Lo Wall ’19 can be found throughout the pages of any issue of The Catalyst you pick up. However, she is not only one of our most veteran cartoonists, she also edits for The Cipher, works for the Writing Center, and is one of the few southwest studies majors. This week, The Catalyst sat down with Lo to discuss her time at Colorado College and her creative processes.
The Catalyst: What did you miss most about Colorado College while you were gone for a year?
LO WALL: I know for a while I was really kind of excited to not be on campus. CC is kind of a bubble, and it was nice to break and not be in that for a little bit. But then, I think what I missed most was just walking around campus and having people be genuinely happy to see me. For a while I was living in Utah, and people were very kind and they’d say hello and they’d smile, but it wasn’t as substantial as at CC, where you have these memories with people that go back to your freshman year. And you have people who are genuinely excited to see you. I think I missed that a lot while I was gone.
TC: You often have the weirdest encounters — what is one of the strangest things that’s happened to you on campus?
LW: Oh my goodness, you know, just last week, I was walking across the quad, and this maybe like 40-year-old man — with a neck beard and this tie-dye fedora — tipped his hat to me and said, “M’lady.” And I was just like, “Is this real?” Like in my head I said that. And I wish that I had gotten a photo with him. It was like Twitter gold. That actually happened. And that stuff happens every day.
TC: Who is a professor you feel you can always turn to?
LW: Oh, Eric Perramond. I was really sick once, and he came to visit me in the hospital. And whenever I need like a letter of recommendation really last minute, he gets it done really fast, and he responds to emails within like two minutes every time. And that’s not a common occurrence at CC. Eric always has my back.
TC: What do you wish more people knew about the southwest studies department/major?
LW: That it’s objectively the best major on campus because it has very few majors and it is, I think, one of the most funded. They have a lot of money to give to us. And with southwest studies, you can do whatever you want to; there is a wide breadth of directions you can take the major. For example, I study stereotypes in tourism kitsch of American Indians. But other students will take it down a more scientific route and look at chemical components of traditional medicine or something. You can just do anything with southwest studies. And the department is also really nice; Annabelle is just the sweetest person ever. And Carol is great, too — everyone in that department is just so lovely, and there’s a lot of room for creativity to do what your heart tells you.
TC: As a senior, what sort of work have you been doing to prepare for your thesis?
LW: Last fall I was in Chicago doing the Newberry seminar at the Newberry Library with Bill Davis, from Comparative Literature, and Eric Perramond, my guy, and I was doing archival research on American Indian stereotypes along Route 66, specifically in this vintage postcard collection, and how these stereotypes synthesize myriad traits from a lot of different tribes into one caricature that we recognize as “Indian.” Then this summer I had the opportunity to drive the entirety of Route 66 from Chicago to L.A., which southwest studies paid for. And I got to photograph and see in real time how these stereotypes create much of the mystique of Route 66 and are much of what attracts both foreigners and Americans alike to drive Route 66 to experience that, which has kind of become synonymous with like Americana and what it means to be American, which is a really interesting dynamic. Oh, and I’m having a gallery of the photographs I took along Route 66 in Coburn sometime next semester.
TC: How has producing art, both for yourself and others, played a positive role in your life?
LW: Ok, so, I had my memory erased last summer, and when I woke up I didn’t know who I was. I kind of learned who I was through social media, and I saw this girl on Instagram who was very polished and perfect and looked very cultured and did all these really cool things. But I felt a very strong disconnect between the person I woke up as and that person I saw on the screen who just looked very staged. One day I kind of changed my Instagram — I converted it to being solely where I posted art that I made — art just kind of about things I was feeling and commissions that people would come to me for. And, in so doing, I think that became part of my identity, which was something that I felt like I had lost. Through art I feel like I regained who I am, and I feel like the art I create is a much better representation of me than any photo could be because it shows how I see the world, which is something that a photograph of me doesn’t do.
TC: What is your dream art commission?
LW: I always get really happy when people ask me draw something with flowers. I like drawing flowers. But, dream art commission? I’ve gotten some really wacky ones and I really like those. I’ve been wanting to do a map of Chicago with all the neighborhoods, like a mental map, and in every neighborhood, things that I think of when I think of that neighborhood. Also, I like commissions where I get a large donation, so if anyone wants to shoot me one, my venmo is @kookslag. I’ll draw anything you want, and I’ll send it anywhere. I’ll give you a shout out on Instagram.
TC: Where do you look when you need inspiration?
LW: I think my problem is that I have so many ideas all the time, but I don’t have the time to do them all, at least for art — with writing it’s totally the opposite. I get a lot of inspiration from songs and from people’s tattoos. Sometimes I’ll go through a song, and I will hear a lyric that is kind of charming, and I’ll try to manifest that in ink. A lot of the art that I’ve done has roots in various songs.
TC: What is your favorite thing you’ve written recently?
LW: I wrote a piece in The Stranger issue of Cipher about my memory loss, and people I didn’t even know have come up and they’ve had really interesting questions in response to it. And I think that’s one of the best reactions that you can get from a piece of writing, like genuine interest from people you don’t know.
TC: Where do you see yourself in five years?
LW: Chicago. I love Chicago so much. It’s so great. Hopefully I will be working for a publication somewhere; I really enjoy copyediting. It soothes my OCD. I hope I get to continue drawing. I enjoy drawing, and I think being one of the cartoonists at The Catalyst is one of my favorite jobs, besides copyediting for The Catalyst. But yeah, I hope I get to be a cartoonist in Chicago. That would be really cool — that would be a really cool bio on Tinder.