I had the absolute pleasure of meeting with the talented, modest, witty, patient Caanan yesterday
(meant to take a photo yesterday but forgot… der!) . I was picking up my very own original Shirthead strip, which I might add is my most prized possession… (stay tuned in future for photo)
I have to give him credit for his patience as when I met up with him and we sat down for lunch my gorgeous 10 month old decided to go completely feral (due to it being way past nap time) and it took me about half an hour to get the little darling to sleep. So sorry again about that Caanan =/
Anyway seeing as though Caanan spends all his time creating questions and interviewing others, not to mention inventing a new strip of Shirtheads every week
(which, why is it not featured every week any more RB?), I thought it was about time to turn the spotlight back on him… So please read on as we delve into the mind of a wonderfully creative man =D
What were your favourite comics growing up?
That implies I HAVE grown up! Um, well, if we’re going to go with the traditional growing up time of, say, the ages of 0-12, I was always reading Archie comics, Disney comics and Peanuts. They’re my three main influences, and they remain so to this day. Archie is just brilliant, and iconic – you can’t see any stories these days involving a love triangle that can’t be compared to Archie, Betty and Veronica. It’s timeless. And it’s Betty. It’s totally all about Betty. Stupid Archie.
And Peanuts is the greatest comic strip ever. Hands down. Its simplicity invites readers to engage their imaginations on a level not seen in any other newspaper strip. It really makes you think. If I ever get stuck creatively, I sit and read a chunk of Peanuts strips. It gets my creative juices flowing all the time.
And how can you go past the Carl Barks adventures of Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge? I learned more about South America from those comics than I ever could have from my whole 12 years of schooling. (I just hope it’s MOSTLY factual ;o) I could look really silly in conversation at a Peruvian Banquet Dinner, otherwise…
How did you choose the name Celadore? Is there a Donnie Darko reference there?
As much as I love Donnie Darko, (everyone has a different take on what it’s about) it never entered my mind when creating Celadore. Tolkien, of course, was the one who coined the ‘beautiful’ phrase, and also suggested that if you take ‘cellar door’ and twist it into a name, you’d end up with a name so evocative, the story would practically write itself. And it did, and boy am I glad I did it. The character came first – the centuries old monster hunter, and from there, the world grew around her, and now she is a very small, but integral, piece of the puzzle. The world buzzing around inside my head is frighteningly big. I’d write it all down, but then I’d never get the actual story done!
What inspired you to start creating Shirtheads?
I was asked by the Bubble, actually. They were interested in incorporating comics somehow, and my name got thrown out there as a viable option. (It was either Chris Wahl or Simon Sherry who dobbed me in – I forget who now… I think Simon). The idea of the shirt stall came to me immediately, and if there’s one thing I learned from my three years of an advertising degree, is that you can come up with a HUNDRED ideas for any one thing, but inevitably, the first is usually the best.
It was also good timing for them to contact me, as I was preparing my Zuda comic at the time. I thought if I started Shirtheads up, after ten weeks or so, the comp would start and I could get a small following of people to help me out when the voting craziness began! (It worked! ;o) That’s only a small bonus reason, though – I will continue doing the strips, because I love showing my appreciation for the boundless talent on the Bub. I wish I could do it in sales, but I’m a poor starving artist, so this way works better for me at the moment.
Who are your characters based on?
Matt is based on Mattman who was the first buyer of one of my shirts. It was when I sold that first one, I realised I could stick around and maybe earn a little pocket money, so Simon brought me to the site, but Matt made me stick around. He posted a photo of him in his Coffy Rabbit shirt, and he just seemed like the perfect fit for the main character. I’d never met him, but he says I captured his personality pretty well, and have created way too many other uncanny coincidences regarding his good self.
I’d like to take this time to say I have never dabbled in spy cameras. ;o)
Abi, on the other hand, is loosely based on one of my greatest friends, Kat. A more super bubbly, friendly, artistic, and beautiful soul you will never meet. It didn’t really translate unfortunately, as Abi ended up the sarcastic foil to Matt’s kind-of-doofus role, but the intention was there. If you’re reading, Kat, I love you, Sunshine! ;oP
How did you find the Redbubble and what made you stick around?
I’ve ALWAYS wanted to try my hand at tshirts. I love tshirts. I’m proud to wear my brain on my chest (the perfect example would be my Bbbrm tshirt – that is me ;o) and when I was pointed to the bubble, I realised I sucked at it! So, I looked around, saw what people were doing, and looked at design patterns, etc. then decided to make myself better at it. Simon Sherry posted a link AGES ago on the Aussie comickers Pulp Faction forum boards, which is where I first found it. All blame lies with him. Angry letters let fly. :oD
If you could have created any comic strip, which one would it be & why?
I recently discovered a GEM of a strip called Hey James! (Google it, seriously) and was blown away! It’s SO spare in the art, and so damn hilarious. Honestly, that that strip could be made so late in the game was amazing. It is SO simple, it’s astonishing.
But, I am very happy with my own creations too. The Middle Ages is slowly coming into fruition as the comic version of Degrassi Junior High I’ve always wanted to do (without the teen pregnancy and drugs ;o) and Squirrels and Pigeons could well be the best representation of my cynical, yet childish and optimistic view of the world, yet to hit the page from me. I need more time to work on it, but it could be the big one for me. Squirrels are funny creatures and largely overlooked in society. I AM a squirrel! ;o)
If you were granted one wish what would you wish for?
That’s a tough one. I want to say money. Lots of money. Not for me, but because we have to exist in the world around us, and make it work in our favour. I want it to give it away, because money talks, money helps. I’m happy to scrape by myself (with a comic allowance, of course) and I’d love to bring a wave of people along with me, who aren’t even on that level yet. Give it out randomly and anonymously. True giving is not standing around waiting to be pat on the back for it.
Where will you be, and what will you be doing, in 10 years?
I really want to be in a position where I can work comfortably at my own pace a few months on, a few months off. It’s hard to be creative 9-5. It’s an organic process, and if you force it, that can be even more detrimental than good. I would also love to have a big studio where other comickers can come and work, and they just pay a monthly fee. Like a gym membership but for an artists studio, for those small timers who can’t afford their own space, and find it hard to work 2 feet from their bed and TV. Like me.
If you could visit any time in the past or future, when would it be?
A visit? As in not permanently? Like a camping trip? Back to the age of dinosaurs, for sure. I’d love to see these gigantic creatures roaming around, and crazy nature and foliage, and the conspicuous absence of people. Not that I hate people, but society? Well, it’s not the dinosaurs destroying the planet now is it? Can the old man next door please stop cleaning his front path with a high pressure hose? Cheers, ta, thanks very much.
If you weren’t Caanan, who would you be?
I would probably be someone who had the constant nagging thought that they weren’t who they’re supposed to be. How would I ever get anything done?! ;o)
Thanks again Caanan it was a pleasure =D