If you’ve ever bought a score from Waxwork Records, a print from Mondo, a shirt from Fright-Rags, or a magazine from Rue Morgue, there’s a good chance that you own a piece of art from Ghoulish Gary Pullin. His unique vision allows him to take the love and admiration that all of us horror fans feel about our favorite work, and display it affectionately in his designs. I’m not just a friend of Gary’s but a fan as well, with some of his work decorating my very own walls. It’s always a pleasure talking to Gary at Texas Frightmare, not only because he’s a kind person, but also because he’s always coming up with new and exciting creations. In this interview, we discuss his pieces for Goblin’s tours, his inspiration behind his art for Texas Frightmare Weekend 2014, and who he’d like to work with in the future.
Kalyn Corrigan: I know that you went to the DAWN OF THE DEAD screening the other night, which unfortunately, I missed, but I was gonna see how that was and if you got to talk to George Romero?
Gary Pullin: I did, very briefly, I got to talk to George, yeah. There was sort of like a VIP room that we got to hang out in and stuff like that, and Savini was back there and David Emge and Scott Reiniger was there, so it was really cool and just kind of surreal to be around those guys. The DAWN OF THE DEAD screening was excellent, the Alamo did an amazing job, James, who’s one of the programmers there, he did a great job with the Q&A. The questions were really good, you know, the audience was asking really great questions, and I mean that movie is timeless. You can watch that movie over and over again, and get something new out of it or just appreciate it over and over again. Those guys up on stage were talking about this movie like I don’t know how many years later, you know it’s really cool. It was a really unique event and I’m really just glad I got to go. And you know, George loves talking to fans, he loves meeting the people that admire his films. He’s really on the level, really down to earth, and I’m really happy to see he’s being celebrated these days.
KC: Has he seen your BIRTH OF THE LIVING DEAD artwork?
GP: Yeah, I actually did talk to him about that. I introduced myself and I said, “Hi George, you know I’m the guy that did the animations and the poster for BIRTH OF THE LIVING DEAD, and he was like, “Oh wow, really great work!” You know, that was nice to hear. He really liked that element of the doc. I got the impression that he felt like it was a really good representation of his film and he’s happy with the way it’s produced and how it came out. Yeah, that was really nice to get to say that to him, and it’s funny because I’ve been doing a lot of Romero related things recently. I’ve been doing the CREEPSHOW stuff for Waxwork Records, and then Mondo asked me to do a CREEPSHOW poster so you know, Romero has a DAY OF THE DEAD that I did for Fright-Rags, so I just feel like I’ve been doing Romero, Romero, Romero stuff, but it’s great, because each movie is unique onto it’s own. It’s funny, because it’s like “Oh right! CREEPSHOW and DAY OF THE DEAD are both Romero films! They’re completely different, and so it’s cool to visit those movies again when I have to do artwork for them.
KC: Will you be doing the artwork for Texas Frightmare Weekend for 2015?
GP: I hope so! If Loyd wants me back, absolutely. I think we’ve got a really great working relationship, and also, it’s fun. I enjoy doing it, and I enjoy coming to Frightmare. I’ll be back every year as long as you guys will have me.
KC: Do you have any idea what you’ll be doing, or is it too far away?
GP: Oh, it’s too far away. But I present a bunch of concepts, so we sort of do that, and we focus in on one. So I think, you know, we’ll come up with a few ideas next year. It’s always fun.
KC: Did you have any other concepts that you wanted to use for this year that you threw out?
GP: Yeah, there was a CHILDREN OF THE CORN inspired thing, it didn’t have anyone’s face on it from the movie, but it was a corn field with the guests, you know, some of the silhouettes of the guests peeking out of the corn field, and then a big scythe that sort of made a moon. I thought that was kind of cool, with the type inside. And then the other one I had was like, CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON inspired one, but you know, I mean, there’s so many ways you can go. You wanna pick an image that is going to really…it’s not a movie poster, it’s a convention poster. So, it’s gotta look like it’s a convention poster, so you try to like, do some fun stuff with it, and it’s always fun to do. I love doing it.
KC: Have you ever thought about releasing some of those? Like maybe some of the sketches for people to buy of your Texas Frightmare variants?
GP: You know, I do have sketches at the show, and people buy them, but no, not those in particular. Maybe next year, that might be something to think about. I didn’t know people would want them.
KC: I might!
GP: Yeah, alright.
KC: So you also did Goblin, and obviously, like I told you, I have the shirt from the Goblin show that you did the artwork for, that was DEEP RED for the 2014 tour, and then you also did the SUSPIRIA shirt for the 2013 tour. How did you go about creating those, and how did you get in touch with Goblin?
GP: Well, that was really cool, because Maurizio, you know he’s the keyboardist in the band, well he lives in Toronto. The other guys are in Italy, but he lives in Toronto, so I’ve known him for actually a number of years. So yeah, we’re friends, and he’s gone to a lot of Rue Morgue events, he’s been to my art show, he came out my birthday a month ago or whenever that was (laughs), and we’re friends. So when it came time to do a tour poster, the first one I did through a friend of theirs, Ankixa Risk, she was sort of handling the merch for their first tour in 2013, so I did that through her, and it was a really good experience. So then, they came back for 2014 and had another tour lined up, so I dealt with Maurizio directly, and they said “We love the other poster, why don’t you do sort of a DEEP RED one this time?” Because that one was sort of like a SUSPIRIA inspired thing. So they kind of suggested maybe do the doll from DEEP RED, so I went with that.
GP: Yes, and so, I wanted to do a sister piece to the other one so that if you bought both, you can hang them side by side. Also, since the tours are so close together, it just kind of makes sense. They’re great to work with. And again, if you were to ask a twelve year old me watching SUSPIRIA or DAWN OF THE DEAD that I’m gonna be working with these guys one day, I mean really, it’s crazy, so I was happy to do it.
KC: It must be crazy seeing Goblin wearing the shirts that you created.
GP: Yeah, that’s a great picture. It’s like “Wow!” It’s a real trip, I gotta be honest. It’s a real trip. I loved it, I thought that was great. They’ve been really supportive. And they mention my name, too, every time they talk about it, too. When they do a post, they’re talking about me, too, and that’s important to me. They are giving credit where credit’s due. A lot of people don’t. You know, you do artwork for somebody, and you’re the last guy that is even mentioned or sometimes even to get the product that you did the artwork for, so I try to really be on top of that stuff. You know, if I’m going to do a poster or a t-shirt, the least you can do, unless you’re paying me industry rates, the least you can do is, you know, mention the artist. I’m not saying Goblin didn’t pay industry rates, by the way. But you know, I get paid for what I do. But I’m just saying, there’s ways of like, say you know, you’re only going to make so much, you know, tweet about it, mention me. And I didn’t even have to mention it to Goblin, they just did it, and that was good.
KC: Yeah, I’ve seen some of your art floating around on the internet in various places, and it doesn’t always have your name attached to it, but I recognize it when I see it.
GP: Right, and a lot of people tag me when they see it, or if somebody’s using it, they’ll tag me, and it’s like “Hey, you know, hey bloggers, if you’re going to post the poster, it takes two seconds to find out who do it”. It’s only fair.
KC: Yeah. Do you have any movies or any bands that you want to work with that you haven’t yet?
GP: I would love to do a poster for Ghost, or a t-shirt design, or an album cover. I would love to work with Alice Cooper, you know I think he could use some work in the graphic design department on his albums. I love his albums, but I would love to do something for him. Black Sabbath, I would love to do a t-shirt, poster, album art, I mean, music-wise. I just finished a Misfits poster which is really cool, so that was kind of a cool thing, and that was official, through Fright-Rags, which is cool. So, yeah, I mean, you know I love music as much as I love movies so to me, it’s like I get just as excited when I’m asked to do an album cover for a band I love as a film poster. I have the best job in the world, I’m really blessed to be able to do this stuff.
KC: Do you have any other upcoming work that you’d like to discuss?
GP: Let me see, I don’t know how much I can say right now. I’m doing some stuff with Mondo, of course, I got more stuff with Mondo coming out. I’m gonna be going to Mondo Con, which is in September. They’re about to launch a website to tell everybody what’s going on. So, I’m going to be one of the artists at the show. And I got some vinyl that I’m doing, I’m going to be working with Waxwork Records on some stuff, they’ve got some titles that they’ve pitched me and I’m totally stoked about those.
KC: Yeah, those are amazing.
GP: Oh, thank you. I love doing it. I’m also going to be working with a company called Skuzzles, I did a TEEN WOLF screen print with them.
KC: Yeah, I remember that, it was really cool.
GP: Yeah, so I’m gonna be doing that, so yeah, it’s lots of stuff, just keeping busy. There’s a possible film project happening towards the end of the year that I can’t really talk about right now. Nothing’s really on the dotted line yet, but the art’s pretty exciting. So, I’m just trying to keep busy. I’m doing a couple of art shows coming up. I’m basically booked for a year right now and that’s a good problem to have.
KC: Well thank you for the interview, and congratulations on all of your success.
GP: Of course, and thank you for stopping by and posting about me on your blog, it really means a lot.