The Eric Pigors Interview
Eric Pigor’s art is like a test tube filled with parts of the Addams Family, some vintage horror movies, and a touch of Mexican wrestling. He blends kiche with cool and has just released a Circus Punk that epitomizes his creepy sense of style. With Halloween approaching, Life In A Bungalo decided to visit Unkle Pigors to find out what he’s been up to.
So whatâ€™s your home like on Halloween? Judging by some of your creations, you must have lines a mile long for candy.
No, the neighborhood isn’t quite like it was as when I was a kid. Must be all the people being a bit afraid to let their kids wander the neighborhood door to door these days.
When I was a kid and I went out I remember just seeing a sea of kids in costumes running down the streets with me. I do my own spookhouse now just so kids have a bit of spooky fun like I remember having when I went out trick or treating. Otherwise it’s just door-to-door free candy. You might as well just go to the store and buy your own bag of candy then.
When I was young, I remember being terrified of two houses. One had Frankenstein, the wolf man, Dracula and the mummy on the walkway to the door with fog, lights, and scary music and they were scarring the crap out of kids, and they wouldnâ€™t give you candy unless you went all the way to the door. Then a witch gave you the candy out of a cauldron at the doorway.
The other house was pitch black playing one of my all time favorite Halloween records, â€œChilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted Houseâ€ by Disney. It scared the crap out of me because it was pitch black and all you heard were these spooky sound effects coming from the garage and I thought a monster was going to jump out of the bushes. I got to the door and rang the door once, twice, three times and no one answered so I left, but the sheer terror of going up to that door really stuck with me.
I do my spookhouse in my mom’s garage these days because there are a lot of houses in her neighborhood that decorate their houses up. So the whole vibe there is more fun.
A lot of your fans are in the music business. How do you think music influences your style or vice/versa?
Well I don’t now if music influences the final art too much. Some bandsâ€™ vibe really fits my art like Wednesday 13, The Ghastly Ones and Electric Frankenstein. But music and art are my two favorite things in life. When I draw I like to listen to old Halloween records and these two CDs my friend Norman of the band The Ghastly Ones made of old Halloween songs with spooky sound effects and horror sound bites mixed in to get me in the mood. But I listen to a lot of bands everything from Ministry, Amen, Zodiac Mindwaro, Queen, Zeppelin, Sabbath, Killing Joke, Metallica, Alice Cooper, Manson, Zombie, Cheap Trick, Sex Pistols, The Damned, Psychocharger, Ghastly Ones, etc.
One of your most recent projects is the Electric Frankenstein Circus Punk. Was it difficult to adapt your style for this type of platform?
No, not at all. It was a lot of fun doing this design. When I started it I wanted it to look kinda like the iconic Rat Fink image. That’s why it has the E.F. on its belly. Plus I use to work at Magic Mountain in the games where you throw baseballs at these dolls. So it was a fun job.
How much collaboration did you have with the band? I know that some of your work has been featured on EF posters.
I really just was emailed by Sal who asked if I wanted to do one after being in his poster book and did it that night. It came that quick. Frankenstein is one of my favorite characters to draw and my favorite horror film is Bride Of Frankenstein. So the whole job was fun and easy.
I just finished watching your short film â€œChildrenâ€™s Day at The Morgue,â€ and you definitely donâ€™t seem to take a campy approach to horror design. All your ghouls are more on the realistic side. Is that a style that you purposely go for?
No, I think my stuff is a mixture campy and grotesque. The ghouls in the videos are just from masks I have bought for Halloween and just made them into dummies. Norman and I created that film. He loves Halloween as much as I do.
He came over to see my spook house in the garage one year and said should film it for prosperity. Then we started talking about how much we love that song, “Children’s Day At The Morgue” and we should do a film with my Unkle Pigors character and my spook house. We shot it in one day all in my garage.
Has there been a horror movie in the last 10 years that has really caught your eye? A movie thatâ€™s broken the mold of all the crap/shock flicks that have been forced on American horror fans.
Hmmm, I really like Nightmare Before Xmas and Tim Burtonâ€™s Sleepy Hollow. Other then that I really enjoyed From Hell, Wrong Turn, Dawn of the Dead, and Bubba Ho Tep. I guess Bubba Ho Tep would be the most different then the shlock forced at the movies, but I prefer the old ones, especially the ones with graveyards and atmosphere. Children Shoudnâ€™t Play With Dead Things was one that freaked me out as a teenager. I really am more of a Munsters and Addams Family fan.
I read that you spent many years working for Disney. Was there any inner turmoil working with cartoons that are soâ€”cuddly?
One of the first animated films I worked on outside of Disney was the Care Bearâ€™s Adventure. That was torture but we all have to start somewhere.
At Disney I always did the villains, so it was always pretty fun job. Most the turmoil was with the idiot management at the end destroying the 2D division and letting me and over 700 other 2D artists go.
But Pixar merged recently with Disney and John L. from Pixar wants to bring 2D back as well as do 3D films. I think stop motion should be done as well. I enjoy stop motion most. But I love seeing hand drawn animation, especially the old cartoons from the â€˜20s through the â€˜50s. On the Disney film Hercules I met Gerald Scarfe who designed Pink Floydâ€™s, “The WAll” animation which was a big fave of mine as a teenager. So it does have its moments as well as getting paid very well and health benefits.
I wouldn’t have my books, shirts, and buttons if I had never worked there. I invested my money in my own ideas instead of buying expensive cars and homes like a lot of the other artists at Disney.
What was it like breaking free and working on your own Toxic Toons?
It was great. Something I always wanted to do while I was at Disney. When working at Disney it took so much time from my week and I would get bad wrist problems drawing there all day, so it definitely limited the amount of my own art I could create. So I have done so much art since I was let go in 2002 on Thanksgiving weekend.
Could you tell me more about the ToxicToons project? Many people have seen your toys, but Iâ€™m sure there are folks out there that want to know more about the back-story.
Well when I was getting into animation I wanted to buy cells of my favorite films and couldn’t afford them. So one day, after looking in an old animation book and seeing a framed crazy art piece TEE HEE did, I thought, why donâ€™t I make my own animation set ups? And I just started from that moment. The name came from the fact that I used to spray paint my backgrounds out on our apartment balcony and I would be choking on this cloud of toxic fumes. So when I was trying to think of a name for these postcards I was doing I put toxic from the cloud of fumes and toons because my art is cartoons, and just the fact that my characters are seedy looking creatures. It fit perfectly.
And I self published my books, shirts and do new products all the time for my Web site www.toxictoons.com and shows I do every year.
If you had unlimited resources to do one dream project, what would it be?
It would be a stop motion Halloween Special with all the ideas and characters I have been working on for the past few years.
What does the future have in store for Unkle Pigors?
High medical bills, more hair falling out, needing glasses and lots more books-stickers-shirts-prints so check out my Web site and if you like what you see help support a struggling artist.