- Welcome to the latest installment of Grave Matters: Artist Spotlight. Today we're talking to Toxictoons mastermind of the macabre, Eric "Unkle" Pigors. If you've never seen Eric's work before, well shame on you! If you have, congrats--you belong in the cool kids club. Seriously though, Eric's work has been just about everywhere from conventions to monster masks and apparel (even Disney films--we'll get into that) and this time we're delving a little further into this evil genius' mind to pry out some info about how he works and what makes him tick!
Cruella's Crypt: I noticed a sort of Rank Fink hot-rod influence in your work. What's your true source of inspiration?
Eric Pigors: A little bit of everything I grew up on back in the 1970s, like Rat Fink, Mad, Plop comics, Wacky Pacs, The Munsters, Charles Addams, Dr. Suess, Groovy Ghoulies, Disney and other animated cartoons that were made the old way--drawn by hand.
CC: Where do you see Toxictoons going? And what's on the menu for the future for you?
EP: I would love to see more of my Toxictoons art out there in the Halloween industry. I have nine masks now through TRICK OR TREAT STUDIOS based on my Toxictoons characters but I would love to see more stuff out in the market. I do my own Halloween merchandise that I sell in September and October on my website www.toxictoons.com, with merch such as my annual Trick or Treat bag specials that sells out every year--shirts, prints, and other goodies. I also would love to see an animated Toxictoons Halloween special. For now I enjoy just doing what I do every month: making new creepy shirts, art books, stickers, prints and other spooky merchandise.
CC: What's your favorite horror movie of this decade so far?
EP: Wow--after 2010, hmm.... I enjoyed Trick or Treat but that might have been before this date [Editor's Note: Yep, released in 2009]. Honestly that's the last one I really enjoyed that I can think of.
CC: Having worked for Disney how hard was it for you while working for them to keep from drawing cobwebs and adding monsters into the mix? And what was the experience like working there?
EP: While I was at Disney I wasn't quite drawing what you all recognize me for now. I did have some spooky monster art but I was drawing more Ren & Stimpy and MAD style stuff, which can be seen in my first Toxictoons book. Working for Disney was a lot of fun and we got paid very well. When I got laid off with all my fellow 2-D artists in 2002, after the industry decided film goers only wanted to see CG animated films, I took my savings and started really pushing Toxictoons.
While working at Disney, I usually worked on the villains or their sidekicks on films like Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and lots more. The best part was the great health insurance, and we got a silver pass so we could go to Disneyland free anytime! As a kid I loved Disney and Disneyland and I remember when I was young, a friend's Dad worked for them and we got to check out the original Herbie the Love Bug at the Disney Studios. We had pizza, then headed to George Barris's shop and saw the Batmobile, the Munsters coach and other cool hot rods from films. While at the Disney Studios it felt amazing to be walking around knowing that's where they made all those great films that I had grown up watching! Fast forward 13 years and there I was, working for them, which was pretty surreal.
CC: Is there a character that you've created that you identify with the most and why?
EP: Well--I love drawing Frankenstein's monster and sexy vamps a lot. I'm thinking that maybe they remind me of myself and my "bootiful"wife, Denise.
CC: Tell us the most memorable horror movie you watched growing up and why we should all see it.
EP: I remember being freaked out by Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things as a teenager. It had cool old-school zombies and it's directed by Bob Clarke who directed my all-time favorite film, A Christmas Story. I met Bob Clarke at a Fangoria show I attended around 2006 /2007. I brought both DVDs for him to sign and told him I thought A Christmas Story was such a perfect movie. I told him I was an artist and showed him my work and talked about the possible remake of CSPWDT and that if he needed a new poster of the characters around the coffin that I would be more than willing to do it. He told me his son was also an artist also and introduced me to him. A few months later some drunk driver asshole killed them both. I keep these DVDs in a special place and get them out now and then to look at his signature.
CC: Not many know that you had your very own encounter with death back in 2011 and laughed in the face of the Grim Reaper himself after surviving a heart attack. I'm personally glad to see you're back in operation. How have things been for you since then?
EP: Yeah--I had my own brush with death Memorial Day weekend 2011. I wasn't feeling well and it turned out I was having a heart attack! The doctor who was putting my stents said that I died for a short time while on the table after he was done with surgery, but I don't recall dying. I did tell him I felt weird and sickly all of the sudden, then vaguely remember them running around in a panic to pump me with some fluids. (Apparently you have to be awake during the whole procedure.) But the weirdest part was when the ENTs who came to drive me in an ambulance to another hospital 15 miles away looked at my paperwork and said, "Hey, I see your name is Eric Pigors--you wouldn't be Unkle Pigors, would you?" I acknowledged it was indeed me and he says, "We have a celebrity on board!" He starts telling me he has bought my shirts and prints and described my art to the driver. It was really comforting since I was scared shitless about what might happen once I got there. So the procedure was done and I now have two stents implanted. I live with a bit of anxiety each day but realize it's normal and am getting better at not being so scared about it.
CC: Please help settle an ongoing conflict in the horror community: Count Chocula or Frankenberry? And, go---
EP: Man I love those characters! I'm surprised no one ever did an animated special or series with them. They bring back such fond memories of being a kid, which a lot of my fans say my art does for them. I prefer Frankenberry the character but Count Chocula's cereal. But since the doctor said I have to change my diet, now I just buy the box and stare at the art every Halloween. Maybe I should pour some in the trick or treaters bags at my Spookhouse next Halloween? HAHAHAHA!
CC: How can fans help with the cause to keep Toxictoons' gory goodness going?
EP: If your readers want to see more of my art or even BUY some of my merchandise, they can just head over to Toxictoons. And don't be frightened. I won't bite--much. Bwohahahahaha!
Clearly Unkle Pigors just cannot be stopped! And we hope he never is. Many thanks go out to Unkle Pigors for the zomBeriffic swag we'll be dishing out to those lucky enough to catch the eye of the Captain and her crew for their most ghoulriffic get-up. You can also check out his creeptastic Monsterpieces App over HERE. Just be sure to tell him the Captain sent ya.
So keep your peepers glued to this blog for more spotlights on our special guests, performers, vendors, artists and venues, as we march onward to the next Village Invasion on October 19 in sauGHOULties, New York ! Viva la Zombie, Kittens!