Alan Caesar, 22
A pacifist sports a bullet vest.
Art Institute North Garden
Do you have a nickname? In high school, people who wanted to make fun of me called me Chicken Caesar Salad. [Laughs] My friends called me La Lechuga—Spanish for lettuce—because I’m a vegetarian.
How do people react to the bullet vest? I’ve never gotten shit for it. A lot of old ladies compliment me. They can appreciate homemade clothing.
You won’t find bullet casings at Jo-Ann Fabrics. I had to go to a gun range. Before I moved to Chicago, I lived in Oklahoma City, so I had easier access to ranges. People use the casings to make their own ammunition, which is kind of terrifying.
I get the impression you’ve never shot a gun. Absolutely not. I see the world as being a very vicious place, but that doesn’t mean I want to be a vicious person. I get my fix of adventure through the comics that I draw and read. Chicago has a vibrant community of comics artists, both in the indie and mainstream capacities. I’d get shit if I didn’t mention Jeremy Tinder. His book Cry Yourself to Sleep is great.
What types of people populate your comics? Weird, punkish characters. My mom works at the Oklahoma Tax Commission, so I’ve always had this interest in the idiosyncrasies of bureaucracies and how people get mired in the catch-22s of government. I was strangely happy to find that there’s plenty of that here in Chicago. The system is inherently going to have faults because it was designed by imperfect people. In a way, it’s amazing it works at all.