Monster Maker: Jonathan Wojcik



Ever wondered what a Pokemon would look like if it was chewed up and spit out?
Well, to be honest, me neither but that's exactly how I would describe the cavalcade of creatures designed by our latest Monster Maker, Jonathan Wojcik.

Existing in some micro-sized world amidst forgotten pieces of gum and malevolent nasal mucus that reside underneath every middle school desk in America, Jonathan's work revels in a Lovecraftian fascination with creepy Cephalopods and insidious spiders.
Let's begin with an ice breaker. Who's the better boogeyman: Pennywise (Stephen King's IT) or Freddy Krueger (Nightmare on Elm Street)?
Pennywise, since he's nothing but an extension of an incomprehensible embodiment of terror as old as the universe, and doesn't need you to be asleep to warp reality into anything he/it wants.

Okay, now that we've gotten to first base, tell us a little about yourself. Who is the infamous Bogleech?
To be honest, what you see of me on the internet is all there is to say. I've had a quiet, uneventful life, I was homeschooled and never went to high school or college, I've never had a good job and I've only had real-world friends for about a year. I'm really a living stereotype of an internet nerd.


You seem to be a very well rounded artist with a portfolio that includes narrative illustration, animation and most recently sculpture. Did you receive formal art training or have your taught yourself?
No formal training or even much of any guidance from other people, I just like to do it and when you do something you like you tend to learn every time. When I was asked to do some sculptures for a show, I'd never done anything of the sort but agreed and came up with a method in about a week.

What are some of your artistic influences?
Besides nature, I picked up a very great deal during my childhood from video game enemies, cartoons like The Real Ghostbusters, the many background creatures of the original Star Wars trilogy, and especially the world of Dungeons and Dragons. I collected, read and studied the "Monster Manual" and its dozens of successors from a very young age, although I never actually got to play the game until my twenties.

You also seem to possess a fascination with the natural wonders of science, especially Cephalopods. What about nature in particular do you find interesting?
Just the incredibly diverse shapes and lifestyles of organisms, even within the same group. Exotic variations on a fly or toad are as fascinating to me as different fantasy characters are to an anime geek, or different car parts to a mechanic, except we're talking about something alive, ancient, and so vast that we've probably discovered and named less than a tenth of the species alive today.

Your largest project to date seems to be Mortasheen which you've been developing since 2003. What's the story behind that project?
I just had so many monster ideas literally every day, and all I'd do at most was doodle them and forget about them. I decided to start developing them more seriously and came up with a name to file them under, conceiving it as a very Pokemon-like world, which is still the generally idea however far it's evolved.

Where did the name Mortasheen actually come from?
That's one of the only names I've borrowed from something else. Some descriptions of the Nuckelavee - a horrific mythological being I've also featured on my site - tell of its ability to inflict horses with a deadly disease called Mortasheen. I'm not sure if this is exclusive to the Nuckelavee or if "Mortasheen" just means horse diseases, but it could honestly mean anything and I'd still use it.

In 2007 you created a short Flash-based web series called The Fear Hole; half Twilight Zone, half slacker comedy. How did the idea for that series come about?
I went through many different series ideas which were all just excuses to come up with a lot of ridiculous monsters. One of my oldest was just about a laboratory where various monsters and dangerous objects would be made, and had the oldest version of Professor Weaponry (she had human hands!). Another was about a middle-aged loser who kept trying to date, and every girl turned out to be something inhuman and horrible at the most inopportune moment. Somehow they evolved into the Fear Hole, which also borrows from the British kid's show Trap Door and a little Ghostbusters.

Did you do everything (animation, voice work, backgrounds, music) yourself or did you have a team to assist you? All art, writing, and most voices are myself. If someone else contributes a voice I'll put it in the credits, and Webster (the fly) is normally voiced by my friend, but episodes 7 and 8 are my voice alone. The intro theme was composed by another friend just for the series, while other music is stock music or clips.

While normal flash animators can do a cartoon of that length in about a month, but work in Flash feels like such a chore that I've been known to drag it out for a year or more to get one episode done. I really need to change this, since I have ideas for at least a dozen more episodes.

Any plans for future episodes of The Fear Hole?
I've always intended to have some real character development going on, reveal more and more about the other dimension and introduce a few more recurring characters, but at the rate I'm going I really don't know how many more episodes I'll do or what might develop. I have ideas for an entire story arc, but I'll have to learn to motivate myself so it doesn't take a decade to do.

What are your top 5 favorite creature feature flicks?
Fiend Without a Face, Robot Monster, Gremlins 2, Little Shop of Horrors, and Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

Okay, let's wrap things up with a Mortal Kombat fatality... what's the strangest thing you remember doing as a kid?
Whenever I had the chance to play in a swimming pool, I liked to hold on to any single small inflatable toy and let most of my body dangle motionless, drifting wherever the water took me. I did this specifically to imagine being a Portuguese Man 'O War.

For more of Jonathan Wojcik, Mortasheen and The Fear Hole, be sure to visit his site, The Insidious Bogleech.

I am also proud to announce that Jonathan has been ghoulishly gracious enough to allow me to air all 7 episodes of his Flash-based series, The Fear Hole here on the blog (the first of which can be found above). For the next two months Strange Kids Club will host a Fear Hole Friday in which we'll re-air each episode of the series in their entirety. Be sure to visit us this Friday, April 16th to catch episode two entitled The Terror from Beyond Myspace.






3 comments:

  1. Jack Veasey said...:

    I love his images, especially the former Kermit.

  1. Strange Kid said...:

    Indeed. Jonathan has a real knack for the Lovecraftian side of horror. Be sure to check back this Friday for the next installment of The Fear Hole, it gets even better!

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