Gapingvoid.com are cartoons drawn on the back of business cards, and they've got cynical Manhattan nailed down completely. Created by New York copywriter Hugh MacLeod, adgrunts the world over will recognise the characters all too well: The annoying film student, the desperate-to-get-laid-no-hoper, the evil drunk crying into his beer. We are dead pleased to present Gapingvoid.com cartoons as a regular feature of adland from now on.
db: Hey Mr Macleod, when did you start all this?
- "About the same time I moved to New York (December, '97). I dunno... I was pretty much living out of a suitcase, so I needed a portable medium... business cards seemed obvious."
db: These are great - what do you 'doodle' with?
- "The originals of gapingvoid.com are drawn on either business cards or bristol board cut to the same size i.e. 3.5" x 2". I use mostly a Rotring 0.25mm rapidograph pen. Occasionally I'll use other things- pencil, watercolor, ballpoint etc, but not often."
db: I'd love to see this syndicated. Or in a book form. Or heck, on my wall, in a nice frame. Any plans on that? How does the gapingvoid.com plans for world domination pan out?
- "I've got a book coming out. And a greeting card line. And soon you'll be able to buy prints off my website directly."
db: All adgeeks seem to all love your stuff. Do you think this type of black humour is well suited to adgrunts? Who else might like it?
-"Well, most adgrunts are far more cynical than I am. They just pretend they're not, which is even more cynical. The work is definitely about living in the city... so anybody who has a strong affinity with "the urban experience" I'd say was my target market."
db: Who are your favorite cartoonists?
- "Charles Schultz, for teaching me about emotion. (Early) Gary Trudeau, for teaching me about adult humor. Saul Steinberg, for teaching me about line. Ralph Steadman, for teaching me about rage. Edward Gorey, for
teaching me about integrity. George Booth, for teaching me about being completely, utterly bonkers. Ronald Searle, for just teaching me about "ummm" Ronald
Searle. Of my own generation, the ones I like the most are Chris Ware and David Shrigley. They didn't influence my work like the others but hey, I think it's fantastic stuff."
db: Are you still in advertising?
- "Officially, yes, but not much at the moment. My cartoon career has kinda taken off and with it taken my eye off the advertising ball completely. Which can be a pain. A CD from a really good agency called me recently. We talked about a job, but it soon became apparent that there was no way I could do my cartoons and still give him the 100% he was after. I didn't even try to pretend that I could. But this may just be a temporary thing. Watch this space."
db: What about illustration? Would you do that?
-" I'd love to. But it would have to be a pretty damn interesting assignment before I'd agree to "sell out". Creative, lucrative and ongoing. I'm not interested in cranking out something cheap n' nasty for a few hour's pay."
db: what's with all that squiggly line stuff?
-"The influence of far too many jazz records... or something. Somebody once described the squiggly stuff as 'background noise'. That's exactly right. New York has a definite buzz to
it. The whole point of the drawings is to try to get that buzz onto paper."