1. What Topps projects have you
recently been working on?
I recently worked on Wacky Packages Series 3 and Garbage Pail Kids Series 5... and I just started Wacky Packages Series 4.
2. How many pieces of art (per project) were completed for the release(s)?
For WP3 I did 36 paintings and another 3 designs. 26 are in the base set, 3 are part of the foil subset, 4 are bonus stickers, and the rest were held back probably for WP4. For GPK5, I did 6 designs, 2 of which I painted. Luis Diaz painted two of the others, with John Pound and John Cebollero doing the other two. I've seen three of the four pieces and they are outstanding. I'm more of a fill-in artist for GPK at this point due to heavily working on Wacky Packages, and at the same time, as well as the fact that Topps has some really great artists in Pound, Bunk and Diaz working on it. By the time I'm done with Wacky's, there areonly a few GPK left. A few of the more entrenched fans were a bit tough on some of my first pieces, but I think they will be happy with the new ones. There's a big learning curve on GPK because the fans want everything to look like John Pound. It takes some time to adjust your style to mimic someone else. Hopefully they look 'Pound-ish' (new word!), but still have some of my own look in them.
3. Do you have a favorite Garbage
Pail Kids or Wacky Packages for the All-New Series releases that
For Garbage Pail Kids, one of the new pieces I did is my favorite so I can't tell you what it is right now! I'll just say it involves gambling. I am happy with DOUG Sledding (bonus card #6) from GPK4 as well, but just a bit disappointed by how dark it was printed. It lost a lot of its charm.
For Wacky Packages, I really like Creeps from WP2. This is a spoof of those tasty marshmallow Peeps candy that come out every Easter. For WP3, my favorite is Sundburn Bread.
4. What type of artwork history
do you have? School, comics, etc.?
I went to Mason Gross School of Art at Rutgers where I studied painting and printmaking. Since then, I worked with Jim Shooter at Defiant Comics doing pencil work on their trading cards before that company bombed out! I did a few comics over the years along with loads of temporary tattoo work for WCW (the wrestling company that was bought by WWE), other tattoos, along with toy and package design, wrapping paper, children's puzzles, etc. Found out something over those years... pay for artists SUCKS and you're always the last to get paid (if at all). So I said "Screw it" until the Wacky Packages gig presented itself. My wife and I have an internet collectible toy biz and own a bunch of real estate now which gives me some time and money flexibility to do projects like this.
ANS4 : B6 DOUG SLEDDING
5. How did work find you at Topps?
I had known Jay Lynch through the Wacky Packages message boards. When I heard that Topps was bringing back Wacky's, I quickly did three sample paintings and with Jay putting in a word for me, I sent them over to Topps by computer. Just an hour or so after sending them, I got an email from editor Jeff Zapata telling me they wanted to use one for a bonus sticker for ANS1 WP. So that's how I got Asteroids into that series. I lucked out because they had just pulled a piece from teh series and were desperate for a new piece. Right spot at the right time!
6. Were you a fan of WP or GPK
in the 70's and 80's, and how do you feel about working on the new phase of
the WP and GPK craze now?
I was a HUGE Wacky collector as a kid. I was pretty young when they came out, but I hoarded them for a few years. About ten years ago, I found a nice 7 inch tall stack of them, at my parents house, and finished off any of the ones I was missing, so I have a full set of the oldies now. I did not collect GPK because I was in high school but my sister was a big collector of them so I knew them well. In fact, she gave me a monstrous box full of them when she found out I was working on them.
It's a real thrill to be painting these. I started drawing because of Wacky Packs. I would copy all the stickers when I got them and make some of my own so this is a full cirlce thing. Never would I have thought they would bring Wacky Packs back. I really enjoy the GPK too. They are even more of a challenge than the Wacky's because the fans are so demanding.
ANS4 : B9 DANCIN' DOMINIC
7. As seen laid out in my ANS3
'GPK History' section, I was blown away at your GPK roughs you completed for
the series that were switched-up a bit for the final release... and extremely
surprised that your unpublished Pushing up DAISY/Dawn of the DAWN piece was
never released. What are your technique's, painting style?
I liked that piece! I think the problems with it were that it was done too much like the Cabbage Patch Dolls which is a no-no, and that dead characters rising from the grave have been done to, well, death.
Almost everything I have done for Topps I have written, so I'm usually working from my own roughs which gives me the flexibility to alter things as I go along. I like to keep most of what the rough looks like if I get it from another artist, unless Topps specifically asks for changes. I made quite a few changes to Totem TIM (editor's note: ANS4 25a and 25b High Man DAN), because the rough Jay sent was similar to an older GPK totem pole gag in terms of layout (editor's note: OS3 107a Totem PAULA and 107b TATEM Pole). That's probably the only one.
As far as how I work, well, I'm hunched over my desk with little brushes painting with gouche on a canvas of paper no bigger then 5" x 7". Tough on the back and eyes. I trace my rough out, block in the colors, and then start detailing. That's about it. I was used to painting on 5 FOOT canvases, not on 5 INCHES!
Unpublished : 0a PUSHING UP DAISYS - 0b DAWN OF THE DEAD
25a TOTEM TIM - 25b HIGH MAN DAN
8. Where else can we find 'Gross'
art? And what other personal projects have you recently been, or will be,
working on? Website, etc.?
I wish I had time for my own art right now, but I am already working on WP4! Thanks for reminding me though, I have to get a website going one of these days...
Thanks for asking for an interview,
I hope people like the new Wacky series and the few pieces I did for
GPK this go around. Take care - Dave.