Friday, October 1, 2010

To Kick Off October...An Interview With Eric Pigors of Toxictoons.com!!!


I have the honor of something I've never done before, interviewing someone whose art I admire (and collect).  Allow me to introduce you to Mr. Eric Pigors, creator of Toxic Toons, a collection of Halloween/horror-inspired characters that has spiraled out of control from the drawing board to everything from original art, to barware, tattoo flash, clothing (own several pieces of the Hatbox Ghost workshirts and tees myself!), stickers, spirit boards and much much more!  

To fully appreciate art, it helps to know more about the artist.  I tried to think "what would I like to know about Eric Pigors as a person and an artist?"  These are some things I came up with.

Here we go.....



Eric Pigors, Artist Extraordinaire


First of all, why Halloween?  What draws you to this time of year?  Well i was born in October,all though im not sure if that draws me to Halloween.

As a kid I loved monster stuff {art-masks-toys-comics-cartoons-records} and of course the holiday!
When i got older and started drawing my Toxictoons artwork i still was drawing weird creepy characters and monsters.Then a few years later  I started to get excited again seeing Halloween merch at stores,and I statred buying monster masks and making my own dummies with these masks and building a  lil spookhouse at my moms doorway.My wife and I lived in an aptartment at the time and would get 1 Trick or Treater. And over at my moms house , where my favorite Halloweens took place when i was a kid .There where a few  other people decking out their homes all Spooky!
Now i make my own HALLOWEEN merchandise and sell it on my website www.toxictoons.com because when ever I go looking for new Halloween merch i come home  disapointed 95% of the time.Everything at most stores is cute or very bland!
I wanted to make stuff i would want to see in stores! MORE SPOOKY!!! 

For those who may have missed "Let's Chop Soo-e" on your DVD, (in which I whole heartedly recommended on HIS DVD ) the animation is wonderfully frenzied and manic, reminiscent of Tex Avery.  They say art imitates life, are you as over the top as your creations?
That's what i was going for. I love TEX AVERY & BOB CLAMPETT cartoons.They to me are what cartoons should be frantic,crazy weird little masterpieces!As well as Max Fleisher cartoons.Cartoons for me should be so weird and do stuff you really dont see in normal life.Like you are  having a fun nightmare.
Click to buy the DVD!!!
Roger Rabbit had come out ,and Ren and Stimpy was being made when i was doing my cartoon,"LETS CHOP SOO-E!" Cartoon.They were both huge influences ,as well as the older cartoons.
Animation today is kinda like Halloween merch at stores to me. Very safe,bland and similar. I love watching those old Black and White Mickey Mouse cartoons.They are crudely drawn,but are more fun and intresting to me.I would love to do an animated Toxictoons Halloween special.My cartoon i did back in 1989.So i could really do some weird stuff now!
  

When was the moment when you started noticing a decidedly bent to the gruesome?  Did you doodle on paper in school and say "hey, that's wicked cool" when you drew something a bit on the dark side and ran with it?
I think MAD magazine sent me in that bent dierction as well as a lot of other artists my age. Yes I did doodle all the time in school aslo.That's why my grammar and run on sentences and awful spelling exsist!hahaha
But i think also when i met my wife is when i started to draw in my style that felt comfortable to me, and all the weird characters started pooring out of me! So maybe shes to blame? OR THANK ACTUALLY!!!
Besides MAD though i loved DR SUESS who is a good odd diretcion to start from as a young impressionable future artist . And then PLOP COMICS, ODD RODS STICKERS, WACKY PACKS and animated cartoons.And my first skeleton MONSTER MASK I bought as a kid. Then later the Munsters and Charles Addams helped push me over the top. It all seeps into my brain and came out as Toxictoons.


Your very lovely wife, I take it that she doesn't disapprove of your shenanigans? 
My wife approves of my nonsense and she is into Halloween also.Not as much as me ,but when we got married she said ,"We should have a Halloween themed wedding." She has also helped with writing some of the poems in my DEADTIME STORIES book.She gets dressed up on Halloween, and helps me in the lil spookhouse i build. And she helps me at conventions and in life.  


Now, I know that you love haunted houses, what do you look for in a good haunted house?
Theme, set decoration,lighting, mood,Sound, characters and props. I like traditional Spooky Haunted House themes with foggy cemeterys most. With a hint of Halloween like Jack o Lanterns.A perfect example would be the TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE episode called,"TRICK OR TREAT". Actaully last night my wife and I watched TRICK R TREAT by Michale Dougherty,then TRICK OR TREAT the TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE EPISODE,then Trick or Treat the Disney cartoon.Great way to start off the season i think! Tonight we are going to KNOTTS SCARY FARM. I like when you are in HAUNTS and come around a corner and see something that just blows you away .Like weird characters! I saw this lady at KNOTTS SCARRY FARM  sitting on a bed .She almost looked like that brid lady from the end of FREAKS and she had a hatchet.I had to take a picture of her below.
Pretty!


She seemed so real but inreal if you know what i mean. Netherworld haunted house in GEORGIA blew me away when i went thru it.I just got so inspired after seeing it.And i have gone back the past 3 years to sell merch anddress up and scare people inside! I just wish i could take October off and travel to all the haunts see their HAUNTED HOUSES,Maybe sell some merch there and have a spooky good time!



What was the moment in which you knew you had arrived as an artist?
Click to see a music video of the special!
Geez  now that you ask this ? there are quite a few special moments i guess. Some moments are when i got hired at Disneys Feature animation and them buying my original idea ,"SILLY HILLBILLIES ON MARS!" which never got made yet. Also getting to do character designs at Disneys on TREASURE PLANET and them picking one for an alien pirate and naming it PIGORS after me. When James and Kirk from Metallica called my home to tell me they dug my art and asked me to do a shirt for them. When Mezco Toys made my first toys called," Lets play in the Morgue ". When i made my Animated cartoon for International Rocketship called,"Lets Chop Soo-E!", or doing characters for the ED EDD AND EDDY HALLOWEEN SPECIAL Boo Haw Haw! And this year when Trick or Treat Studios " just put out my first Haloween mask. So i guess i have had a pretty good career so far.



Your work revolves around the supernatural.  Do you believe in ghosts?
Well yah i guess i do. I watch all the GHOST Hunter type shows on tv. My wife LOVES them even more then me! And she has seen a few ghosts! Like she saw a small curly haired boy tugging on my moms clothing once. And i showed my wife a picture of my moms younger brother who fell out of their car at age 4 or 5 and passed away.  I  have seen a black shadow walk from my guest bedroom down the stairs once.  And recently i kept seeing what i thought was our cat shadowy figure walking around our house. I would do double takes because i thought for sure there was a cat down where i was seeing this image.A week later we took our 1st cat to the vet because she was getting so light and didn't look well,and they told us she had cancer and maybe had 2 weeks left. So we kept her home with us for 1 more week and gave her as much love and food she would want to eat and then had to have the vet come put her to sleep because she just stop drinking and moving around muchThis  happened 2 weeks ago and was awfull for us.
I also had a very weird experience in 1999 when my younger brother went missing that week of xmas. That Novemeber i  had heard a womens voice whisper something that seemed very important to me while i was a sleep. I woke up and thought i should wake my wife up and tell her what i heard it seemed that urgent. But i thought i would remember it in the morning and of course I forget exactly what she said, it just seemd urgent. Well then 1 month later when my brother went missing and we couldnt find him the week of xmas i heard that same ladys voice one night whisper in my ear while i was sleeping,"HE'S GONE." My dad found him the next day in the hillls by my moms house and he had taken his life. That night it felt like someone was squeazing my hand and felt like long finger nails digging into my plam of my hand.I tried digging my own fingers into my hand to see if it was the same feeling and it didnt even come close. Later when we had to  go to the mortuary to see my brother i noticed his finger nails had grown pretty long.It was my first time dealing with death of a family memebr and for a while i thought it might change what i liked drawing.

What would you like to see Toxictoons eventually evolve in to?
A Halloween special is my ultimate dream! And be part of the Halloween comunity making more masks and other merch for Halloween time.I truly love the season that much!!!  But i would just love to be able to continue just doing new merch and be able to make a living at what i love doing most ...drawing Toxictoons art. 

What piece of advice that you have learned would you care to share with an aspiring artist?
Well here is how i feel. If you trully love what  you do {art,music,poetry etc...}  set some goals and just do it until you reach them. And if it never  happends at least you had the time of your life doing what you love doing!

Besides drawing warped, mentally twisted and other wise deranged cartoons that we demented souls cherish, do you have any hobbies or interests outside of art?
You mean like stamps or saving my toenails in a jar? Naw I just really like drawing and collecting art, music, art books, masks, Halloween merch,and going to concerts and hanging with my wife and our 1 cat now.



Do you have any specific fond memories of any past Halloweens?
Yes I was around 12-13  and  my friend and I  both went Trick or Treating .We were detrmined to go to every house in my mom's neighborhood and fill up our pillow cases until we had to drag them around.
Well this was the year i saw a few haunted houses in my neighborhood. There was one house and they had the Frankenstein,Dracula,Werewolf and a Witch roaming around thru fog.To get your candy you had to walk to their front door thru all these monsters.I remember being so scared,but also liked what they did with their house and costumes!
There where 100s of kids running house to house.
Then my friend hit one side of the street and i went to the other side.I dont know why we did this, but i got to this one house that i still  remember  to this day every single moment.I approached their house and i heard the Walt Disney sounds fx record playing from in their garage.The alien or heartbeat sound fx was playing as i slowly walked up to their gates They had no lights on, just 1 pumpkin was lit as i walked 15 feet thru their gates to the door.
So  I walked really slowly towards the doorway waiting for a monster to jump out and scare me. But nothing happened,"Whew , I'm safe i thought." Then I knocked on the door,no  one answered.Then i knocked again.Still no one answered. So i turned and ran out of their gates as fast as i my feets could run !
I remember this house because the scary sound fx record playing was my 1st record i ever owned, But only just for 1 day. That same friend who was Trick or Treating with me had came over to my house a few days earlier. I said,"Hey check out what i got and swung my arm up to show my friend my Disney record.Then watched as my record flew out of the sleeve and smashed in to pieces on the floor.ARRRRRGH! I had only listend to it 1 time! And my mom wouldnt buy me another copy.
I NOW OWN 2 OF THEM.HAHAHAHA  Plus i remember that house  because my imagination  ran so wild of  what might be hiding in the darkness! Imagination is a powerfull thing!!
The past 10 years i have built a lil spookhouse to give Trick or Treaters in my moms neighborhood something spooky to remember and maybe pass along when they get older.
You can see 45 minutes of my spookhouses over the years on my UNKLE PIGORS SPOOKHOUSE DVD. As well as a nice interview horror host  ORMON GRIMSBY did with me on my artwork and lots of other creepy stuff..

Have you drawn all of your life?  Did you take art lessons in school?  
Yes, i have drawn all my life. I LOVE DRAWING.
As a kid i bought anything with cartoon art on it. I like to say i went to the MAD MAGAZINE SCHOOL of ART 25 CENTS CHEAP.
What i mean by that is I used to copy drawings out of MAD all the time to learn how to draw. I did go to an art school for 2 years called," BRANDES ART" to learn animation.Then i went looking for a job. And let me tell you i learned a lot more once i got work, and i got paid as well.

Are there other mediums that you might like to try besides drawing?
I love stop motion and wouldnt mind working in that medium.But DRAWING IS MY LIFE!

What's your favorite Halloween costume growing up?  
Funny thing is i dont have 1 picture of me in a Halloween costume as a kid. I remember the day i bought my first skeleton monster mask. But i dont remember if i wore it that year? I did use it as a prop in my 1st Haunted House my brother and I built. My favorite Halloween year i talked about above i dressed as a hobo.I had those goofy plastic nose & glasses with a pillow shoved in my dads shirt. And one year i drew my feet on paper and cut it out and taped it up my moms front door so it looked like a ghost walked up into her roof.And now i have my 1st TOXICTOONSmonster mask.So if i see any kids wearing him in my neighborhood they are getting my special treat i give spooky costumes .Its a bag filled with candy,rubber bats,skeleton a dvd of cartoons.And some finger nail clippings i snuck from grand mas ingrown toe. (EWWWWWWW GROSSSSSS!!!!!)

Inadvertently, in an interview, the interviewer always neglects to ask a question that the person being interviewed wishes they would have asked.  If you have any questions that you would like asked of you, could you ask and answer them for your fans old and hopefully new out there?
Have you ever met any of your art heros?
Yes i met Tim Burton one day at Disneys after lunch while i was working on LION KING. I just ran into him on a street corner there and I told him i had sent him a package of my Toxictoons art. He said he liked it and thought the art was funny. He kept staring at my ED ROTH "MIGHTY MUSTANG"shirt i was wearing, and said he had the same shirt when he was a kid.
A few years earlier while i was working on Disneys the Llittle Mermaid Film,I had lunch with  ED "BIG DADDY" ROTH , creator of RAT FINK. He wanted me to do a 6 minute animated cartoon of RAT FINK.He was a character! When I asked him what influenced his art,thinking he might say the arist BASIL WOLVERTON or MAD. He replied,"THE KOREAN WAR!"  What!!?
I also told him i was banned from having future art shows at Disney Studios. Roth said, "I rather be known as the artist who Doesn't get to show his Artwork at Disney's, then the ones who do." Which i think says it all.
  
I encourage you to go to Toxictoons.com and look around at Eric's art and store, there's lots more merchandise and coffee-table books that will have people wondering about you even more than they do now!  I have several pieces and I can attest that it's all first quality from the work shirts to the tee shirts to the prints to the stickers, it's all of the highest quality (and I'm not just being nice either).  


I wish to sincerely thank Eric for giving me this opportunity, which has been a whole heap o' fun for me.


And Happy, Happy, Happy Hallowe'en!

2 comments:

Ali said...

Great post! Happy October.

ShellHawk said...

Wow! That was great! I'm jealous I didn't scoop him first...