David St. Albans
David St. Albans is the editor and publisher of HUH? Magazine: The Journal of Neo-Confusionism.
I began my artistic pursuits at the age of four, drawing in the end papers of my father's precious Encyclopedia Britannica. I drew monsters, dragons, tanks, planes, and lots of weird things. After he gave me a sketch pad I proceeded to fill one after another with my dreams and visions. However along the way certain authority figures turned me away from my campaign to legitimize cartoon art and bkier, surfer and hot-rodder art with Modern Art, saying that such things simply "were not right." Instead of me people like Robt. Williams in California were going to make that dream come true. When I was 13 (1969)I moved from Chicago, IL to South Pasadena, California. There I saw the the true culmination of the Hippie-Psychedelic art renaissance. (Only a part of which I was able to view in some headshops in Chicago's Old Town, where I procured my first "head comix" in the Chicago Seed and East Village Other...)
I had began my quest for getting into this field in 1970 when, after going insane for the works of R. Crumb and Robt. Williams in Zap comix which I bought at the "Free Press Bookstore" in Pasadena. At age 14 I quickly produced "Dick Steel...the man with the Steel Dick!" in high school. (South Pasadena, Senior High, So. Pas. CA.) My UG art career began in earnest as I produced reams of material, including some of the first "Scary Clown" drawings ever done. Of course being a high school kid it took me years of practice with regulation pen and ink techniques (didn't even have a Rapidograph pen then...)to become even amateurishly acceptable. After high school I wandered the country for six months as a homeless vagabond, gaining incredible experiences. When I returned to California to attend Pasadena City College I quickly became involved with another artist who wanted to put out his own comic. It was called "Fantastic Comics No. 1." I did several J.R.R. Tolkien illustrations in my hypnotically detailed pen and ink, and produced a Conan the Barbarian knock-off...well homage really, since my character was supposed to be Conan's son...called Drakonak: Adventurer in the Western World!" This was my first officially printed, bound and distributed piece. My fellow artist had literally suck about $500.00 of his own money into the project. Unfortunately he didn't realize the distributors would demand much more than that. So the comic never did fly.
This even however made me go searching for alternate venues to publish my work. I fell upon the Fantasy/Science Fiction and Horror world, which was doing a lot of self-published and small press magazines, some of which included the now famous Etchings and Odysseys. I made a great deal of headway doing spot illustrations and even cover work for these magazines. the list is too long to enter here. I also discovered the art of Scrimshaw at this time and became a professional ivory engraver for over 13 years, perfecting my drawing talents as I went. I put out two or three poetry chapbooks with my "illos" (as I called my illustrations)as well as doing some short stories in the fantasy/horror market. My wayward life got me involved with people like Harry O. Morris (who was the first person I ever knew to do any sort of computer graphics), R. A. Everts, and Rick Baker (?) who actually got me in touch with my hero from the 60's Ed "Big Daddy" Roth. I also finally got to meet Robt. Williams and even Timothy Leary because of these connections. Eventually, seeking a Western style life I wound up in Albuquerque where Harry O. Morris lived and fell in with the science fiction and fantasy crowd there.
By 1993 I had decided to come up with my own 'zine and see if I could get it in some people's hands. this was the birth of HUH? Magazine, dedicated to the weirdos I had been meeting throughout my life. People who were anti-Semites who invented anti-gravity machines, crystal waving UFO nuts, alternative street artists who had already gone "over the edge" on drugs and shamanism. I had met so many of these odd balls that I felt a 'zine dedicated to them would be very cool, following along with the trend of "Outsider Art."