Monday, December 28, 2015

(Not Very) New Lows

In 2009 I had this plan to do a blog where I just interviewed artists about hardcore shirts they'd illustrated. I did like 3 entries and then stopped keeping up with it, but anyway. Here's one of the interviews I did with Chris Morgado about the best New Lows shirts. Remember, this is from 2009 so some elements might not be accurate anymore. 

The Wrong Side is one of my favorite hardcore bands, and I was even more stoked to find out that the singer, Chris Morgado was into drawing so I hunted him down. He's the artist behind a number of cool hardcore shirts, many of them I had before I even knew that he'd done them. I've done a sweet interview with him that'll definitely appear in a future issue of Drug Dogs. Anyway, the following is a discussion on the New Lows shirt above in Morgado's own words.

"I kind of hate to do shirt designs. It's sort of awkward, like layout wise I find it awkward. I never know just how big I can go or anything, and so I end up feeling like I'm doing the same big image with band name over/under it thing over and over. I vastly prefer doing fliers and record art…fliers especially, fliers are my absolute favorite to do…it's just less stressful knowing "ok, this is the space I've got, this is what I can work with, now fill it". And most of the time people don't really know exactly what they want, like I get told "we want something like what you did for Mental so just come up with something like what you did for them", which isn't the worst thing to get told by any stretch of the imagination, but it's kind of more stressful because even though I can do that kind of thing standing on my head, I have to worry about copying what I already did without actually repeating what I already did."

"A skinhead with a chain by me is going to look like a skinhead with a chain by me…well, more like it'll look like a poor copy of a skin by Sean Taggart (laughs)… no matter how I draw it; it's pretty much just asking me to swap out the band name. If that's really want someone wants, great, I'll do it, but it's cooler if someone has an idea that I can work with, or if it's a band 
with a name or a vibe that I can latch on to."

"Like War Hungry, yeah those shirts look like they could just as easily be Mental shirts, but they're actually very specific to that band, I came up with those by just doodling around with the name “WAR HUNGRY” and the images that put in my head. I never would have come up with those designs for Mental, those designs just wouldn't exist."

"With New Lows, I've done four shirts, and it's been 50/50 as to P-boy knowing what he wants and me just coming up with something on my own. The Shining shirt was his idea, and the Minor Threat  rip off. He left the details pretty much up to me so far as how to execute them, but those were both his idea. The Albert Packer shirt and the octopus sex shirt were mine. It was kind of a last minute deal, they needed some shirts for Sound and Fury and P wanted something new but didn't have any ideas on tap. So I kind of just brainstormed, just like... inserting random California and ocean related words into Google, and eventually I ended up googling octopus and just started thinking, "hardcore design concepts have gotten pretty tame, hardcore in general is pretty tame now, I wonder if an octopus porn shirt would get any reaction". So I started googling Japanese octopus porn and printing out pics that I thought would make good reference. This was all done at work, naturally. So I had all these print outs and I just started sketching shit out and seeing what I could combine with what, and one of the pics was by this artist Toshio Saeki, in fact if you look at my actual drawing, it says "with a nod to Saeki" under my signature, that's how much of his idea I felt like I actually took. It was a guy fucking a girl who was an octopus below the waist. I thought it would make a good shirt if you stripped it down to just the guy and the girl, maybe not as nuts as doing one of the ones where the octopus is tentacle fucking a girl but probably easier to make work on the front of a shirt. But I didn't want to just have it be a tracing or an exact copy. I had just done a drawing of Death smoking a bong for this band that never paid me or used the design, so I had that on my desk. So I redrew it with Death in the place of the guy, and a few drafts later I was satisfied enough to do a nice little bit of old school cut and paste…I do pretty much everything old school cut and paste…I only use Photoshop for minor touch ups like removing a line here or there to get the band name on there."

"What I was thinking of with the layout was this Fugazi bootleg shirt a kid I knew in high school had that just had the band name over a black and white photo, though when I was doing the shirt I was remembering it as being underneath."

Check out Morgado's art and NEW LOWS.
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