Don't ask us how we did it, but The Pilliard Dickle Report has landed an interview with internationally acclaimed calendar artist Pilliard Dickle
PDR: Tell me, is it true that the reason you agreed to do that nude scene with Sandra Bulloch and Brad Pitt is that your seventh ex-wife is suing you for thirteen million dollars?
Dickle: What? That's ridiculous! I don't have any "seventh ex-wife". And I've never even been in a movie, let alone take off my...
PDR: Whoops, wrong interview. (Fumbles papers.) OK, sorry about that. Now: what's it like living with a name like "Pilliard Dickle?"
Dickle: Weird. For one thing, it gets mispronounced a lot. The trick is to remember that "Pilliard" rhymes with "billiard," and "Dickle" rhymes with "pickle." For another thing, people don't even believe it's my real name!
PDR: Is it?
Dickle: Well, no.
PDR: So how did you come up with it?
Dickle: I'd just finished drawing my first calendar and I left a spot down in the corner for the signature. But it just didn't seem like something a "Joe Chandler" would draw. So I took a break for lunch and, and just as I bit into a dill pickle...
Professor E.G. Head, author of Spring Forward Fall Back, a 365 page book about how to set your clocks for daylight savings time, has opened a time travel agency to assist tourists traversing Calendaria
PDR: What about your calendars, how did you come up with that idea?
Dickle: That's a little harder to pinpoint. I don't have a recollection of biting into some vegetable that rhymes with "calendar."
PDR: Maybe you bit into a date.
Dickle: Uh... Yeah! That's exactly what happened!
PDR: So how did you get the idea to draw time?
Dickle: Well, that came naturally. See, I have this perceptual anomaly that causes me to see time, visually. That is, I picture the shapes and colors of days, weeks and months. If you say "I'll see you next Tuesday," I picture not when Tuesday is, but where Tuesday is, in relation to the shape of the week. It's a condition called synesthesia. They think it's a cross-'wiring of the brain in the right hemisphere.
PDR: So what color are Tuesdays?
PDR: What about September? Or do months have colors?
Dickle: Sure. September is sort of an eggshell color.
PDR: That's odd. Do you know anyone else who has this affliction?
Dickle: I got a letter from a circuit court judge who read a story in the paper about my, uh, "affliction" as you put it (I call it more of an affectation). He had visual images of time, but his were all wrong. He said the days were fish-shaped. Isn't that absurd? Oh and before you go jotting notes in your little notebook there, let me mention, Richard Feynman had synesthesia. And Leonard Bernstein. And Billy Joel, and Izhtak Perlman and Eddie van Halen. So see, I'm sane!
A giant moon hovering over this seaside village is wreaking havoc with gravity
PDR: Never doubted. So these poster calendars of yours — these castles, palaces, cities—are they drawings of these mental images?
Dickle: Not, not really. The images that automatically pop up in my mind are illogical shapes. Sort of like M.C. Escher concoctions. I'm not sure if I could even describe them.
PDR: How did you get started selling your calendars?
Dickle: When I made my first calendars I had no idea if I could sell any at all. So I rolled a few under my arm and went into this art gallery in Atlanta and asked them if they'd be interested. They sort of smirked at each other and said with a dry little laugh: "no."
PDR: So I guess that was the end of that.
Dickle: It was disillusioning. But as I walked out I passed some painters standing out in front of the gallery. Not arty painters, but the kind with ladders and white overalls who paint houses. One of them said, "Hey, what you got there?" I showed them the calendar and started telling them the story about what all was going on in it, and they bought a couple right there on the spot. That's when it began to dawn on me that my real market was not with art gallaries but with real live people.
PDR: Today your calendars all have a story that comes with them. How did that get started?
Dickle: I seem to be incapable of rendering a drawing without simultaneously creating a story to go along with it. So the first year I exhibited my calendars at an art show, naturally I'd start telling people what the characters in it were up to. People often asked, "Do you come along with the calendar to tell about it?" I started writing the stories down, and that became my ongoing time travel diary.
PDR: Tell me a little about the stories
Dickle: They're all set in a faraway land just over the futureward horizon called Calendaria. It's inhabited by a cast of characters called, as you might imagine, the Calendarians. The stories tie together from one year to the next so that each new calendar is a further episode in a continuing adventure through time.
PDR: How about a quick profile of one of your "Calendarians"?
Dickle: Well, let's see. There's the Daybreaker. He's this dumpy little scoundrel who hates Tuesdays, and goes around stealing them from the calendars. The authorities have been after him for years, but to no avail. See, when you're living in a calendar, you can be seen in several different places at the same time. So the Daybreaker rambles all over Calendaria leaving so many images of himself from the past, present and future that nobody can tell which is the past. present or future him. Some people think he's triplets.
PDR: How do you pronounce Calendaria? I've always wondered.
PDR: Pilliard Dickle appears in the stories, too, right?
Dickle: Right. I'm sort of a roving reporter—or rather a roving calendar artist—traveling through Calendaria on a mission to explore the future. I make drawings of the picturesque years I discover along the way for the people back in my homeland, a place called The Land of Reality. I also keep and illustrated diary of all the odd occurrences I encounter.
PDR: Do you ever draw in other real people, besides yourself, or are they all imaginary Calendarians?
Dickle: I have no talent for rendering likenesses of actual people. I do put in my daughter Emily or my granddaughter Olivia. And occasionally a famous person, but only those easy to draw. For me, that means somebody who's laden with external adornments, like glasses, mustache, crazy hair—stuff like that. The movie critic Gene Shalit is an example. I drew him in one year, then sent him some calendars. He ended up spashing them all over the Today show, for years!
PDR: So tell us, Pilliard, what, in your opinion, is the......
Dickle: Oh and one year David Boyd, the syndicated cartoonist who draws the illustrations for Jeff Foxworthy's You Might Be a Redneck... calendars, loaned me one of Jeff's rednecks for a guest appearance. The story was that he'd wandered into the wrong calendar and was trying to find his way back to his own calendar. And Paul Kirchner, who drew a cartoon series called The Bus that ran in the French art magazine Heavy Metal, let me put his character on one of my calendars, riding a train. And I drew a couple of calendars for Mike Birbiglia. He had me draw in his pals like Mitch Hedberg and Jerry Seinfeld, but I cheated and got my then-wife (and still best friend) to draw 'em. Sorry, I didn't mean to cut you off. What was the question?
PDR: What, in your opinion, is the worst Beatle song ever recorded?
Dickle: The worst? Hmm... Wild Honey Pie, I guess. But they were trying to be bad, so that doesn't count. How about Mr. Moonlight. But wait, they didn't write that one. Didn't Ringo try to do some country thing? Don't Pass Me By. But that one doesn't count, either. I mean, it was Ringo. fer cryin' out loud. You gotta love 'im.
PDR: Speaking of Seinfeld, if you could be any of those characters, which one would you be and why?
Dickle: Well, if I said Elaine, I'd get to find out what it's like to be a woman. Without crossing gender barrier, though, I guess I'd have to say George Costanza because he's such a great liar and I'm no good at it. Plus, I'd have more hair. No wait—remember "You gotta see the baby?" I'd be that baby. I'd have the better part of a century ahead of me to live. Don't you have any relevant questions?
PDR: OK, what's your favorite calendar?
Dickle: Well, I like those Far Side calendars. Cows standing around chatting. Ducks with attitudes.
PDR: I mean of yours.?
Dickle: Hmm... I'm hardly the one to ask. I'm too close to 'em. I guess I'd say the castle one. Or the city. Or maybe the planetoid.
PDR: What's the hardest one you ever drew?
Oh that's easy. The upside down one. It was a pyramid beside a lake, and some of the months were reflections in the water. When you turn it upside down in June, everything becomes something else. Like, a kite becomes a sailboat, and a blimp in the sky becomes a submarine in the water. It was murder to draw because everything had to be ambiguous. Remind me not to do that again.
PDR: What can we expect to emerge next from the mind of Pilliard Dickle?
Dickle: I'm retooling an illustrated novel-in-progress called A Novel Without Words. It's just what the name implies. The characters speak in colors rather than words. The primary colors of light, red, blue and green—and all the variations thereof—constitute their language. It's a very challenging project. Doubleday almost published it. ("Almost" is the operative word here.) But I'm kind of glad they didn't, because I've never been quite satisfied with it. And I'm doing a little web TV show called The Futon Show, broadcast live from my living room. Plus 3-D t-shirts, phony interviews, stuff like that.
PDR: Phony interviews?
Dickle: Yeah, you know, where you interview yourself and act like it's somebody else asking the questions.
PDR: What are you implying? That I don't exist?
Dickle: Well, that's a tough one. How can we be sure what exists outside the confines of our craniums? I mean, I'm sure there's an amalgamation of molecules out there that corresponds to what you think of as "you," but I can never directly perceive it. All the information I have about about the universe is what's scooped up by my sensory input devices and piped into my brain. Which is the only brain that I can be absolutely certain exists. Even then, the certitude falls short of 100% by about the diameter of a quark.