Matt Furie is the artist who killed off his own first-born frog when that creation was coopted by white supremacists in harsh haircuts.
The art of Matt Furie is deceptive at first glance and puzzling upon deeper investigation. Is he kidding with these venal, quasi-human characters and their selfish shenanigans? Could Furie possibly be more serious about exposing the animal core that every human drags with it to the warped petting zoo we call civilized society?
Luckily, we live in a marketplace where comedic perspectives and disturbing truths are allowed to live side by side. That cohabitation results in something more volatile than domestic bliss on Matt Furie’s Tumblr and his personally branded web site.
Furie’s 176-page collection of disturbing incongruities, Boys Club, is available from Fantagraphics Books.
The Skeeve: Are some topics more readily addressed with talking animals than with traditional human characters?
Matt Furie: Images of humans generally contain a lot of psychic baggage. Animals or abstract scruffy creatures or aliens or whatever give people more room to find their truth or some sense of common ground. In “reality,” we are all just pure love trapped inside a mask and locked into the story of a bank teller or a white supremacist or a rapist or a teacher or a healer or whatever you think you are at the time.
The Skeeve: What is the primary struggle for your Boys Club characters?
Matt Furie: Boy’s Club is a vast wasteland of secondary struggles: Finding something good on TV, grabbing a snack, trying not to barf, trying to barf, getting to the next level, trying not to shart their pants.
The Skeeve: Has working in comics pigeonholed you as a somehow “lowbrow” artist?
Matt Furie: My lover was just talking about that feeling you get when you pick up a Mad magazine. The cool thing is, Mad has been around so long that it’s possible to share this feeling of youthful indulgence with your parents. It’s basically the same tone as it was when they were kids. I get the same feeling when listening to Primus while looking at the cover art. In some ways, “lowbrow” is just trying to hold onto a youthful feeling. A teenage feeling of having your mind blown by a graphic or a gag comic or a rock song or a rap or something. It means different things to different people. It’s the same “feeling” sparked from hot rods, or Rat Finks, or bulging eyeballs coming out of skulls or whatever. it’s bitchin’, man! far out!
The Skeeve: Why art?
Matt Furie: The universe has a mysterious creative force that keeps things going, keeps creatures munching on other creatures, stars exploding, insects crawling on the floor. Art is a way for this creative energy to flow thru u and reflect the universe’s inherent need to create. I’ve been pouring coffee grinds on a patch of cement for months, and it’s a jungle ecosystem now.
The Skeeve: What are the emotional strains and rewards of a new comic versus a new gallery show?
Matt Furie: It’s all the same. I try to live for the “actions” rather than live for the rewards of the actions. It’s all just me sitting there, alone, having fun drawing. Comics bring comic conventions, and art brings art openings. Both are fun ways to get out of your farty room and socialize a little bit.
All images copyright Matt Furie.