James Kochalka Featured on Vermont PBS Innovate Series | Live Culture

James Kochalka Featured on Vermont PBS Innovate Series


James Kochalka
  • James Kochalka
Prolific comic artist James Kochalka was recently featured on the year-old Vermont PBS mini-series InnoVaTe, a show hosted by former reddit employee Victoria Taylor that highlights local innovators.

Kochalka is known for his adorable, emotive comics such as American Elf and Johnny Boo — and for being Vermont's first comic laureate. (His successor, Edward Koren, now holds that title.) He's also the front man for band James Kochalka Superstar, with fans around the world.

Generally, Taylor's episodes — which run about 10 minutes long — focus on tech-centric businesses such as Marguerite Dibble's Game Theory or Richmond-based robotics company Greensea Systems. For his segment, however, Kochalka focused less on the tools usually associated with innovation and more on its source.

"Innovation doesn't come from the technology [I use,]" he said. "It comes from your brain thinking lots of ideas."

Kochalka credits a natural phenomenon as integral to his creative process: the changing seasons. "Anytime things stay the same too long, I guess I start to feel a little antsy, like I'm stagnating," he said. "When the seasons change, it's like being reborn every time."

Kochalka has just finished writing a new graphic novel called Mechaboys. He's also working on a new playboard featuring his Glorkian Warrior character for the PinBox 3000, a cardboard tabletop pinball machine by South End artists Pete Talbot and Ben T. Matchstick.

All of the InnoVaTe episodes are viewable on vermontpbs.org.