His work delighted and horrified the festival attendees who discovered him lurking in the depths of the Warner Grand Theatre the last time. Unnaturally, we caught up with him to see what's been happening to him since...
Lots of fun stuff happened since last year! Besides starting up a small art education company (www.liftoff-art.com), I've also started teaching business for artists at the Academy of Art University here in San Francisco and have loved it thus far! I also self-published a collection of my short horror fiction and my paintings called "From the Darkness Creeps". It was a pretty crazy yet fun process and you can pick up your copy at the fest or under the "Publications" section of my online store at www.rickkitagawa.com.
You're returning to the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Los Angeles. What were some of the popular items you had from last year? Did the attendees surprise you with what they liked?
I think the big seller for me was my brand-new-at-the-time Cthulhu screen printed necktie (which wasn't a huge surprise). It will definitely make it's return this year, and I'm experimenting with a glow-in-the-dark version, but it's still early to make a call on whether it'll be viable or if it'll just end up causing those seeing it to go utterly mad.
What can we look forward to this year from you?
This year I hope to have that glow tie, but I'll have my new book "From the Darkness Creeps," as well as hopefully a new print or two. I'm also working on a new monster tie design or two, which will most definitely be inspired by the mythos, if not a direct reference to it. I also have this neat new screen print I plan on bringing down of a creepy queen bee.
Who's been inspiring you lately?
I recently got to meet some of the creative minds behind Zerofriends (Alex Pardee, Dave Correia, and Jon Way$hak) down at Comic-Con this year, and while they've always been artistic inspirations, seeing how cool they are as people was also pretty inspiring. Otherwise, I've sort of been fueling my creative inspiration from my co-workers (who are badass printmakers) at the silkscreen shop I run.
What do you see as some of the toughest challenges in bringing forth a Lovecraftian vision from the Cthulhu Mythos?
I think the biggest challenges in keeping the Lovecraftian vibe as a visual artist is holding back on just painting tons of creepy monsters. While they're an integral part of the mythos, I always think that Lovecraft was more about implied cosmic horror and it's always challenging to try and build that atmosphere of fear and terror without going too nuts with the monsters.
When are you most satisfied with a piece?
A successful piece for me means that regardless of it's commercial appeal I'm super stoked for painting it. Usually this comes when I sort of tap into the muse and just improvise something - when I plan stuff out too much I think I end up borrowing too much from other artists and it ends up diluting the process of creating.
What's the strangest dream you've had lately?
I usually don't remember my dreams, but recently I dreamed that I was competing on a Korean variety show that I watch called "Running Man," but I was competing against these ten-foot-tall hulking monsters with jet black skin and no faces. Perhaps the stars are coming into alignment...
This year, the theme is Shadows Over Innsmouth. What was the big takeaway lesson from that story for you?
The big lesson for me from the story is that if you just go mad from encountering Lovecraft's world, you're probably pretty lucky. It's a lot better to be human and go crazy then find that your part of the mythos.
The idea of an inescapable lineage is one that totally fascinates me (my other favorite story is "Rats in the Walls"), even though I totally do not believe that we're tied to our genetic history. Maybe it's because I don't agree with it in real life that the idea that one's bloodline can be so epically horrific and life-changing is so fascinating in fiction.
Visit Rick at: http://www.rickkitagawa.com