10 QUESTIONS FOR LUIZ DIAZ
1.) Growing up as a fan of 80's toys and comics, what is it like to actually have a part in taking the GPK/Wacky Packages into further generations of children? Not only having your artwork available to the masses, but having fans?
I'm still debating over if that is a good thing, but I think over all it is especially if my art inspires some kids like myself in the future. I think the GPKs from when I was a kid thankfully were more violent. They definitely left an impact in my mind, but I think more because they looked like the artist had fun doing them and I saw lots of love there. I would copy them on notebook paper and I don't know what I did with them. Most of my art from that time somehow disappeared. I imagine my parents may have gotten rid of them. They didn't like them and they did all kinds of things during my childhood that was very annoying like putting Coke soda in a Pepsi bottle because I told them I liked Pepsi more just to save like 2 cents in the supermarket. They also messed with my cream cheese and I have a unique palette and knew bad cream cheese from my beloved Philadelphia. Anyways I think I went off the subject. a little. With GPKs I was introduced to fans and it was a special relationship I cherish the same today as I did back then. In fact I really enjoy doing the work mostly for the fans and not for just work. They have helped me be where I am at and having them stick with me throughout these years has encouraged me to go further in my fine art career.
2.) I'm sure you've been asked this question many times, but working on over 40 different cards in the GPK ANS series 3-7 you've got to have your own personal favorites. Which illustrations were you most satisfied or proud of, and which were the biggest struggle?
I think I like the ones I didn't think too much about. The ones that just became somewhat of an icon in each particular series. I do want to thank the concept artists for making some really great concepts even though they had to deal with many great concepts being rejected for whatever reason. I think Nin Jack was one of my favorites because it was one that came across with the OS love. Just being cool and simple. I think a lot of the others were hindered in their immediacy because we had to play out some kind of story with the setting and many I felt didn't need that, but was asked to work more. Another one that sticks out with Hallow Wayne which was something that without much effort I felt the look came across great and is unique. Even though there was already a pumpkin themed OS GPk this one had a little more of the horror element that my artistic roots come from. I like the Batty Brad one because I remembered feeling like I was really feeling the GPKs by that point. Some of the later ones like Todd Da! and Ice Cole were also ones I enjoyed very much the way they came out. Hacked Hogan was another one. I also did a few commission pieces that weren't published that I liked very much. Otto Bot and Gory Cory I think would have made great ANS cards, but were never pursued by Topps even though they were shown as concepts. I also liked the first GPks I ever did to get the GPK gig. I think the Eminem one after I reworked it came out nice.
BATTY BRAD/MATT MOBILE
3.) Like a lot of the ANS artists your love for GPKs has also expanded into your personal work in the form of paintings, 3-dimensional work, and of course your custom/sketch cards. What is it about the Garbage Pail Kids that has this affect on not only the artists, but the fans?
I think nostalgia always plays a big part of the enjoyment of collecting and investing in art and merchandise. We are a huge collecting generation and I think it's human nature to try to keep memories of a certain time which usually brings great joy to us. I think when there was a drought in GPK's the customs cards and custom art did well for the artists. I did a few GPK vinyl figures and some Cheap Toys painted and they were received very fondly. I wish Topps could take it to that level and get involved with a company that makes great figures like Spawn and that kind of stuff. I think the world would fall madly in love with that if it's done right.
Luiz working on his Varicose Wayne munny
The finished product
4.) A lot of artists like myself feel like selling original artwork is like giving up kids for adoption. It goes off to live in someone’s home or gallery for display. Do you ever wonder where your babies are? For example what ever happened to the Beasty Boyd devil-dog, or the Varicose Wayne munny?
I don't really think about it because I always think they went to a loving home. When someone steals my art that's when I wonder where they are at. I feel they were taken hostage and I don't know if they were destroyed or what. I hate when people steal art. It’s really wrong. I also hate it when people take advantage of you as an artist and want things for free. Luckily I haven't had any of those issues with GPK's but in other things I’ve worked on I have gotten some really petty people taking advantage of my kindness. I live day to day just like most people and don't make nearly as much as people imagine. I really do art for the love. If not I would be selling insurance and ripping schmoes like me all day long, but I don't like that side of business. I hate corruption. If we lived in a different society I would give my art away to people who really loved it. If I could just live off that I would, but we are put in a maze called Super Capitalism.
5.) One thing that us 80's kids never got an opportunity to have back in the day was a personalized GPK or sketch or custom card. Along with the newer artists, a lot of the classic artists have been creating these one-of-a-kind collectibles. You went a step further with your "Garbage Parody Kids" which litter Ebay and seem to be very popular among GPK collectors. How many of these have you produced and do you plan to continue creating these?
I don't do those cards anymore. Even though they were just done for a few handful of fans as custom GPK art I think if I continued I may have gotten sent to my room by the parents. They were mostly rejected concepts or art that I didn't have a chance to draw fully or paint as GPks. Most of the early ones were given out for free if people wrote to me or bought work form me. I know I've given out hundreds and hundreds of them. I changed the name so people don't think it was official.
One of the Garbage Parody Kids
6.) Expanding on the last question is there any chance you can explain the numbering system with the parody kids or some form of a checklist?
I think you can still find some info in the Garbage Pail Kids Underground (GPKUG). I numbered them after I started forgetting the chronology of them.
7.) 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've been hearing some things in the GPKUG and it sounds like the excitement is back. Not sure why the delay, but at least they are still being done. I do think they need to market the GPK's a little better. I keep hearing people from my generation clueless that they came out with a new series. I think they could have had 10x the fans by now.
8.) Since working with Topps have you gone back and collected the original GPK/ Wacky Packages cards? Is there any chance we can get a peek at your studio space or toy collections? Maybe a couple photos I can post?
I've moved into a smaller studio and most of my crazy amount of books and figures is stored away in a room at my parents house. I do go there often, but all you will get to see these days is a Voltron, Mazinger figure and a skull. My books are slowly growing in numbers since I visit my parents every week and pick up a book or two from my room.
Luiz working on the "Chopper Chad" rough
Doing some custom art
9.) This is a fantasy question, just for fun. Doc Brown takes you back to the 80's and you get the opportunity to work on a toy line. You can only pick one... which one do you get to have you hand in creating?
That one is a tough question. I wouldn't want to mess with anything already pretty perfect. I would love to do the art for the packaging of He-Man event though Earl Norem did the best job on them. Maybe just be there to see how he does it. I would be 20x a better artist today. He's awesome.
10.) Finally, the big question. Anything you are working on presently? What can we expect from you in the future?
I want to work on my own body of work for fine art shows throughout the world, but mostly get a chance to draw and paint what I want to do. I've been doing some of my own art which has more to do with the nostalgic feeling of all that art and creativeness we all grew up with in the 80's in a kind of surreal cartoon way.
You can see some of that in my website: www.LuisDiazArt.com or look me up in www.facebook.com/ldmonster
Thanks again Luiz and I wish you the best of luck!