Halloween is almost upon us so we decided to sit down with the talented artist Scott Campbell to discuss his new book, The Great Showdowns. We also discussed his work on such video games as Psychonauts and Brutal Legend.
AMANDA DYAR: The Great Showdowns is a great new book that features artwork of the greatest confrontations in cinema history. Where did the original idea for Great Showdowns originate from, and what made you decide to release your art into its own book?
SCOTT CAMPBELL: The Great Showdowns began with 10 small candy sized paintings for the annual Crazy 4 Cult show at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles. A group show in which artists create work inspired by cult films. I enjoyed drawing my favorite film moments just standing around with each other. They looked like they were really enjoying themselves together because they were really quite pleased to be included in this line up of films. Every film often has numerous confrontations, whether a character versus a character or a character versus a situation. It’s just nice to see them all together in an army of nostalgia. I started the website as a way to make them on a more regular basis. I had always intended for people to be able to hold them in their hands and look through them all at once, so when the opportunity presented itself to compile them into a book i was mentally and emotionally prepared for it.
AMANDA: The book features over 140 pages of fantastic artwork and a great foreword from actor Neil Patrick Harris. Which of your many Great Showdowns pieces is your favorite and why? Also, how did Neil become involved in the project?
SCOTT: The Showdown from Ghost is my favorite. Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze sexily gazing upon the little clay dude with the smiling face standing on the pottery wheel. I like it because it is just so silly. The perfect amount of silly that i am quite proud of. Silly and incredibly sexy. But i also like the Point Break one a lot. And the Die Hard one. I like the ones with the smiling objects most, i guess. NPH was actually a collector of the Showdowns from the exhibition last year. He owns the original Muppet Movie painting and a few others. He emailed me to ask about the Showdown of him versus himself on a unicorn from Harold And Kumar Escape From Quantanamo Bay. I am honored that he would write such an amazing foreword. In exchange, i painted a showdown for him from his favorite film, CLUE. It was a real fun time. He is just an amazing guy.
AMANDA: An artist such as yourself would have to influence plenty of fans and aspiring artists around the world and have plenty of great stories to tell, so what is the most rewarding aspect of your job, and what is your favorite fan interaction you’ve had in your career so far?
SCOTT: Oh, man, i love meeting people who enjoy my work! Comic festivals and art shows are my favorite times to meet people. it really is incredibly rewarding to have people say that they have been inspired by my work. Or even that the just enjoy it. Every single time i hear from someone, i get super happy. Is there any better feeling than someone telling you that you are awesome? I don’t think there is! I’ve seen a number of tattoos of my work on bodies and that always pumps me up, but one fellow came to a reading and showed me his arm, completely covered in my paintings! That was a great thing to see. Little kids drawing their versions of my characters is always amazing. And something about having people in costume come up and enjoy my books and prints is especially great. I had two Boba Fett fans come by and holy moly that is a great feeling. Boba Fett is a very respectable person. Two Boba Fetts is even better.
AMANDA: You’ve also done some extensive work on two cult favorite video games in Psychonauts and Brutal Legend. Can you tell us about the work you did on Psychonauts and Brutal Legend and how you became involved with the projects?
SCOTT: My first job was at Lucas Learning as a background painter on educational Star Wars games. That is where i met and became bros with Tim Schafer, so when he left Lucas Arts to start Double Fine, he asked me to join him as Art Director. Our first game together was Psychonauts, the story of the psychic kid jumping into the minds of strange people. I oversaw the look of the game, designed all the characters and figments and such. Brutal Legend was a more epic undertaking, a game about a roadie pulled back in time to the age of metal where he must lead the human armies in an uprising against the demons. A very different visual style than Psychonauts. I oversaw the preproduction on that game and did concepts and various development stuff on that. Both were incredibly enjoyable to work on. Double Fine is a place full of very clever people.
AMANDA: You must stay busy working on Great Showdowns and plenty of other great art, so what other new projects have you worked on recently, what other projects do you have coming up and where can fans see more of your work?
SCOTT: Great Showdowns is an ongoing series at GreatShowdowns.com, but the rest of my work can be found at Pyramid Car. I recently finished a children’s book illustrating a Bob Dylan song called If Dogs Run Free, due out later next year. I have web comic at DoubleFine.com called Double Fine Action Comics. The second collection of those comics come out early next year from Oni Press. Oh, and there is an Art Of Brutal Legend book coming out soon from Udon Entertainment. Let’s see, what else. I sometimes paint the Showdowns live for people at LiveStream! You can find me there at times. And also on twitter as @scottlava. So yeah! lots of things!
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