In artist Jess Rotter's new book of illustrations, an ostrich in pink boots hitchhikes, a wizard calls his mom to ask if he's still relevant, a bear draws obscene pictures on a tree trunk, and a little gray-purple monster sits silently (sadly?) in a waiting room. I'm Bored brings to life those thoughts and questions, both good and bad, we muddle over in moments of pure boredom: What does it mean to be cool? Am I making the most out of life? Are we there yet?
"I think life is a true balance of the gutting and the beautiful," Rotter explains. "It's this crazy trip of trying to constantly feel OK, and that's quite the world to explore. I like pairing bizarre situations, like a wizard calling his mom for help, or an ostrich seeking therapy. It's a childlike approach to really heavy situations."
We asked the artist to walk us through the absurd world she's created and introduce us to the strange beasts who populate it.
"I've spent a lot of time reflecting on life while on road trips, seeing gorgeous landscapes all around. This series was kind of a whimsical comment on our attention spans, bringing us back to being kids and yelling 'Are we there yet?' when the most gorgeous environments are right under our nose."
"I first drew this little monster when I was 19 and recently revisited him as the vibe still held up. It's an attack on laziness but also a call to waking up and not letting time pass you by. I never gave him a name, because his energy was enough. He's always in a waiting room trying to figure something out, get some answers. Definitely inspired by the monsters of The Muppet Show."
"This is one of my favorite characters in the book. It's a dog who is desperate to be cool. When he says, 'Who will be the next person I hope will like me?' it kind of stands for: Who will inspire me? Who will be my next hero? Who will make me feel intimidated and challenge my current train of thought?"
"I originally drew this on an airplane, feeling tired of trying to please others. Pass me a glass of wine and a bag of peanuts."
"Another image I drew many years ago. I actually saw these kids waiting for their luggage and had to capture the moment. She was so in love with this guy, but I saw what was truly on his mind, and it involved a quick delivery."
"Poor ostrich. She's a bit depressed and lonely, and on a trip to find bliss and salvation. As an only child and struggling to make it in New York, hers was a mantra I told myself at times for strength."
"My take on a 1970s Successories motivational poster. Kind of takes on a new relevance in these weird post-election times."
"This is part of a series about the outgoing message on my parents' answering machine from when I grew up in the 1980s, with actual wallpaper prints from our house."