Welcome to the interview Mitch – you may be timid in person, but your imagination is bigger than the universe! How about giving us a quick introduction?
In this picture of my grandparents’ farm, a hill in the foreground is hiding what lies beyond it. The area that is hidden is where my cousins and I spent a lot of time growing up, imagining things and building worlds. Outside of this frame are more areas on the farm, each with its own structure and materials and places imagined therein. Outside of that is a 3-mile radius where a few of my closest cousins and I lived, with their places and worlds. Beyond that, more cousins and friends - all the places - and everything imagined there. Anything I draw is just something from somewhere out there.
You have easily become one of my (and I’m sure many others) favorite artists on Threadless. Your style is just the perfect concoction of weird, zany, and abstract awesomeness. How did this style come about?
I think it was just a natural progression from copying Garfield to Ninja Turtles to Ren & Stimpy to Edward Gorey to now. I’m sure it’s just a big mishmash of all the things I like. I would like to think that if I truly have a style that it will keep changing into something less derivative.
As far as recurring things I draw, they are based on things from long ago that still have some kind of meaning for me. For example, the dinosaurs I draw are based on these hollow plastic dinos I had as a kid that I used to hide things like coins or other toys inside, and then fishing those things out, their jagged little teeth would scratch my fingers. In a way they’re kind of like wishing wells or secret keepers, but also serious bastards.
One thing I love is that you’re not afraid to be different. You don’t see too many prints on Threadless these days with this zaniness – maybe the occasional April Fool’s Day, or another here and there. Do you think Threadless needs more of it?
I think Threadless does a good amount of weird things. I obsessively check how my shirts are selling, and based on how slowly they sell, I feel extremely lucky that they ever decide to print the weird things.
How did you celebrate your first print on Threadless?
After I got the email, after that faint feeling like when you break a limb subsided, I emailed my parents, texted my girlfriend, went to my favorite bar for a couple manly drinks, came back to work a few hours, and then ate wings with my girlfriend (now fiancée) at a different bar. We like to celebrate prints with eating a lot of hot wings. It’s maybe an ancient feeling. Like a hunter killing its prey, and then ripping into it, blood all over his face. Except, all non-violent. It’s just wing sauce on my face? Even though it’s still a dead animal... never mind.
What are you doing when you’re not drawing or designing video games for South Park?
Playing video games, drinking, annoying my fiancée, wishing I could pet an animal, and looking at dogs and cats on the Internet. Also to be fair I have to say that in games, designers are weirdly not the people doing any kind of art thing (as opposed to advertising where the designers are doing the art things) but like, making the game fun. I’m not a game designer ~ just an-artist.
We both share a love for cheeseburgers. What is in the burger of your dreams?
One that I haven’t tried to create yet is a transition from breakfast to dinner in one burger. From bottom to top it’d go: pretzel bottom bun - stoneground mustard - beef patty - lettuce - tomatoes - pickles - pastrami - yellow mustard - bacon - maple syrup - waffle top bun.
My current favorite burger I eat just a couple times a year because surely it’s a day’s calories. It’s just a big medium rare burger patty inside of a grilled cheese (diagonal cut obviously) that you dip in tomato bisque. It’s like the ‘merican version of a French dip.
Do you have a favorite medium to work in? Is all your work digital or do you start with pencil and paper and scan it in?
Most of the time, I start with some basic art tools I like using to create the first version, then it ends up being all digital with a few handmade elements remaining, and often it is digital from start to finish. I’d like to get more handmade elements into my work in the future.
You are known for remembering everything that happens at the annual meetups AND drawing it out. What has been your favorite meetup memory?
The night of Drunk Darts at Alex’s was great. Honestly meetups are just a really good time. I never did finish drawing last year’s, but I may sometime.
Let’s do some questions asked by Threadfolk!
Lance (wearecareful) asks: What is your dream job?
My dream job would be doing concept art or art direction. I still have a ways to go before I feel I’d be ready for that, but it’s where I’d like to get to eventually. Also, working in my pajamas.
Jess (jesshanebury) asks: When did you first know that you and I were going to be best friends forever? (sub question: Was it when I told you we were?)
As soon as you posted the contest to Photoshop you eating and the prize was BFF-ship, I knew.
Stef (mezo) asks: Why do you always wear a hoodie in a million degree weather?
I keep having to answer this. I DIDN’T PACK ANY SHIRTS THAT ACTUALLY FIT SO I SUFFERED THE CONSEQUENCES and yes I know there was a whole warehouse of shirts there :( I even grabbed one but it ended up being a girly cut so I accepted my sweaty fate.
Jared (jstumpenhorst) asks: Do you have formal art education? If so, did it contribute to the recognizable style you have today?
I went to school for animation and graphic design. I think that it had to contribute to how I draw in one way or another ~ but mostly what I retained from school has to do with animation and how not to do things and how not to critique. I appreciate that I went to school for art and I believe that I wouldn’t be where I am now without it, but I wish it wouldn’t have cost my parents so much.
Looks like someone is getting married in 2013! Are we all invited to the wedding?
Any last words or shoutouts?
Just want to say thanks again to the community for tricking Threadless into printing my things and giving me a place to put my drawings when they can’t stay in my head.
To see more of Mitch’s work check out www.mitchloidolt.com!