Marcellus Hall

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Marcellus Hall is an American artist and musician best known for his illustration work in magazines including The New Yorker, Time and others.


Marcellus Hall was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota,[1] and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Rhode Island School of Design[2] where he also learned guitar and harmonica.[3]



As a freelance illustrator, Hall has worked for publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Time, The Christian Science Monitor, New York Magazine, The New York Times, Fortune, and The New Yorker. His first cover for The New Yorker was published in 2005.[4] His second in 2008. His third in 2013.[5] And his fourth in 2016.[6] About his fourth cover Hall said "...I did that in 2008 got printed in 2016 took eight years.[7]

In March 2018 Hall published with Bittersweet Editions a debut comic narrative (also known as a graphic novel) called Kaleidoscope City. The book is an existentialist meditation in words and drawings on a year in the life of an unnamed protagonist who seeks meaning through art and city life following the end of a romance. The book earned accolades from actor Bob Odenkirk, comics artist Adrian Tomine, and musician Adam Green.[8]

"I loved this book and it’s understandable why people like Adrian Tomine and Bob Odenkirk do too. It’s something I haven’t seen or felt in a piece of art before. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since finishing reading it. This is a nice and refreshing change of pace for comics and a great book for early spring,” said Lenny Schwartz of Forces of Geek. “…a wonderfully unique book.”[9]

“We wake up, trudge to work, eat, sleep, repeat. However, illustrator Marcellus Hall challenges that view of life and beckons us to look at life in a different way in his lyrical, sometimes ethereal, always lovely new graphic novel Kaleidoscope City," said Jed W. Keith of Freak Sugar.[10]

About Kaleidoscope City Hall has said “Life is a lonely business. Religion and art tell stories to make us feel less alone. The fact that we inhale air speaks to our need for air. The fact that we have religion and art speaks to our need for connection. I can’t say why we need connection anymore than why we need air, except to say that we would die without either of them.” [11]

Hall's work has also appeared in The Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, and Communication Arts annuals.

In his first years in New York, Hall also created the weekly comic strip Bill Dogbreath for alternative weekly newspapers that included The Onion, The Seattle Stranger, New York Perspectives, and Baltimore City Paper.[12]

In addition to illustrating the books White Pigeons and 57 Octaves for Fifth Planet Press,[13] Hall has self-published books of drawings and writing including Hard Luck Stories and Legends of the Infinite City (a collection of black & white drawings of New York City).[3]

A selection of Hall's sketches was published in Le Sketch #05, 2008.

In 2008 Hall began illustrating children's books. Among them are Because You Are My Baby (2008) by Sherry North,[14] City I Love (2009) by Lee Bennett Hopkins,[14] Because You Are My Daddy (2010) by Sherry North,[14] The Cow Loves Cookies (2010) by Karma Wilson,[15] Full Moon and Star (2011) by Lee Bennett Hopkins,[14] Because I Am Your Teacher (2012) by Sherry North,[16] What's New? The Zoo! (2014) by Kathleen Krull,[17] and Duddle Puck The Puddle Duck (2015) by Karma Wilson.[18]

In May 2013, Everybody Sleeps,[19] Hall's first children's book as both author and illustrator, was published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin.


After graduation, Hall moved to New York City, New York and became a founding member of and main songwriter for the band Railroad Jerk. The group released four albums on Matador Records and was influential in the blues/punk/folk/grunge genre. The song "Rollerkoaster" from the album One Track Mind [20] appeared on MTV's Beavis and Butthead.[21]

After the dissolution of Railroad Jerk, Hall went on to form the band White Hassle with Railroad Jerk drummer Dave Varenka.[22] Using accompanying guitarists, a theremin player, and a DJ, White Hassle released albums on Matador Records, Fargo Records, Mazri Records, and Orange Recordings.[23] The band toured Europe and America before disbanding in 2006.[24]

Hall has since performed as a solo artist with his band, The Hostages (which includes mainstays Damon Smith and Mike Shapiro, as well as others including Michael DuClos, Alex Berman, Troy Fannin, Jimmy Ansourian, Joachim Kearns, and Matt Martin). Hall released a debut album, First Line, on Modest Mouse singer Isaac Brock's label Glacial Pace in 2011.[25] The album is accompanied by a 44-page illustrated book.

On May 8, 2013, Hall's Kickstarter campaign to fund his next album with his band The Hostages was successful.[26] The self-produced album, Afterglow,[27] was released on December 10, 2013.[28]


Railroad Jerk[edit]

White Hassle[edit]

Solo discography[edit]



  1. ^ Lovece, Frank. "Co-op / Condo Art: Meet Marcellus Hall",, June 5, 2009
  2. ^ Marcellus Hall (official site)
  3. ^ a b Mishaps and Adventures: Marcellus Hall • Interview Adventure Series • 2
  4. ^ Marcellus Hall :: Illustrations
  5. ^ "Cover Story: Marcellus Hall's "Urban Cycles"". The New Yorker. 2013-05-26. Retrieved 2016-07-31.
  6. ^ "Cover Story: Marcellus Hall's "The Great Thaw"". The New Yorker. 2016-01-04. Retrieved 2016-07-31.
  7. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Marcellus Hall :: Comics
  13. ^ Fifth Planet Press :: White Pigeons — Chris Leo
  14. ^ a b c d ABRAMS Book Search – The Art of Books Since 1949
  15. ^ The Cow Loves Cookies | Book by Karma Wilson, Marcellus Hall - Simon & Schuster
  16. ^ Because You Are My Teacher.
  17. ^ "What's New? The Zoo!: A Zippy History of Zoos - Hardcover - The Scholastic Store". Retrieved 2016-07-31.
  18. ^ Duddle Puck. 2015-08-25. ISBN 9781442449275.
  19. ^ Hall, Marcellus (May 2, 2013). Everybody Sleeps. Nancy Paulsen Books. ISBN 9780399257933. Retrieved December 15, 2013.
  20. ^ Railroad Jerk bios Archived 2012-04-16 at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ White Hassle (official site)
  22. ^ "White Hassle Tour Diary",, April 1, 2006, no byline
  23. ^ "White Hassle (official site)". Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  24. ^ Eric T. Miller (May 23, 2011). "Q&A With Marcellus Hall". Magnet Magazine. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  25. ^ MARCELLUS HALL | Glacial Pace Recordings
  26. ^ "Marcellus Hall's Next Album!". Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  27. ^ "Afterglow". Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  28. ^ "Marcellus Hall's Unprecedented Take on Art-Damaged America". The New York Observer. December 6, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  29. ^ Marcellus Hall (official site)

External links[edit]