Interview with Eric Pigors
Welcome to the sick and twisted world of Unkle P. AKA Eric Pigors. His designs are that of sugar induced coma, full of macabre, ghoulish, and comic creations which never fail to burn themselves on to your retinas. Mixing mediums from hand drawn sketches, computer manipulation and collage, his disturbed progeny just jump off the page. A total fiend for the ‘Monster Kid’ culture, it is easy to see where Eric’s inspiration comes from. Unkle P. takes time out of his extremely busy schedule to talk to Lipstattoo for Horror-Extreme.
Lips: Hi Eric, how was it working back at Disney?
Eric: It was a lot of fun seeing and working with old friends. They rehired a lot less which meant we had to do a lot more work. And once we were done with the project we were let go which sucks since you get into a groove drawing and now it looks like it could be a few years until we get another picture, If it even happens again?
Lips: I know that you’re quite passionate about 2-D animation, are you feeling more positive about a resurgence in interest in 2-D animation due to “The Princess and the Frog” having great success at the cinema?
Eric: Well unfortunately the film didn’t do quite as well as they were hoping. You have to make about $200 million these days for executives to get excited. It cost $100 million to make and made $105 million domestically. It made millions on merchandise and it’s now just starting to play in Europe and comes out on DVD in March over here. So I’m sure they aren’t going to lose money at all!
We just heard they don’t think it did so well because boys didn’t want to go see the film because it had the word Princess in it. So the next film, Rapunzel which is a computer film, has had its title changed to “Stranded.”
They are starting a “Winnie the Pooh” hand drawn film right now but are only hiring 12 of the 45 artists in my department back whom I worked with on Princess film.
The next hand drawn feature we were to work on in 2011, called “SNOW QUEEN”, has been cancelled because they feel it’s too many girl films in a row. It’s too bad the company is second guessing every film these days. They used to be the leaders in animation and they haven’t been for many years. Luckily they have PIXAR films which make huge amounts of $’s for Disney. They can’t stray too much from what Disney is known for in their hand drawn films and now computer films. And these days the audience I think just wants the kinda films like Shrek and Ice Age.
I don’t think hand drawn films will ever see the days like the ones in the past 70 years. It’s funny, the first animated films were more adult themed like Tex Avery, Bugs Bunny, Popeye even the early black and white Mickey Mouse cartoons, now it’s just a dumbed down medium to babysit your kids and sell toys. There are a few good T.V shows being made now, but nothing like those good old days.
It feels like the USA seems to look at animated films and comics as kids stuff. I think Europe has a more open-minded attitude about the artistry that goes into making these things.
So actually I don’t really feel good about the medium of hand draw films these days at all.
Lips: You also worked on ‘Hercules’ and the animation of the films’ villain, Hades. Did you feelthat Hades’ design was the closest to your own style you got to work on at Disney?
Eric: Yeah that film was a blast and Hades was my favorite character I drew at Disney.The film was based on the designs of Gerald Scarfe who designed Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ album art and animation in the film. Plus Hades felt like you were working on Warner Brothers Cartoon.He had lots of fun poses and snappy animation like the Bob Clampett cartoons.
Lips: How do your bosses and colleagues at Disney react to your pet project Toxic-toons?
Eric: Some thought I was a weirdo and some dug it. It’s to be expected. Most people would tell me after actually meeting me that I was a lot more normal then they expected from looking at my drawings. I’m sure Tim Burton must have gotten the same reaction when he was working there. When I started in 1987 , I had an art show and I was banned from the venue afterwards from having anymore. The guy in charge of shows just didn’t get my work and said to many people thought my art was negative, my art wasn’t anything like it is now.
Maybe it was the Ronald Regan head I stuck out of one of my T-shirts saying “Wake me when it’s over”. The higher-ups used to have meetings in this room and I can only imagine what they were saying during the month my weird art graced the walls, Hahaha!
ED ‘Big daddy’ Roth , who created Rat fink, had lunch with me a year later and wanted me to do a short Rat Fink Cartoon. I told him I was banned from having art shows at Disney, and he said “I’d rather be known as the artist who didn’t get to have an art show at Disney then the ones who did”.
Lips: How much of your art is influenced by movies, music and general pop culture?
Eric: Well most my art just comes from what has influenced me through my life and then it’s is kinda blended up in my mind. Mostly stuff from when I was a kid I feel is what you see in my art. Things like The Munsters, Addams Family, Groovy Ghoulies, Halloween time, Monster masks, Monster movies, Frankenstein’s monster, Horror hosts like Vampira, and also things such as Mad magazine, stickers, Odd rods, Wacky packages, Plop and EC comics.
Lips: Your gory ghouls have been featured on many bands merchandise, from Metallica to The Murderdolls. What was your favorite to work on and do you have any more band art work lined up?
Eric: Well they all fun to draw. I really liked working with Wednesday 13 and The Murderdolls,they are on the same wave length as me. Metallica was fun just because James and Kirk were so nice and supportive of my art. They were wearing my Toxictoons line of shirts all tour and even on a few Magazine covers like Rolling Stone. I also love designing art for The Ghastly ones and Psychocharger. One of my favorite CD covers is for The Creeping Cruds album ‘Tennessee Bloodbath’.
I just did some art for The 69 Eyes which was a lot of fun. I met Jykri the singer of The 69 Eyes at Fangoria convention last year. I don’t have any band art lined up at this moment. But things change day-to-day. I’m working on some new art for ‘Netherworld’a Haunted House in Atlanta. My wife and I have gone there for the past 3 years and sell my merchandise a few days and then get decked out scare the crap out of people inside the haunt. I have designed a few shirts for them and other Haunted Houses in the USA. I love the Halloween season.
Lips: Do you have any thoughts on making Toxic-toons in to an animated feature or comic book?
Eric: Well I would love to see a Halloween animated show, but it’s tough to sell stuff out here in Hollywood as they usually want all the rights to it. I did draw some characters on the Ed, Edd, and Eddy Halloween special called ‘Boo haw-haw’ Back in 2004. I drew the neighbourhood kids so they looked like my monsters but still resembled the kids.
Lips: Are you working on any new projects involving Toxic-toons?
Eric: Yes I just signed a contract with a brand new monster mask company. They plan on making 1-4 masks based on my art this year. They are attending the Transworld Halloween trade show at the end of February and then their website goes up. So lookout for Toxic-toons masks this Halloween on my website www.toxictoons.com.
Lips: Who are your own personal heroes in art, music or films?
Eric: Jack Davis, Bill Elder, Don Martin, Harvey Kurtzman, Basil Wolverton from Mad magazine, Frankensteins monster, Herman Munster, Vampira, Charles Addams, Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth and Al Jorgensen of Ministry.
Lips: What are your favorite horror movies? How do you feel about current horror cinema?
Eric: I love the old horror films, like Frankenstein, Vincent Price films, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things, Night of the Living Dead. I like some of the new horror films, but films like Saw and torture films I’m not really a huge fan of. I like ones that are more spooky and campy like Munster Go Home, Premature Burial and Tim Burton’s films. Shutter Island looks like it might be good from the previews I have seen.
Lips: You’ve worked will Bill Moseley and his musical project Cornbugs, how did that come about?
Eric: Well speaking of Bill I just did a shirt design for his new band called ‘Spider Mountain’ and they are now on MySpace. I met Bill at a Fangoria show about 8 years ago, he was in a booth behind ours getting made up as Chop Top and we just hit it off. He then asked if I would design a CD cover for a Cornbugs and I ended up doing 3 for him and now this shirt design.
Lips: You have an amazing tattoo flash set for sale on your website, how do you feel when people get your gruesome designs inked on themselves? Would you have any of your art tattooed on yourself?
Eric: Thanks, I have one tattoo of my art, a Frankensteins monster with bat wings on my forearm. It’s great seeing people come up to me or email me pictures of tattoos they have of my art, I mean it’s the highest compliment to an artists when someone likes your work enough to have it permanently inked on them. A few fans have both arms sleeved with my designs.
Lips: Do you have any plans to release another DVD after the very successful Unkle Pigors Spookhouse?
Eric: Not at this time. I put everything but the kitchen sink in that one, like my animated cartoon I drew back in 1990, The children’s day at the Morgue video and a nice interview my horror host friend Ormond Grimsby put together.
Lips: As a huge fans and admirers of your work, thank you for taking the time to talk with Horror Extreme. Any final thoughts?
Eric: Sure, come on down to WWW.TOXICTOONS.COM and grab some goodies if you like what you see, I have a great special deal on my website for my 3 books, and who knows, you might even end up getting a Toxic-toons tattoo!
*All photos used with kind permission of Eric Pigors
COMPETITION IS NOW OVER
We have a bunch load of Toxic-Toons swag to give away to one lucky winner.
You could win:
Ltd Ed SIGNED ‘Netherworld’ poster
Rare SIGNED ‘The Ghastly ones’ print.
Two button/badge packs
A super rare pumpkin witch pendant (Not available to buy ANYWHERE)
Send an email to email@example.com to be entered into the competition with the subject “Toxic Toons Competition” and be entered into the draw. The winner will be picked randomly on 27th March 2010 and contacted via email for address details.