"Roz Chast's Neighborhood's Finest"
The artist discusses finding humor in everyday ephemera and what she likes to order at her favorite local diner.
November 7, 2022
During quarantine, for those of us lucky enough to be able to work remotely, home became our whole world. Restrictions have lifted, and many have been able to resume trips not just to the office but to the movie theatre, book shop, and neighborhood cafe. With cabin fever eased, we might even be left with a new appreciation for the many roles our homes can play. In her new cover, Roz Chast illustrates some of the comforts of home. I talked to the artist about how she takes inspiration from takeout menus and other bits of daily life’s ephemera, and what she likes to order at her favorite diner.
You often reference everyday ephemera. Do you ever save things like pamphlets, brochures, takeout menus, or local ads for inspiration?
Absolutely. I love the way those things look and also the way the ads are worded: “Ed’s Shoelace Emporium. We serve all your shoelace needs. Shoelaces from three inches to three feet.” The pictures are also usually pretty great. Those free publications that are mostly ads kill me.
Are you a regular customer of local businesses, or do you prefer being an anonymous customer at the mall or when you come to the city?
I don’t like malls. Everything smells like Yankee Candle. I like going into weird, one-of-a-kind stores in the city. There still are a few, miraculously.
There’s no place like a good diner. Do you have a favorite? What’s your go-to order?
My favorite diner is on West Sixty-ninth and Broadway. I toggle back and forth between grilled cheeses and omelets because you can’t go wrong with those.
Is it easier for you to find visual or verbal ideas, or do they come together?
They come together for me.