My friend Allison Sommers, who is also Art Director here at the Hook is always having her art shown around the country and has had to provide interviews for various publications all over the place. Usually, I think, the interviews go to the tune of, "tell us what inspires you" etc. Today she came into our office and asked us off the cuff which muppet we thought we might each most identify with the most and before anyone could answer, we had to know why. It turns out that she was completing one of the interview forms and that it was reading much more like an online quiz than an interview for a legitimate gallery. I thought it might be fun to fill out, as I’ve only ever interviewed for jobs, I have decided to take a little time and give it a go–please note that this interview was tailored to Allison, and I commend their creativity with some of these questions, so here we go…
1. Why do you create such worlds of unsettling whimsy?
You’ll have to ask Allison this one, I’ll post a link to her answer when it’s published.
2. What have been your most important influences?
Where my parents decided to live, my parents themselves, the self-help books that I inexplicably read as a young-ish person and the obvious decline of the environment.
3. Are there any time periods that most appeal to you? Why?
I am not immune to Gatsby’s 20’s, not for their indulgences, but for the optimism of invention when invention was still state of the art. Or margaret Mitchell’s Old South sans all those undergarments.
4. Why is there such a clash between the explicit portrayal of body parts (both internal and external) with fairy tale subjects and environments?
Body parts have always been an important part of fairytales, and it hasn’t been until recently that they became so sterilized. If you think about bedtime stories of the past, children were not so far removed from the necessary blood of life, especially if they lived on farms and slaughtered what they ate. Now the irony that we’re faced with is that Cinderella’s sisters get to keep both of their feet when trying on the glass slipper, but after the story the kids can run down to play Duke Nuke ’em or whatever. I would have to agree with Allison that there is some merit in the way that Art shouldn’t look like life even if there is some imitation there.
5. What artists do you admire?
Franz Kline, Georgia O’Keefe, Alexander Archipenko, Gustav Klimt…
6. What artists would you like to feed to obese fairy-tale monsters?
The guy that makes those back-lit paintings that are so awkward. Kincaid? But really, feeding people to obese fairy-tale monsters due to their pursuit of a passion that’s not to my taste is not really my bag.
7. Are there any fairy tales you are particularly partial to?
Honestly, the moral veil on fairy tales has always been a little too thin–I can’t get lost in the story because I want to know why it is told in the first place…what the objective of the story is. If I had to choose, I would say Through the Looking Glass of the Wizard of OZ. I also cannot get enough of fairy tale parodies.
8. Would you enjoy living in the world you created? What sort of career would you have if you moved there? (What is the world’s name, anyways?)
The thing about questions like this is that it’s easy to get distracted by the prospect of greener grass. The world that I might create would be somewhat fabulous for me, but I have a feeling that it would be ravaged by my oversights. But my job? My job would be not having a job and I would indulgently fill my time with things that interest me rather than the pursuit of the stuff that pays the bills.
10. How honest are you with yourself? How honest are you with other people?
This is turning out to be an incredibly personal interview. I can safely say that this is the second dishonest statement I have made today: I am the most honest person you will ever meet and have never been guilty of lying to myself or anyone else ever in my life.
12. Have you ever turned anyone you know (or yourself) into one of your drawings?
I have, and unfortunately, my drawings look a lot like most people’s doodles. Many a teacher has become a doodle.
14. If Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, Vishnu, Confucius, Lao Tzu, Hercules, and L. Ron Hubbard were all put on Big Brother, what do you thin would happen? Who would hook up, who would get kicked out first, who would win? Etc..etc..
Wait, what’s Big Brother? I mean I know the concept, but put ON Big Brother? Like Life Support or Prozac? I believe that this current administration has probably put all of us ON Big Brother.
15. Do you ever censor yourself? What have you always wanted to say but were too afraid to do so?
Those that know me well, and not so well, know that censoring myself is not an area that I excel in–unless it comes to writing. My pen is much more modest than my mouth. And in terms of being afraid? The only thing that I’m afraid of is that today is not the day to reveal or bore anyone with those fears.
17. What do you think about vegetarians? Vegans?
I really think very little about Vegetarians or Vegans, except when I’m eating with someone that identifies themselves as such and then I think about how much I simply adore meat. And, of course, how generous they are to consume less as I eat the quarters of an animal that trampled the land that could have fed 30 others. Mmmmm, bacon.
18. Did you suffer any severe trauma as a child?
A tonka truck split my head open like a melon once, but mostly, I think I was ok.
19. What sorts of people do you most enjoy working with?
drugged people. No, no, that’s a joke! I enjoy working the most with people that are idea people, can roll with the flow and are willing to take accountability.
20. Any thoughts on Disney?
I often have the tunes from the Disney version of Robin Hood stuck in my head, and I know that I’m supposed to be all righteous about Disney, but honestly, who has the time? Buy it or don’t buy it, and just calm down.
21. How many times have you been called a "genius"?
Tons, my brother used to say it all the time…"Good job, genius. Now we’ll have to tell Mom." You know, things like that.
22. What’s your favorite
brand type of tea?
I know that peppermint is not a brand it’s a type, so I’m about to put a strike-through on brand and change it to "type" so that I look less foolish.
23. Which Muppet do you most identify with?
I believe that would have be Fozie (Fonzie?). My friends and I used to sing "Movin Right Along" fairly often, and I am now doomed to have that in my head for the rest of the afternoon. Movin right ahh-looooooong
24. Which Muppet would you most like to draw covered in entrails and groins?
Please refer to my answer about artists being fed to obese fairy tale monsters. But ultimately, I always wanted someone to give Miss Piggy a drink and a good talking to.
25. Anything you gotta say that won’t be documented and put into an FBI file deep underneath the statue of Abraham Lincoln?