There’s a lot of posers in the world, and being lame is actually easier than ever. Want to find the best punk band? Rip off an interesting artist? Meet Instagram—the shithead’s guide to being cool. The only positive that’s come out having everything at our fingertips, is that when people actually are talented, it’s easier to find. That’s how we stumbled on Bristol illustrator Russell Taysom, whose colorful illustrations mix ’90s cartoon characters with over-the-top gore, creating a cynical (and slightly disgusting) punk rock world. With his zine, Flabby Dagger, and on social media, the 30-year-old shares his cast of creepy, dripping characters as they get drunk, go to shows and pretty much hate the world. And that’s exactly why we love them.
BULLETT caught up with the U.K. artist, just in time for Halloween. View some of his most grotesque characters (like The Donald), and read our interview, below.
Name: Russell Taysom
Location: Bristol, England
Favorite people to follow on Instagram:
Favorite thing to draw:
I like drawing gore. I was interested in doing special effects as a kid, until everything got replaced with CGI. So, I feel like when I’m drawing gore it’s like special effects for comics.
Least favorite thing to draw:
I can’t really draw like a nice cartoon version of someone. I can do a gross picture of them, though.
Beavis or Butthead?
Beavis—doesn’t everyone like Beavis best? I read even Mike Judge likes did. I wish I liked Butthead more, but I just don’t No one does.
Ramones or Lou Reed?
The Ramones all day.
Iggy Pop or Glenn Danzig?
Glenn Danzig. Iggy Pop is a bourgeois asshole. Danzig is cool as fuck, although if you’re judging them by their solo careers I’d have to take Iggy Pop.
If you had to get one artist’s work tattooed on your face, who would it be?
Robert Crumb—is that too obvious? Maybe I’d get a Jim Davies tattoo like Garfield—my eyes could be his balls, and my nose could be his cock.
How’d you get into illustration?
Through doing posters for friends’ bands. That book Fucked Up & Photocopied was a huge inspiration to me. Before that, Iron Maiden artwork and then right back to Tom and Jerry, Roadrunner and Garfield—they were my inspirations.
Who else inspires you?
Frank Kozik, Daniel Johnston, Robert Crumb and Daniel Clowes are artists I like. Otherwise, I like bootleg toy packaging, old computer game covers (like Commodore 64 era), cartoons on fruit boxes, everything Troma and The Sucklord has been my favorite artists for the last year or so.
You also use a lot of ‘90s cartoon references. Why?
When I talk, I’ll reference things from TV and film in relation to how I feel about my own life. So, it’s just a visual version of that. I grew up in the ‘90s and I watched a lot of TV—a lot of it, because I lived in the country and hated the outdoors. I like drawing Garfield and Beavis and Butthead and stuff, but I also like putting some forgotten characters in my artwork, like old computer game characters or bad guys from Street Sharks.
Another one of your recurring characters is Hulk Hogan. What’s that about?
Long before I actually got to see any wrestling, I had all these wrestling cards with all the different characters on them, and I used to imagine all these scenarios and a whole world they existed in. My favorite wrestlers are the ones where the character is their job, like the Repo Man, The Mountie or Tugboat, who was a guy that was the captain of a tugboat but was also called that.
What does punk mean to you?
High concepts mixed with total stupidity.
What attracted you to the genre in the first place?
The town I grew up in was small, but it had a pretty good punk scene. Growing up, I mostly listened to cockrock and ‘80s metal. But when I started going out and seeing bands, I got much more into punk for the music, the performances and the whole DIY scene, with zines and stuff. I still like metal but only at my house or a pub—I don’t want to go and see some dickweed playing in a stadium.
You have your zine, Flabby Dagger. What made you want to start it?
My friend Charlie and I used to work for a painter called Raqib Shaw. He didn’t get up ‘til like 4pm everyday and there was a photocopier in the studio. We both made zines when we were kids, so we just started making a zine for something to do whilst we waited for him. Since we left, we carried on and got our friends involved and a bunch of people we’re fans of.
What do you want people to take away from your work?
I want to inspire people to do their own shit—if they like my stuff they, should make their own, and if they hate my stuff, they should make something better.