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.


My first solo Art Quilt Show Opens June 15 at Sleepy Creek Vineyards

Mark yer calendars! My first Art Quilt Show opens June 15 at Sleepy Creek Vineyards in hip, happenin’ rural-area-between-Urbana-and-Danville, IL.

Nina Paley Art Quilt Show 2013

Art Quilts will be on the walls June 15-September 15, 2013

Opening: June 15
Reception: 6pm
Screening of Sita Sings the Blues: 8pm

Sleepy Creek Vineyards is three miles south of Oakwood, Illinois, just off Interstate 74 between Danville and Champaign, IL.
Address:  8254 E 1425 North Rd., Fairmount, IL 61841
Phone: 217-733-0330

Want to see the place? Sleepy Creek has a funny webseries you can watch right now! My favorite is episode 6, it cracks me up.


R.I.P. Roger Ebert

I am so grateful I got to meet Roger Ebert in 2009, when he screened Sita Sings the Blues at Ebertfest. He couldn’t speak then, but he stood onstage while his computer’s synthetic voice read his comments and looked intently in my eyes to make sure I was taking it in. He really wanted me to receive his gift, which was hard because it was so generous.

Roger Ebert and Nina Paley at Eberfest 2009. Photo by Chris Anderson

Here is his longer review of Sita Sings the Blues, which brought many, many viewers to it.



I’ve been rather silent this Summer, blog-wise. That’s because I spent it in my hometown Urbana-Champaign, Illinois. And…I’m moving back here for a while. Much as I love New York, the peace, quiet, space, affordability, bike-friendliness, and generally easy living of this place have me hooked for now. I couldn’t wait to get out of here when I was 20 but now, 24 years later, it’s a different town and I’m a different woman (I like to think we’ve both improved). Anyway if I get bored and restless New York will still be there.

While I settle in, enjoy this time-lapse movie of a bike ride I took yesterday:



Here’s our pal the Angel of Death, hero of the Old Testament, doing what He does best in a scene I’m working on.

It’s been slow going working on Seder-Masocochism. In fact I’ve hardly worked on it at all. Instead I’ve been shuttling between New York and Urbana, IL, attending Ebertfest, hanging out with my Momz, and dating this guy. This “human relationships” stuff takes time, time I could be sitting in a lonely garret with nothing to do but animate. But don’t worry, Urbana will eventually become as boring as I remember it growing up, and I’ll turn inward for solace once again.

Did I mention I plan to spend this Summer in Urbana? It’s just as hot and humid as New York, but the garbage cans are spaced more widely apart and there are fewer tourists. Plus I will have access to a swimming hole out in the prairie. After 8 consecutive Summers in densely-packed New York, that alone is reason for me to spend the hottest months away this year.