University High School 1984

Super high-res (800 dpi) image at!

I recently dug up, scanned and restored this cartoon I drew in 1984 for the Uni High yearbook. It makes me nostalgic not for school (for which I still carry much resentment*) but for the glorious escape drawing provided those years. There were no art classes at Uni while I was there, for which I am eternally grateful. While my liberal friends are mostly “arts education” boosters, I owe my survival to Art staying beyond the reach of school, teachers, and institutionalization. School ruined math, literature, physical exercise, social interactions, and pretty much everything else that could be beautiful – thank doG it didn’t ruin drawing too.


*Dropping out of the University of Illinois at the end of my Sophomore year was the first Great Decision I ever made. My second Great Decision was freeing Sita Sings the Blues and dropping out of Copyright. I’ve only made two Great Decisions in my life, but they’re plenty. Dayenu.


Author: Nina Paley

Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat.

5 thoughts on “Alumnuts”

  1. รขโ€ฐโ€“ Wow, I remember that style being sprung onto an unsuspecting Santa Cruz. Dan Piraro recently reran his “scratch & sniff” cartoon, so I pointed him to you one you drew that included clip-n-eat tofu. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. I can imagine anyone under the age of 20 looking at “Person waiting for phone” and trying to figure out what the hell that could possibly mean.

  3. We had a microwave oven?

    Did you take (and keep) photos of your work on Lippold’s van? When I worked at CERL I inherited a blackboard with some very nice chalk drawings of yours on it — I turned it into a whiteboard and your art remains on the obverse. Unfortunately I eventually moved into a house without a wall big enough for the thing and had to bequeath it to a friend.

    Van memory-jog:

  4. Was that me on the floor playing chess next to the cockroaches? This remains as clever and funny as ever. Thanks for bringing it back…30 yr later (jeeesh!).

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