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January 14, 2014

Interview with the Creators of “the Electric Liquidland”

“the Electric Liquidland” is a modern twist on classic surf cartoons from the 1970′s created by Kevin Ginther, Adam Rosinsky, and Joe Carey.

How did this process start?

I have a habit of doodling on my project folders in meetings, a habit from my school days when I would doodle instead of taking notes. I’ve done this since the 6th grade. After one meeting, Greg Browning said: “Hey, you should do a cartoon for our surf movie, Live from the Moon, I’ll put it right in the beginning!” My friend and co-worker, Adam Rosinsky was with me, and he said, “I can animate it, if you draw it” I then immediately thought of my cousin Joe Carey who is a musician, because I new he would be able to execute any type of musical composition that I had floating around in my head to go with our vision.

How did you come up with the name?

I actually came up with that name couple years ago. I would always try to come up with names for comic books or tiny stories that I wanted to illustrate. Sometimes I get inspiration from music lyrics, or song titles, and then twist them a little to make them relate to an idea that’s personal to me that I can illustrate. I took the title from the Jimi Hendrix album “The Electric Ladyland” and changed it to “Liquidland.” I liked the word Electric, because it feels alive, vibrant, full of life, movement, and color. I thought the word “Liquidland” was an accurate adjective to describe the type of drawing that I do, and it would be a good title for a spacey surf comic.

Who/What are some of your artistic influences?

My Dad would buy me classic rock CD’s growing up for Christmas, like The Beach Boys, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, America, Electric Light Orchestra, and Neil Young to name a few. I would listen to songs like “Light My Fire,” “Horse with No Name,” “Cowgirl in the Sand,” and imagine how I could create a drawing or a cartoon that captured the power, movement, and color that I would visualize.

When I decided to be an art major at Chico State, I really became attracted to these classic rock album covers, posters, and then the underground comix movement. Which led me to artists like Rick Griffin and Robert Crumb. I spent a lot of time obsessing over every line and detail of their work and tried to learn their every line weight and hatch mark. I even bought a rapidograph pen, which was their tool of choice. I wanted to try to learn how they made the lines they made. I guess its the same as writers re-typing “The Great Gatsby,” to see what it felt like to see those exact words hitting the paper. The more research I did on this type of art work the more artists I discovered that I liked; Ed Roth, Robert Williams, Victor Moscoso, Jim Phillips, and many others. I grew up surfing and skateboarding a lot, so I was immersed in this subculture from the beginning. I have been pretty obsessed with California surf / skate / and rock and roll art scene, and how it has changed over the decades since the 1950′s. I like to try to have a wide range of drawing styles from simple doodles that I do in a couple of minutes, to wildly detailed complex hatched drawings.

I find it interesting that fashion, art, and music truly are cyclical. I see that in our current trends all of us seem to be taking a decade or two from the past 60 years and blending them together while putting our own twist on them, to make our art contemporary and relevant within our current audience. To this point, I saw a pair of vans a few years ago with the character “Mr. Natural” screened on them, which I find interesting.

I also like old cartoons and comics. I like the style of artwork. The round bubbly shaped characters with intricate hand drawn backgrounds are amazing. I like Disney’s “Silly Symphonies” and “Steamboat Willie,” also Betty Boop, Felix the cat, Max Fleischer cartoons, Bray Studios, Winsor McCay, and Ralph Bakshi’s “Wizards” are in my inspiration library, plus many others.

Tell us about the process of how you made the cartoon? Who did what?

Greg Browning told us he wanted a cartoon that captured the essence of when you were a little kid and you just started learning how to surf. He thought of how kids daydream in school and make fingerboards and paper waves. I just started thinking of how I was when I was younger, and how I did not want to do my homework or study. I would start working, but inevitably I would always drift off into my own imagination and start to draw. I tried to come up with a narrative that describes this; a kid trying to do homework but then gets bored and pretends to surf waves in outer space. As the cartoon starts, I tried to give a nod to the influences I’ve had on my style that I learned from. When you are a kid and you are trying to figure out who you want to be, especially if you are in the creative arts, I think there is a large amount of time spent analyzing all your influences and practicing. I think the lyrics to the Beach Boys song “In My Room” are very relevant for me and the cartoon.

After I had the basic narrative I just started to draw different scenes and send them to Adam. He would put them in flash and do zoom-ins and rotate stuff, and make it all move. We met up a few times to make sure it all fit together, I think he did a great job animating and editing my drawings.

Once we had a rough of the cartoon, I would send Joe ideas for what the audio track would be. I think I said something like: “Can you take the bass line from the beginning of “Have a Cigar,” add some “No Quarter,” and then put a “Stairway” Solo on it?” Recently we had discussed our love for Disney’s “Silly Symphonies,” which is where I came up with the graphics for the credits. It was his idea to add the ragtime music to the intro, which I think he did great.

How long did the project take?

The project took a few months. I’d draw a little every night for a week then take a little time off and repeat. I’d send drawings over to Adam and he’d do the same. Once we had our rough edit we sent it to Joe, and he worked fairly quickly to cut a few different ideas for the music. I think we all learned a lot and it was a lot of fun!

Whats next for you guys? I heard something is in the works for the Todos Santos Big Wave surf contest poster and artwork?

All three of us are still designing, doodling, drawing, creating music, and trying to be as creative as we can! I just finish the artwork for the Todos Santos Big Wave Contest. You can see my 60s rock poster influence on this one, mixed with some Drew Brophy waves, a Rick Griffin sunburst, and a Robert Crumb character.
Big Wave World Tour

http://bigwaveworldtour.com/events/dive-n-surf–todos-santos/

Kevin Ginther
Gintherart.com – Portfolio
@seaweedkomix – Instagram

Joe Carey
soundcloud.com/jdcareymusic

Adam Rosinsky
adamrosinsky.com – Portfolio