Archived Tee - 2012-02-15Art curated by
Sock em Who-Bots
About the artist
Scott Derby (known to Teefurians as "nakedderby") wrote the questions for this interview. jkilpatrick calls Scott "a close friend, a collaborator, and a fellow member of the Philadelphia Cartoonist Society (www.phillytoon.org). I have known him for about 13 years."
Q: Jeffro, anybody that knows you knows that you are a patriot for your hometown of Fishtown, a small neighborhood located within the city limits of Philadelphia. Can you give us "outsiders" a peak into your point-of-view, and share with us some of the things that you love about the neighborhood that inspires you and your work?
A: When I was growing up, it was just a really tight-knit community, like a small town inside a city. It's changed in recent years with gentrification. Now there are swarms of artist types, musicians, etc. Housing prices skyrocketed. It's not the blue collar paradise I grew up with, but a lot of the good folks from my childhood remain. I just love the row homes and the corner stores, the churches and bars. It's like they've always been there, like they grew out of the pavement. True Fishtowners have a way of holding themselves and each other up. There's a pride without pretension there.
Q: I know that you are a huge music fan, and much of your work is inspired directly by certain types of music, certain specific musicians, and even a lyric or two from a song. Can you remember the first piece of art that you created based on or inspired by music? Can you describe it for us?
A: I have everything from Thelonious Monk to Tool to Rakim in my collection. I probably listen to old-tymie music more than any, but I like the mixed up folks best. That's why I like Tom Waits so much - he takes everything from carnival to jazz to klezmer to noisy dirtball rock and combines it to create something brand new. Plus he's got a great sense of humor. He's probably my biggest musical inspiration. I want to draw like his music sounds. The first music-inspired piece I remember doing was before kindergarten. After hearing those Hank Williams lyrics: "Hey Good Lookin', whaaaaaaaat you got cookin'?", I drew a cartoon of a smiling little dude sitting in a boiling pot (like he was being cooked by cannibals) and he was pulling a naked lady into the pot with him. I thought that drawing was hysterical, but I hid it from my folks.
Q: What inspired you to pick up a pencil and draw in the first place, and what continues to inspire you to draw? Are there certain people, whether they be artists or non-artists, that really help to light a fire inside or under you and get you to create?
A: My Dad started me drawing when I was about four. Today, a bunch of different things inspire me. Members of the Meathaus collective and the Philadelphia Cartoonist Society inspire me when I see all the work everyone else is doing. We do a lot of volunteer work together too. That's always a good catalyst for inspiration. Teaching art is inspirational. I steal the energy from students. Also, having a family inspires me to try to look at my work as a business. I never want to lose the fun and make it all about money, but I try to find a balance between getting by and staying creative.
Q: You've done quite a bit as an artist, from self-publishing your own comic book and participating in several group anthologies, having several gallery shows, and now breaking into t-shirt design through Teefury. Are there any art related dream projects or a certain type of art project that you feel like you'd still like or need to conquer?
A: My buddy Rog Petersen is an awesome comics maker. Even though I've done some comics for Meathaus, the PCS, Dark Horse, etc., I feel like I've never really made a good piece of sequential art. To me, it's one of the most challenging (and underappreciated) art forms. Rog and his work are a constant reminder that I really want to jump into comics head first and give it my all. I feel like I have stories to tell that go beyond one static image. It's just a matter of finding the time to make something decent.
Q: I know that you are also a big fan of film. Real simple question; What is your favorite film or films, and why?
A: I studied film at Temple University, so I like all kinds. But once again, I have to say it's the old-tymie stuff I like best. Although I love Cohen Brothers' stuff and many new films, I would have to say my top three would be Chaplin's "The Kid", "It's A Wonderful Life", and "Angels With Dirty Faces". I just love the era of my grandparents best I guess.