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30 March, 2009

MiniMail: Gekke Garrett

Garrett Vander Leun is een Amerikaanse illustrator die ik ontdekte tijdens het browsen op Flickr, op zoek naar iemand die een Street Fighter-beeld kon maken voor het SFIV launch event. Je kent 'm misschien van Kitsune's Wallpaper Project en nu dus ook van MonoBrow. Echt connecten is het nieuwe online vrienden maken yo!


With the Broken Heart Crew you give classic pop culture characters an extra human dimension. What fictional hero do you think has the most difficulties leading his life?
'That's tough, there's so many. I'm a big Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton fan, and certainly all the characters they played seemed to go through life on a steep incline in search of what I think is the simplest and noblest pursuit - love."

Don't we all
"As far as my Broken Heart Crew is concerned, I think Gonzo's got it the worst. He's had some of the saddest moments of any Muppet. Have you ever heard him sing The Wishing Song? Devastating. That guy's had his nose pulled, his body broken, and been rejected so many times that he's been reduced to dating a porky chicken."

Would you like to do animation?
"I don't think I could ever do animation, I lack the discipline and patience to draw the same thing over and over with any kind of consistency."

Is there an animated series at the moment that you consider worth watching?
"I don't have too much time to watch tv or follow any animated series. Most of the animated stuff on tv isn't anything that inspires me artistically, it's just entertainment. Film is where it's at for me. WALL-E blew me away, artistically and emotionally. It was like an animated Chaplin film with robots."

I still have to see that one
"I'm consistently drawn to the older Disney films that Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston worked on, like The Jungle Book and Robin Hood. I'd say the movie that's inspired me the most artistically though is The Triplets of Belleville."

Big entertainment companies can be very fanatical upholding their copyright. Have you ever been bothered by them?
"Thankfully, no. I think I'm much too small a blip on the radar right now. I haven't sold anything or done any shows. You'd really have to be working overtime for an entertainment company to stumble across a pimple like me."

You've made some artwork for the Street Fighter IV launch event in Amsterdam. But can you play that game?
"I haven't played Street Fighter in years. I think I was kind of a cheap fighter - I'd just stretch out and punch people with Dhalsim or shock people with Blanka."

"The only guy I could control with any sort of skill was Guile. I went with him because he was from America and didn't look as wussy as Ken. I never got very good at fighting games though, too many buttons to worry about and combinations for me to memorize. I'm a little slow on the uptake. Like Ferdinand the bull."

How did you get in contact with the Kitsuné Noir Wallpaper project?
"I lucked out there - Kitsune Noir is run about ten feet away from me. If I've got something cool I only need run next door and ask my roommate to show it off."

Did you get new assignments from that exposure?
"Surprisingly, yes. I was published for the first time as a result of it, by the artist UPSO and his magazine, Faesthetic. That magazine was followed up by a pullout centerfold in the Dutch student magazine, Algemeen Nijmeegs Studentenblad, out of Amsterdam. I feel very honored to be a part of anything I've done and continue to do. It's been a great year so far."

What's it like living in LA?
"I've been in LA for almost six years now. I'd say the first five were miserable, and I was inspired if only to succeed in spite of it. I've finally calmed down, accepted it and all of it's faults and quirks and excitement for the time being. I'm planning on doing an interesting series down the road that incorporates the history of the city and my own twisted sense of humor."

What's up next for you?
"I have three pieces left to do in my BHC series, and they're going to get progressively darker. My goal is to finish those and book my first show to present them by this summer. After that I need to switch it up, take a break from the watercolors."

Then what?
"I've got a number of ideas, but I'm gravitating towards one that incorporates famous celebrities from the golden age of Hollywood and tattoos. It should be very cool, I'm excited to jump into something new."