An Interview With CREEPTOONS
Welcome to the world of CREEPTOPIA, a magical place where absolutely adorable meets fantastically frightening. We caught up with the man behind the breathtaking artwork of Creeptoons - Matt Duncan - to talk about his creations just ahead of the opening of his solo show, Creeptopia, at Stranger Factory in New Mexico next month.
Creeptoons are disgusting, lovable monsters that live in the clogged arteries of your imagination. They are the epitome of adorable and macabre. They are the perfect combination of sweet and sour. I stumbled upon Creeptoons by accident one day, and since then, they have become an obsession - the world of Creeptopia has become a life of its own, with characters of all shapes, sizes, and forms co-existing, and new Creeps being introduced all the time! There is something oh-so-right about a character who not only catches your attention, but your heart - and that's what the citizens of Creeptopia have done time and time again for me. Duncan's artwork is unlike any other artists out there - you can almost feel the raw emotion some of the characters wear on their faces, and there's a hauntingly beautiful side to each and every Creep. That is what makes Creeptoons stand out from the rest, and trust me, there's a Creep out there that will tear on the heart strings of everyone out there. The galleries below feature but a fraction of the citizens of Creeptopia - I cannot urge you enough: if you like what you see, you're going to want to visit Creeptoons on Instagram where you can meet some of the other Creeps you'll see in both your day dreams and your nightmares.
Where do you get your inspiration for the monsters you create for Creeptoons?
Cartoons from the 90s. Zbots. Disney. Deformities. Nintendo 64. The Simpsons is one of my biggest inspirations. I’ve always loved the idea of a giant seedy cartoon world like Springfield. I’m inspired by Cryptozoology (the study of creatures whose existence is disputed). Grown men and women collectively believing in monsters for the thrill of it parallels what I’m trying to do with Creeptoons.
I started getting into Lowbrow/Pop Surrealism around 18. Seeing the work of Todd Schorr and Mark Ryden for the first time was life changing. Also, my grandfather, Joe Petrovich, was an Academy Award winning animator. His cartoon, The Crunchbird, won Best Animated Short in 1973. Almost every member of my family either draws or plays music. My brother is also an artist, you can find his art on Instagram at @spooookysteve.
Do you have a personal favorite character you've created?
Mr. Meathead. I held a contest a few years ago, and a bunch of my Instagram followers voted him as President of Creeptopia.
What are your favorite materials to create with?
Watercolor. It’s always unpredictable and exciting because the water splatters and dries differently each time. I paint on Aquabords, which I love because they can hold an infinite amount of water without warping like paper does.
Do you have a preference in designing characters that are more so "cute and scary" like "Vlad" or just straight up creepy like "Sins of Freck?"
I’m always happy when I strike a balance between cute and disgusting… I love when people are grossed out by a character but at the same time feel sorry for it.
Have you ever had to scrap ideas you've had for Creeptoons before? Is there any particular reason why a creature might not make it as a Creeptoon?
I scrap Creeps all the time. I draw/paint daily and most don’t make it in Creeptopia. I only seriously started painting with watercolors about four years ago, so I’m learning everyday and constantly experimenting.
In terms of the animated Creeptoons, any chance of possibly a mini series or web show featuring the Creeptoons family of monsters?!
I’ve been thinking about this for years. I work as a freelance animator on the side (usually animating other people’s ideas), and would LOVE to develop my own series. I’m currently experimenting with how to translate my paintings to animation.
Do you do any artwork outside of Creeptoons? Or do you only focus on the Creeptoons universe?
I like having at least one side project at all times. I write music all the time. I composed the score for the independent feature film, The Drifter (driftermovie.com) I play drums, guitar, and piano, and write/record my own music about once a week.
Do you have any upcoming shows/projects?
My debut solo show, CREEPTOPIA, is happening at Stranger Factory in New Mexico August 4th. I’ll also be vending at DesignerCon in Pasadena, CA this November.
For more information about Stranger Factory and the Creeptopia solo show, please visit StrangerFactory.com.
Very special thanks to Matt for taking the time to answer our questions - all photos and artwork is property of Creeptoons.