Get To Know: Moose Allain
There was a time, a couple of years ago, and no thanks to Friend Within's house update, when my friends and I were listening to Renegade Master approximately five thousand times per day. When one of my fellow obsessees sent me the 'Renegade Master' drawing above, needless to say it became my new favourite thing, and a gateway to a new obsession: the drawings of Moose Allain. We caught up with the artist, cartoonist, and prolific Tweeter to ask a few questions about process, favourite characters, and puns.
When, where, and how did you become an artist?
I became an artist the moment someone bought a piece of my work. At least, that was the first time I felt entitled to the name. It’s odd, because I don’t for one minute think art should be linked to money, but for myself this legitimised what I was doing. That was about 10 years ago. A part of me felt I was an artist since I was a child.
What influences you most: people, places, or things?
All of them. It’s not a competition. Actually, things probably less than the other two.
Your cartoons crack me up. What came first for you, art or comedy?
It’s always been both for me. I’ve always enjoyed making people laugh (and laughing with people) and I’ve always wanted to make pictures. I used to draw little characters and comic strips as a child - as I’m sure lots of children do - but loved showing them to the adults in my life to make them laugh. I know now, having children of my own, how much of that laughter is kindness and how much of it is genuine mirth, but it’s always a thrill to make people laugh.
Who is Ivan, and where did he come from?
Ah, Ivan. I have created many characters over the years. The great majority of them no more than a drawing and a name, perhaps in a situation. I like creating the set-ups for stories that people can complete themselves. That’s what a lot of my work is about. But Ivan, once created, insisted on a fuller life, he became (literally, actually, after his first incarnation) a rounder character. I don’t want to examine where Ivan came from too much. I suspect he’s a bit of my two boys, my wife and I (and our dog!) all rolled into one but I worry that if I look too closely he might evaporate. I will make a book of Ivan one day, but I’m happy for the time being to let him play in the quiet corners of my mind.
We love all of your work but your music cartoons are our favourite. Do you play favourites with your own work, or are they all born equal?
I don’t tend to play favourites. It’s whatever I’m working on at the time. But sometimes I look at old work and I’m surprised by what I made and that’s always a pleasure. Making the ‘I Wonder What I’m Thinking About?’ book was a chance to go back over 10 years of work and pick out some of my favourites. It was great finding a place for things I’ve had sitting in drawers for years, almost forgotten. Occasionally I find things that I have no recollection of making. That’s a strange feeling.
Sometimes I think my mind (and I suspect everyone else’s) is like that scene at the beginning of the film Gravity - lots of fragments, tiny bits of detritus, slowly orbiting in space. Many of those particles are bits of songs, old adverts, etc. that often turn into cartoons. I think that’s where things like the ‘Neighbourhood Watch/Renegade Master’ cartoon come from.
I can’t get to the end of this interview without asking you a question about Twitter. You’re a prolific tweeter, and lover (/creator) of puns. Do you think of Twitter as an extension of your artistic work?
Yes, absolutely. I know this could sound pretentious - “Look at my twitter feed, it’s ART!” - but actually the moment I convinced myself that I wasn’t frittering away valuable time on it but actually creating lots of new things opened the door to all sorts of possibilities. My book is full of short stories that I wrote ‘live’ on twitter. I would never have done that without the audience. As an artist you want an audience of course. You’re trying to communicate. Cartoons, animations, thousands of jokes, stories, collections of tweets on themes from other people. I see them all as a part of my artistic work. It’s all a form of play really, and I know that I am extremely lucky to have made a my job out of playing. So, a HUGE thanks to everyone who has helped to make that possible by buying my stuff!
Pen or pencil?
99% Pen. I like to go straight in without too much planning. I love drawing with pencil, but rarely do it as my work tends to be in ink. I’ve done quite a few pencil animations, though, where I draw, rub out, draw, rub out…. It’s quick and dirty and you end up with a kind of ghost of what you’ve drawn. It’s a great style, I was inspired by the brilliant artist and animator Wahyu Ichwandardi (@Pinot) who I discovered via the now-defunct Vine app. So, I’ve said 99% Pen then ended up talking about pencil.
Light or dark?
Ok, I’m going to be annoying here. I like “a AND b” more than “a OR b” in life, where possible. So: light AND dark.
Inside or outside?
Inside AND outside. But inside my head is just fine with me.
Piece of art you most wish you’d made?
I wish I’d made all of Nigel Peake’s stuff. I don’t have a favourite artist, but it feels as if I’m close to being able to do what he does while actually being far from it. His work moves me in ways that I can’t express, creates emotions I can’t identify.
Can you tell us a joke?
I’ve made up 1000s of jokes over the years on twitter. I prefer to think of it as wordplay (if you find it funny that’s an added bonus) because I’m in awe of the infinite flexibility of the English language. Here’s a trio of mine for you:
A message just popped up on my printer saying I need to replace the cyan cartridge - completely out of the blue!
"Help! I can't get my jogging trousers off!"
"We'll have to perform an emergency trackybottomy"
I threw a ball for my dog. Extravagant, I know, but it was his 21st birthday.
Make sure you visit: https://www.worldofmoose.com/
And follow Moose on twitter: @MooseAllain