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Artist Interview: Rob Flowers on Pez dispensers & ’80s McDonald’s Ads

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Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Rob Flowers & I’m an illustrator

Your artwork has been described as ‘trippy…. as if you took a whole load of acid, ate too much candy floss and went on the waltzers at your town’s local fair.’ Tell us a little bit about how you developed your style…

Surprisingly I didn’t take a whole load of acid, eat too much candy floss and go on the waltzers at my town’s local fair. Most of what I do is born out of my interests & influences, collecting toys & other stuff, folklore, cryptozoology & mythology, so it was quite an organic process really. I do work inspired by what I like & in that way I guess it feels more true to me & what I’m about.

As we’re talking about all things weird, tell us the weirdest item of merch that you’ve ever seen?

I once saw C3PO tape dispenser where you unravel from his crotch, which I thought was a pretty interesting design choice. But my favourite is a foam Sean Paul tomahawk my studio mate picked up at a festival last year, it rules!

Your website says that you’d ‘like to live in a land of hamburger patches, milkshake volcanoes and fillet-o-fish lakes.’ What’s the closest place you’ve ever been to that resembles this? Would you like to be able to draw your own geography? 

Well there’s no where that could ever be as awesome as McDonaldland (though ‘The World of Sid and Marty Krofft’ probably came the closest – unfortunately it closed before I was born) I think Mardi Gras World in New Orleans was pretty close. It’s a huge warehouse where they store all the old floats, costumes & other decorations, the have a full size Bat-mobile  I really love early maps like the Psalter World Map & The Hereford Mappa Mundi, I’d love to do my own ‘Here be dragons’ map inspired by those, with mythical creatures & unexplored territories.

Tell us five artists that we should also check out…

Adam Higton, Robert. F Hunter, Oliver Hibert, Edrward Carvalho Monaghan & Nick Edwards… there’s loads more but that’s off the top off my head.

There’s a sweet photo of a massive collection of toys on your website. Tell us a little bit about your collecting? Is this a big part of your life?

It’s a huge part of my life, I think my girlfriend would say probably too big! I collect a lot of stuff (but mostly Garbage Pail Kids, early McDonald’s advertising merchandise, 1980s gross out toys & anything that catches me eye), which I have all around me at my studio, and that definitely bleeds into my creative consciousness; I find myself constantly referring to them when I’m working on something. Character design is a very important part of my work, so it’s a great resource. I definitely spend too much money on eBay.

You must like Pez Machines?!

Absolutely! I don’t really have many in my collection but they’re ace. Actually, now you’ve got me thinking about it, I should dedicate some time to adding some more to my collection.

What’s your favourite three pieces of artwork that you’ve ever created?

Oh that’s a tough one, but i reckon –  (because of my love of early McDonald’s advertising) my McDonald’s inspired melamine tray design for Burgerac, A poster I recently drew for The Museum of Witchcraft & Magic in Boscastle (because it’s one of my favourite museums in the world) & a pagan themed shoe design collaboration with Terry de Havilland (mostly because folklore & mythology is a big influence on my work, Terry is one of the nicest & most talented people you’re ever likely to meet & it’s my work on a pair of high heels! how ace is that?!)

Anyone you’d really like to do some awesome art for that you haven’t yet?

As a toy collector, designing a range of my toys would definitely be my dream job. I’d actually really love to do some work for McDonald’s – imagine how cool it would be to redesign the Happy Meal & bring back the glory days of 1980’s Maccy D’s advertising? I’m not sure, in reality how awesome it would be to work for them, being a massive, facless corporation and all that but, in my head, it would be the greatest thing ever. Other than that, I’ve never done a skateboard graphic or a book cover, so I’d love to do one of those.

Would you rather live as a king in a palace made from Lego or be a plumber’s mate in Super Mario Land?

If I was a plumbers mate in Super Mario Land, would that make me Luigi? If so then definitely that one,  besides being king in a palace made from Lego would be murder on your feet.

Other than drawing awesomeness, tell us 5 other things that make your world go round?

Toys, Burgers, The Simpsons, West Ham & my girlfriend.

Anything else you’d like to add or promote?

I’ve got my first comic coming out in the new year, published by the ace Valley Cruise Press, so look out for that, it’s about sinkholes. Oh and Merry Christmas!

Rob kindly designed one of our Christmas jumpers this year. You can find out more about Rob via his website, Twitter or Instagram.

rob flowers interview

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