If I had to illustrate one book for the rest of my life:
It would have to be The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. For one thing, it’s so long it would probably take the rest of my life to illustrate the entire thing, but besides that, the plot is extremely riveting and had me sucked in from the very beginning. I also think it would be a great challenge to illustrate Dantes’ years in prison, his change in personality and growth of skills. I can see the scenes of revenge in my head, especially the sword fighting finale, so full of dynamic movement that if executed right it would look to be ripped out of the catalog of N.C. Wyeth. It is such a powerful tale of betrayal, love, and revenge and I would love to attempt to capture all of those themes in picture. Overall, I would pick this book because there is just so much to choose from in terms of plot points, personalities, and relationships that it would leave me busy for a lifetime.
If I could apprentice with any two artists in the history of the world:
Number one on my list would have to be Walt Kelly. Why—because I bow to that man’s line work. It is absolutely stunning the versatility he was able to get out of a brush and a little black liquid. In one panel he could make ten different textures happen so smoothly that pointing out the hierarchy of objects within the panel would become elementary. I would also love to pick his brain on how he came up with his satire, how he created so much wit and response to it with just a possum. I also am interested in the difference between creating comics shorts vs. full 24 or 32 page comics. I would learn from him how to pick the precise moments in the scene to make the comic flow like 8 pages worth of action.
Second would probably be Chuck Jones. Just looking at how many iconic characters he created—Michigan J. Frog, Roadrunner, Wile E. Coyote, Marvin Martian, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny—makes me want to meet him. I would love to learn more about stylization from him and how to make absurdity work as comedy. Bugs and the gang are still relevant some 50 and 60 years later! I would love to have that kind of a character, and I believe he would be the perfect man to learn how to accomplish that. I mean, who wouldn’t want to storyboard an episode of the Looney Tunes?
If I was banned from the art world and could have any other job:
I would do stand-up comedy. Why? No dress code. Period. And that means I still get to wear my hats. Actually, I seem to do a pretty good job of making people laugh, and well, it makes extremely happy when I do. I love putting smiles on peoples faces, so why not take that act on the road? I’d get to see all of this country and maybe several others throughout my career all while making sure people have a good time. Also, stand-up is another outlet where, when done well, one can express one’s observations of what’s wrong in the world and hopefully drive people to do something about it. Plus, my work schedule would be one hour a day. How cool is that!? (I know I’m exaggerating the last part, but why not throw in a tiny little joke with a comedy paragraph?)
Design an art project with the following parameters:
1. One month, one-thousand dollars:
I'll admit, when I first saw these questions, it was tough for me to come up with any answers. I don't know how logical they all will be, but I'm going to give it my best. With this set of limitations I would probably do a large scale painting. There is a part of me that has always wanted to do a life-size portrait of one of my favorite musicians. I don't know who I would pick to do it, but the canvas and really nice paints and brushes would certainly take up a lot of the costs. Also, after the piece was completed, I would hang in my house so when you entered it would be in your periphery and when you turn to the left it will come into full view. I don't know why, I just think that scenario sounds cool.
2. Six months and ten thousand dollars:
My first thought on this one was a large scale mural. It would probably be on the side of a building and the subject would definitely not be LeBron James (sorry, Cleveland, but it was too easy). I also thought it would be funny to make it a comic mural, however I don't know how funny it would be after the tenth time you drive by it, so it would probably be a single scene of something. I do want you to be able to drive by it, chuckle, and move on with your day with a smile on your face. I just had the thought that since we are in Memphis I could do Elvis at that poker table full of dogs and call the thing "The Original Hound Dog." I know, it's a little weak, but I never said these ideas were brilliant.
3. One year and one hundred thousand dollars:
You know the MetLife blimp? With Snoopy on it? Well, I want to make a Foo Foo blimp. I realize how random this idea is, but I think it would be cool. Foo Foo painted on the side of a blimp with a pilot helmet on and Stevie waving at everyone below. I guess I would design it digitally and then how to transfer the image onto an actual blimp is where I get stuck. However, presentations seems pretty cut and dry here...we fly this sucker! I certainly think it might take that long if I did it some old fashioned way. But I could tour the world in a blimp, which sounds pretty cool to me.