Sunday, October 2, 2011

Eric Pigors: Rock Star of Dark Art

With the beginning of the best month of the year, I'm so happy to be able to share a little of Eric "Unkle" Pigors with you. Eric has been an artist for a very long while, and has worked with the Walt Disney Company as well as developing his own very distinctive style of critters. 

I first ran across Eric's work at Halloweentown, a large, year-round Halloween shop in Burbank, California. It was a completely different kind of style of art from what I was used to seeing, and I found myself amused at all the funny and twisted creatures Eric has in his books. (If you click on most of the pictures in this post, you'll be taken to the appropriate web pages!)

Here's our little question and answer session:

1) What and whose work made you decide to become an artist?

Wow that’s a tough one. There are so many I can say that influenced me when I was a kid like Dr. Seuss, and B. K. Taylor who drew the ODD RODS stickers.
ED “BIG DADDY “ ROTH, Charles Addams. But I think Mad magazine was what really made me want to become an artist.

There are so many great artists who worked for MAD Magazine, and they all had their own unique styles, like Basil Wolverton, Don Martin, Wally Wood, Bill Elder, Harvey Kurtzman, Al Jaffe. But I guess I would say JACK DAVIS is my biggest art influence.
He drew that great 6 foot tall Frankenstein poster all kids had, and he also worked for MAD, and he did the, “YOU’LL DIE LAUGHING” monster cards. 

2) When did you start getting interested in monsters and what caught your imagination about them?
As a kid I loved PLOP Comics, which was a funny spooky take on TALES FROM THE CRYPT comics, but more like MAD.
It was also drawn by a lot of the MAD artists and the Jack Davis “You’ll Die Laughing” cards. I looooved the PLANET OF THE APES Film, and I even stole change off my dad’s dresser one day and flagged down the ice cream man, handed him my hand full of change and said, “Give me all the PLANET OF THE APES Cards this money will buy!”
He handed a case and a half over to me, and right then I knew I was in trouble.
For some reason I hid them by my dad’s lawn mower thinking no one will find them here. Well they did and they threw them all in the trash after they found out how I got them. I like to tell my mom how much I could get for them now. HAHAHA!
I also loved Walt Disney’s spooky sound fx record and their cartoons like SLEEPY HOLLOW, and Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride. I have been part of the past two “TRIBUTE TO THE HAUNTED MANSION” art shows at HALLOWEENTOWN in Burbank, California. I have a really special deal on my HAUNTED MANSION PRINTS SET on my website right now.

3) Who are your artistic influences today?
I really love KAZ’S art he draws the strip THE UNDERWORLDI also like XNO, PIZZ, Shawn  Dickenson, to name a few. There are a lot more!

4) How did your Monsterpieces App come about?
Well , I worked at WALT DISNEY FEATURE ANIMATION from 1987 to 2002 on all the hand drawn films like Lion King, Tarzan, Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and while I was working there I met MARGIE DANIELS. She hired me to work with her on the character CHARLOTTE on THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG film two years ago. Well, Margie’s husband, ERIC DANIELS, also works there and does a lot of the computer stuff. Like on TREASURE PLANET I drew SILVER, and ERIC was in charge of all the computer stuff that was attached to SILVER.

Well about 4 months ago I was working with Margie again on free lance Kung Fu Panda stuff, and she asked if I would want to do an App of my stuff with her husband.
I saw what ERIC did as a test and LOVED IT!  And after that he told me what I needed to give him art wise, and then he put it all together, and did an excellent job!
If you don’t have my Monsterpieces App yet, it’s a must, and for only $2.99 you can make monsters using my creepy artwork here.
[By the way, Eric is giving away the Monsterpieces app for free for the next few days, or maybe until Sunday... So head on over!]

 5) After your heart attack, you were gracious enough to share your experience with your fans. Can you share any insights you may have about your experience? (And how tired are you of being asked about this, anyway? :oD) What changes have you made because of it?
The thing I get asked most is, “HOW ARE YOU FEELING?” Which I know people are curious, but it also kind keeps reminding me of it, which kind of sucks.
Some days I get pretty freaked out when I think how lucky I am to have a second chance. I have changed my diet and started to exercise more.
Since Christmas I was eating FRITOS like a fiend, and I don’t eat that kind of stuff at all anymore! 
Now I hear a song and think how great music is, and it almost sounds different to me. But I also think, “How many more times will I get to hear that song, or watch a favorite film, or kiss my lovely wife?!”

6) We grew up in an era of what's now considered "old-school" animation, and you've done your fair share over the years. What do you think about old-school vs. computer animation?
I personally love traditional hand drawn films and I always will. For me they just seem a lot more artistic because I know how hard it is to draw them, plus they aren’t as busy-looking as cg films. CG Films look to sterile and way too busy for me.
I look at the old animated short cartoons that Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Chuck Jones, the Fleischer Brothers and Disney did and think cartoons will never be that good again, even as good as technology is now. It was just an awesome period of artistic American history that shouldn’t be forgotten.

7) What's the coolest experience you've had as a result of being an artist? In other words, is there a project you've done or a person whom you've met because of your particular style that you wouldn't have done or met otherwise?
Man I am so lucky and have had lots!
I mean working at WALT DISNEY was a dream come true! And getting a character I designed there named PIGORS on TREASURE PLANET was pretty cool. I also sold them an original idea that never got made yet called, “SILLY HILLBILLIES ON MARS.”
I had Toys made of my Toxictoons art at Mezco toys.
Had JAMES & KIRK of METALLICA call my house and tell me they both dug my art, and then I saw James wearing one of my shirts on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine with OZZY & Marilyn Manson. I then got to do a shirt for their St Anger tour and met them and I was asked by James to maybe do an animated video to a song {never got made}.
I did character designs on the “ED EDD AND EDDY HALLOWEEN BOO HAW HAW Special” that plays at Halloween every year on CARTOON NETWORK.
And now I have Monster Masks based on my Toxictoons characters thru TRICK OR TREAT STUDIOS.
And just doing my own Toxictoons art and merch line has been awesome!

8) Like those reading, you're a fan of Halloween. Do you build props like the bulk of us do, or--what do you do for Halloween? How do you decorate? If you do build props, what's your preferred media?
I like to buy masks and stuff and then just make dummies and deck out my mom’s garage all spooky. I did my 1st haunted house in her garage when I was maybe 13. It was pretty lame, but I caught the bug from a previous year of TRICK OR TREATING and seeing stuff other people in her neighborhood did at their houses.
I like to give the TRICK OR TREATERS something spooky to remember at Halloween!

9) What's playing on your iPod, and what's your guilty pleasure song that no one would ever think is on Eric Pigors's media player? (It's Barry Manilow, right?)
I listen to mostly 70s rock, metal, punk, oldies, goth, industrial music, besides old HALLOWEEN records, which are my favorite.
My guilty pleasure song?
LOUIS ARMSTRONG’S “What a Wonderful World.” I think it’s one of the best songs ever recorded. Makes me have hope for humanity. I love both MINISTRY’s and Joey Ramone’s versions of this song also. All these 3 versions will be played at my Funeral.

10) I've been sitting and listening to those fantastic CDs I got when I bought your Trick or Treat bag and new book with this idiot grin on my face, because they're so fantastic and retro. Where on earth did you find such fantastic Hallowe'en offerings?

Someone gave me a cd with a bunch [of songs] and I just made mixes over the past years. I have enough for maybe 2 more years. In October, I'm selling the first five cds for only $20 for 'em all, plus I'll do some art giveaways.

O.k., I'm so going to keep an eye out for those October art giveaways!

Thanks, Eric for your time and your very gracious responses! I love the treats I got from you and will be the envy of everyone this year with my new trick of treat bag!

Rock on!


  1. Hail the master of spooky cartoons, Unkle Pigors! ALL HAIL!

  2. That was a great interview. Metallica is one of my favorite bands and I would of loved to seen that video get made....

  3. Great post! Thanks so much for sharing!


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