Dieselpunks.org | July 2, 2012
Lights out, everybody.
On Miskatonic Mondays, we celebrate the “weird” fiction of HP Lovecraft and the genre of otherworldly horror it spawned.
A few weeks ago, we threw our gaze upon The Horror In Clay, a Cthulhu Cult-inspired tiki from Jonathan “Atari” Chaffin. Since then, it’s been blowing other Kickstart projects out of the water. Whether the world has suddenly succumbed to tiki-madness or the Cult supports their own, I’ll never know. However, I was able to catch up with Atari to dig up some of the secrets behind this infamous mug.
Was this your first shot at the Tiki style?
Not sure what to say about the rest of my artwork; I am a commercial graphic designer by training, with a lot of experience in identity work, print publication, and merchandise. I love period design (any period really) and try and put realistic details regarding type selection and graphic stylization into my personal work. Oh, and interrobangs. I love interrobangs. And fezzes. Fezzes are cool.
I’ve done some tiki style work, including a month for a tiki calendar, and I collect a lot of artwork by poly-pop and lowbrow artists (Derek Yaniger, Coop, Ed Roth, and Shag are some favorites but there are many many more). Most of my other designs for mugs and such like are hanging out in my sketchbooks and on napkins.
The backstory for these pieces was unexpected. Usually the artwork speaks for itself, but there’s a whole history and world surrounding The Horror In Clay. What inspired that?
For this project I was interested in creating a backstory through time for this mug; this artifact. It is common for a tiki bar to have a signature statue or design that carries through all of their identity and promotional material. I asked myself – if this is the mug for Pickman’s Cove, what does the logo for the bar look like? What is the mug based on (in this case, a fictitious totem). Where did the totem originate. Where is Pickman’s Cove located, and how did the idol get there? Where did the proprietor of the bar see or acquire the idol?