Lourds: A lot of your artwork has some trippy imagery... flying eyeballs,
colorful mushrooms, devil bees. Joe, the world wants to know... Do you do
Joe: No Drugs. Actually, if I took anything I'd probably wind up drawing
straight lines and boring landscapes.
Lourds: What's your drink of choice?
Joe: Cookies & Cream Soda.
Lourds: How many drinks does it take for you to get drunk?
Joe: I can get smashed on a teaspoon of zima, I'm a lightweight, no fat to absorb
Lourds: How often does that happen?
Joe: I don't get drunk much, but probably more often than my friends would like
to see. Nobody wants to hear operatic renditions of 80's sitcom theme songs. Silver
Lourds: Do you have any vices you want to admit?
Joe: I'm admitting nothing just yet. I'll reveal it all in the movie about the
rise & fall and eventual downward collapse of my existence.
Lourds: You get really punk rock with your cartoons... A lot of your characters
have intense piercings, tattoos, wild make-up. Are you influenced by punk
rock? Anyone in particular?
Joe: Punk bands have always been an inspiration to me from a very early age.
Misfits were the biggest influence. I make sure to have my art emote the philosophy
of punk. In your face imagery, speed, and a splashes of twisted humor.
Lourds: Hey, do you personally have any piercings or tattoos?
Joe: No piercings, no tats - that's old school. I prefer surgical body altered
mutilation and self-scarification.
Lourds: Cool, man. I personally go for the new method of gouging your
skin until you hit veins and arteries and letting all your inner tubes hang out.
It's quite beautiful, actually...
Joe: You're so twisted.
Lourds: When and why did you start doing poster art for rock bands?
Joe: I started by doing posters for friendís bands as fun. It eventually led
to more local bands, and then snowballed from there.
Lourds: Do you choose the bands you work with or do you just try to get to
everybody who calls you?
Joe: I can now work at home, and work on art all day and night, which is my dream
job. Currently, I have a lot of freelance work coming in. Enough, to the point that
I do need to prioritize appropriate bands, and stick to the ones that genuinely want
to use my art. Occasionally, I'll still get a band that thinks I do this as a hobby,
and want to get free stuff outta me. Sorry rock stars, I need to eat.
Lourds: Is there any famous rock band that you're doing work for now who
you idolized as a kid?
Joe: GWAR. I just did their 2004 Tour poster. They are totally an artists' band.
I always appreciated the work and elaborate designs that went into their stage shows.
I can't believe I'm working with these guys now.
Lourds: What does it take to do one full color poster and deliver it to a
Joe: I would say a week, just because of all the other work I have going on at
Lourds: While you're creating, do you listen to music? What kind of music?
Joe: Where I work is where I live, so I've pretty much gone hours and hours of
listening to every genre of musical style. Right now I cater towards Darkwave/Gothic
Industrial. It's just an extension of Punk in a way. Most goths in my generation
grew up with a punk background as kids. Darkwave specifically for the most part is
still in the underground, so there's a lot more experimentation going on that's just
refreshing to hear.
Lourds: Do you dance ever? If so, to what music?
Joe: Well, the Batcave is a good club for all the vampires to hang upside-down
at. As far as dancing, I'll occasionally go into convulsions of some sort of seizureatic
fit, but I wouldn't call it dancing.
Lourds: What's your favorite color?
Lourds: Do you use this color a lot in your work?
Joe: Not in a lot of work. Only when it's special. And I don't mean in the "re-re"
Lourds: Walk me around your apartment as if I've never been there. What's
on the walls, what's on the shelves? What movies do you own?
Joe: On my walls I have bricks, on my shelves I have dust, and I own a lot
of horror movies
Lourds: You forgot the millions of boxes of Garbage Pail Kids trading cards
from the 80's. And they still have the gum in them! That's my favorite
part of your apartment and in my opinion, is so in keeping with your style of art...
the dark, twisted humor, the vibrant colors, the cute yet horrifying aspect to
the cards... AND the stale gum...
Joe: ahh, yes the GPK's. Whenever anyone visits I make sure they get to take
home at least 1 free pack.
Lourds: Yeah, I'm STILL chewing the gum from the pack you gave me last
year. So what's your favorite genre of movie to rent?
Joe: Horror, what else?
Lourds: What's your all-time favorite movie?
Joe: Toss up between Texas Chainsaw Massacre and MASK- (the one about the deformo
boy Rocky Dennis, not the Jim Carrey scrud flick)
Lourds: You're talking about the older and WAY CREEPIER version of Texas Chainsaw
Massacre... Not the recent Hollywood re-make, right?
Joe: Absolutely. The original of course!
Lourds: What's your all-time favorite song?
Joe: Happy Birthday
Lourds: What's in your CD player now?
Joe: nothing, my CD player's busted. All my music is illegally downloaded
Lourds: OK, what song is in heavy rotation on your computer?
Joe: A lot of darkwave and ebm stuff. CruxShadows, Kovenant, Apoptygma BerzerkÖ
Lourds: Do you think there is a NYC poster scene? If so, what characterizes
the "Joe Simko" style of poster art that makes you different from the rest?
Joe: I don't see a strong NY poster scene. There are a few poster artists in
NY, but primarily bands like to use the boring photo shot of the group trying to
look all cool. If I saw 2 show posters from bands I never heard of, and one had art
of a Space-zombie chicken dressed as a robot eating a fried gummie skull on a stick
and the other poster had a glamour photo shot of a band, I'd go for the zombie chicken
poster. Though the band will probably suck, at least they suckered me into the club
with that poster!
With my style I just make it a point to have the art look fun to me. I try to think
what art would've looked cool to me as a kid. Would I buy this poster in a store?
Ummm...probably not, but I still have fun doing it. I know tons of artists, and a
lot of them hate drawing. And it shows in their style. It's like they're struggling
to get it over with. I love doing art, and am constantly creating. Even when I have
a break between jobs, I'll need to just puke out some art for myself, or for friends.
Lourds: Yes, you do and I can attest to that! You can TOTALLY tell
the difference between people who do art with passion because they LOVE it, because
the ARE it, as opposed to the people who do it for glory or for money. I'm
so with you, brother. No matter what, I know we will ALWAYS be doing what
we're doing because we LOVE to do it. There are no other options for us.
That's why, I think, we get along so well. Either that, or because we
both are anti-social nerds with a penchant for horror flicks...
Joe: Hahaha, yeah you got it.
Lourds: So, did any other artist or painter affect you and/or influence your
Joe: The self-proclaimed cartoon messiah, Vaughn Bode.
Lourds: How has your painting style changed over the years? What did
it used to look like?
Joe: My style used to be abhorrently sucky, now thank god, it's just moderately
Lourds: Yeah, ok, Joe... Do you have any other artistic outlet besides poster
art... paint, sculpt, write, create films...
Joe: The movie ideas are all on the back burner for now, but will be made soon.
I paint when I can. I did some painting last weekend in fact. The walls to my apt.
I call it "off-white"
Lourds: I know one artistic outlet that few people know about. Tell
everybody about your rock band that I had the special privilege of hearing. What
was the name of your band and the name of the style of music it is.
Joe: uhhgg... that was a horrible piece of trash that never should've been born.
Yet it was still my diseased little baby, and I named it "Clogged Arteries".
It started as a bedroom band and died just in time to save the world from ever hearing
or seeing us play live. We had 30-second songs about puke and sitcoms. I labeled
the music style as Death-Pop.
Lourds: It's just a recording, right? What did you do on the record --
what instruments, vocals?
Joe: I did the writing, lead screams, and lead guts. I somehow manipulated
other people to play drums and bass for me. We made 3 tapes and 1 CD. There was over
100 songs total.
Lourds: Would you ever play out live with your band?
Joe: Maybe one day I'll do a debut show that'll also be our final farewell show.
Gotta find the right musicians that don't mind caking themselves in blood, powdered
sugar, and frankenberry cereal..... Hey Lourds, wanna job?
Lourds: Frankenberry and blood! Woohoo! Count me in!
For a long time, I thought "Sweetrot" was your last name, but it's actually
the name of your company. What does it mean?
Joe: It means "last name" in Hungarian. Actually, I always liked
the idea of mixing opposites together. Fine Art and Cartooning. Humor and
Tragedy. Sweetness and Rottenness. When I do my art, I want the form of the style
to take on an inviting quality while the subject matter may be much darker and bizarre.
Granted I have to accommodate this artistic format when creating works for certain
clients. But when I'm working on my own specific pieces, I want that "style",
the form to look like sweet squishy fun, like tasty fluorescent candy, or a bright
Saturday morning cartoon, yet the subject matter, the function of the work itself
is decaying and rotting underneath. There's always gotta be something disturbing
bubbling below the surface.
Lourds: My favorite character is the main character in your children's book.
Tell us about him so people can fully grasp your sinister plan to twist the minds
of impressionable youngsters everywhere! How old is he supposed to be?
Does "Pukeboy" have any piercings or tattoos?
Joe: I'll wait on exposing him to the world just yet...
Lourds: So little by little, you're getting more and more recognition for
your hard work and talent Tell me about this ART OF MODERN ROCK book that's
Joe: The Art of Modern Rock Book is a hardcover book featuring over 350 poster
artists from around the world. It's set to be released by Nov. I'm definitely honored
to be a part of this book.
Lourds: What's your website, Joey Joe?
Lourds: How much of a fucking genius do I think you are? (OK, you don't
need to answer this.)
Joe: Well, sorry that I've failed your expectations. Are we done? I need to get
bombed. Bring on the Zima!