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Everything’s meant to be broken

by Chris Lowrance

Everything’s meant to be broken

If you’re reading this on Wednesday, it’s been two days since I was an employee of YES! Weekly. It’s the first time since I was a freshman in college that my primary income isn’t from a newspaper. What will this mean for the paper you hold in your hands (or stare at on your screen)? It’s a good question, since the title “creative assistant” leaves a lot to the imagination. It’s not the kind of job that carries a big byline — I haven’t suffered the mixed blessing of having people recognize my name in a bar more than once or twice. My art is hanging behind

the register of many a Triad business in the form of the “Triad’s Best” awards; that red-and-gold trophy was one of mine. Since I designed the cover, you’ve seen my work looking out at you from almost every corner in downtown Greensboro and Winston-Salem, and from gas stations and restaurants across three counties. It was a good feeling when I thought I’d done well, and annoying when a glaring error or simply poor work glared back as I rolled down Market or Elm. I’ve drawn every illustration that’s appeared in this book since 2005. From David Wray to the Black Panthers, Dianne Bellamy-Small to a twisted little Cupid, I’ve taken stories abundant in visual detail or completely abstract and found a way to render both. It was rarely traditional. I’ve drawn Keith Holiday a couple dozen times (in the same illustration), carved Yvonne Johnson into a pumpkin, photoshopped the head off a young woman, and won an award for cutting congressional candidate Jay Ovitorre in half. Good times. There’s also the writing. I’ve been in the rotation for this staff column almost the entire time I’ve been involved with YES!, and written about everything from my battle with migraines to my engagement. These columns record a lot of milestones in my life as I transitioned from college kid to working adult. Oddly, I got the most feedback from you when I wrote about men’s’ shoes. I only wrote a cover story once, but it got a lot of traction. “My So-Called Second Life” documented my introduction

and days of embedment in a growing virtual world that was just beginning to catch the attention of major media and big corporations. Since then, Second Life has neither lived up to the potential of its greatest proponents, nor collapsed wholly into anarchy like it’s biggest critics predicted. It’s still a weird, wild frontier full of over-sexualized animal people, tech-savvy bullies and perfectly nice people just trying to have a good time and explore something new. Personally, I haven’t set digital foot there since the story came out. Of course, no list of my career here at YES! would be complete without mentioning Framed. Brian Clarey first called me to his office with the idea of a non-fiction comic strip, and Framed is what I delivered: a monthly graphic story detailing the largely unexplored corners of Greensboro. It was a beast to do, each one requiring days worth of reporting, writing and illustrating. I met some great people in the process, many of them naked at the time, and interviewed two of my personal heroes. Sadly, it took up too much space and too many hours to keep up once I took on more duties at the paper. I’ve been looking for a way to reincarnate it, though, so keep an eye out. That about sums it up. There was little stuff: ad design, updating the website, occasional photography. Oh, and I laid out half the paper each week. I don’t think I’m forgetting anything. That’s everything I did, and everything my editor and publisher will have to either assign to someone else or do without. I suppose it’s terribly vain of me to use my last column to tell you everything I ever did for the paper. I could have done the typical “thank you” column, name-checking each ex-coworker, but I’d rather do that in person. I could talk about why I’m leaving journalism, but I’d prefer to keep this positive. No, instead it’s like the Goo Goo Dolls song: I just want you to know who I am, and what I did. That’s all. Keep it to yourself whether I did a good job or not — I’m at peace with my performance. But if you enjoyed my work, thank you, and remember it if you can. Oh, and commission me to do an illustration for you at Chrislowrance.net.

To comment on this column, e-mail chris@chrislowrance.net

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