Friday, January 29, 2010
10 QUESTIONS FOR GPK ARTIST BRENT ENGSTROM
1.) Just real quick, (before we get to the serious questions) don't you think you owe an apology to all the poor mothers who have to scrub the damn GPK sticker residue off walls, doors, and dressers in their children's rooms? You have to at least feel responsible for your part in the creation of these cards/stickers.
I'm really proud of my GPK work. I hope kids are still sticking them on their walls! I recently moved and I had stuck some on the sink in my old drawing room... They are hard to get off!
2.) I ask this of all my victims... working on over 30 different cards in the GPK ANS series 5-7 you've got to have your own personal favorites. Which illustrations were you most satisfied or proud of, and which were the biggest struggle?
It sounds stupid, but I'm proud of all of them. It's a little hard for me to look at my first couple of paintings, but I'm still happy with my work on series 5, 6, and 7. I'm not sure why, but I really like Billy Bling. He was a hard one to get into the series for some reason. I originally painted him for series 6, but he got rejected. They wanted me to add sunglasses on him for some reason. That's sort of when I started using Photoshop on them. I still have the original Billy Bling acrylic painting before I added the sunglasses. I can't seem to part with any of my original acrylic paintings. I'm proud of a lot of my Photoshop paintings too. For me it's just as hard as actually painting them. I've never taken a class or anything, so it was a learning experience. I really like how Showerin' Howard, bottled Bailey, Cora reef, spectre Hector, deer Hunter, and Dennis shoe turned out.
GIL grill/ BILLY bling, card #51 b from ANS 7
3.) Coming in as an artist halfway through the ANS series you must have gained respect quickly with your work. Not only did you create 24 of the series 7 cards, but your "Ty Dee Knot" Gpk was used for all the packaging and promotion. Tell us a little about finding your place as a GPK artist and how that feels.
It feels great. It's really neat to be a part of a cultural phenomenon like GPK. I grew up collecting them, so working on them has been amazing. It was crazy to see Ty Dee Knot on the wrappers. I had no idea they were going to use that card as a painting. I still have that original acrylic painting too. The final card has some photoshop highlights and the background is mostly Photoshop, but I'm really glad I have the actual painting. Plus it was a painting of me and my wife, Tracy, so it makes it extra special to me. If people send me the Ty Dee Knot card to autograph, I usually have my wife sign it too.
TY dee knot, card 1a from GPK ANS 7
4.) You've done a massive amount of sketch cards, not only for GPKs but the other Topps lines you've done work for over the past few years. All though impressive, there's no doubt there has been quite a few occasions where you burned "the midnight oil". At this point do you get physically ill when hearing the words "sketch cards"?
You'd think, but I quite enjoy them. For me, it's still fun to draw. There have been a few sets that I wasn't that crazy about the subject matter, but I still make the best of the situation. Sometimes looking at a stack of 200 or 300 cards can be a little intimidating, but I can't complain... Jay Lynch draws thousands at a time! I usually listen to a movie commentary or play the tv in the background to pass the time.
When you asked me to do this interview while we were chatting on Facebook, I was actually working on a sketch card set. I was drawing GPK Flashback cards. I'd have to say GPK FB sketch cards have been by far my favorite sketch set I've worked on. The deadline for them has been pretty crazy, but I still tried to make each one different. I've been moving into a new house while working on this set, so I've been drawing them wherever I can; in restaurants, friend's houses, bars, pretty much anywhere that's open late. I hope the GPK fans like them!
5.) Real quick what are a few of your favorite "classic" GPKs?
After re-looking at them all while drawing the flashback cards. I'd have to say Roy bot, Mal practice, Stu brew, Marsh room, Ava shaver, missing Marsha, Chester drawers... I could keep going, but the list would consume the entire page.
6.) At the time of this interview the GPK Flashback set is less than a month from the shelves. It's been two years since the fans have had new cards. Any predictions about the response this set will get?
I hope they like the cards I worked on and it leads to an ANS series 8. I love creating GPKs. I think about them a lot!
7.) Is there any chance we can get a peek at your studio space or personal collections? Maybe a couple photos I can post?
I'll attach some pics of my new drawing room. As I said before, I moved, so I'm still getting it set up. I usually end up working on my coffee table in my living room though. I'm not quite sure why, but I seem to work better sitting on the floor. I think it roots back to my days drawing as a kid.
8.) I've seen you are a fan of Robert Crumb and Harvey Pekar. Any other influences or art heros?
Jay Lynch, John Pound, Tom Bunk!
Some of my other favorite comic artists are Paul Pope, Johnny Ryan, Erik Larsen,Kim Deitch, Walt Kelly, Charles Addams, Jack Kirby, Jack Cole... Once again way too many to list.
9.) This is a fantasy question, just for fun. You have the opportunity to go back in time and work on any comic book series. You can only pick one. Which one would you influence?
I'd probably have to say the old EC comics. Tales from the Crypt and stuff. Those would have been amazing to work on. Early MAD magazine too! When it was comic book size.
It would have been cool to be a part of the Underground Comix movement as well.
Right now I have a couple comics I'm working on that I would love to get published someday!
10.) Finally, the big question. Anything you are working on presently. What can we expect from you in the future?
I'm working on a few things for Topps right now. The GPK Flashback cards, some Wacky Package stuff. A new Star Wars sketch set, and something new called Wacky Digibles. They are collectable digital gifts. I've been doing quite a few of those.
Topps Wacky Digibles from Facebook
Thanks once again Brent and keep up the excellent work!!