Willis Earl Beal is not your typical artist. Throwing him into a glossy music video or a social media campaign might be a good look for most artists, but it’s probably not the right move for Willis. An animated film based on a bunch of sketches Willis did one night? That’s more like it.
Willis Earl Beal will be debuting a new animated film called Principles Of A Protagonist, which will be available for viewing in on his newly designed website in September. He will also begin a US tour on September 28th in Cincinnati.
Originally written in the summer of 2010 amidst heartbreak and unemployment, Willis Earl Beal’s Principles of a Protagonist novella was first distributed as a photocopied zine that Beal sold for $5 throughout Chicago. The novella, which is as biographical as it is fantastical, loosely revolves around a Beal-like protagonist that wanders Englewood, a community in Southwest Chicago where Willis resided for many years.
“I wrote it in Chicago when I didn’t have a job,” Willis explains. “I was living with my grandmother, and I was going back and forth to the community assistance program in order to do it.” As such, it’s no surprise that the novella deals with loneliness, borderline insanity, joblessness, delusion, hope and futility.
“It’s real exciting. Everything I thought of is happening”, Willis adds. “I envisioned it becoming a film. If you don’t envision something as actually happening and being in action then there’s no motivation to do it. Everything I do is cinematic. Everything I do I imagine what it would look like in the context of cinema- whether writing a song, writing a story or watching a movie and imagining myself in the role of the protagonist walking down the street. The movie for me is amniotic fluid.”
Check out Willis’ new tour dates below.
9/28 Cincinnati, OH Mid Point Music Festival
9/29 Champaign, IL Pygmalio Music Festival
10/01 Toronto, ONT The Drake
10/02 Montreal, QUE Il Motore
10/03 Cambridge, MA TT the Bears
10/05 Philadelphia, PA Milkboy
10/06 Washington, DC Red Palace
10/09 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
10/13 Austin, TX Lamberts
10/14 Austin, TX Austin City Limits Festival
10/17 San Diego, CA Casbah
10/18 Los Angeles, CA The Echo
10/20 San Francisco, CA Bottom of the Hill
10/22 Portland, OR Mississippi Studios
10/23 Seattle, WA Barboza
10/24 Vancouver, BC Electric Owl