Veg Celeb: Illustrator/Musician Marcellus Hall

We chatted with this New Yorker contributor, children's book author, and musician in the band The Hostages about humor, vegetarianism, and "bacherloresque" cooking.

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Art and photo by Marcellus Hall


Besides witty cover art, Marcellus Hall has contributed illustrations to The New Yorker. He’s also illustrated children’s books, including Everyone Sleeps, which he authored as well. Additionally, Hall is a musician, currently performing with his band, The Hostages. “Harmony, texture, rhythm, color, and composition” are overlapping aspects of his music and art, he says. Here, more of my conversation with Hall.

How would you describe your sense of humor?

My sense of humor is wry. Often when a bitter truth is revealed in an ironic way, I laugh.

Why did you go veg?

Increasingly I sensed hypocrisy between my respect for animals and my carnivorousness. I became curious about vegetarianism when a friend invited me to his family’s vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner. I searched “reasons to eat vegetarian” online. All of the reasons I found made sense.

Alongside health reasons, a part of my vegetarianism is discipline. It helps me to have limits. Just as limiting the color palette in a painting yields harmony and economy, keeping my eating habits simple makes my life more focused.

What’s the most ignorant comment people make when they find out you’re vegetarian, and how do you respond?

We’re learning new things all the time so I don’t label people’s comments as ignorant. But I am conscious of the way people sometimes appear defensive when the subject of vegetarianism comes up.

I want to live by example and not preach. I don’t begrudge anyone their lifestyle. I assume we all are searching for answers. It always struck me as strange, though, that if you tell someone you’ve quit smoking, they’ll say, “Congratulations!” If you say you’ve joined a gym, they’ll say, “Way to go!” But if you say you’ve stopped eating meat, they’ll say, “Why?”

What’s your cooking style?

My cooking style might be described as bacherloresque. It is simple. I often have eggs or beans with rice or barley and steamed vegetables. And I’m always discovering fruits or vegetables that I didn’t know about before.


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