(1st Edition at Comic Bar Con)
I had the pleasure of sitting down with the artist formerly known as Peat Vasquez. Not only is he the co-founder, co-owner, and social media director of Fat Guy Inc. but he is a friendly, gregarious, well-spoken, and down to earth guy. His inspiration flows through him as an artist, a con goer, and a fan of all that is awesome. In this interview you will be informed of a professional artist’s lifestyle and craft, as well as thoughts about cosplay and comic con conventions. Let’s get into this interview with an ice breaker question…
DM: What super power would you wish you to be granted?
PV: Telepathy. It would set my mind at ease to know what people were thinking.
DM: (Laughs) that’s an awesome answer. Ok. Let’s get into the meat of the interview….What is your favorite thing to draw?
PV: Wow um, honestly, it changes. There are some days when I want to do something photo realistic. There are days when I want to do something Anime style. There’s days when I want to do something just crazy and abstract. There are days when I just want to do something old school like Jack Kirby. It changes with the moment. I don’t want to just stay locked on just one thing.
DM: That’s a good thing. It’s the key to flexibility and an overall array of options. When talking about your “Attack on Cookie” piece… what was the inspiration on drawing such a parody?
PV: (Laughs) I had just got done watching “Attack on Titan” for like the third time. All the way through.
DM: (Laughs) I’m twice in!
PV: Right. Well, I was home and I was a little bored. I want to draw something… I want to do something but I couldn’t figure it out and then I was online and I saw something Muppet related…and I was like Muppets… hmm… Muppets can be really annoying…Like titans! Heyyyy! And we were doing NY Comic Con in 2014 so “Attack on Cookie” was the first one. So I decided it would be really fun if I had Arin in that iconic pose with cookie monster above the wall with his googly eyes and I could draw all the burning buildings as milk and cookies and stuff. That turned into three years later as one of my most popular, if not, my most popular piece. I don’t own the original anymore but Prints of it Fly! They are always in demand at every show. And it spawned 3 different ones with Elmo, Big Bird, and Grover. So at NY Comic Con this Year, the fifth and final installment will be “Attack on Oscar!”
DM: We are definitely waiting for that!
PV: I can’t wait for that either. I’m doing a big thing with that one.
DM: What is your process when creating the perfect comic book or piece of art? And when do you know you’re done with a piece of art?
PV: (First off) There’s no such thing as perfect anything. You just start and you hammer away or flow into it and you’re going and going and going and finally something goes “ENOUGH!” I really don’t think you’re ever done. I love this quote by Leonardo Da Vinci, he said “good art is never done… it’s abandoned” …and that’s totally true! (When I’m drawing I say) I’m done with this, I don’t want to look at this anymore. I’m done! It’s over. It may not be, but I mean I can add 8 million things to this but you know what, I’m done. I’m finished. Enough!
DM: As an artist myself I never know when it’s time to just…
PV: When you start getting sick of it. Walk away. You’re done.
DM: (Laughs) What is your favorite part about being an artist?
PV: It’s 2 things… It’s the freedom. I can do anything. I can immerse myself and just be doing that. Like when I’m inking pages of a comic book, I’m putting together or something I’m drawing in pencil, I just put the headphones on and then somehow it’s 6 hours later. Like the “Attack on Elmo”, I inked it 8 hours straight. Time just disappeared. You would expect someone to say “oh you must have been tired or your back must have been hurting.” I felt great!
DM: So there’s a natural high when you finish a piece?
PV: Yeah, there is a natural high when you finish and you’re happy with it and you know that you accomplished what your goal was, if you had a goal. There’s some pieces you don’t have a goal. I have a Deadpool/SpongeBob piece, another parody. Where Deadpool and SpongeBob are running through an amusement park and that just happened because I saw a stupid Disney commercial and it was right after a Deadpool commercial for the movie and I was like… I wonder who Deadpool would go to Disney World with?
PV: He’d go with SpongeBob!
PV: And an hour and a half later I had the idea drawn out and I was like YES, THAT’S IT! And it felt good.
DM: It’s a great piece.
PV: It’s one of my favorites.
DM: How long have you been going to Comic-Con/Convention/Etcetera?
PV: (Laughs) Uhhh Probably my entire adult life… I’m 42 and back in our days it wasn’t at a bar or even as nice as the Javitz Center. We used to have them at VFW Halls and fire department basements. There was just comic book shows with a bunch of long boxes and you would just dig through comics and maybe see some of your favorite artists stuff. So you see, I’ve seen them evolve from that crusty, old cigarette infested, long box in a basement, show to the sleek machines that they are now.
DM: What do you think made them (the conventions) grow so fast?
PV: That’s easy. The people who were drawing them then were drawing for us, that is, when we were younger. As we got older we went to school and we did what we loved. Comic books! So now we had the power of the dollar and the demand was there. We got even smarter and we got our kids into it. Then the kid’s kids got into it and now it’s become a thing on its own. It’s now completely moving by itself and that’s why it’s become bigger and cleaner and sleeker.
DM: Which do you think was the best convention you’ve experienced so far?
PV: Oh my God. As a Con goer or just in general?
DM: In general.
PV: OH my God (pauses) There was 2. The first one was Otakon 2 years ago in Baltimore and it was just fun and smooth and every minute there was something to do. People just don’t realize that they need to go to Anime Cons because the crowds are different. It’s not a lot of tourists, it’s the kids that are into the genre. The ones that are really into it. They are into Japanese culture and they’re into Anime and Manga. There’s just this comradery… you’ll be dressed as a certain character and they’ll be a group of complete strangers who are trying to Cosplay as this one particular Anime and they need your character. They will come running across a room screaming your character’s name at the top of their lungs and your friend will turn around and will never see you again. That friend is gone for the rest of the day. Cause your with your new friends/troop. You’ll make new friends and I believe that kind of energy is lacking in the other bigger shows…. The other one was Ny Comic Con 2013, it was the last year that I seriously cosplayed. I was Dr. Doom. I got on the Marvel stage and what was cool is that Yaya Han was Mc’ing with the Marvel guys. If she didn’t like the person’s cosplay she would say “Okay. Thank you. Bye.” Then they’d get off the stage. But those who she liked… she stopped and talk to them about it. “How’d you make this and how’d you do that?” So I got up and I got ready to leave and she goes “Wait! I just want to know how you made everything!” I was like “YES!” I had made everything and I was really proud. It was such a good feeling. I ended up getting invited to the contest the next day by Marvel and then I ended up on their website for two weeks. I didn’t win anything and I didn’t care it was just so awesome and the experience was just so fantastic. That’s what cosplay is, kids! Cosplay is fun. Cosplay whatever you want, have fun, enjoy it. Be the character! Don’t listen to anyone else. Go!
DM: That was going to be my next question. What your feelings are about Cosplay. Yaya Han did a great Cosplay as Chun-Li by the way.
PV: She does a lot of great things. You get the “Professional” cosplayers that are good and make it a business but those “Joe-Shmoes”, like me, and you don’t know if you should dress up like a character…Yes, You Should! And make your own! My “Dr. Doom” was with a suit and a tie with the metal gloves and the cape because I’m like business casual “Dr. Doom” and I’m a fat guy. Hey, I’m part of Fat Guy Inc. I’m not slender and that doesn’t matter! I can still Cosplay as Dr. Doom. I can Cosplay as Superman if I wanted to. Hell I can cosplay as Wonder woman if I really wanted to…. I don’t want to… but I could if I wanted to. It’s about enjoying yourself and emoting that character even if you bought the costume at the store, I don’t care! If you want to be that character then be that character and enjoy the hell out of it! That’s the best thing I can say about Cosplay.
DM: Absolutely. I feel like with Cosplay, it crosses gender lines, it crosses racial barriers, and our community is way ahead of that when it comes to the world.
PV: JAPAN! Japan has us beat! Trust me! Japan has us beat…And That’s ok.
PV: Well because they’ve been doing it longer and it came from there… but the beautiful thing about Cosplay is that it’s all one love.
DM: Absolutely. We’re coming to the very end. I have two more questions for you.
DM: What is some of your favorite parts about selling your art at conventions?
PV: There’s a girl that comes to NY Comic Con and she keeps in touch with me on Instagram. She is like my first fan! She doesn’t buy just prints or anything like that. She actually goes through my book and she likes to follow and buy my original art. We have that connection and I look for that connection. A gentleman a couple of minutes ago came to my table and didn’t buy anything but we talked about art for 10 minutes. I’m happy. Ok he didn’t buy anything but we talked for ten minutes and I was grateful. Last convention I was at, I had a couple of “Dr. Who” cosplayers come up to me. I love “Dr. Who”. We talked about “Dr. Who” and Matt Smith’s last episode and both of us kinda got choked up together. We shared a moment! He didn’t buy anything but we shared a moment. And you know what? We wouldn’t have shared that moment if I hadn’t been at that table. So those moments, you know. Those are the ones that catch it for me.
What kind of advice would you give your fellow young artists that are coming up in the ranks and selling their art at conventions?
Draw every day! Have a sketchbook and pencil on you always! Draw! Always draw! Draw from life and everything… and then if you want to sell your art and do a show, go into artist alley and talk to artists with your notebook. Come and talk to us! We’ll talk to you about your art all day long and tell you what to do, and just help you out. You can go to YouTube and there’s a ton of amazing tutorials. Shout out to Jake Parker. Jake Parker puts out amazing tutorials and conversations with artists about what they should do and why they should do it. There’s so many things online that can help you. So just go out and do it! Our first show was NY Comic Con 2013 and we were insane but we did it… so just do it!
DM: Thank you for your time you are a gentleman and a scholar and I’m reaching into my pocket now for some money for the attack on cookie! It was a pleasure.