It is incredibly difficult to summarise your favourite illustrator in a mere 200 words or so – how do you possibly convey the raw, bizarre drawings of Kyle Pellet concisely when you are overflowing with things to say? Kyle’s got a new website displaying his multi-faceted talents, so to mark the occasion–- and in the hope of trying to see a little further into his incredible mind – we asked him a few questions about his life and work.
When did you first begin to draw?
I first began to draw when I was three. I remember drawing my dad, and being really proud of how much it actually looked like him. Upon later viewing, it actually resembled what I’d imagine a David Shrigley drawing would look like if he was drawing a pinto bean with his foot.
What or who inspires you?
Old people, wild animals, the cosmos, good food, bad food, good-tasting bad food, Cormac McCarthy, conspiracy theories, people who work hard, dishonest people, cold weather.
How important is comedy in your work?
It’s very important! Everyone has been through awful, traumatic, mentally-scarring stuff. Making jokes and laughing about the shortcomings, fears, and failures of yourself and others is the healthiest way shine light on uncomfortable subject matter. I think this helps us remind ourselves that we’re all troubled in some way, and that doesn’t necessarily make us awful people.
Your work is often very dream-like, do you ever draw from life?
Sometimes I render things as best as I can to depict how they look in the physical universe, just to make sure I can still draw, and that I’m not too far in my head. Remember at the end of The Wire when Marlo scares those two kids off the corner without any weapons. Maybe it’s a bad analogy, but it’s kind of like that.
I need to know I can draw well, but there are plenty of people who draw from life way better than I ever could, so I’d rather focus the majority of my energy on sharing something different.
You have recently been using found images in your work and adapting them – with magnificent results. Is this a new technique? Will it be sticking around for a while?
I think it comes from the same compulsion to deface textbooks in school, drawing vulgar things or erasing words of a Langston Hughes poem to make it foul. You know how Keith Richards does heroin and abuses his body and justifies it by saying he’s doing it for the audience because they can’t? I think I like defacing little, inconsequential things in a petty/dumb way, because most people can’t bring themselves to be childish and make really dumb jokes.
Describe your daily work routine…
Wake up between 8-9am, eat cereal, work for 12 hours, play Mario Kart, go to sleep, repeat. Work includes responding to and writing e-mails (which I’m the worst at), drawing and painting, sketching, reading (literature and boring books/pamphlets about business and web design and other things I should know but I don’t), messing around with HTML and CSS, and staring at the ceiling. I try to break these tasks into three to four hour increments.
What’s the art scene like in San Jose?
The good thing is that people are very nice and hard working. The bad thing is that people are maybe too nice. I’d like there to be an environment that fosters critiquing each others work, but I don’t think that exists here.
Have you got any shows coming up?
I’ve got a show with my friend Yumico Miyagawa at Caffe Frascati in early June, and September 28th at the Usuals with Mia Christopher www.shoptheusuals.com. I’m excited about both of them!