This week we’re launching a new series called Friends of LITA where we check-in with our buds and fellow collaborators for a brief Q&A. First up to bat is Seattle artist and our good pal Drew Christie. Drew is both an skilled illustrator and animator whose work has been featured in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Atlantic, Drawn, Cartoon Brew, Boooooooom!, Juxtapoz and many more. On top of all that, Drew has done lots of rad illustrations for us, including the Wheedle’s Groove: Seattle’s Finest In Funk & Soul 1965-75 album art, Free Basin’ Friday logo, LITA tote bags, the animation for our Road Trip Series, Serge Gainsbourg shirt design, numerous zine covers, and of course our latest beloved LITA family portrait. Read our interview with Drew below to get a glimpse of the man behind the art and to hear about future project coming down the pike.
1. So Drew, What are you working on these days? Can you tell us about any of your upcoming projects?
Right now I am spending basically every waking hour working on an online animated series for Vanity Fair called Vanity Code: Practical Advice for Impractical Situations. The first episode just premiered and it was about how to behave at a swingers party. Hint: don’t eat the food. I’ve also been contributing animation to a documentary about this interesting guy named Tom Kenyon who sings the songs of aliens and angels and all sorts of weird stuff. It’s called Song of the New Earth.
2. You have lived most of your life in Washington, do you think living in the North West has shaped your art, if so how?
Living in the North West has had a HUGE impact on my art. Although maybe I’ve just heard other people tell me that so often that now I believe it. But I do feel a very strong connection to the landscape and seascape of the PNW. I feel the most inspired and interested when I’m in a small, rainy, coastal town. It’s something that’s very magical to me but I don’t know how to describe it in words. So I shall stop now.
3. As an artist who has been your biggest influence and how has that influence manifested itself in your art?
Man, that’s tough, although I will say for illustration, most definitely Edward Gorey. His style was eery and fascinating, his line work was incredible, his scenes were witty. I think I have taken on certain aspects if his shading and shortened lines, especially in backgrounds like clouds and some other aspects of watercolor work, but hopefully not too much. You always have to be careful not to emulate too much.
4. You have work with us on a lot of projects, but if you could pick a dream project to work on with Light In The Attic what would it be?
Dream project with LITA…hmm…I would say perhaps an illustrated book (and short animated documentary) about the life and career of Nic Jones along with the re-issues of his first 4 solo albums which are languishing in obscurity right now. Yep, that sounds about right. Or if that project fell through, doing my Illustrated Encyclopedia of Musical Instruments with accompanying comp. I can keep going…
5. You have been the neighbor of Wheedle’s Groove musician Ron Buford for sometime now, what has that been like?
Ron is a very interesting neighbor to have. My landlords call him Little Ronny. They warned me about him when I moved in. They told me he doesn’t wake up until 3 pm and he only ever wears a silk bathrobe. This all turned out to be true. He has many visitors arriving at all times of the night in various modes of transportation. He doesn’t play as much as he used to though. I used to hear a Casio keyboard set on flute going until about 6 every night, but not anymore.
6. Thank you Drew for taking time to chat with me, but before I go can you tell me what you have been listening to lately?
Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of film soundtracks by Phil Glass and stuff without singing. Non-film soundtrack has been: Hala Strana, Vladimir Vysotsky, Bill Fay and Keith Christmas (whom I got from my friend Ben Markus) and the amazing album Bright Phoebus by Lal and Mike Waterson. You guys must try and re-issue that album!