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Do you consider certain animals represent better as specific genders? I noticed lot of female lizards. A lady moose popped up, autobiographically as far as I could tell.
Yeah the moose is me. A moose is a super awkward horse. I wouldn’t draw myself as a horse necessarily, because they are super majestic. but the "He-Horse" character is also sort of me? So, never mind. They’re all me.
It’s funny to draw something like a lizard as a woman, because a woman’s body is so curvy or sensual and a lizard’s body is so rough and bite-y or sting-y. I like the idea of drawing something that’s not very friendly, like a lizard or Anna Wintour, and trying to make it seem friendlier.
So you are interested in pushing against what might make intuitive sense, rather than just leaning into cats = ladies or something?
A big buff lizard guy makes sense to me. I feel like I’ve seen that in a video game. But a lizard lady? You don’t see that as often. What funny is that I’ve attracted the attention of a a community of people called “scalies.” I love them. They’ll reblog my stuff and role play as the lizards in my drawings. That’s probably my favorite thing that’s ever happened. When they re-blog it it seems pretty innocent, only a little sexual. But...I haven’t looked at their DeviantArt profiles. I’m sure it goes there.
There's an explicit sexual element that often pops up in your work. Obviously the culture right now is really oversaturated with making everything and anything sexual. Is your work explicitly making fun of that?
I do think about sexual things a lot as a way of entertaining myself. You get bored and you think of something super violent or super sexual. And that finds its way into my work. Sometimes it does feel cheap. Like, “Let’s put some tits on this helicopter! It’ll be hilarious!” But, actually, that is funny.
Have you seen a lot of pushback from people being offended by what you’ve done?
Yeah. There’s one guy who’s basically like a grandpa to me. We’re not actually related, but when I was little, my parents were on Sabbatical in England, and we had a farm in our backyard and this was the farmer of that farm, So, I spent a lot of time him, wrote letters, kept in touch. He hates my current work. He really thinks it's offensive. He thinks people will look at my artwork and go insane. Which is funny...but to me it’s also very sad that he thinks that. Some people could look at a drawing of a puppy and go insane. But I’m also sympathetic to people having a line they just won't cross.
I noticed a recurring motif, maybe four or five times in the book, of an empty head with things just spilling out of it, eyes, mouth, nose.
The body is a hard shell for soft stuff and the soft stuff is always trying to come out.
So, uh, is that a problem, for you?
(laughs) I mean, it’s a problem as much as it is for anyone. It’s just a fear of death thing, but also a fear of being sick. I used to have a trouble being on public transportation. I was almost like a germaphobe when I first got here. You are so compressed with other people, it’s wet and dirty. I love it now.
A lot of my drawings are about working out what I’m afraid of. I hate it when people say “My art is my therapy” But it is. It developed as a coping mechanism for boredom and fear, I just happened to get good at it.