What it is Squidlovers,
So we got this here Off the Strip show set to blow the roof off the mother tomorrow, from 7-10pm at the WWA gallery, and if you aren't familiar with the concept let me spin it for you right quick. Basically we love comic strips, and really comics of any kind, so we asked several of our favorite artists to do their own interpretations of classic comic strip characters. The twist you ask? We requested that they take the characters out of their norm and throw them into deplorable, despicable and down right reprehensible situations. I know, sick nasty is what you're thinking.
Anywhos, one of the artists that we asked to dip his dirty pen into the show was Nate Van Dyke, and as per-usual, the man did not disappoint. He brought it with a particularly salacious take on one Hobbes the tiger from Calvin and Hobbes, which after Krazy Kat is my personal favorite strip. You'll get to see it below, but I warn you this ain't no kids show. Once I saw his piece I knew immediately I had to interview him and Mr. Van Dyke was kind enough to oblige. Get ready for all sorts of nonsense. Boom.
DR: Where were you at about 9 pm last night and can anyone corroborate your whereabouts?
NVD: I was at home watching Independence Day, drinking beer and drawing some shit I didn’t want to draw. Just ask Will Smith. He’ll back it all up.
DR: While you create many things, you’ve made quite a name for yourself with your illustrations of anthropomorphic chimps. So how did you get into the monkey business and do you take your monkey business seriously?
NVD: Getting into all of this chimp shit was random. I had done a dozen or so large pieces for a solo show I had about 10 years ago. One of the pieces happened to be this pissed off chimp and everyone loved it. I could have sold that piece 8 times over. Oddly enough it was the only piece in that show which sold. There was a lot of buzz around it so I decided to explore it more. Fast forward a bunch of years and a lot of beers and here I am. Known as the guy who draws the pissed off chimp. I guess it all worked out. And, no, I don’t take my shit that seriously at all.
DR: I love your contribution to Off the Strip, as I am a big fan of Calvin and Hobbes and for some reason it reminds me of my babysitter as a child. Some, however, might call your piece a bit salacious. How important do you think it is to shock you audience from time to time? Do you find it is becoming harder and harder to shock people now a days?
NVD: I don’t really set out to shock people like I may have when I was younger. I’ve learned that you have to draw whatever it may be. Be it a cartoon character about to eat fur burger or a vase of flowers. I’ve learned that you can’t please everyone. As long as I enjoy doing it and get a good piece out of it I’m happy. I actually look at that piece and laugh. I just think it’s funny. I think it’s gotten harder to shock people because there are a lot of people who try and do simply that. I just draw what comes to my mind and thins was one that came to mind when I saw that specific shot of Hobbes in one of the books.
DR: So you are illustrating the new Jurassic Park comic. Considering the history of the franchise that seems like quite the honor. Has it been a challenge? Do you think you could take a T-rex, you know, if it were either you or him?
NVD: Drawing Jurassic Park has been an interesting ride. I’m supposed to be working on it right now. Shhhh! I was quite honored when Bob Schreck contacted me to do it. He kept begging me to take it on and I finally gave in and accepted. It’s cool to be a small part of the franchise. The odd thing about doing comics is you end up having to draw a ton of shit you don’t want to draw in order to tell the story.
I already know I can kick the shit out of a Rex. One night I was getting hammered at home and I drunkenly fell over and completely wrecked this T-Rex splash page. So, yeah… that bitched armed Rex didn’t stand a chance around me.
DR: If you could hang out with one character from the comic pages who would it be and what would you guys do? (If it’s Blondie be careful what you say. Word on the street is Dagwood is nasty jealous and ain’t afraid to cut a bitch.)
NVD: I’d say Calvin but as smart as that kid is it gets a little creepy being that guy who wants to hang with 6 year-old boys. I’d have to say Daphne from the old Scooby Doo cartoons. I had a crush on her when I didn’t even know what you would do with a woman. Also, I could stomp the shit out of Fred if he gave me any beef and that dyke, Velma, doesn’t seem to pose too much of a jealous threat.
DR: Have you ever stolen anything and was it worth the disappointed look in your mother’s eyes? After all she did raise you better than that.
NVD: I remember being a kid at the drug store and they had these toy Hot Wheel cars on display at the register. I started stuffing them into my overalls without a thought in plain sight. I think my mom was pretty embarrassed. I totally thought I had come up with a golden plan.
DR: What inspires you to keep creating, you know, besides the large room of money that you swim in?
NVD: Uncle Scrooge has nothing on my money bin. When not doing the breast stroke through the benjamin’s I’m plotting my next shitty piece of art. I think the only thing that keeps me going at times is having deadlines. A lot of the time when I am drawing it’s not because I want to but rather because someone is waiting on me for pieces. I’ve got a lot of ideas I am looking forward to exploring after I finish this damn comic book.
DR: Do you have any advice for the kids out there that dream of one day being illustrators and look up to Nate van Dyke as an inspiration? And please feel free to include as much profanity as you feel the answer necessitates.
NVD: Don’t do it. Art will rot your brain. Become a doctor. If they still wanna draw cool shit I strongly suggest they try and find their own voice. Don’t copy James Jean, we already have one of those. Get your own voice heard. It’s cool to be inspired by people but make it your own. Don’t go to art school, either. All they care about is your money. If you are good enough to make a living making pretty pictures school is not necessary. I never went to art school and my shit came out ok. The first thing you need to do is get a website with your name in it. Nobody wants to look at your Flickr or MySpace. A website is the most important thing and artist can have. Start fucking someone who can build you a site if you need to. Works for me.
I'd like to thank Nate for taking the time. If you'd like more info on him check this out http://www.n8vandyke.com/. If you'd like a preview of Off the Strip click this.