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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

Burlington Cartoonist Draws Inspiration From Her Day Job At City Market

Rachel Lindsay uses many of the people who come through her checkout line at City Market as inspiration for her comic blog, 'Rachel Lives Here Now.'

If you've got a story to tell, why not make it into a comic? That's what Burlington cartoonist Rachel Lindsay does through her blog, greeting cards and commissioned work.

Lindsay left a job with a New York City advertising firm to move to Burlington, a city she'd never even visited. Now, she finds a steady stream of subject matter walks right up to her every day — with their groceries. Lindsay works as a cashier at City Market in downtown Burlington.

Although she encountered plenty of interesting people in New York, Lindsay says her job at City Market opened her up to a whole new world of characters. These characters eventually become inspirations for her comic blog Rachel Lives Here Now. “When you’re ringing people up, you get a chance to get a little more inside of their life. As a newcomer, it was great for me to kind of be introduced to all of these people,” she says.

Lindsay says that although doing a blog instead of a print comic was a financial decision, she has been getting a positive response regardless. “People’s attraction to a blog just has to do with the fact that they are chained to their desk all day, by and large,” she says.

Lindsay says that she has ideas every day for comics she could draw, but that what makes it through to creation has a lot to do with her mood and what feels is most timely. She says that the quick-moving pace of the blog has taken a toll on her creative process. “It has limited me and caused me to put some stuff away that I really do like, but I’m going for something that is a theme, that is consistent, and sometimes the ideas that are exciting to me don’t fit. That is sort of difficult to me sometimes,” she says, adding that one of her goals for the year is to find additional outlets for her to share the ideas that may not fit in her blog.

Credit Rachel Lives Here Now
Rachel Lives Here Now
Lindsay will be at Higher Ground in South Burlington at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 18 with her collection called "Rated R," comprised of the "not-fit-for-blog" comics.

As for censorship, Lindsay says she is an opinionated person and that she has her own feelings about different subcultures in the area. “In terms of what I try to put out there, I privilege my work around the fact that it’s positive and I have the ability to extract and still have some meaning, but also have it be fun,” she says.

A lot of people can relate to her cartoons, says Lindsay, which to her is really enjoyable. “They live in my comics,” says Lindsay. “They will come to my line specifically to say, ‘Hey, I thought this would be a really good comic.’ My answer is always, ‘Go make it.’”

Along with her cartoon blog, Lindsay does commission work turning people’s lives into comic books.

Lindsay will be at Higher Ground in South Burlington at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 18 with her collection called Rated R, comprised of the "not-fit-for-blog" comics.

Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.
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