Monday, July 20, 2015

We'll Eventually Hit Rock Bottom: An Interview With Jim'll Paint It

Just when you think you have seen everything that could possibly exist on the internet, along comes Jim'll Paint It to prove you wrong. The premise is simple. You send Jim the wildest, most far fetched scenario you can imagine, and if Jim likes it, he will paint it for you using Microsoft Paint...probably even more hilariously bizarre than you ever imagined. Jim's paintings have become so popular, it has allowed him to launch a line of prints, t-shirts, tote bags, and pretty much any other kind of swag as well as collaborate on projects with prestigious mainstream institutions like National Geographic. Also, there is a wonderful Jim'll Paint It anthology of collected works titled Electric Dreams.

I was fortunate enough to corner Jim in a poorly lit gas station bathroom stall where he finally agreed to an interview. If you'd like to explore more of Jim'll Paint It on your own, I suggest his Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and of course, you have to buy yourself a little something from his Store.

Can you paint the Very Hungry Caterpillar undergoing gastric bypass surgery?

Q: What was the eureka moment behind offering your services free of charge to the funniest bidder?
Jim: It started off on my personal Facebook page. I was bored and asked my friends if they wanted me to draw them anything on Paint. It was never supposed to be a case of just painting the funny ones. But because most of my friends are a bit odd it didn't take long for it to escalate into full blown surrealism. I put a few of my favourites on Tumblr and over night was swamped with requests from people I didn't know to the point where I had to give up any idea of painting them all and focus instead on the ones that would make me laugh.

Q: What is the most off the wall request you have received? And...did you paint it?
Jim: I think reading the many thousands of requests I've had over the last 3 years has totally skewed my perspective of what off the wall is. I don't even think I have a wall for things to be on. That said, one that really threw me was this:
Can you please paint me Davina McCall with dreadlocks, cooking a full English
breakfast on the beach, and all of the seagulls at the beach are in karate kit and/or Nazi uniforms and are attacking her and her breakfast is on fire and there’s a dog poo on the beach (it’s not a very nice beach) and she’s smiling a lot staring right at you smiling in a really creepy way with big gold hoop earrings in and can Davina please be dressed in pajamas and have spiders coming out of her eyes a little bit.

This painting would make me very happy, thank you. Gemma Sherman
-specifically the bit about the spiders coming out of her eyes a little bit. I had always thought spiders coming out of your eyes was kind of a binary thing. Like you either had spiders coming out of your eyes or you didn't. It was pretty tricky to get across the noncommittal nature of the spiders coming out of Davina McCall's eyes and that's why it took me about 8 months to get round to painting it.

Q:  What kinds of things do you just flat out refuse to paint?
Jim: Nothing really provided the context was right. I mean, I obviously I try not to paint things that will get me arrested but yeah I think generally I would consider anything if I thought it was funny. There are definitely things which make me overlook a request almost automatically. I'm not sure why but I don't like requests that rhyme or are a forced play on words. I think it shows a lack of vision. I swear down I get asked to paint some variation of 'Bear Grylls grilling a bear' every other day. Also sticking either an exclamation mark or 'lol' at the end of a request is generally not a great idea.

Q:  Do you ever hear (positively or negatively) from any of the subjects of your paintings?
Jim: Generally I hear only good things. Brian Blessed and Heston Blumenthal have both expressed their appreciation, which is lovely. My only bad experience was from The Ultimate Warrior (God rest his soul) who, somewhat bizarrely, sent his lawyer after me because of the picture I drew of him and Alan Partridge posing for a photo. Something to do with how because he has his logo on his face I'm breaching copyright. But I just agreed not to sell any merchandise of the image and that was the last I heard on it. Pretty sure it was just his mate pretending to be a lawyer if I'm completely honest.

Q:  In your online bio you say that you like music, horror films, bubblewrap and painting things on Microsoft Paint. How distraught are you that the makers of bubblewrap are changing their production process so the bubbles no longer pop?
Jim: I must admit I'm not panicking about it. I'm pretty sure there are plenty of off-brand bubble wrap makers out there to fill the gap in the market and besides I've got a huge, unpopped roll of the stuff in a cupboard that I save for when I need some 'me time'.

Q:  Just out of curiosity, does it get any darker than muppets re-enacting The Deer Hunter Russian Roulette scene?
Jim: There is definitely a recurring theme with children's characters being put in horribly dark real life situations. So far we've had Postman Pat arrested for swearing at a Police officer during an EDL march, the cast of Rainbow storming the beaches of Normandy, Makka Pakka from In The Night Garden using heroin, The Very Hungry Caterpillar undergoing gastric bypass surgery, Mr Bump in a multi car pile up on the M4 and The Teletubbies forced to perform at gunpoint for North Korean television. I'm fairly sure we'll eventually hit rock bottom.

Q:  Do you have a formal art education or are you self taught?
Jim: Self taught. For the first half of my life I was obsessed with drawing and everyone at school said I would do that for a living so inevitably, come my teenage years I sacked it off and did a music technology course and spent 10 years making aggressive electronic music under the name Eraserhead. In the meanwhile I worked doing design and typography for a small publishing company who were just glad to have someone who vaguely knew how Photoshop and In Design worked.

Q:  What artists/illustrators do you currently follow?
Jim: It's quite bad but I don't really follow anyone really. I do really like David Shrigley and Chris Simpsons Artist obviously. I follow It's Nice That on Twitter and see really cool illustration and design on there every day but I'm really bad at actually following it up and becoming a rabid fan of anyone in particular.

Q: How often do you find yourself looking up the proper spelling of our Dark Lord Cthulhu?
Jim: I'm bad with names so I tend to just stick with 'Sir'

Q:  Unicorns...or Narwhals? Who would win in a fight?
Jim: Is the fight happening on land or in the sea?

Kanye West travels back in time in a DeLorean to ruin Mother Teresa’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech .

Please can you paint Daft Punk Morris dancing on the surface of Mars wearing only their helmets and official Morris dancing tassels and braces. Adam Ant is shredding on the electric guitar to accompany the dance. The sun has gone supernova and Earth is exploding in the distance.

Dear Jim, can you paint Colonel Sanders Last Stand?
Please paint He-Man on Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents.

Crash Bandicoot at a speed awareness course with other Mario Kart and Wacky Races characters.

The 3 of us battling the Psychedelic Cosmic octopus (badly) while God (played by Gazza) tries to rescue us with a fishing rod and chicken. Meanwhile in the foreground a greyhound dressed like Charles Dickens licks the frosting off some doughnuts.

Dear Jim, can you use Paint to show us a scene from a not too distant future in which those fucking Minion things have finally taken over completely? 

Awkward Star Trek orgy.

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