I was first introduced to your art after you mailed us a Flabby Dagger Zine a few years ago. (and was stoked on it) Where did the name Flabby Dagger come from? What Flabby Dagger theme was the biggest hit/your favorite?
My friend Russ (@russelltaysom) and I were starting a band and he asked me what it should be called and Flabby Dagger was the first thing that came into my head. But then we used it for the zine instead and the band became Ghoulfinger (RIP). If you want the real definition look it up on urban dictionary as it’s too hideous to put into words here….
My favourite issue was for sure the Misfits issue because they’re my favourite band but they’re all such douche bags it gave amazing source material for comics! We did the Misfits issue before I’d checked out Tom Neely’s ‘Henry and Glenn Forever’ stuff. It’s so good. Basically we did a pound shop version of that.
But the most popular issue and the fastest to sell out was the sex issue. People are perverts, what can I say. What is wrong with these sick bastards?
How did the concept for your zine, A Thousand Skulls come about? Is it tough to manage multiple zine projects, freelance work and personal creativity as well?
A Thousand Skulls came about cuz I like skulls! I basically live in an ossuary. I wanted to do a zine of just skull drawings by artists I like and I knew everyone would be up for it cuz who doesn’t like skulls? Got some amazing submissions for issue 1 - including a sick centrefold from yourself and Tallboy. And yeah doing more than one zine is not easy and that’s why so far there’s only one issue! But I’m planning on doing a new issue with all kinds of craziness - cut outs, pops up, maybe some 3D shit we’ll see….
Also we’ve started planning the new Flabby Dagger (issue 12) which will be the fan fiction issue so I reckon there will be some crazy stuff in there. We’ve got so many great artists doing comics for it these days! For me doing zines/comics is a great way to do all the stuff you don’t get to do when doing illustration work for a client. You can do whatever stupid or gross stuff you like. But it kind of has to come second to paid work. Gotta put bread on the table.
Your beer label collab with Dark Place Brewery turned out sick! Was doing a beer label something you’ve always aspired to, or was it something that came out of the blue?
I always wanted to do beer labels so when Dave from Darkplace asked me to the first one I was really excited! I’m a craft beer and real ale nerd so yeah dream job. I’ve done five or six for them now and it’s great cuz Dave just gives me a name then I can pretty much do what I like. My favourite one was based on The Fly movie… Check out Darkplace brewery (@darkplacebrew) in Devon, they’re doing mail order cases in the UK. Also did a label for some other brewery called Dark Revolution but that is yet to emerge. I only work for breweries with dark in the name. Hit me up if you’ve got a dark brewery.
What are your feelings about tabling at zine fairs/pop-ups conventions? Do you feel like a social butterfly completely in their zone, or are you nervously scanning for the nearest beer to drown the anxiety?
I’ve done a ton of zine/art fairs over the years…. How it goes usually depends on how hungover or drunk I am. Drunk is better. Hungover can be a long painful day. They’re good if you’re next to a cool artist but if you’re stuck next to some prick who does one colour riso prints of triangles it can be a nightmare. It can be frustrating if you don’t sell much but if you sell stuff and talk to some interesting people it can be great. I’ve been doing London DIY market (@diymarket) for many years and that’s usually a lot of fun. Would love to come over to the US for lowbrow fest or something like that!
After living in London for over a decade, how has life changed since moving to Stroud?
It’s great being in the countryside as the missus and I both like walking, finding standing stones, exploring castles and things like that. Also spotting wildlife, gardening etc that is difficult in London. It’s a pretty big change of pace - not spending much money as we eat out a lot less often! The main thing I miss apart from my mates is decent coffee and a decent cinema nearby. But then if there is a film I really want to see or a band it’s not far to Bristol or London on the train…. And I’ve made some new pals now :) Also there’s amazing pubs here! Loads of them…
As far as art goes I have been drawing more animals and landscape stuff but I haven’t really been putting it online! The environment definitely affects what I produce.
You mentioned that you went on holiday for over 6 months, do you feel like vacation brings you new material for comix and art?
Yeah we travelled up from Costa Rica through central America to Mexico and spent some time in Cuba. It was amazing! Looking back it was definitely the best time of my life so far. I can’t recommend enough doing a trip like that if you get the chance. Mexico especially was really inspiring for my art. For one thing the place is full of skulls. Oaxaca city in particular has a great street art and printing scene. Lots of little print collectives with affordable art to buy. Saw some stuff by a cool artist called @el_ojo_peludo there. I tried to draw as much as I could out there but mostly I look back to the millions of photos I took for reference for stuff… You can see my short comic Nosferatu goes on holiday in the vampire issue of Flabby! Seeing a lucha libre match in Mexico City was worth making the whole trip for.
Congratulations with your first child on the way! Are you trying to fit in as much art as possible before the big arrival? Do you approach life’s landmarks sweaty with stress or a zenned out attitude?
Thanks! I’m definitely starting to sweat now ha… but I’m trying CBD oil to chill me out which seems pretty good. Easier than mediation anyway. As far as the art goes I’ve been working at a picture framers four days a week to save some money before the sprog arrives. Which means less time for drawing and illustration work but, then going travelling for half a year didn’t exactly work wonders for my freelance career… Yeah but will smash out some zines/comics before splash down. Pat Sparrow had a kid and seems more prolific than ever so I look to that dude for inspiration.
What are some of your favorite artists that readers must check out!? (older or current, doesn’t matter)
I have some pretty eclectic tastes… One of my favourite old school artists is Albrecht Dürer. His wood cuts from the 15th/16th century are mind blowing! A more recently deceased favourite is Edward Gorey the American illustrator. I’m into artists who use a lotta lines! So Crumb is obviously another fave. I like to see my work as sort of Dürer meets Jim Philips. So a lot of fine lines but with gore and bright colours.
Some of my favourite contemporary US artists are mostly lowbrow people like Thomas Fernández (@liveradstudios), can I mention your main man Chris Coulon aka @tallboy666, Phil Guy (@burritobreath), Pat Sparrow (@patrickcsparrow), Killer Acid (@killeracid)…. Oh and I’m obsessed with Simon Hanselman’s (@simon.hanselmann) Meg, Mogg and Owl comics. Just got the new one Bad Gateway and it is totally rad!!!! And must mention Blial Cabal (@blialcabal) another sickkkkk artist for occult line art and a nice guy. Actually I think it’s a husband and wife team of artist and printmaker…. Who really knows with the internet, maybe Tallboy is a team of 15 robotic drawing cockroaches.
In the UK I’m a big fan of Sin Eater who does kind of folk art but has a lot of skulls. I just got a print he did for a rerelease of the Wicker Man framed. If you don’t know it’s a British folk horror film and one of the best films ever! Also should mention my second wife and long time zine buddy Russell Taysom. He does the best comics and I’ve been trying to get him to do an anthology of them for ages. Also Liane Plant (@lianeplant), George Heaven (@georgeheaven69) who does Death House and Paul Arscott (@baguetteboi69) of Eyeball Comics.
One more person to mention I found on Instagram is @bharata.danu an Indonesian artist who does death/black metal sort of stuff but I think his style is amazingly original! Gonna try and recruit him for the next Thousand Skulls issue….
For an artist who’s looking to be more involved and put out more art, what advice do you have for them?
Make as much art as you can. Submit to zines. Start your own. Draw comics - self publish. Do graffiti… get into screen printing, do paste ups. Print stickers and give them away. Stick em everywhere. Make a website. Get yourself on Instagram. Do the drawing clubs like lifeform! Put on art shows with your friends, get bands to play and give away booze. Hassle companies for booze sponsorship. If you do as much as you can you’ll most likely get somewhere you want to be….
If you can get a rich patron that also helps. Russ and I worked both worked for a big artist who gave us a load of money to print a “leather-bound" issue of Flabby Dagger. We spent the money on printing a shit load of normal zines and getting beer for a launch party. This artist said he sent an issue to Michelle Obama and she loved it. Good taste.
What record can you not get enough of at the moment?
My friend just gave me Walk Among Us by The Misfits on vinyl. Probably the best record ever. Also got Vol 4 by Sabbath on rotation. I still listen to Lagwagon most days and Burzum when I’m drawing. Also The Dwarves are young and good looking is probably my second favourite album ever.