From outsider art, à la failed barbecue builds, to figurative passion projects (who can forget those Ringo Starr paintings?), The Simpsons has housed its fair share of art during its 30 years on air. In the process, it’s also inspired a considerable amount of unofficial art from creatives who grew up with the series. Evergreen Fantasies, a new book published by Blue Monday Press, proves how much artistic variety exists in this space. Featuring more than 40 artists and over 100 pages of creative work, Evergreen Fantasies highlights creators working in claymation, acrylic, needle felting, glass, mixed media, and tattooing – all of them inspired by one place: Springfield.
“My initial idea when it came to Evergreen Fantasies was to make a book which celebrated the work of a huge range of artists in a variety of different mediums, via the lens of The Simpsons," says Ben Gore, who wrote, edited and designed the publication. “The aim was to just share the work of artists I like, at whatever stage of their artistic career they are at, and in any form their work took.”
Besides an introduction and basic artist information, the book is designed with minimal text, “so that all the artists in the book feel like they are on a level playing field,” Ben explains. In lieu of this extra detail, Evergreen Fantasies focuses on the work itself, while celebrating mediums which are often excluded from art and categorised as “craft”. Looking through the contributions, it’s hard to summarise the diversity present, but comics, 2D illustrations, and pixel art are all represented – there are even 3D architectural recreations of Flaming Moe’s and the First Church of Springfield by Jon Omar.
“I love all the art in the book but there’s a couple I’d like to highlight,” Ben says. Geléeregen’s Milpool, a bootleg toy figure artwork featuring Bart’s leg cast in Bart of Darkness, is a favourite of the curator. “I’ve been making bootleg figures for a number of years,” Ben says, “my last book The Bootleg Bible was all about the bootleg toy scene, and I love the care that’s gone into the piece. The colours and style on the original painted backing board are lovely and the sculpt of the Milpool cast is great.”
Ben also points to Kalah Ingle Ceramics’ Nuclear Family – a work translating the Simpsons family into a set of “elegant” glazed tableware ceramics. Leonardo’s The Simpsons painting, an artist who paints using recycled flour sacks and local house paint, is another highlight. Ben says: “Their work is always so raw and rad, and I feel very grateful to be able to include it in the book.”
Though obviously full of both homages and gentler nods to the show in question, Evergreen Fantasies is also just a celebration of art. Ben details: “I’ve always been fascinated by how people make things in their own ways. I loved researching for the book and seeing how all these different artists made their work from the shared starting block of the town of Springfield and the characters that inhabit it,” he says.
“I’d hope that when people see all the art in the book, they might be encouraged to try and make something in a new way that they might not have otherwise considered.”
Blue Monday Press: Evergreen Fantasies, artwork by Dr.Me (Copyright © Blue Monday Press, 2022)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.