One of many ghouls that go bump in the night, Eric Pigors has been haunting the shadows of the art world for over 10 years now. Having paid his dues in the art stables of Walt Disney, Pigors has gone on to spread his distinctly macabre influence on a variety of mainstream and self-branded projects, most notably his own gruesome pack of monstrous mutants called TOXICTOONS.Welcome to the clubhouse, Eric, let's start off with a really important question shall we. How much flesh can a dead man flay if a dead man can flay flesh?
Most recently, Pigors has collaborated with up and coming Halloween mask provider Trick or Treat Studios to produce a series of exclusive specialty masks. The goodies don't stop there, though, as his TOXICTOONS property has also been made into toys, activity books, stickers, videos and so much more. Coming off a brief interview in HorrorHound, Pigors was gracious enough to take a pitstop here at the clubouse for a few words on projects past and present.
A Flay of Fish?? Is that where Ronald McDonald gets his mystery meat he puts in his so called "Fillet of Fish" sandwiches? Thought it tasted funny!
Okay, now that has been resolved, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Well I am 48 this year and I draw creepy art called TOXICTOONS. I had a pretty normal childhood, though when people look at my artwork they may think differently. I do remember a lot of odd things from then and I have incorparated them into my art; like a girls dad who I liked. He had both his hands cut off in an accident at his job and had hook hands. They freaked me out for some reason and [now] I [tend to] draw lots of hook handed creeps. My first mask I bought was a skeleton face and I wonder if it had a deep impact on me since I draw most my characters with skull faces.
Some may also know you by your moniker "Unkle Pigors." How did that character come about?
Well I dressed up one halloween as the character people know now as Unkle Pigors and I put that picture of me in my 1st book called TOXICTOONS which I have maybe 6 copies left now. A friend gave Bob Camp (Ren and Stimpy) my book and Bob called me up and asked if I would wanted to do an internet cartoon of my show with this company he was doing his show with. I didn't know what to call my show and the guys working with me started calling me Unkle Pigors in reference to the old horror magazines featuring Uncle Creepy and Uncle Eerie. So, my show became Unkle Pigor's Spookhouse.
The show never got too far because back in 2000 the internet so slooooow and no one could figure out how to charge people to watch their cartoons [online]. I ended up putting what we all did on my website in the section called animation. It's also included in a Special Edition DVD set I sell on my site.
After leaving Disney in 2002, you founded TOXICTOONS with nothing but your own hard earned cash. What made you decide that was the right time to pursue your dream?
Well 2D animation was on it's way out due to management loosing belief in hand drawn animation and they where [pumping] the market with crappy sequels. Computer animation was making so much money, so they got rid of the 2D artists and went all 3D. By then I just had it with animation, I was burnt out after doing it 15 years straight and I had the money to enjoy life. So, I decided to try pushing my own art for a change. There is nothing like having the freedom to just draw what you want!
Your work is very indicative of Danny Antonucci and John Pound. Have either of these artists influenced your work and, if so, in what ways?
Well Danny is a good friend of mine. I saw his film Lupo the Butcher in an animation film festival. Then I saw a Lupo postcard on a friends desk at Disney a year later [and when] I asked where he got it my friend suggested I should send Danny a few bucks for some postcards, and so I did. I also included a letter saying how lucky the Canadians were to get their cartoons funded for them.
Well, Danny was working at International Rocketship in Vancouver at the time and Marv Newland was the owner (yes THE Marv Newland who animated Bambi meets Godzilla). Marv liked my drawings and said if I had any cartoons storyborded to send them to him and maybe they would make one. I sent him the boards for Let's Chop Sooe! (see insert) and he liked what he saw so we ended up making it.
Flash forward to 2005, Danny calls me up and asks me to design the neighborhood kids for his Ed, Edd and Eddy's Halloween special: Boo Haw Haw. He said he wanted the kids to look like specific monsters but drawn in my TOXICTOONS style. It turned out great and now it plays every Halloween on Cartoon Network!
Other stuff that has influenced my artwork include Mad Magazine, Odd Rods stickers, Rat Fink, Plop Comics, Charles Addams, Wacky Packages, and The Munsters. Halloween, however, has been the biggest influence on my artwork.
It was a blast growing up in the 70's, I met Ed "Big Daddy" Roth and he even tried to get me and my friends to do an animated Rat Fink short back in 1989 for him. Roth was funny, we went to lunch with him and I told him that Disney had banned me from future art shows because the guy in charge said my art was too "negative." Roth said, "he'd rather be known as the artist who doesn't get to show his art at Disney rather than the artists who do." I asked him what influenced him and he said, "the Korean War!"
How have you been able to so successfully integrate your unique assortment of morbid monsters into so many different mediums?
When I got let go from Disney in 2002 I had quite a bit of savings. I invested it in merchandise of my art and started doing some conventions. Mez from Mezco Toyz saw my booth at San Diego Comic Con and liked my art, that's how the toys came about. The masks came about from Justin Mabry liking my art and asking me if he could sculpt a mask based on one of my characters. It was only going to be a small limited run of 13 high-quality masks of my character, Gruesome, but a year went by and Justin started working with Trick or Treat Studios and asked me to jump on board. Now, Gruesome is being mass produced in addition to 2 more masks scheduled for this Halloween.
You mentioned earlier that you produced a DVD entitled Unkle Pigors Spookhouse that includes music videos, animation and random Spookhouse clips. How difficult was it to put that together and are there any future installments in the works?
Well, a friend named Ormon Grimsby who does a horror host show back east interviewed me on my art. I liked what he did with the interview and told him I had stuff sitting around that would be fun to compile into a DVD so I paid him to put the whole thing together. It's got a lot of fun creepy stuff on it.
I understand that you're a bit of a Milton the Monster fan as well. What were some of your favorite cartoons growing up?
Yah Milton is great! I also love Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Fleischer's Betty Boop, Popeye, Disney, Warner Bros... all the old classic stuff. When I was a kid we had a Drive In Theatre down the street and they always played Woody Woodpecker cartoons on their football field sized screen before the main feature. It was a blast seeing Woody go nuts on that big screen while I was cranked up on Cracker Jacks and fruit punch with the nice summer night's cool air blowing thru the car.
Monsters obviously play a large role in your work. What would you say are your top 5 favorite monster movies?
Bride of Frankenstein, Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things, Munsters Go Home, Premature Burial and Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. However, I like The Munsters TV show, Halloween specials and old Halloween records even more then these films.
What dead celebrity would you most like to meet and why?
Man, how about a big group meeting with: Charles Addams, Dr. Suess, Walt Disney, Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Harvey Kurtzman, Borris Karloff, Vincent Price, Basil Wolverton, Bill Elder, Vampira and Herman Munster! Just to meet them all and tell them how much they meant to me and have inspired me and my art.
What's the strangest thing you can remember doing as a kid?
I once was being chased by a kid on my bike when I slammed my brakes and he fell on the back of my seat and chipped his front tooth off. I was so freaked out because he said he was going to tell his dad that I went into my mom's makeup and made it look like he gave me a black eye. Then I put some ketchup running out of my nose and sat by my front door and waited for his dad to come over and start yelling at me, but his dad never did. At least I have a good laugh now when I think back on it.
Last, but not least, how can your fans check out more of your work or purchase some TOXICTOONS merchandise?
For more on all things toxic or toonish, they can visit my website www.TOXICTOONS.com