As an artist, having the ability to capture the pure vibe of those who you’re influenced by is a rare feat, and not ripping them off in the process is even rarer. It takes a special gift to create stuff that feels like it’s from another point in time without being derivative. Like walking through a door in 1969 and ending up here in the present day. You’d be the real fucking deal.
Tall Boy is one of those dudes. He’s riding the shock waves that erupted from the underground comix scene in late sixties San Francisco, and he’s bringing us work that’s both unique and relevant. He’s building upon the past, not repeating it. And DAMN what a killer job he’s been doing.
Whether you’re familiar with his work or not, you’re going to have a blast making your way down this page. This piece is jam packed with classics; both new and old. And if you don’t have a big smile on your face by the end then there’s something seriously fucking wrong with you. I ain’t lyin’.
Hey dude! Yes sir I am currently living in Austin, TX. Me and my girlfriend Krusty moved here last summer after a year living in San Diego. I’ve been hanging with Burney on the regular. He’s gotta be one of the most talented people I’ve ever known. And the man likes his Jameson.
Speaking of Burney, you two just collaborated on a killer piece called “Texas Gore” that was hanging at Bird’s Barber Shop in Austin this past January. How did that collaboration come about, and who drew which side first?
Burney set up the art show at Bird’s and invited me to share the space. He mentioned doing a collaborative piece specifically for that show, and we tossed some ideas back and forth. I went over to his place with some crappy complicated idea and we eventually found ourselves just drawing what we love and what comes easiest to us: the human head being mutilated, haha. We both did sketches of our sides (Burney’s sketch could have been a final. The dude rips!) I’m pretty sure I went home and he did his side of the final first. I went and picked it up a day or so later and was just like, “Oh fuck, I gotta share a page with this???” Ha. I spent the better part of a day on my half and just had fun with it. I think me and Burney were both really psyched on how it came out. I’m super proud of that one. Glad you like it!
Your style encapsulates so many of the great artists that came up from the underground comix scene in the late sixties; dudes like Robert Crumb, Rick Griffin, Victor Moscos, S. Clay Wilson, and Gilbert Shelton. What is it about that period of time that you find so appealing, and who would you say were your influences?
It’s a great compliment to be compared to that stuff because I look at those guys as gods. I guess what’s so appealing about that stuff is the complete lack of censorship due to most of it being self-published, the ridiculous sense of humor, and the insane quality and technicality. I love how much detail Crumb or S. Clay Wilson would cram into a drawing of a girl giving a blowjob or a bar full of pirates raping and fighting each other. It’s probably similar to why we listen to a band like Iron Maiden. It can be completely over the top but it’s done with 100% passion and serious talent. That’s why the people who get it are fucking insane fanatics haha. My favorite artists from that era of underground comix are Crumb, S. Clay Wilson, Spain Rodriguez, Greg Irons, and this one guy Jim Osborne. I guess he drank himself to death but there’s this one short comic called “Kid Kill” that he did that may be my all-time favorite. His stuff is heavy!
Growing up, you must have seen your fair share of B-movies and listened to a lot of heavy bands. What were you into back in the day when they called you Short Boy, and what steered you towards an interest in art?
My next-door neighbor growing up had a home theater in his living room and had our family over for movies a lot. I will never forget when he showed It’s Alive! I haven’t seen it since I was very little but I believe it’s about a demon baby who comes out of his mom’s snatch and just starts killing everyone starting with the doctors in the delivery room. From what I remember, he travels through the sewers killing people haha! I think they are re-making (aka ruining) that movie some time soon. I saw From Dusk til Dawn at a pretty young age thanks to my older cousins. They used to let me watch Pulp Fiction and stuff like that before my mom would have liked me to see a heroin overdose. Musically I didn’t know shit until my brother started getting real into punk and skateboarding. Skateboarding teaches you a lot about music. Just by watching skate videos, you get exposed to all kinds of shit. We used to worship Toy Machine‘s “Welcome to Hell” which exposed me to bands like Black Sabbath, Misfits, and Iron Maiden. That’s probably when I realized what kind of music I actually liked. That’s also how I got into art. I thought it was so rad that Ed Templeton owned a skateboard company and did all the graphics. It seemed like the perfect life.
Along with Krusty, you’re one of the co-creators of Night Watch, a fantastic low-brow art ‘zine. The artists that you’ve brought together with each issue is stellar, and it too has this cool Zap and Rip Off vibe going for it. What were some of the more challenging obstacles you had to overcome to get the ‘zine out there?
Thanks man! Me and Krusty have wanted to put out zines for so long. Personally, I’d have an idea and get way too caught up in the specifics and just never get it done, or even started for that matter haha. We just decided to start this thing and be real hard on ourselves about the deadlines. We’re putting out 4 issues a year, not stressing about specifics. We have a shit load of amazing artists willing to contribute radness, so we just keep it real open and relaxed. We’re just honored to have such talented rippers on board to be part of our project. With artists like this, each issue is guaranteed to be worth a trip to the shitter. So to answer your question, actually getting the zine done can be one of the hardest obstacles. That and finding a good print shop can be hard when you move to a new city. We got sick of hanging out at Staples paying 10 cents a copy. Fuck that noise!
With Night Watch #5 right around the corner, does the process of putting each issue together get any easier?
Night Watch is always going to be a work in progress. We’re always trying to make it better. We’re starting to have a fixed number of artists contribute to each issue to make the process more smooth. I think it’s gonna be like 25 artists per issue or something. We always want to have a few new contributors while keeping the dudes like Mike Tommyrot and Gut Rot who’ve been with us since the beginning, and Swamp Wizards are always invited to the party. It really fun and rewarding to see how many people dig it. I can’t believe it’s already been a year. We’ve got some rad stuff in the works for the 1-year anniversary.
So what does the future hold for Night Watch? Can you give us a glimpse into what we might be seeing?
Yeah! Right now we’re getting ready to turn 1. We’re gonna release a bunch of stuff. Then we’re getting right into Issue #5 “The Puke Issue” It’s gonna be all about barf and we’ve got some disgustingly awesome limited packaging planned.
Further down the line I’d like to compile all the “Vomit Comix” installments into a killer comic book.
Damn, I want that comic! When you’re not busy with the ‘zine, you always seem to be creating a rad piece of art for somebody. What were some of the more interesting commissions you’ve worked on?
Sizzle Pie always steps it up a notch. The owner Mikey is completely on the same page as us weirdos. He’s always looking to push a project further and blur the line between pizza and art. I did a drunk sasquatch drawing for their bar White Owl Social Club and they made a full size cardboard cut out with a face hole for people to take photos. That’s the shit I wanna be involved in! I always love working with Sizzle Pie, and I love doing skateboard graphics just because it was my goal for so long to be a “skateboard graphic artist”. So it was really cool to have my art on Creature, Spitfire, and Thunder products. It’s funner to work with smaller companies and skate shops too because you can do more of your own thing instead of what an art director wants. It was always awesome to make graphics for Coliseum Skate Shop, Orchard Skate Shop, and Tasty Skateboards, some Massachusetts skater-owned companies.
You’ve been known to draw a chopper or two. Have you ever been into bikes?
I owned a 1975 Honda CB 200 when I was in my early 20’s back in Boston. Never had a “real” bike, but that thing was really fun to ride around town! One of my scummier friends pretty much stole it and fucked it up when I was out of town. Haha long story short, after that I was done putting money into it and I traded it to a dude with no identity for a 1963 Mercury Comet. Another New England rust-casualty money-eater. After all that stuff I eventually got a van and me and Krusty have been moving around for the past couple years. When we figure out where we’ll settle down and save some money, I’ll definitely own another bike! I’m actually up in Portland, OR right now for The 1 Motorcycle Show. I designed a poster for the event and Thor, the man in charge, flew me up! It’s been snowing non stop for days. The city is a mess but there are a ton of awesome custom bikes, helmets and art and a shit ton of people still turned out. We’re having a blast!
So who are some of the artists you’re really digging these days? Anybody we should be checking out?
Well you already know about the Swamp Wizards and all the artists you feature on Doom Cycle. Everyone in Night Watch kills it but I’d say Mike Tommyrot is king of the underground. He just finished an amazing t-shirt graphic for Night Watch‘s 1-year anniversary. He’s got a manic way of adding a million little lines of detail to his art. It gives it a Roth Studio’s vibe but more dirty and gross. Also, the artist Gut Rot kills it. He’s another Night Watch contributor who’s been making awesome stuff for our zine since the beginning. A talented brush and inker and he knows how to keep the subject matter scummy and funny. James Quigley aka Gunsho has been making insane illustrations and poster art for a long time on the East Coast. Check him out for some mind blowing detail in the realm of trash and guts. Josh McAlear is a tattooer and illustrator and metal head from Boston. He slays everyday. Tits, monsters, horror, death. All these artists are in Night Watch haha. I guess that’s how you know me and Krusty are really into someone’s art. We beg them to do a page in our zine!
What are you working on next? Any upcoming shows, prints, or mischief we should be keeping our eyes peeled for??
Next, I’m working on a t-shirt design for a clothing brand out of Argentina called CRIME. The amazingly talented Yaiagift built an insane line-up of incredible but diverse artists that I’m proud to be a part of for their Spring/Summer line, I believe. There is a mask maker in Chicago that me and a few Swamp Wizards will be working with to make rubber Halloween masks. I am super pumped for that project. His work is great. It’s called Crimson Mask Studios. I’m always working on new Night Watch shit too. I’m working on releasing a colored print of my “Wine ‘Em Dine ‘Em 69 ‘Em” graphic I did for Night Watch #4. Also releasing a 2nd edition of my “Welcome to Hell” 12 x 12 print. Staying super busy!
I ask this of everybody, so I’ve gotta know: if you could travel through time, where would you go?
I’d go to San Francisco during the underground comix revolution and buy one of each of the 1st editions of all those awesome comics. Maybe try to kiss a few butts to get a Tallboy comic strip published. Then I’d make sure to see all my favorite bands live in their prime. Sabbath, Maiden, Priest, Thin Lizzy, Motorhead and some Metallica with Cliff!
It’s been a blast speaking with you, man! I really appreciate you setting some time aside to speak with me here on Doom Cycle. It’s always a thrill to see what you’ll come up with next, and each new issue of Night Watch is a real fucking treat. Hey, and congrats to both you and Krusty on Night Watch‘s first anniversary!
Thank you so much, Tim! You are the coolest!