Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Interview with artist John D-C (continued)

An exhibition monstrously mashing two of the
artists favorite subjects:
The Monsters of Popular Culture &
The Golden Age of Rock and Roll.

19th November - 14th December

How would you describe your artistic style? What are your artistic influences?
If I had to describe my artistic style in a few words I'd say it would be retro-a-go-go. My art is always influenced by my hobbies and interests which change from time to time but they usually include a healthy combination of Brick-A-Brack, Screen Printing, Rock & Roll Dancing, Blues Piano, Velvet Dinner Jackets, Art Deco Theatres, Record Shopping, The Creations Of Jim Henson, Ten Pin Bowling, The Hohner Harmonica, 1979 Bedford Short Wheel Based Vans, Print Gocco, Vintage Comic Books, White Elephant Stalls, Animation, Drive-in Movies and Cuba.
While putting the characters together for my exhibition, Haunted House Rock I was particularly influenced by the look of saturday morning cartoons from the late 1960's, 70's and early 80's in particularly those created by the big 3 american animation powerhouses Hanna- Barbera, Filmation and Rankin and Bass. While these cartoons were originally intended to entertain children I love the fluid and simplistic nature of the way the characters were drawn and animated. Their simplicity gave the viewer such a sense of motion and expression.

I was also influenced by the art of early 1950's rock 'n roll bill and film posters. I feel due to their disposable nature, as well as the view at the time that Rock 'n Roll was just a passing phase in the course or popular music that these were never intended to be viewed as artwork but some of the images, typefaces and layouts used are just beautiful. Just look at the French poster for Elvis' film Jailhouse Rock.

What are the mediums and processes you use to create your creatures?
I approach illustration very graphically and always have a strong concept of what I am going to draw before I commence. For most of my illustrations I Initially I sketch quite a bit to define and refine an illustration, I then pull the sketch all apart again and ink it in sections which I layer together digitally, I feel this helps me to give the illustration a controlled haphazard look and an authentically aged feel.

For this exhibition I have also used to a few other mediums and processes such as painting and toy customisation.

You describe toy customisation as one of art making mediums, can you explain this?
For me toy customisation has very humble beginnings. As a kid growing up I used to love to play with toys in particularly Super Hero Action Figures. As with most kids my age I went through a Superman, Superman, Superman phase. He was my favorite toy I used to fold his legs up behind his head, put him in my top pocket and take him everywhere with me, I liked him so much I lost his cape and wore the “S” right off his chest. For Christmas that year I received a second brand new and (in my opinion) all powerful Superman Action Figure It was great I was so happy, but there is one problem, when your playing Superman and you have two Supermen there is only so much flying around you can do before you need to find a bad guy to beat up. I remember taking to one of my supermen with some plasticine to make him “more muscily” and a coiled up pipe cleaner crown which I placed on top of his head, he now became the mighty-evil leader known as King Spring, and a new hobby was born.

Now days I mainly start my customising with a Generic 8-inch Mego styled body, I sculpt the head or add facial features to a resin cast of and existing head with modeling clay. I then go about creating a costume and accessories for the figure via many different means.

For those of you that don’t know, The Mego Corporation was a toy company that dominated the action figure toy market during most of the 1970s. The Mego Corporation was founded in the early 1950s and was mostly known prior to 1971 as a producer of dime store toys. Starting in 1971, Mego began purchasing license rights to a variety of successful motion pictures, television programs, and comic books, and started producing lines for Planet of the Apes, Star Trek, and the Wizard of Oz. Mego used various licensed Marvel and DC superhero characters to create their World’s Greatest Superhero line, which became their most successful toy line. They also produced an original character, Action Jackson, an unsuccessful competitor of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe. The secret of Mego’s success was that their action figures were constructed with interchangeable heads. Generic bodies could be mass produced and different figures created by interposing different heads and costumes on them. Mego also constructed their figures primarily in an 8-inch (200 mm) scale - setting an industry standard in the 1970s.

I prefer to customise using the Mego’s 8-inch figures for a few reasons, firstly I love them as a base because you can really go crazy with the cloth costuming secondly they have a very classic look to them, and thirdly there is a really established community around customizing Mego Action Figures and it is pretty easy to purchase reproduction parts and accessories.

* 'Jail House Rock' French poster artwork via http://movieart.net/sizes/french-47x63/page/2/

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Interview with artist John D-C

An exhibition monstrously mashing two of the
artists favorite subjects:
The Monsters of Popular Culture &
The Golden Age of Rock and Roll.

19th November - 14th December

What is the concept behind Haunted House Rock, and what can people expect to
find in your show?
Haunted House Rock is a hideously, abominable creation, in which I monstrously mash two of my favourite subjects: The monsters of popular culture & The golden age of Rock and Roll!

In the exhibition I also tell the story of the rise and fall of a character I created a few years ago called Frankie. I tell his story by looking back at his life through memorabilia, paraphernalia and ephemera which I have created and displayed to resemble a Pseudo-Museum Exhibition.

The Exhibition consists of Original Drawing and
Paintings, Limited Edition Giclee and Gocco Prints as well as Customised Toys.

Tell us a little more about the character you created called Frankie
Frankie is basically a fun mash up I created between my favourite popular culture Monster, Frankenstein and the King of Rock and Roll. The Idea for Frankie came from a sketch and subsequent print I did a few years ago. I've also always kinda felt Elvis had a disproportionally large forehead. I feel that if Frankie were to have a page on Wikipedia it would read a little something like this:

Elvis Aaron Frankenstein was a singer and actor who could arguably neither sing nor act. A cultural icon, he is commonly known simply as Frankie and is also sometimes referred to as The Modern Prometheus of Rock 'n' Roll as many attribute him as single-handedly taking Rock 'n' Roll to the masses.

Frankie had many hit songs such as: That’s All Wrong (Mama), Raise Hell Hotel, Good Hauntin’ Tonight, I Forgot To Remember To Kill, Do Be Cruel, Spook Me Tender, Blue Suede Shackles, All Shocked Up, Are You Gruesome Tonight? and Suspicious Brains.

Frankie quickly became a teenage idol and went on to become a Hollywood star in his own right. He starred in a total of 31 films including: Fear in Acapulco, Harum Scare'em, A.I. Blues, Flaming Torch, Haunted House Rock, Ghouls, Ghouls, Ghouls, Paradise Transylvanian Style, Follow That Brains, Killin' Cousins, Ghoul Happy, Undead In The Country, Brainbake, Stay Away Monster, Live A Little Die A Little, The Trouble With Ghouls, Viva Las Vengeance, Scareway, The Bride of Frankie & Johnny and It Happened At A Burning Mill.

During the height of his career the world was gripped with Frankie Fever and Frankie's image was used to sell everything from lightning rods to platform shoes he even had his own line of hair care products.

Sadly, health problems, prescription drug dependence and angry mobs of peasants with fire torches plagued the star in his later life leading to his untimely death at an early age.

"...I was also influenced by the art of early 1950's rock 'n roll bill and film posters..."
Stay tuned Tuesday to read more from this interview with John D-C's about his exhibition Haunted House Rock.