Children & Youth

Seibold Serial #7: On his friendship with Matt Groening and the story of how it began

We're going serial with J. Otto Seibold and Mr. Lunch. For the remaining weeks of the exhibition, we're releasing video interviews with the artist, everything from his favorite object in the exhibition to that special exhibition introduction by Matt Groening.

For our final #SeiboldSerial, artist and illustrator J. Otto Seibold talks about his friendship with Matt Groening, from how they met to how Seibold got Groening to write the intro wall text. (Hint: It all began with a bar of soap.)

#SeiboldSerial is a weekly video series in conjunction with J. Otto Seibold and Mr. Lunch, on view Nov 20, 2014–Mar 8, 2015 at The CJM.


about the artist
J. Otto Seibold

J. Otto Seibold (b. 1960) is a self-taught artist who was born in Oakland, California, and grew up an apricots-throw away from the John Muir home in Martinez, CA. He was able to sneak into the art world during the “outsider artist” craze of the 1990s and is the first person to use digital software to create children’s books with Mr. Lunch Takes a Plane Ride (1993). Seibold has continued publishing for the past twenty years and is best known for the Mr. Lunchseries, as well as Olive the Other Reindeer (Chronicle Books, 1997), and Vunce Upon a Time (Chronicle Books, 2008).

Also a widely exhibited artist, he has shown work in galleries and museums including Deitch Projects, New York; Paule Anglim, San Francisco; Grass Hut, Portland, OR; MASS MoCA, Adams, MA; and Creative Time’s 42nd Street Art Project. In 2000, Seibold had a solo museum exhibition at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

Seibold’s bio on the dust jacket of Free Lunch, however, is perhaps simpler: J. Otto draws all the time. It’s his job. He is a professional.

Image Credit

Header image: J. Otto Seibold, “Then the Elephant had a good idea” from Free Lunch, n.d. Vector illustration, 26 3/4 x 21 1/2 x 1 1/2 in. J. Otto Seibold and Mr. Lunch. On view November 20, 2014–March 8, 2015. The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco.