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Home FEATURES Andrew Brandou Interview

Andrew Brandou Interview
Written by Pirate Cat   
Tuesday, 21 February 2006 12:49
ImageAndrew has done so many amazing things in his career. Check them out and read these words. You'll enjoy them!
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ANDREW BRANDOU

Andrew Brandou is my main drinking partner. I was at his house last weekend for a drinking party and we decided to do this interview right then and there. I went in the studio and emailed him questions and then he went in and responded. We had drank a 12 pack and by the nights end - two bottles of vodka. I didn't edit this interview since we both wrote in 'drunk'.

Andrew paints under a few different names - the most recognizable being Howdy Pardner. He is a master of many different styles though I've only pictured one style here. Enjoy...

PC: Explain your history in art and make sure to mention the Simpsons.

AB: My history in art post college (attended Otis/Parsons, Los Angeles), includes work as a jack of all trades (including some illustration work) for Paper Moon, a freelance illustrator for the record industry (including work for A&M, Geffen, Dionysus, and Warner Bros.), and tons of animation work. Simpsons was just starting its second season when i was brought on, and i worked there for awhile, as well as on Rugrats, Spongebob, and Invader Zim. since 1990 in animation i've worked as lead color designer, animator, head of new technology, production designer and art director. I sorta skipped out on that scene to start concentrating on gallery work, and did a stint as a producer/art director for some web cartoons by marty emonds, robert williams, and richard corben. i also worked as an animator for the henry darger documentary, "in the realms of the unreal" directed by jessica yu. nowadays, i focus on my gallery work, and freelance illustrations for magazines and friends when they call.

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PC: How did you think of Ralph's "I cho-cho-choose you" Valentine's card? True story?

AB: I did not think of ralph's card, but i did the color for it. it was just one of the million props we colored over the years, although for many it was the most memorable.

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PC: As you've moved into a career beyond animation - explain how animal carcicature is used in your current visual expression and why?

AB: i use animals to imply very specific things most of the time. for instance, a lion is generally accepted as a leader, or king of the jungle, so i may use him as charlie manson if that is relevant to the piece. on the other hand, rabbits generally lend themselves to be the every-man in my piece, and pigs are often a police state or an elite though ignorant class. i stick somewhat close to the use of animals you find in parables, myths and fairy-tales throughout the ages. that said, a lot of my work is supposed to appear like childrens books from the 40's -60's, and anthropomorphic animals have a massive presence in that work as well. as far as my after audubon series is concerned, the use of animals is tied to audubon's original. the clothing on those animals is found in books like Fruits. the two cross paths in my mind as i look at the kids in fruits as being naturalistic studies of beautiful humans with exotic plumage being represented in their natural habitat.

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PC: You use a very innocent composition technique to illustrate demon worship, the obscene, the arcane, and the obserdly humorous. Talk about the pros and cons of using animal figures in human situations.

AB: well, the composition i use is often classic symmetrical composition like the kind you might find in religious work, and i often refer to japanese woodblock prints, and of course audubon's work. i like things to be easy to read, but i dont want you reaching the end of a sentence and wandering off. using animal figures is a way to bring nostalgia into a piece, which is disarming. this gives me the confidence to talk about otherwise ugly things, and trust that the viewer will follow along. for instance, my series hell was about two college kids that went out one night and got lost in the snow. problem was, they were so high on meth that they could not describe where they were to 911 operators. after a long night in the cold, they finally got separated and died. they were found days later in the gravel pit they had so desperately tried to describe. i found the story moving, and wanted to present it as a fairy tale along the lines of a Grimm story. the use of animals in the series helped me bring it to that zone of my mind, and helped me simplify the imagery so that it would be easy for the viewer to digest and follow. one of the problems with using animals is that you can fall into the trap of telling gags, or one liners. "oh look, the lil animals are snorting cocaine! heeheehee!" i've tried to keep some political or social statement in a lot of my work, but funny animals are funny animals after all.

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PC: Once I was drinking at your house and I watched your old cat jump from the first floor onto the second floor couch and then to the top shelf of your entertainment unit. It then slowly walzed out the window behind the record player. Obviously, a very gifted cat - tell me his story and why you are no longer speaking to each other.

AB: ms. peeps magillicutty jones was actually a good friend of mine for years. as head of the peeps jones space administration, she was a contender for the nobel prize in 2002, and awarded several grants for interstellar/insterspecies research. peeps had a sophisticated health regimen which included her own brand of yoga and martial arts. peeps was on par with the infamous space monkeys which recently began inhabiting mars. her associate, ms. sneaky noodle jones, an ex-KGB agent, and currently acting head of the FCIA, or feline central intelligence agency, was also endowed with incredible physical strength and agility. peeps and sneaky have gone deep undercover in an attempt to foil an incredibly evil mastermind. for my own safety, even i don't even know their current whereabouts. however, i have started working with a new scientist, and international super-spy, agent chloe bebe jones, most recently undercover as a couture model on the runways of milan. incredibly, she can spend days in an lab deep underground in the catacombs of los angeles, and be fresh as a daisy for her stylist at a moments notice.

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PC: You shared a room with Tim Biskup in college. You are both animators rocking in the fine art world. Do you dare to make a comparrison of yourselves as artists and as punks?

AB: dare? i love tim, and comparing him and myself is sorta apples and oranges. tim has a DIY attitude crossed with the charm of the stars in the sky, and his love of what he's doing shines thru his art. i was lucky enough to give him his first animation job, and he's been supportive of my career from day one. far as being punks goes, ill let him take that mantel, im more of a beach boys (see 20/20 and Friends albums) kind of guy. bittersweet hits of the seventies is more my style. i think tim and i are a great example of where folks with similar backgrounds and attitudes can interpret the world around them in different ways. we have discussed our work with each other and we know what were doing is almost totally different. our backgrounds give us a lot of the same vocabulary, but we say different things.

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PC: You've worked as an art director, an animator, a fine artist and more. What advice would you give to a young artist?

AB: learn how to draw. simple. also, not all art is good, not all of it is appealing to you. admit it. you dont have to like picasso, cezanne, and dali all the same just 'cuz they show up in some art history book. have some taste, follow it, and enjoy.

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PC: What advice would you give to a 17 year old Christian boy who ivites you to church after being offended by your work?

AB: Well, first off i welcome the invitation. i'd hang with anyone who brings me into their house of worship for a looksee. that said, i'd advise anyone who takes offense by something i do to keep exploring. i am a gateway drug, and once you're in the door it only gets stronger.

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PC: Tell me the best day imaginable in the city los angeles.

AB: yeah, well, i just spent it with korin faught the other day. we woke up late, went out to hang in griffith park with a bottle of wine and some great bread and cheese, and drew from nature. after that we ducked into a great argentinian steak place, where it was mellow and the service kicked ass. ( i love the variety here in L.A., and the way the average joe can be treated like royalty) after that we picked up some simple furniture for my balcony, cuz in southern cal, you can grill out year round and we were psyching up for that. then hangin' on the couch and drawing, and a nice long night together.

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PC: Anything else?

AB: just want to say hey to all the folks checkin this out - -little do ya know its rare anyone gives two shits bout what artists do or think about, and its reassuring that im not stuck in a grotto somewhere screaming to myself. cheers.

For more work by Andrew Brandou please visit: www.howdypardner.com

{moscomment}

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