An interview with Butcher Billy – RIPT Apparel’s featured artist for January 2015

For the month of January, RIPT Apparel has been featuring a fresh face from Brazil known as Butcher Billy.  We came across his work for the first time in early December of 2014 and we had to featured him.  Luckily, Mr. Billy was game for us to feature him and gave us free reign of his awesome portfolio.  What you saw over the past month was a store featuring eight of his Post-Punk Comic book covers as posters, as well as a few other items.  These items will only be available for sale until February 1st, 11:59 PM CST so there’s not much time left!  You can see the full store by clicking here. We conducted a quick interview with Butcher Billy below.

RIPT Apparel presents Post-Punk Comics by Butcher Billy

RIPT: Where did you get your artist name, Butcher Billy?  Is it in reference to anything or just a nickname you developed yourself?
My father was a butcher and a fiend and one night he goes off crazier than usual. Mommy takes his butcher knife. He doesn’t like that, not one bit. So, me watching, he takes the knife laughing while he does it. He turns to me and he says “Why so serious!? 😛

RIPT: What is the art scene like down in Brazil?  Do you get the same amount of attention locally as you seem to do online?
The market is full of incredibly talented artists and not much space. The same with the music industry or any other industry that involves arts. I guess talent hasn’t been enough for a long time now – you have to come up with something truly new and amazing that blows people’s minds to make them pay attention. I certainly get a lot more attention internationally than in my own country, but that seems to be changing slowly. My works have a lot of vintage influences, but I just love the potential of the web to be able to google my name and see a blog in Tokyo posting an art series of mine, or find an Instagram picture of a girl in Slovakia proudly wearing a t-shirt I designed.

RIPT: What is your process for creating a piece or series of pieces?
It all starts usually with drunk sketches on napkins from sleazy bars. When I happen to find any of those in my pocket when sober, I use Adobe tools to get things done with it 🙂 I’m actually a frustrated graffiti artist, so what I do is to basically try to emulate digitally what those guys would do on walls – adding my own ideas, of course.

RIPT: It seems like you faithfully emulate a lot of pop-culture source material and then put the old Butcher Billy twist on it.  How do you get such vivid shapes, lines, and color combinations?
I’m actually an experienced graphic designer and creative director on my day job – but as Butcher Billy I choose to keep things as simple as possible, using very basic color palettes from vintage video games and comic books, as well as old visual concepts in order to create a style that stands out – drawing heavily on nostalgia while, at the same time, providing the audience with a fresh take.

RIPT: For the Post-Punk Comics series we featured, what gave you the idea to place these iconic new-wave and post-punk icons in the shoes of DC’s Super Friends?
I first had the idea of drawing Morrissey as Superman because of the glasses, the chin and the “S” that could easily stand for “Smiths” if seen in that way – not to mention the status of saint-ity that Moz seem to inspire in people – that would match not only the visual aspect of it but also the psychological. Then I realized I could expand that idea into a full project, since Ian Curtis personality started making so much sense as Batman. From that to a whole Justice League of Post-Punk, it was just a step.

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RIPT: What kind of events or special commissions have been requesting work from you recently? When Nintendo World, the official magazine for the japanese video game giant in Brazil, invited me to bring my personal vision to one of the greatest company’s characters, I couldn’t be happier. Been a retro gamer since the NES times, I take games as a form of art and one of my inspirations in pop culture along with cinema, tv, comics, music and others. There was also the selection of a piece for a limited edition official poster for Peter Hook & The Light american tour – Joy Division and New Order are such huge influences on my work – so it felt like coming full circle.

RIPT: Do you have a favorite piece of your own that you wish got a little more attention?
There are several actually. I quite like my Beth Ditto X Kirby piece, but I understand how weird it might be for people in general 🙂

RIPT: This featured artist sale was your first time featured at RIPT Apparel.  What is your impression of the whole crowd-sourced design-a-day business model that many companies are embracing now?  Would you recommend it?
It felt great to have all that attention on a daily basis for a whole month. Everywhere I looked I was seeing my name and pieces whether I was on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. The crowd-sourced design-a-day business model is a great way to offer new products to the consumer every single day and at the same time give a lot more chances to artists and illustrators to show their work to a broad audience.

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RIPT: We couldn’t agree more!  Do you have any upcoming series you can give us a sneak peek at?
It’s not something I already started, but I find myself very much addicted to The IT Crowd episodes recently – I’m sure I’m gonna come up with something 🙂

RIPT: Who is your favorite Street Fighter character, other than Blanka of course?
I quite like Chun-Li – I use to pay a lot of attention to those leg movements when I was a teenager 🙂

RIPT: If you had to give Darth Vader the Butcher Billy treatment, how would he be portrayed?
For some reason Star Wars is a bit of a sacred territory to me – although I did portray Kim Jon-Un as Anakin Skywalker on my Friend or Foe series.

RIPT: Which film do you think will win the 2015 Oscar Best Picture Award?
I haven’t really watched Birdman yet but I think it’s about time for Michael Keaton to shine.

RIPT: Any shout outs to other artists?
Divide people. Make them hate you and love you at the same time. This is for me what it means to be a true artist.

RIPT: If you had one piece of advice for a young fan of Butcher Billy who would like to be at your level some day, what would it be?
Don’t buy drugs. Become a famous artist and they’ll give you for free 🙂

Well there you have it!  RIPT Apparel would like to thank Butcher Billy for being our first featured artist in 2015.  We hope everyone enjoyed his pieces as much as we did and we hope to see him back at RIPT again very soon!

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