pography, minimal use of tools/ artifacts, no backgrounds, no graphic stuff, etc. The images had to be based on ideas, and should not rely on artisanship. Eventually, I wound up with the simplified image of a human character in just black ink lines. Which makes sense, of course, because everything ever created by humans is created for the needs of humans. So to use a simplified version of an anonymous, universal character is highly metaphorical in every way it is being portrayed. Why are they doing what they’re doing? When I decided to work with this universal human character, I had to figure out new ways to create interesting images with the restrictions mentioned previously. So to create dynamic, spacious images, I started to
Where are you and why? Right now, I’m in Oranienbaum-Wörlitz, Germany, finishing a six-week residency. Next week, I’m going to Berlin for a bit… Then, in early august, I’m off to Leipzig to do a project for a month. After that, I’ve got some projects coming up in Rotterdam, Mulhouse, Fürstenberg and probably Bangkok for the winter. Who are these characters in relation to you? I guess they’re just toys that I can push around. How did they get there? In the past, I used to do more
elaborate, skillful, colorful drawings of fantasy characters in dreamscape settings, but after a while, I got fed up with this. I needed a new challenge, so I started making a list of things that I could not use anymore—going extremely minimalistic in comparison to where I was coming from. No faces, no clothes, no ty-
tear them apart. To me it was a fun visual game of creating (humorous) sculptural images with different body parts. But because the human body was the only subject in the drawings, they automatically became highly metaphorical images of introspective thoughts. Not my thoughts, but so it was interpreted by many. To create a setting without using backgrounds, I started using a (transparent) cube, the most basic unit for space and dimension. By combining the cube with a human figure in different scales and texture, it makes for unlimited settings and backgrounds. Lately, more elements have been included, like stones, sticks and lines/ropes—all basic construction elements to create more elaborate and dynamic settings. But still the images remain highly metaphorical, and while working on it, I haven’t got a clue what’s going on. I recognize the potential, and I’m manipulizing all the time, but I’m not trying to tell a personal story, its just play. When did this start and where will it end? It started about 6 or 7 years ago. Before that, I had been working on creating my own fictive Neolithic society that eventually (from their customs, stories and needs) would create its own visual communication systems (symbols, patterns and writings). This worked quite well, and it generated a lot of images that I wouldn’t have come up with if there hadn’t been a need for them. But the downside was the immense context of the project—there were so many stories to accompany the images. So after a while, I quit this project to create images that did not need this added
context. Maybe, in retrospect, I’m still doing the same, but for a non-fictional society. So I guess it will never end. Observe, wonder, manipulate, play—it’s all in there. And out there… Are they ever anyone in particular? That’s something I always try to avoid. It’s more about humankind in general... The only person that it could ever be is the observer with them having identified with an individual work. It’s very tempting to put my own ideas and convictions into my work, and maybe I will do so in the future. But for now, I try to leave it as open as possible. People really see what they want to see, and I prefer to play with that. Is there definite meaning behind your choice of color? When I started to reduce my palette of subject matter to just the human character, I started drawing them with the only three pens I had at that time, which just happened to be a black pen, a red pen and
a greenish-blue pen. Soon, red became the color to expose the inner workings of the body, and the greenish-blue was useful to depict transparency. I also use this color palette with my wall paintings, with the addition of white. The black and white are perfect in contrast to all the colors that are already there. The walls and surrounding area contain all the colors of the world, all you have to do is put a well-placed black and white character to emphasize this. What would you like your viewer to walk away having felt? I would be happy if my drawing or painting could be a starting point for a good conversation—and that that conversation is more about asking questions, than expecting answers. Will that correlate with your desired intention? I’m questioning reality by adding new images to it, in hopes that other people will question this “newer” reality. Observing all this is a lot of fun. Fun, play, observation, questioning, getting lost—these are all intentions. When is it decidedly time to go large? Anytime. Actually, there’s quite a big wall coming up in Rotterdam in early fall. ...Small? I do that all the time; most of my drawings are pretty small. Do you decide how to interact with a space, or does the space direct you? It can go either way... When I go look for a place to paint, I try to do so as a photographer.
The surroundings are very important. It’s all about the corners, angles, objects, shadows, etc. If these are all good, then you just need to add a little character to make the area become part of the scene. Then again, sometimes there is no need to interact with a space. At a gallery wall, you just have to make sure the image has a good concept and composition—interacting within a white cube doesn’t seem that challenging to me. Do you care to compare yourself to others? That wouldn’t make sense. Most people I’ve met have very different ambitions and expectations than I have. When’s your mind at ease? When watching ants, or being completely lost in a forest. Walking through the city at night, or in nature—anywhere for that matter. Music. Always music. And when all the bills have been paid. How often is it that you’ve kept work under wraps until an opportune time? Actually, many times. As I mentioned before, I still have a huge bulk of work for this fantasy Neolithic society I’ve been working on for years.
Is the thrill in the chase, or in the kill? Always in the chase. How is your reality different than mine? I don’t know you. You might as well be a robot sending me automated questions... What did you escape from? Death. Prejudice. Stupidity. I’ve escaped them each multiple times, but they always come back. Will that have mattered in the end? It’s made me into what I am now. What will matter in the end? Don’t know. Don’t care. Why is new work rewarding? Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. But every time new work is started, there’s a chance you’ll find out something new. That should actually be the goal, or else its just work. Is intellect a blessing, or a curse? Always a blessing. How do you see yourself fitting into the larger whole? What reoccurring themes are prevalent in your work and why are they revisited? Why is there no “i” in team? Do you typically start each day w/ a plan? What makes it all worthwhile for you? Are you an adventurer at heart? Does travel allow you the anonymity to create as you see fit?
A n g e r : B e h a v i o r : C o m p l e t e : D e s i r e : E n d : B e g i n F a t h e r : Geometry:Language H a t e : D e s t r u c t i o n I l l i c i t : G r e e d J e a l o u s y : E g o K e y : H o n e s t y L i e : S p i r a l M a s k : F o o l N a t u r e : G o d O f f i c e r : P a s s i o n : L i f e Q u a l m : P a s t R e a s o n : I n s i g h t S e x : E n e r g y T h e o r y : E d u c a t i o n U n s c a t h e d : V a n i s h : W e i g h t : R e l a t i v e X e r a r c h : W h a t ? Y e l l : Z e r o :
In creating so much on a regular basis, have you found that you’re coming from a particular place when it comes to your best material? I realised that I’ve always been fascinated by sleep, and the process of losing consciousness and regaining it. Probably a fear of death, of never regaining consciousness, or dying within a dream, or dreams escaping into the real world, or dreams as a secure alternate reality to reality. Sometimes in the past, I wished I hadn’t referred to sleep as much, but now I just go with it, as it obviously is an important metaphor to my subconscious. How has the process of steadily increasing the amount you personally create contributed to the overall quality and consistency of the material you produce? They go hand in hand. Being overly precise about new material can stop a creative flow that could be used heavily. I’ve been told that the creative process should take heed of biological childbirth: when you have a contraction you should push with it, and when you don’t, you should just relax and rest. So basically, don’t force it and just go with the flow. How much new material have you been writing?
Seriously, I write lots and lots of shit all the time. Then, it gets reworked and combined and scrapped and reborn. Each time I have a riff I think, “Okay, keep it simple, leave it pure and that’s the finished song now.” Then, the next day I’m like, “Nope, back to the drawing board…” Have you been holding up to creating as much as 100 songs in a day!? Monoganon fantasized once that, with Spotify, we could make an album with 5,000 “songs” at 0.003 seconds each, possibly with only silence or noise, and occasionally fake the adverts for a real album to make some quick cash. You know, so I could get all the recording equipment and pay for my bandmates to join me in a rented cabin in the north of Sweden so we could finish material really fast. As far as it goes now, I do make music all the time, but I feel limited in my ability to finish songs to the standards I try to uphold. I guess I do make 100 songs a day, but they are not “songs” by my own standards—unfinished riffs, riffs being discovered, lone melodies, drones, tapping, silence, yawning, humming and talking shit. I could also choose three chords, find my capo and record a double album— but it wouldn’t live up to the challenge that I enjoy. I want to make songs that challenge the “natural” algebraic A+B=C of popular songwriting. Essentially, I want to make songs that are like (Ax B)+(Cx(A+B))<C/B, and I can’t make 100 of those a day. But I might accidentally make 100 sounds that some people would consider music during that process. Personally, I have a place in my heart for field-recordings, drones, jams, experiments, overheard conversations and noise—but I know it’s not for everyone. I experiment a lot while recording, and if I sent a 3-minute snippet MP3 file to someone they’d think, “This is really a weird song.” Speaking of, what is the creative process for Monoganon? I try not to push myself into songwriting, but I find it healthy to pursue small ideas and experiment until they seem “finished”. I’m always recording melodies, riffs, weird rhythms that happen in daily life, weird sentences I overhear, or significant thoughts and observa-
tions. Then, when I sit down to make music, I go into that storage and see what happens musically and theoretically. During the process of trying to form a song, it becomes infected with emotion; either an emotional feedback from the song, or what I’m feeling at the moment infects the progression somehow. At some point, there is a happy accident and I realise how the song should be. Then, I demo that song as best as I can to second in command, Andrew Cowan. He usually says, “That’s nice.” But when it comes time to learn and record it, he usually says, “Ah, this is nice.” He then works with Keith Smith and Susan Bear, where they arrange a dynamic progression, and change the rhythm, tempo and emphasis. We record the song. Then, when it is recorded, we spend a lot of time mixing, multitracking harmonies, adding instruments (which often become main features of the song) and layering samples. All of which changes the song from a flat algebraic structure into a real-life 3D song. My responsibility is to refer back to the demo and see if we’ve captured the pure energy that made that idea into a song in the first place. How often does you work take on a deeper personal meaning that is seldom understood by others?
More often, I don’t understand the deeper personal meaning. The process of creation reveals deeper truths to the narcissist in me that wants to create to attract attention. Should it be? I guess it’s a question of, “Is my experience relevant to others?” I’d like to think that my experience is relevant to others. Personally, I don’t believe that experience is easily communicated. And in creation, there is more a feeling of shouting at the top of a mountain into a strong wind, than communicating ideas to listening ears. Those open to the ideas already know the idea anyhow, and those who are currently closed, only hear what they need to hear for now. Even if a misunderstanding occurs, at least that disruption leads me, the idea and the “other” closer to acceptance of each other. How has your work reached people in ways you hadn’t expect-
ed? Some of my vlogs have been used in Swedish schools to talk about emigration, which was unexpected and very funny (because I’m being quite sarcastic in the videos). Also, somebody in South America used Monoganon as an example of modern Scottish music to their students. What essentially makes the cut, and what does not? I try to remove as much narcissism and pointless neurosis from the lyrical content. Also, I try not to perpetuate ideas of gender, class, sexuality and race. But I’m weary of being openly critical of any aspect of society, as I want the focus to be on openness, not defensiveness. Would you be you without your work? Nope. I’d be another “me”— probably slightly healthier, and a more valuable asset to capitalism. Does working with others in separate cities prove to be lia-
bility or a s s e t t o w a rd s new material? I t doesn’t really make a difference. I work alone so much, and everyone has their own projects (Tuff Love, FatSuit), social lives and work. I think we have a good creative process because some unnecessary ideas get forgotten along the way. How have you personally dealt with loss in life? By talking openly about it with friends and family, which isn’t something that comes naturally for me. Music, photography and walking have helped too, but only to soothe an anxious mind. What does the phrase, “all things must pass” mean to you? I’m glad you asked, because it means two things. Nothing lasts forever is the most obvious meaning, but as a half-believer in self-fulfilling prophecy (and Magick), I think it is possible to make things happen. So I find it quite exciting to imagine that everything will happen. However, I would say that, wouldn’t I? Maybe I just haven’t had enough disappointment, rejection and disapproval in my life to prove otherwise.
Which show from this most recent tour stands out the most to you and why? There was a show in Coventry where there was a really dry humoured heckler. We ended up in a deep back ‘n forth about time-travel and politics, while exchanging gentle insults with each other. I enjoyed this a lot, as the heckler had enough restraint and comic timing to make it enjoyable for all. Did/do manage new material on the road? Yeah, we actually released a cassette tape that featured some demos I’d made in Sweden, and some jams we experimented with overseas. How do you feel on stage? After two songs, I let loose and release streams of consciousness onto the audience—occasionally it bottlenecks into a punch line followed by laughter, but mostly it hovers in the silent air until the next song starts. I really enjoy the control that having a microphone provides, so I try to undermine that role and enjoy the awkwardness of it too. Why should anyone listen? I think people feel more comfortable with somebody being slightly arrogant and awkwardly cocky, than silent. From this last tour, what would you change for the next? We would all love to play more of our new songs, play a little bit longer and play more of our old ones too. We have some 9-minute songs that are hard to squeeze into a set sometimes... In my experience, you don’t really get to know a place unless
you’ve lived there for a fair amount of time, would you say the same from your travels? Yes, absolutely. We are all animals—we don’t feel completely comfortable in new territory, even if we enjoy travelling. I think we enjoy the possibilities that new places have to offer. Are you planning on moving again? If I do, it will be to Copenhagen… Otherwise, I’m really happy in Malmö. Would you consider yourself a free Wi-Fi connoisseur? Hi, my name is John and I’m addicted to free Wi-Fi. How are the vlogs coming along? After the tour, I started working on some Swedish vlogs that accentuate my poor Swedish skills. Also, I’m also planning to show off the Scandinavian paradise where I live over the summer. Creatively does that allow you further analysis and introspection than songwriting alone? Yes, very much so. I find a lot of life poetic or ironically beautiful, and it is not so easy to convey that in song without sounding overly earnest, etc. How was your trip to the states, mate? Best holiday of my life! I’m still riding the wave of having spent March in California, Arizona and New York… It unlocked a new level inside me. It’s my understanding your partook in a li’l Greyhound bus excursion, do you now feel at one with the American people? I took a Greyhound from San Francisco to Phoenix and, yeah, I guess a Greyhound experience wouldn’t be a Greyhound experience without the people. I worked at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon a while back, and for my entire stay there, the words to describe its immense beauty were beyond me. What do you think? Every moment I spent looking into the Grand Canyon, I tried to remind myself to perceive the immense size of it all. I saw some condors and/or eagles flying almost a mile below, and I still couldn’t really process it. I think I understand now why people go base-jumping in those flying suits—because all I could do to grasp its size was to imagine falling off the rim. How has your relationship to time changed, as you’ve grown older? I broke up with time last year... I realised that inside I could feel timelessness, and that the material world wasn’t worth it. If time equals money, then I have a million dollars for each heartbeat. Do you anticipate things happening in advance, or are you more of a go-with-the-flow-type-of-guy? I used to really anticipate things in advance, but realised that expectations are exciting, but pointless in the end, because other things happen. If you’re only focused on your own expectations, then you run the risk of missing what’s good around you. Why work w/ UNDR RPBLC?
UNDR RPBLC seems like it was waiting for Monoganon all along, and we were waiting for UNDR RPBLC... What makes it all worthwhile in the end? Now, I know you all had a blast on your most recent tour, what are the benefits of traveling with your labelmates? Who are you working with next? How did you get here today? Would you change much of your current lifestyle? When do you provide your own sound effects? Have you done your best today?
A t t i t u d e : B a d B u y : S e l l C r y : D o n ’ t D r u g : D o E x p e r i e n c e : H a v e F r e e d o m : F a l s e G u a r d : W o r k H u n g e r : F i n d I n s t a n t : S u p e r J u s t i c e : S p i r i t K n o w l e d g e : P o w e r L u s t : L i f e M u s i c : N o w N o w : E v e r y t h i n g O r i g i n : M o n k e y P u r p o s e : C re a t i o n Q u i z : E n j o y m e n t R u l e : R e l i n q u i s h Survive:Permanent T r u t h : O n e U t o p i a : H o p e Vulgar:Appropriate W o r l d : F u l l n e s s Xy l e n e : C h e m i s t r y Y o u : S e l f Z o n k e d : D r o w s y
Have you sacrificed some of your favorite books for the sake of your art? The most expensive cut-up I’ve made was using a Frank Miller Daredevil comic. It was an impulsive action… I had almost completed the piece, and there was this picture of the Daredevil on his knees screaming and/ or crying, and I thought to myself, “It fits, I’ve just gotta have it in there!” I’ve used a lot of Jack Kirby’s Captain America stuff, which I couldn’t have seen myself doing a while back. The thought of having my hero’s (Kirby) work going into my own just seemed shocking—something I could never have even dreamt of doing. All my comic works are a form of homage to the greats—like
Kirby, Buscema and Ditko. Without their originals, mine would not exist. How was American History X? American History X is like trying to work out the rest of my life/career in one fell swoop. Things were just trickling along unhappily, and I felt like I needed to explode—to do something bold and brave. Something that would wake me up and get me hungry again, literally (starving artist and all that). It’s a project that may take me the rest of my life to finish, which I’ll settle for... After all, Hubert Selby Jr. only published six novels in his entire life, and each is a killer masterpiece. It’s all about quality, not quantity. Have you ever been wrong in doing things your own way? What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger! Work always becomes personal, and you naturally become attached to it. I’ve started to let the work decide what happens to itself, for better or worse. Your decisions are yours, and you can’t be wrong if it’s your feelings, and it’s your baby. In life sometimes the hardest decision is not choosing which bridges to cross, but which to burn. Could you have been taught to do what you do in the traditional sense? Old school values are being left in the dark. I was lucky that in my 25 years experience of working in workshops, that I’ve been apprentice to some amazing master arti-
sans. It is them to whom I owe a debt of gratitude, and no one from the world of art. I had the benefits of working with geniuses that had worked on projects harking back to the original Star Wars series and early James Bond movies. The knowledge and craft of these people will be lost soon to the digital age, and it will be a very sad day indeed. Is independence fundamental to your well-being? It has been said, and I believe it myself, that true art can only be produced out of adversity. The idea of time card allotted, mail-order art disgusts me. We should express ourselves because it’s fundamentally a part of us, and our philosophy. Not because some suit likes a bit of this or that to look nice above the couch of their clients. How would you describe death to a child? I would show them a piece of my work, as I feel I’m becoming a memorial artist. The work, whether it’s heroic or villain-esque, is a portrayal of the dead—one way or another. Where did you find yourself in your work? It has taken 25 years of grafting in workshops, and 12 years of the art world, to get to the point of finding out small fragments of who I actually am. It’s ludicrous that children should have to make such diverse decisions that affect their lives at such an early age… I knew nothing until I hit the age of 32. It’s only now with the more non-commercial projects I’ve been working on, that I can see the alienation, loneliness and obsessive qualities that are hardened into what I have been creating and leaning towards. Scary stuff! Have you ever quit? I was asked to work for a “big artist” at White Cube gallery in London about 9 years ago. I started at 9AM, and left the building at 9:23AM. It felt wrong on so many levels—sycophantic idiots, jumper-hugging wannabes—it all really leaves a terrible taste in your mouth. So sick-
ened by the experience, I even left my lunchbox in the fridge. The ironic end to the story is that I got a phone call at 4PM later that day asking if I was coming back and if could I work the next day! When do you walk away from work? It’s easy for me to finish a piece because I am much more about the technical. For me, the execution is already there in the early stages, and then it’s about being exact. The aesthetic and idea are molded together very early on, and from then on it’s like a checklist. Get it done! How has survival influenced your work? Life is all about survival for
most of us, and I’m no different. My work is intrinsically linked to my circumstances and surroundings—they walk together arm in arm. The work represents your feelings and your experiences of that given moment. A good example for me would be my Emergency Break Glass series of works, which were all linked to suicidal thoughts and, ultimately, changed my life/career for the better. Are the comics still of value to you afterwards? Yes, and I have stacks of crates to prove it. Leftover cut-ups are crucial when you’re a hunter-gatherer hoarder that can never throw anything away. Filtering through them over Christmas break gave me the idea for the “Zodiac” styled poison pen letter stuff, that was
later transformed into The Executioner’s Song, Parts I and II. Who shot JFK and why? Lee Harvey Oswald did. He was a complex, bitter and twisted individual who saw his chance for infamy and took it. Unfortunately, he’s the originator of the lone gunman theory, which has plagued the States since JFK’s assasination. So much of what I’ve worked on has been linked to my obsession with American true crime. My bedside reading is a truly horrific tower block of horror! Why do so many people feel the need to compare an artist’s work to that of another’s? The biggest problem with the art world is that it’s a completely commercial entity. You can be pigeonholed very early, and from then on you’re tarred with the same brush. I have continued to break rank, which has led to lots of problems with galleries who just want to play it safe in their cosy environments of boredom. Only when you are looking from the outside in do you see the possibilities of what can be achieved... It’s the hardest route, but as I like to say, “The easy route is the devil’s option.” What truly makes it worth your while? In 2010, I was asked to do a solo representation for Volta NY, so I decided to take the beginnings of my 9/11 Firefighter series (this was just total chance by the way, I had only started the project about 5 months before I was asked). Whilst installing the works, I met some ex-firefighters who were doing the rigging/lighting. They told me
they had lost some friends and colleagues in the tragedy, so I told them to come by the booth. I watched these giants of men become so emotional as they looked at the work. It was a truly moving moment, and made me feel immensely proud. How do you feel looking back over your body of work? Presently with American History X, I feel like I’m returning and recompleting past projects. I’m taking back what I felt was lost or compromised before. For example, next up is my sequel to I Don’t Like Mondays. This time it’s undiluted and no holds barred, with no gallery cherry picking or gentrifying the true nature of the beast. So in essence, by looking back, I’m looking forward! Oh, and before I forget, American History X - Volume II - Smells Like Teen Spirit, has a location and date for next year (April 16th, 2015, StolenSpace Gallery, East London). Can you kill an idea? What are your tools of the trade? Is it more so about the larger whole or a work’s intricacies? What lies under the thin veneer of order? Where are you at your gallery openings? Do you prefer to talk about your work, or let it speak for itself? What kinda comic book residuals are you coping w/? How would you describe what you do for a job interview? Are you your art or is your art you? Do you believe what you believe because you believe it? What can you do you for your country? Does Great Britain have a war on drugs too!? What’s the meaning of depicting an icon through another form of media?
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Is there always a snail? Once you know there’s one there, you just have to find it. This started out as a joke with myself. My pictures take a long time to make, and I started putting a snail in each one to remind myself to work faster (it didn’t work), and it’s kind of become a trademark of my pictures ever since. There’s one in most of my pictures, except when the image is achieved very quickly. “Quickly” usually means in less than a week. Some of my pictures have more than one snail, but the supernumerary molluscs don’t signify anything. How much time is invested in preparation? I like to think about my ideas for a long time before I actually commit them to paper or canvas. Most of my ideas never get any further than this, and there’s a large bin somewhere in my mind where these scraps end up. Mostly they rot and decompose there turning into compost for new ideas but, sometimes, they ferment and turn into something intoxicating. These ideas are entire paintings or novels and, sometimes, they are a single word. The single word ideas have the most chance of becoming a book or picture. If I am to spend a year or two or three or four on a project, it has to have something sufficiently intriguing about it to keep me interested for that length of time. If I was to lose interest in it, I couldn’t expect a viewer or reader to be interested in it. Occasionally, my ideas get realised and become
finished novels or paintings, which I then destroy if they fail to live up to my own expectations. How would you compare your creation of worlds through art and writing? I find it increasingly hard to see the difference between my painted images and my written ones. The thought processes are the same in their conception and, more and more, in their creation. The media I express those ideas in is the thing that changes. The big difference, of course, is that a picture is taken at one gulp, and the viewer can then go back to it and enjoy the individual elements one by one in any order they like at their own pace. A novel is (usually) experienced in sips, and the glass is not drained until the reader reaches the bottom. A picture is more definitive, and the artist does most of the heavy lifting with the imagery, leaving the viewer to add their own nuances from experience. This is often at odds with the intentions of the artist, which I find particularly exciting. A written work, on the other hand, leaves lots of space for the reader to fill in—again, from their own experience—so that the images left in their mind are as much their work as that of the author’s. This is equally exciting. How often are you working?
I work every day—not that I consider it work, but in the sense that it is separate from the rest of my life. I am thinking about my work all the time, but only get down to committing it to paper or canvas from the early morning until the early evening. It seems that what I do is such a privilege that it would be foolish not to spend all the time I can at it. Also, my work is so intricate that it takes a long time for the images to resolve themselves on the page or screen or canvas. Then, there is the seemingly endless reworking until it feels just right. First thoughts have freshness— but it’s the second, third, fourth (and so on) thoughts that turn them into art. What’s the setting? I work in a converted Victorian pub in London. I have three distinct spaces. There is my main studio, in what was once the public bar, where the huge windows are ideal for painting and drawing. Then there is my library, in the former saloon bar, where I keep my books, and write seated at a bank of computer monitors. I keep the blinds closed so that I am not tempted to spend time gazing outside. The blank page or screen or canvas is the most exciting thing. From there the work can turn into a masterpiece, or a complete disaster. Every mark or word is a compromise taking the work further or nearer its potential. The remaining space is where I eat, sleep and bathe. I like to work in silence when I write, but sometimes listen to the radio or music when I draw or paint. What will be said of you from your body of work? I have no idea. It is up to others to say things about my work,
but I imagine that different people will say different things. It is not compulsory to like what I do, or to even notice it, but I hope those that do are intrigued by it in some way. The reason I do it at all is that I am the kind of person who likes to pose questions to himself. The work is merely my way of answering those questions. Also, I paint and write for a living—and there are always bills to be paid. If they go unpaid, the painting and writing would soon come to a halt. Do you ever just know when the time is right? I would say that the best of my work is intuitive, and intuition only works when you don’t try and invoke it. Those parts of my work where I struggle and force an image or passage are nearly always wrong, and are deleted or painted over. The images or passages that just flow are nearly always right. I have recently been working on drafts of my new book, and have edited it down from 140,000 words, to a
more manageable 120,000 words. Without exception, the 20,000 words that I deleted were those that were the hardest come up with, taking me months of struggle to create. When you are creating something that is genuinely new, there is nothing to measure it against and, consequently, that magic moment when you know that something is right or wrong is important. What about your pre-art school education? I hated everything about school. I learnt to read and write and calculate, but art education wasn’t taken as seriously as other subjects. At school I learnt to memorise a lot of things, but it wasn’t until I went to art school that I learnt anything useful. If I was asked to list the three main things I learnt at school they would be how to lie, how to cheat and how to be inconspicuous when necessary. While none of these were on the curriculum, they did retrospectively provide me with valuable life skills. Having gotten your start in art so early, what else might you have done w/ your life? This is the only thing I have ever wanted to do. I did play in a band when I was at art school, but I quit the band as soon as it started to interfere with my art studies. Later, I achieved my ambition to be commercially successful by the time I was 28. Then, in the mid-1970s, I gave up my initial specialisation of graphic design and sold my company to create illustration and, in particular, my own illustrated books. I worked at this and was fortunate enough to have a few published. It took ten years before I was commercially successful in this new endeavour. But since the early 2000s, my emphasis has changed slightly to writing, although I do sense a painting spell coming on after I have completed the book I am currently working on. Why 7,777 and what was the solitary animal? I truly did not realise that the grand total of things depicted in The Ultimate Alphabet was 7,777, until I added up the grand total once I had completed it. To arrive at such a portentous number after four years work seemed significant at the time. However, once the book was published, people would write to me (it was before the days of email and social media) and point out things I had missed and failed to include in my total. A recalculation came up with the figure of
8,050, although people are still finding more words. I suspect that a definitive number will never be arrived at. The missing animal in The Ultimate Noah’s Ark is a tamandua, or lesser anteater. It can be found at the bottom centre of the painting, depicted on a tambourine being played by an elephant shrew. It has no partner in the picture. There is a clue, although few people saw it. In the lower left-hand portion of the image there is an arctic fox with a green placard. The creature is pointing at the letter “a” in the word “faunae”. The letter is a lowercase “a” for lesser anteater. Why on Earth did Apple deem Filth Fair obscene? In a word, nudity. Such logic must also rule out much of art history from the world of apps. Why did you choose what you have chosen here? My work occupies the place in my life that is occupied in other peoples’ lives by family and children. It’s always a pleasure to visit them, and to see how they’re getting on since they left home. It’s also good to see if they’ve made any new friends.
What are your influences? My influences—both positive and negative—are probably the work of any artist or writer I have ever experienced. However, a few stand out and are probably predictable. Hieronymus Bosch and Richard Dadd are there for all to see, as is the work of M.C. Escher— this is especially evident in my pen and ink work. For the written word, I admire authors such as Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear, but one of the few artists to have excelled in both the visual and literary spheres was Mervyn Peake. He was a virtuoso draughtsman, as well as a writer of genius. His Gormenghast trilogy is amongst my favourite books of all time. Are you seeking to emulate anybody? I am not seeking to emulate anyone. I would be content if I can manage to scratch my own creative itch. Do you consider your books to
be for children or adults? Both children and adults seem to respond to my work, but the truth is everything I do is created to appeal to me. To do otherwise seems dishonest to me. I’m always trying to create the kind of picture or book that I would like to own. When the time comes to pitch a book to a publisher the inevitable question is, “Who is this intended for?” which has always struck me as a trick question. When and why did the publishing world change? The publishing world is changing, more so now than ever before with the advent of digital media. Change is inevitable and commercial pressures have hastened this change. Some people bemoan this fact, and others embrace it. Publishing is currently experiencing the kind of change experienced by the
music industry, and I hope that publishing learns from that shift and does not make the same mistakes. In purely commercial terms, I see myself as a creator of content, and creative content is one thing the digital revolution can’t duplicate for now. What’s your favorite book of yours and why? Easy question; the one I am currently working on. My new book (as yet untitled) has occupied me for the last 2½ years. I don’t like to talk about a work in progress, but it is an illustrated novel, and is nearer than anything I have yet done to marrying words and images. At the time of writing, I have completed the third draft of the text, and I am just about to commence the illustrations. There will likely be several more drafts to integrate into the book once they are completed. It is quite unlike anything I have done before—or, indeed, anything I have seen before. Only one trusted person has seen some early chapters, and she found the work weird, baffling and vastly amusing. This is precisely what I was aiming for. It has also been pointed out that it does not easily fit into any genre and, as such, might struggle to find a publisher. Time will tell. There remains several months work still to do, but it is the nearest I have yet come to describing exactly what the world looks like when seen through my eyes. It is also the only book of mine narrated in my own voice. When is it in the best interests of others to lie? All of my work is a lie. There are technical lies such as making people believe that the paint stains on a scrap of canvas are something more, that the flat surface is a window they are looking through and that certain arrangements of form and colour are “things”. Then there are the lies of my written work,
where I have passed off arrangements of 26 characters on a page as if they are living, breathing characters, or (in some cases) living, breathing places. As a successful artist and the author of two bestsellers, do you have any ambitions left? I never set out to create a bestseller or masterpiece, but rather just try to express ideas that happen to be preoccupying me at any one time. I guess that if those ideas appeal to others, then they might think highly enough of them to grant the ideas some form of success by buying the book they are expressed in. My current ambition is to finish my latest book and see it published. Further than that, I would like to be able to continue committing my ideas to paper and canvas, and sharing them with others.
Astronomy:Home B u r y : T r e a s u r e C r i s i s : H o r i z o n Dream:Aquarium E x c e s s : B u r p Form:Tesseract G r e e d : T r o u g h H o p e : B l i n d f o l d Independent:Cobweb J u d g e : U n i c yc l e K i s s : G o o d b y e L o v e : C o m p a s s Mourn:Linoleum N o : A g e n d a Order:Perpendicular P r i s m : R a y g u n Quiet:Tarpaulin Ruin:Parallelogram S o u l : T o e n a i l T r u s t : K a p o k U t i l i t y : P o c k e t V o r t e x : K r a k e n W o r k : C o m f o r t X y s t : W i g Y o u t h : S o o n Z o o : P o l i t i c s
Why oh why ye old Renaissance paintings? I just love them so much. Not only are they beautiful on their own, but they also touch on the same subjects that I want to talk about with Scorpion Dagger. What is it about GIFs that drew you to the medium? I was trying to learn how to animate, and started fooling around with a few of the collages I had in my portfolio. A good friend of mine, who is an animator himself, showed me some of the basics of using Photoshop, and I got hooked on it pretty quickly. One little video I made was literally 2 seconds long, and a friend sort of laughed at me, and suggested that maybe I should make GIFs instead of videos. Has a GIF a day remained constant? No. I wish I could dedicate the time, but I’ve been so busy with other projects that it’s almost impossible to make a brand new one every day. [laughs] Isn’t 3 or 4 a week enough? The original intention with SD was to do one a day for a year, then shut it down and look for a gallery interested in exhibiting them. As the end of that first year was creeping up on me, I still had no plans to shop it around to galleries, nor did I want to quit making them because I felt as if I was just hitting my stride. So I just decided to keep going…
How has forced creativity contributed to your capabilities? I think it’s a great practice to force yourself to try and make something every day. After a while it seems like a drag, but in the end you really begin to crave it, and it becomes almost second nature. To me, what’s most important isn’t whether you like the work or not, but the simple fact that you’re making it. There’s so many GIFs that I don’t like up on the site, but part of it is to show the failures too. Did you think that you were going to make such a large impact when you started this project? Not at all. I really thought it would be somewhat anonymous, and that only my friends would see. There’s no way I could’ve predicted what has happened. I really love where it’s gone, and I am super grateful people like it. Would you change anything if you could? It’s hard to say… I would maybe depend a little less on using Jesus in my work? How are you planning on branching out? I’d love to get into some interactive projects, and maybe work a little more on creating giant landscapes for these characters. There are a few things that I’m working on, but nothing I feel comfortable mentioning
just yet. Are you currently taking any requests? I’m open to suggestions, but I usually never make anything out of them. I don’t know, but I feel a little strange making something that didn’t come from my own head. There’s been a few commissions here and there, and some I’ve really liked, but at times I feel the pressure of working on someone else’s vision of my work a little stressful, and don’t find the finished product to be as good. Sometimes it works, others not so much. How is the original intent obscured while still remaining prevalent? I think about this all the time, and am beginning
to realize that none of it matters. People will either like what you do, or they won’t. Nothing can change that. I’d hope that people would appreciate that my work comes from an honest place, and that I’m not trying to overexploit it. At times, I definitely fall back on some of the same ideas, and maybe that’s a sign that I getting a little too comfortable. But I’d like to think that I recognize it when it happens, and it drives me crazy. The way I see it, I’m still learning, and still
trying to figure out what Scorpion Dagger really is. If art conveys a culture and school of thought, what knowledge you be kicking? [laughs] I don’t know if there’s that much knowledge there to begin with. If anything, I’d really love it if I encouraged anyone to look at the things around them differently, and to not be afraid of using their imagination. Too often, I see really talented artists doing the same work as everyone else and it drives me nuts. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way saying that I’m clear of any reproach in regards to this, but
my point is that we all have these silly visions of the world running around in our brains, and we shouldn’t be afraid to express them. In my mind, art should be a true expression of one’s vision of the
world, and it’s important to battle those pressures preventing you from being free to do what you really want to do. Have your source materials helped you to develop a deeper appreciation of the period or not? Totally. I really want to take some art history classes to get even deeper into it. Now that doors open at The Met for new material, when should we expect the onslaught? [laughs] I don’t know... Is that a request? Have you experienced any success with the application of your GIFs to a physical medium? This is something I’m dying to do. I used to make a lot of physical, more traditional collages, and would really like to start doing that again. I feel as if I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I like to make, and that it might be fun to go back to it and mix the two. How do you plan on adapting/ applying your work to a gallery
space? I get asked this all the time, and it’s a really good question. There’s definitely ways, and most of them are pretty obvious and easy— like using projectors and monitors. What I’m really
interested in is how do I do it in a new and novel way. I’m working on it. How stoked are you for that? Pretty stoked. What developments would you like your work to take within the next year or two?
I’d really like to see GIF art being recognized as a legitimate art form. There’s so many people doing such inventive and beautiful things with the GIF, that I’d love to see enshrined in more traditional institutions. As for my work, I have no idea. I guess, ultimately, I’d love to be given the space to be able to explore different things with my art. I have so many ideas in my head—I’d love to able to explore them all. Who’s gotta be your personal fav from your returning cast of characters? I used to really like Pizza Face, but I sent that character on a short vacation. The Abramović like character is another good one that I’d love to bring into action/inaction a little more. Do you ever stop yourself for just taking things “too far”? Not really. I do worry about offending people at times, but don’t think it’s in my nature to take it too far. For me, it’s not that interesting to shock people just for the sake of shocking people. What is it about religious iconography anyhow? No idea. Maybe it’s because I resented watching all my friends go off to church every Sunday morning, and having to play outside by myself until they got home?
It’s all cuz your Canadian, right? All Canadians really care about is hockey—and trying to not be Americans. How many of the homies are real-life hosers? All of them, whether they’ll admit it or not! I think secretly, every Canadian is Bob and Doug Mackenzie at heart. Rob Ford: hero or supervillain? Ahh, man… I actually started feeling really bad for the guy. On a political level, no doubt he’s fucking terrible, but I sincerely hope he gets the help he needs, and drops out of the public eye. Have you lost any friends behind your work? I hope none. I feel as if it’s a good representation of who I am, and anyone who has ever been my friend wouldn’t be surprised by any of it. I do notice sometimes that I lose followers after I post a GIF with Jesus in it—almost as if they started following me without seeing anything that I’ve ever done before. But, yeah—like, how many have you made “fo realz tho”? I’ve met so many fun and inspiring people over the last couple of years, and I think that that is one of the best things to come from Scorpion Dagger. By how much does the positive outweigh the negative feedback? Surprisingly, by a lot... The worst I’ve been called is an asshole, so I consider myself pretty lucky. Did Adam and Eve bust beer bongs, or was it just Adam? Both. Equally. Peer pressure was pretty balanced back then. Bro, do you even have any pet scorpions, or own any daggers, or is it just a badass moniker or what? I once swam with a scorpion in a cave in Mexico. When’s enough, enough? Always sooner than you think. Have you had to pull any of your work for copyright reasons? For a while, there was this face I was using for my god GIFs that someone noticed looked a lot like Charles Aznavour. I did a little poking around and realized that someone on this page had made it where they do Photoshop contests, and it was in fact Charles Aznavour! I emailed the guy apologizing for using his work without credit, and he was totally cool with it. I went back and put credit on all of the GIFs I had made with that image. How happy are you with your current life? Pretty happy. I’m extremely fortunate to have the life, family and friends that I have.
A r i t h m e t i c : B a B i n g e : O f t e C o n t r o l : N o n D o u b t : A l w a y E r r o r : G o o F e e l i n g s : N o r m a G r a d e s : L e v e l H e a r t : M u s I m a g e : O v e r r a t e J o b : S c h m o K i l l : I d o l L o g i c : M a y b e M o r t a l : S a N e t w o r k : S k i l O n e : T w P o s i t i v e : V i b e Q u e s t i o n : E v e r y t h i n R h e t o r i c : B o r i n S i n : B i T i m e : F l e e t i n U s u r p : A l w a y V i o l e n c e : E x c u s W i l d : L i f X y l i t o l : H u h Y i e l d : P o l i t Z i t : P o
d n e s d l s t d b s ? d l o s g g n g s e e ? e p
How is an image of oneâ€™s self distorted through self-portraiture? Self-portraiture is all self-fashioning: a singular and often false projection. Even though its aims may be rooted in reality, it is nonetheless an exercise in fiction. However, that slice of unadulterated honesty that often finds its way in can lend to the remainder of the illusion of faithfulness, or reality. That is why they are so fun to make. What is maintained? Parts you never intended to share. When did your interest in human anatomy start? I became interested in human anatomy about 8 years ago. I first introduced into a series of portraits that revolved around the visual bookends that define us as individuals. When we are young, we are exposed to a limitless body in cartoons. These bodies, which exemplify our youth, experience no pain and seem boundless. Towards the end of our lives, we are exposed to images of bodies in a state of failureâ€”as doctors use anatomical illustrations/models to explain the deterioration of our physical selves. Iâ€™ve attempted to combine these two points of reference within a traditional portrait. All of the portraits were three quarter nudes. The models were asked what their favorite picture book and cartoon were growing up. This was followed by a question asking them how old they thought they would be when they die, and what they would die from. I then used the picture book and cartoon to develop the background, and the death responses to select a part of their body to reveal anatomically and afflict. This is where I first attached the con-
cepts of pain and eminent death to medical illustration. Soon thereafter, I freed it from this model and began using medical illustration more broadly and symbolically to examine pain as a concept. When building each upon the last, how do you decide where to start next? The moment that failed directs the next drawing. The parts that came up short and didn’t carry their own weight. Sometimes it’s a change in the figure or the space, the degree of distortion, or the use of color and/or technique. Sometimes nothing seems to work like it should and that is when you find yourself making radical departures. Sadly, when it boils right down to it, every drawing ultimately fails. There is never a shortage of places to start for the next drawing in my book. Success is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. How do you plan to perpetually keep outdoing yourself? By always pushing myself to make work I don’t think I can make. Every time I start a new drawing, I am afraid I wont be able to pull it off. In many instances, I feel the work falls short of what I wanted it to be in the end. However, there are always those moments where I advance my skills and learn something new. I build on that each time—and my skills grow each time. I imagine (and secretly hope) that my next drawing will always be just out of reach. I think that is just how it works for everyone. Do you ever plan definite departures from previous work? When I am deeply invested in a series, I really don’t see too much beyond it… It is where I want to be. Even defining it a “series” really occurs after the fact, once I have (in some way) moved on. However, at some point the drawings will start to feel formulaic, and I will want to push on the edges of this or that—and the next thing I know, I’ve pushed myself out of it entirely. I have departed, but not by design. Who is your target audience? I would like to believe it is everyone! [laughs] Sadly, the people that might relate to my work the best are middle-aged adults. Specifically, those going through mid-life crises! [laughs] What level of attention to detail is put into each piece?
My work seems to be growing more and more complex these days. As I finish one drawing and begin another, I am always looking to find ways to push the work further. I think it is through this ever-growing demand to reach further, to make work just beyond our “perceived” abilities, that we grow as artists and individuals. This desire involves around all aspects of the work— from the subject matter, material application, composition, to detail and resolve. I feel the level of detail I pursue serves to both ground the work within a hyperreality, as well as infuse it with a sense of beauty. How much time is invested? If I have an open window of time—free from the demands of work or travel—I can finish a
piece in three weeks or so. However, this is often not the case, and it can easily take twice as long, if not longer. It is also worth noting that I sometimes juggle multiple drawings at once. As a result, months can pass before finishing something new, but a second piece may be near completion at the same time. When my work was less intensive (in terms of subject and form), I could easily finish a drawing in a couple weeks if I needed to. Sadly, those days have long since past… [laughs] What emphasis is placed upon the human figure and its anatomical illustration towards the creation of symbolic meaning in your work? I rely directly on both the figure and anatomical references for meaning in my work. Historically, the open body has always been viewed as a symbol for both death and pain. My open bodies are clearly animated—alive, in a sense. They are not presented as corpses—or even as real bodies. As a result, I would like to think the open body pres-
ents itself primarily as a symbol of earthly pain. The nude body itself is about desire and beauty. The combination of these two concepts is what intrigues me the most. Have you found that your work regularly achieves what you had in mind for the viewer? I have not had enough candid experiences with people discussing my work to know. [laughs] However, on rare occasion, I have read an interpretive comment on some blog—here or there—and been happily surprised by how well they were able to dissect the work. In the end, it is more about its ability to evoke a response more than the accuracy of that response that matters to me. It’s more fun to be interesting, than it is to simply be identifiable. Do you ever plan for a deliberate loss in meaning for an audience? Never. The choices I make mean something to me, even when I opt to blur the lines that explicitly define those meanings. Everything has its place in a sense. As much as I like to blur edges at times, I am not interested in purely masturbatory exercises that embrace oddity simply for the sake of oddity. Who are your subjects? Sometimes they are friends. Sometimes they are models that work at the university where I teach. Sometimes they are both. Sometimes they are me. How do you go about finding them? They are in front of me—or they are me! [laughs] I don’t search
for people. I am more interested in drawing people I know. Do you allow environment to affect your work? As long as I am in an environment where my shit won’t get wet, I’m fine. I would make the same thing here as I would there. I am not the type to get inspired by waterfalls, scenic vistas or urban slums. I am motivated by the world that I can create. Where I work to create this world doesn’t really play a part in its creation. When did you start teaching? I started teaching when I was 25 years old. I was a graduate student at Northern Illinois University at the time. Has that been beneficial to your personal work? Yes, without a doubt. Finding corrections in other people’s work enhances my own skills. Explaining how things work to others makes me more sensitive to my own handling of materials and concepts. Beyond that, and most importantly, working within academia provides me with the freedom to make work with the primary aim of furthering the discipline, or adding to contemporary discourse. In other words, I do not have to sell my work to make a living. And while I do sell my work, it is money on top of money… [laughs] So it is all just icing, no cake. The “cake” represents the “need” to sell work to make a living. When you need to sell your work to make a living, you are more subject to making work that appeals to the market, and therefore, more likely to produce work that reflects work that already exists in the market to some degree. Making work with the foremost desire to sell it spoils invention. My job cares about me making interesting work. Essentially, they pay me to do just that, as 33% of my salary covers release time specifically devoted to creative and scholarly research. Of the two, which do you find to be more rewarding? Making my actual work. Don’t get me wrong, I do find teaching rewarding. When you actually develop a close and meaningful relationship with a student, and you are able to really impact their lives as a mentor, it is pretty great. It is almost just as great as making your own work. But in the end, if I could only have one,
I wouldn’t hesitate for a second. What would you most like to impart to your students? It should be, and will always be, hard work. If not, you are doing something wrong. How has death contributed to who you are today? Not much death for me so far… So, most likely not much. As noted, I am more interested in “open bodies” versus corpses. Pain interests me, not death so much. How has art contributed to who you are today? It defines who I am. I would just be a dipshit otherwise. What difference does it all make? Not much. We will all be dead sometime—dipshit or otherwise. It’s just something to do to make you realize you’re alive, and hopefully appreciate it a bit before you do die. Do you feel that your life’s work will ever be completed? No, I will always be an amateur. “That’s all any of us are: amateurs. We don’t live long enough to be anything else” ~Charlie Chaplin Have you told everyone that you need to in your life that you love them? No, not yet… But they know anyways, right? When does the desire for new strike in you? Are you actively creating everything you know you should in your life?
A r t : F a r t B r a g : D i c k C r e a t e : G o d D r a m a : E v i l : G o d F e m a l e : G r a m m a r : A u t o c o r r e c t H o m e : L o s s I m p r e s s : F l i r t J o y : K i n g : L o s e r L o s s : L o v e M o t h e r : F u c k e r N e w : S t r a n g e O p t i c : N e r v e P o w e r : Q u i c k : R i c h : S o c i e t y : T r a u m a : B r u i s e U s u r y : V i c i o u s : W i n : N o t h i n g X y l o l : F l a m m a b l e Y o k e l : R e u n i o n Z o d i a c :
When do you work? I work all the time, every hour. I’m constantly in search of visual input. I typically work on a canvas for at least 3 hours a day. Who are your subjects? Friends and relatives. In my Reification series, I portrayed interiors. What’s the setting?
Place is the first point, the corner or end of the home that impresses me. I’m fascinated by both hidden narrow spaces and passages—not your “typical” living space. When did you start? I’ve been painting for 11 years now. What roles do the subjects serve from their surroundings? People are caught while busy, in the act of searching for themselves. Home represents our inner dimension. Space is considered as our conscious that hides obscured areas. …Their surroundings them? Subjects are even what surround themselves. The canvas is mirror and metaphor of our tentative self-awareness.
There’s something lost in meaning in an audience? Naturally. What’s your process? In the work’s early stage, I act spontaneously and spread acrylic paint to give shape to a complex image. This early stage is useful to get a first approach to the piece, and it helps to pour out its initial needs, so I can work out the painting on the canvas. Then, while the paint is still wet, I melt what I’ve painted with putty. Finally, I outline everything in black. How do surroundings influence our actions? We’re constantly influenced by what surrounds us—everything that’s real is filtered through our experience. Every space is the time we need to go through it, and every time is the space we go through. Nothing is standing. Everything is space and time. My reality is a possible reification of something I perceive. What we don’t know doesn’t exist. Is that always the same? Yes. What is your current relation-
ship to your surroundings? We are what surround us—at least in the way we have perception of it. How is that manifested in your work? Subject and space melt in absence of time, suspended—in search for themselves. Do you consider yourself to be an artist or just you? Just me. Does the scale of each piece reflect your perception of a time and place? No, it isn’t needed. Are these distinct moments in time, or an overall body of time passed? The moments I focus on don’t necessarily have a linear approach. I often
look for a dissonance between time and space, and the figures living in them. But I don’t really want to tell a tale… How would you describe the meaning of life? Life. What can be learned of yourself through others? I don’t know. What if it’s all a test? Of what purpose? Does that scare you? No.
If it all ended tomorrow, would you be pleased w/ the life you led? Yes. How important is success to you and your art? It’s fundamental to focus my attention on what fascinates me. What happens when you stop running, what happens then? I sleep, feel good and start again. When is the time in question completed? What is lost by you through creation? Was that really “real” in the first place? When you come out from finishing a piece, where is it you’re coming from? How does your reality differ from each day previous? Is your perception of time distorted in observation of others? How much longer do you have left? Will that be enough?
A p p l e B e l i e f : S h e e C o m p u t e r D e s t r o y : R e b u i l E n t r o p y : N e e F e a r G o o d H e a l t h : E x p e c t a t i o I l l u s i o n : L i f J i l t K i d L i g h t : C o l o M e : Y o N e g a t i v e : O b s e s s i o O i l : L i g h P l a y Q u e e n R e s p e c t : O t h e r S h a d o w T h o u g h t : C h a i U r g e : R e V i l l a i n W h o l e : N e v e X e r o s i s : W h a t Y e s : N e v e Z i p p e r : S k
: p : d d : : n e : : r u n t : : s : n d : r ? r y
I never asked, but why the name? Throughout grade school, I was always interested in fiction writing. From that, I created a short story titled, “Dragon Universe”, which followed the life of jungle titan Shintaro Zero (‘tis where I derived the “Shin”). As for the other half, it’s pretty self-explanatory... [laughs] I love to game when I have the time, and I’m a heavy Nintendo supporter. What led you to putting the games down, or have you? I wouldn’t say I’ve put them down. Well, yeah, I guess you could… [laughs] It’s only for me to remain focused. I know how I get with tasks and shit, so I just made it easier on myself and cut back a little. But I’m always around the rest of The Terra Godz and they game too, so... Famicom64 is dropping real soon, what’s the word? I’ve kind of put Famicom64 on a brief hiatus. Recently, I’ve been working on my beat making. It’s cool to work on that kind of stuff when you get writer’s block as much as I do.
[laughs] With three different projects coming up on three different labels, how the hell are you handling it all? So, Ocean Records and ONSOL Records will be the two labels I will be officially releasing music under at this moment in time. I’m unofficially working with ReServed Records—more will unfold on that as the year progresses. Answering your ques-
tion, though, it’s not hard. I always find myself doing multiple projects at a time, so it kinda feels second nature to me. It’s also good to bounce back and forth from project to project sometimes; you can compare and contrast. Is your family supportive of all your endeavors? Yes. My fam believes that The Terra Godz are all talented individuals. If we weren’t doing anything, or making any noise, I’m almost positive my people would have told me to turn around a long time ago. My mother, grandmother, aunt and siblings all support unconditionally. How has anime altered the way you see the world? It gives me hope that there are some individuals in this world who actually have values. Sure anime can get gory, X-Rated and corny sometimes, but if you know what you’re watching,
you can gain some real life lessons. Naruto is one of those anime—kinda corny when it gets all sad ‘n shit… But when you’re out of the tunnel, you’re like, “Alright, I Peep!” How are you managing verses w/o paper? I’m managing...[laughs] I need to get back to writing on paper, though. I’m guessing you saw me tweet that a while ago. Does it help? It doesn’t really help, nor put me at a disadvantage—it’s just a convenience thing. I’d much rather carry my notepad. What portion of your time is dedicated to creation? All of it. I don’t really go out too much, unless there’s a show, or I’m out smoking Oddish leaf with the other Godz. [laughs] When do you feel you create your best material? I create best when motivated by others. Usually, I’m by myself, or around people I’m comfortable spazzing out in front of. Although, my consistency isn’t the best, and sometimes I need that extra push… How has healthy competition contributed to your progression? It’s been a great contributor. It’s already motivating enough when you’ve got thirty heads in your squad who each excel in the same art. But when you’ve got the entire planet pushing you, it makes you want to become stronger in the ways of said art form. What’s new w/ the crew, The Terra Godz anyhow? We’re currently in the stages of setting up the ONSOL Tour— our first one actually. Excitement is cued up, but we know we’ve got a lot of work to do—transportation and all that shit... [laughs] It gets real in the Fortress yo! We’re also planning on dropping our collective album this winter, details on that will surface throughout the remainder of the year. Are you busting your own artwork to accompany each project? Yup. Most if not all of my artwork was created by “The Kao”, and it shall continue that way until I get better at my illustra-
sed on taking photos, and tion. [laughs] Aside from the drawings, I’m focu using those as covers and such. can I get one? Who designed The Terra Godz prints and how Godz Collective! Obtaining The Kao is the lead art director of The Terra or by ordering off of http:// one of these can be done by attending shows, www.onsolrecords.com (shop coming soon)! ously? Has anyone ever told you take yourself too seri es seriously enough... selv Yeah, and then I told them they don’t take them what is, and what will beHow is your body of work an expression of come? it, or is free-form based Do your pick a theme/motif and create around on attitude and disposition at the time? Where are you planning on moving and why? What’s the point of it all? her? Has fear ever pushed you to do one thing or anot et? regr est When you pass, what’s will be your bigg How have you dealt w/ loss? Did you plan your being here today?
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Adapt: B a d : h a n g e : a r k : c s t a s y : a i l u r e : G a s : Habitat: Ignite:
J a i l : K a r m a : L a s t : M a l e : N a m e : O b l i g a t e : P a i n : Q u a c k : R a g e :
S e l f : T a l k : U l t r a : Vacation : W a n t : Xanthaein: Yawn: Zeal:
Establishing a network of Artists, Musicians and Iconoclasts.