed up on one of Bowie's tour posters. I guess my dad gave him permission to use it, and didn't let me know--I didn't care. David Bowie liked my artwork, and that was enough for me. I knew what I wanted for the first time in my life--I wanted to be an artist. I wouldn't be sucked into the celebrity life my parents led--I wanted to be a real person with an honest profession. Of course, things never really work out the way you plan; But really, that's alright, sometimes. First I couldn't get into any art schools, since my high school didn't offer the required art classes. Second, My Father the Rock Star and My Mother the Fashion Designer decided that art wasn't a serious profession (I don't think that needs any commentary, do you?). I ended up with the next best thing: a degree in Communications from UC Berkeley. Art is a form of communication, and the underground punk scene that sprung up around me provided a lot of inspiration. There was a huge underground 'zine scene, too--lots of kids were making their own cut-and-paste, Xeroxed mags. They traded them with each other, gave them out at shows, and left them in stacks at Rasputin Records. I'd gotten into the habit of drawing short, one or two page comics while I traveled around the city on the train. They were mostly strange true stories from my life, bits and pieces of my odd upbringing and life: Being babysat by Elvis Costello on New Year's Eve; the time a stranger fell asleep on my shoulder on the bus; when, as a child, I ran down the street naked, carrying a bright orange umbrella--and how my parents thought it was the greatest thing ever. I didn't have any use for the comics, so every few weeks I'd collect them together in a little, no-name 'zine and drop them off at Rasputin.

I soon had people finding my home phone number, calling me asking if I had extra copies for their girlfriend, art class, psychologist, dog-walking club, tenant's association, etc. So, I made more. I think I ended up single-handedly paying for the CEO of Kinko's vacation home in St. Bart's. Of course, my parents got a hold of every single copy, though I was a bit embarrassed. My two-cent sketches weren't much compared to forty million records sold, or dressing people for the Oscars. For some and dad loved it. They even loved the thinly disguised versions of themselves that popped up here and there.

After college, I ended up in Boston with my own loft and, somehow, a book deal. Whether my publisher was counting on a graphic novel series about a girl whose family runs a circus and her imaginary friends, I'm not sure. But they haven't dropped me yet, so for now I'm living panel-to-panel.

I don't own a car yet. My best ideas still come from the train.

("Tiny wants you to know that he loves you. Yes, you specifically, the person reading this right now. As you're lying in bed with your laptop on your stomach, or hunched over one of the Dells in the school computer lab, he wants you to know that right now he is madly in love with you. He loves it when you fall asleep on top of the covers, when you turn up your car radio when that song comes on, when you stare at the sun from under the water at the beach. He loves you because he is so much like you, he knows how it feels. So keep in mind that this is really just a love story."--Note on the last page of "Unnamed 'Zine" number one.)

Love always (and not just sometimes),