1. What Topps projects are you currently
working on? Garbage Pail Kids or Wacky Packages?
I'm currently working on Al-New Series 5 GPK right now.
2. How many pieces of art,
per project, do you hope to have completed for the release(s)?
I hope to finish more than last time (for All-New Series 4 GPK), which was 9 pieces. I'm about to finish my 9th piece this week. I didn't work on Wacky Packages this time around. So the StarDucks Coffee is the only one I've done so far for the All-New Series 2 WP set because I had other things I had to work on at the time.
3. Do you have a favorite Garbage
Pail Kids for the All-New Series releases that you've done?
I think some of the new ones that I've done (for ANS5) have come out great compared to some of my first painted ones. I like the Batman (Batty Brad promo) one. I think that's where the paintings started to look more like what I thought they should look like. I was really kind of mixed-up at first because I was trying to paint them like the ones I grew up with in the 80's when I was eight. I grew up with GPK from the 2nd Series to about the 6th and 7th Series or so, I really didn't know what happened after that and I didn't know about the changes or history until I started working for Topps. I got some information from fans like you guys... so thanks!
4. What type of artwork history
do you have? School, comics, etc.?
I went to the Maryland Institute - College of Art and graduated in 1999. I was into comic book super heroes since I was four. I loved them, but it wasn't until a friend started to bring comic books to school that I got into that. I think the biggest influences in my art were Garbage Pail Kids by John Pound (the first paintings I had ever seen), Judgement in Gotham by Simon Bisley, and Darkwerks by Brom... and now I think Mark Ryden and Todd Schorr are the things I look at the most and want my art to go into that direction. Those are the most important art influences I have. As for comic books, I really don't like super hero books anymore, especially the well established ones. I like mature oriented books. That's what my writer bud, Ricardo Porven, and myself like to create for our work. The forum for projects that Rick and I are doing, and general talk, is at: www.hallucinonia.com/Hallucinonia.html
ANS5: 4a MATT MOBILE - Promo + 4b BATTY BRAD
5. How did work find you at Topps?
It was a funny story - aren't they all!? I went into this thing where I wanted to see if I could locate Pound, Bunk, and Lynch and thank them for working on the Garbage Pail Kids. So I wrote to them and I told them that their work had influenced mine so much, and like always, I pimped the work from my website (www.ldiaz.com) and they gave me some really good advice.
They were all very nice, and I was happy that they just responded. They also told me about the new series and I was in shock to hear about it. So I asked them if they were looking for any artists. Jay Lynch gave me the information and where exactly to send the work to for review... so after almost a month, I came up with three samples and I sent them to Topps later that year. After a few months, and with very little expectations to receive work, I got a phone call from Jeff Zapata. It was a dream come true, and one of those things in life where everything kind of goes full circle. Like a father passing on the torch to his kid or something like that... I'm not good at writing, so I leave that to the experts! So after that, I got the Sweaty BETTY character to work on which was my first... and I was glad it was a woman (laugh!).
ANS3: 4a SWEATY BETTY - 4b CLAMMY SAMMY
6. Were you a fan of Garbage
Pail Kids or Wacky Packages back in the 80's? And, how do you feel
about working on the new phase of the GPK craze now?
I was one of the kids with a huge stack of GPK with rubber bands around them, and it was no wonder my teachers always took them from me. Some of my friends had them on their Trapper Keepers and folders, but I never liked to stick them anywhere. I had some friends with their whole door filled with them... man... that was awesome! I never had the guts to do that. I'm a neat freak.
Wacky Packages I didn't know about them until a few years ago, so that totally skipped me... and I guess that's why I wasn't trying to get work for the series, but I know there are some series die-hard fans that love it, and I've grown to like them also... so I hope to work on some in the future.
About the GPK... I know I dwelved a little into this question earlier... but like I said, it was a dream come true, and it was my first real mass produced work. I had done a comic book before, but it was short, and it was also made into a black and white book (Wynonna Earp), which I had done some nice colors on for IDW Publishing. So Garbage Pail Kids were my first real big-time work. I am excited about it and I think lots of fans out there have embraced my GPK work. I never had fans before, and the amount of really nice people I have met through emails and letters really make it all worthwhile.
7. You're coloring style is eerily
close to Pound's GPK work... you're extremely talented and have been labeled
the 'new' Pound within the GPK community... what are your thoughts? What are
your technique's, painting style?
Well, that just kind of makes me tear up to think some people might think that! First off, no one can compare to what Pound does. He's the creator of the whole GPK look. I'm just trying to bring in some of that fun stuff he does with what I know about painting and my own history with the GPK world... but I know for sure that I paint differently from Pound. I do think my painting style or art style tends to be more about dramatic lighting where I have to imagine where light is hitting the characters and go from there. So sometimes the darker humor I think works better for me... like bloody things, and chopping off hands... and the like. Hallow WAYNE comes to mind, and that one was received very well.
Pound is great all around, but he's more of a realistic cartoonist, like the Low Brow guys in California that are doing some great gallery work right now. I also like the one's Tom Bunk did... and still does... that have stuff all over the place (remeniscent of 'Where's Waldo?' scenes). I appreciate the junk he adds to his work. He also has some good colors working in there and has done a great job on the new and original GPK series'. I especially loved his Gross Bears.
As for my technique... hmmm... I really think I didn't take anything with acrylics as far as the way I have done with GPK, which means I never added so much detail or used the tiniest brushes before. I was more of a mixed media guy, so GPK have really forced me to work from start to finish with acrylics. It also made me go back to the old airbrushes I used in high school. With the newer GPK, I'm always trying to find ways to get as much detail as I can and find new ways to draw GPK. I found some ways now with different kinds of paper and ways to do backgrounds a little easier... but I'm still painting with acrylics and there really is no other way for me to achieve the things I do any other way... trust me... I tried!
33a HOLLOW WAYNE - 33b JACQUELINE LANTERN
8. Where else can we find Diaz art? And what other personal projects have you recently been, or will be working on (Projects, website, etc.)?
When I am not drawing GPK, I'm working on comic book stories for Grafika and Arcana, and any other sick company that decides to give us a chance. Rick and I have a few books out so far that are more like previews. One called 3DDD which is an apocalyptic-styled book (www.gafikapress.com/3ddd-fp.html) and the other one is Chupacabra for LO-FI magazine (www.devil-dealer.bigstep.com/category.html?UCIDs=1322593), issues 1-2. The other ones will be coming out some time in the summer. We were also featured in Fangoria online twice.
I am also available for commissions
and do that a lot these days for fans. I also do my own sketch cards with
my character LD Monster and I've sold and given out about a hundred
or so of those. I also hope to sell some paintings of my own characters when
I open up the GPK Art of Luis Diaz site again in the spring. I also have a
store (www.cafepress.com/hallucinonia) to get your own posters and shirts
of LD Monster's and other creepy cool stuff. I plan to expand the clothing
A 'Thank you' to all of my friends that have enjoyed my work in the ANS GPK and I hope you guys love the new stuff I've done for the upcoming ANS5 set!