Q: “What’s with the gnome on the pig?”
A: “Well, I got him on eBay.”
Some time ago, I was asked by the band Less Than Jake to create a t-shirt design for them (before accusing me of associating myself with a reasonably successful band know , that this is a story of failure and rejection). I’m not sure why, but the pig-riding gnome is what I submitted to them. The only explanation I have is the following: personally, I am quite fond of garden gnomes, and have been, long before the Travelocity gnome hit the big time (I’m no gnome poser). Also, I’m a big fan of pigs, both as cute oinking slobs and as breakfast accompaniments (it’s an ethical struggle of mine). Around the time that I was brainstorming for the Less Than Jake illustration, I had my eye on an eBay auction of a garden gnome riding a pig. Garden gnomes are one of my favorite eBay searches. Is that weird?
Knowing that Less Than Jake would never go for a t-shirt featuring a cutesy garden gnome on a pig, I decided that there needed to be a twist. Some sort of modification was in order. Apparently, with my creativity at peak performance, I thought, I’ve got it! Rock and roll bands love skulls, how about a garden gnome riding a pig, but with a skull for a face.
Well, I didn’t win the eBay auction and the Less Than Jake guys politely declined using my illustration. In hindsight, I can clearly see that I was blinded by my own gnome fixation. Often when creating art for a client, the artist has to negotiate the fine line between their own aesthetic preferences and the clients’. In this instance, the artists preference won the battle. That is my story of failure and rejection. Yet still I plod forward. In fact I am a stronger man for it all, and I choose to use the Death Gnome as my personal mascot.
My obsession with garden gnomes remains. I sense that some people might find it a bit strange. To ease any concern for my mental health, I’d like to share a photo of Kurt Vonnegut sitting in his garden with a pig-riding gnome perched on a door above his head. So it would seem that Kurt and I shared an appreciation for kitschy German yard decorations. And nobody ever accused him of being weird.
I suppose I’d be a delinquent capitalist if I failed to mention that Teaessare Death Gnome shirts are available for purchase at Spreadshirts.