Hey there, and welcome to the Phile. It's Saturday, kids. How are you? Alright, let's start off with a story from my home country. Northampton, England is being haunted by a "spooky clown" with red hair and a bunch of balloons. Nobody knows who this clown is or where he came from. They just know he's fucking terrifying. Police issued a warning after the nightmare-inducing clown was seen acting "suspiciously" on multiple occasions, and a vigilante who calls himself The Clown Catcher has vowed to rid the town of its clown problem. Really, though, the residents of Northampton should probably just pack up and move someplace else. It's not worth it. Haha. I have to show you a picture of this clown, this is real and this is what he looks like.
Northampton people, move to Clermont, Florida. The clown around here is me and I'm not scary. President Barack Obama announced yesterday that he and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had recently spoken with one another on the telephone. This marks the first time time the leaders of those two countries have had such direct communication since 1979. A 15 minute call between Obama and Iran's president may not sound big but it's longer than I've talked on the phone to any guy friend in 5 years. Did you hear this? A Chinese surgeon created a second nose on a man's forehead, using cartilage from the man's ribs, because apparently that's a thing that science now allows for. Dr. Guo Zhihui is planning to transplant this newly-constructed proboscis to the man's face as a replacement for his original nose, which apparently has been damaged badly-enough to make this ordeal worthwhile. How many more times will I have to look at a picture of a man growing a nose on his forehead before the internet will be happy? According to a recent taste test conducted by the Washington Post, the number on the price tag of salmon has little to do with its taste. Food connoisseurs were given samples of the fish, ranging in price from $20 a pound from high-end sources in places like Norway, Scotland and Chile to $6 a pound from the frozen food section Costco. In a terrible blow to food snobbery everywhere, the Costco salmon scored the highest. Many monocles were dropped into snifters of Grand Marnier. Former "30 Rock" star Alec Baldwin is very very intent on helping his wife Hilaria, who is pregnant with his child, with this yoga that she's doing for the camera. Apparently focusing all his energy on not blurting out any homophobic slurs at the cameraman or calling his unborn child a rude thoughtless little pig, Baldwin stares straight ahead into the middle distance while pressing into his wife's hips gently with his fingers facing toward himself. He remembers to breathe. Britney Spears has signed a two-year deal to perform at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. If you go to Vegas you don’t want to miss that show. They say seeing Britney in concert is the closest thing to seeing her sing live. Okay, I have to show you something that is pretty disturbing. Over in the Middle East they are selling shirts with a certain print on that will definitely piss any American or person with a soul off. This, kids, is 100% real.
When I saw this I was disturbed and I felt I had to show everybody. You can buy this shirt at Middle Eastern malls. Man, I want to punch that guy in his shit eating grin. In a recent radio interview, Barilla pasta chairman Guido Barilla said that he wouldn’t feature a gay family in a Barilla ad because his pastas are for a “classic family.” He added that anyone who didn’t agree could eat another pasta. Sounds good to us... bring on the Ronzoni! Anyway, I was surprised at this then saw a box of one of his products.
Idiot. So, I saw an ad for Stanley Tools the other day and I was very surprised...
What the hell I thought. Okay, and now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...
Top Phive Groups Of People Who Watched "Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D."
5. People who loved The Avengers, but wished it had no Avengers in it.
4. Fans hoping this will lead to another Avengers spin-off show, "Captain America's Got Talent".
3. People who like their superhero action cheap-looming and toned down for network television.
2. Joss Whedon fanatics... who would watch an episode of "Nightline" if he directed it.
And the number one group of people who watched "Agents if S.H.I.E.L.D." are...
1. Acronym aficionados.
If you spot the Mindphuck email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alright, it's Week 4 for the NFL season, so once again I have to talk football with my good friend Jeff. So, once again here's...
Me: Hey, Jeff. welcome back.
Jeff: It's always great to be back on the Phile.
Me: So, what's the latest news in the world of NFL?
Jeff: There isn't a whole lot of other news right now. Some really good games last week and then there was this one team that lost 38-0. I mean who loses that badly? Oh, sorry. It was the Giants.
Me: You brought it up, and I didn't want to. Let's talk about them Giants. What the fuck happened? I think they'll win this weekend beating Kansas City by six. Haha.
Jeff: None of our teams are doing well, but yeah that is just sad. It starts with Eli Manning. He has turned over the ball way too much. They also don't have anyone to run the ball. And as far as their defense goes, they are definitely missing Usi who is now in Atlanta
Me: Alright, so how did we do last week? Lori still beating us?
Jeff: As far as last week goes, Lori is still in the lead. She went 1-1. You also went 1-1. Then there is me... I went 0-2. And all three of our teams lost last week. So right now the standings are Lori has sixteen points, you have six points and I am sitting in last place with three points.
Me: Yes! I'm beating you! I call this the Tie-Breaker Year even Lori is taking part. Alright, this week's picks... I say Rams will win by six and Bears by eleven. What do you kids say?
Jeff: This week Lori picks the Chiefs by one point and the Colts by three points. My picks are Baltimore by seven and New England by three points.
Me: Alright, good luck and I will see you here next weekend.
Jeff: See you next week.
It's 4:54 pm, 80°F and Kelly and Will.i.Am are going to announce the American Music Awards nominations on October 10. The ceremony will broadcast live from Los Angeles on November 24th from 8:00 – 11:00 PM ET/PT on ABC.
Alright, a friend of the Phile wanted to come on with a story. Yep, it's that time. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man. It's time for...
Almost 5 o'clock, my freaky little darlings. Let the mayhem begin. An old friend asked if I wanted to meet her for a drink earlier. I guess she thought it would be cute to send me to a gay bar (thinking it would put me off). Mistake one. By the time she arrived, I'd gotten 3 phone numbers, 2 drinks bought for me and an invitation to see Kinky Boots next month... Bitch didn't know who she was fuckin' with.
Today's guest is the 35th artist to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Art Gallery, and has a cool sounding name. Please welcome to the Phile... Branko Vranic.
Me: Hello, Branko, welcome to the Phile, man. How are you?
Branko: Hey hey! I'm quite good. Thanks for having me!
Me: Man, I love your name. It's very Star Warsish. Does it mean anything?
Branko: Too many people get confused and call me Bruno. The name is a variation on the Slavic 'Branislav', which translates roughly to "glorious defender". Or something like that.
Me: I see. My name Jason means sexual healer. Where are you from, Branko?
Branko: I was born in Loznica, Serbia. At the age of 4, during the Yugoslavian war, I moved to Kutina, Croatia. I was there until 2000 when I moved to Canada.
Me: You live in Canada now? What part and what made you move from Croatia to Canada?
Branko: Kutina is about 100km from Zagreb, the capital. I regret never having seen the Croatian coastline. One day I hope to return and check it out, it looks amazing!
Me: Okay, let's talk about your artwork, which I have to say, of all the artists I interviewed here on the Phile your work is the most complex and detailed I have ever seen. How long does it take to do one piece? I am guessing years. Haha.
Branko: Usually it takes somewhere between one to two weeks.
Me: Your work is so freakin' detailed, how do you know if it's completed?
Branko: I totally don't think my work is detailed enough. I'm always working on trying to make the drawings more complex. It's completed when I get sick of it and am ultimately kind of underwhelmed. Then I come back to it later and say, "Yeah that's actually not too bad."
Me: Branko, when did you first descide to become an artist?
Branko: I was getting into graphic design in grade 12 or so. Illustration became a sort of natural extension of that. I went to college for design, and the best parts of that were the projects involving illustration. I still do commercial design from time to time, but maaaann it can be boring.
Me: Do you remember what your first published piece was?
Branko: I think I was in grade 12. I did a 'zine cover of a monster destroying a school bus. It looks terrible now. I actually may have purged it off my hard drive.
Me: I have no idea who your inspiration would be. For some reason though I am thinking R. Crumb. Are you aware of his work?
Branko: R. Crumb is great! I think I saw Fritz the Cat when I was 12 or so. I don't think it influenced me as much, but his stuff is always fantastic. The biggest influences for me are definitely Mike Mignola, Jean Giraud, and Hieronymus Bosch. Throw in a bit of Charles Burns and Mike Allred and that should cover it. I am by no means anywhere close to any of those guys, but I enjoy looking at their work the most.
Me: I first discovered your work when I saw the "Hail Sagan" piece which I showed here on the Phile last week. Were you a fan of Carl Sagan growing up?
Branko: I wasn't aware of Sagan until I saw Contact in 2003 or so. Even then I wasn't too familiar with him, up until a few years ago. That's not to say I wasn't fascinated by science early on. Back in Croatia, I would make trips to the public library and try to read "A Brief History of Time" by Hawking. I was 10 or 11 or so. I didn't understand squat though. It was still fascinating just to TRY and understand that stuff so early on. So I've always been fascinated by it even though I have a limited understanding of the math involved. I do regret not actively trying to understand the math, but now I understand my brain's not even wired that way, hah.
Me: What was the inspiration behind this piece?
Branko: Initially it was just Sagan's head with a pentagram behind him. It was intended for a small shirt run for people on a message board I frequent. I then got the idea to create a full on "baphomet" version of the poster inspired by Madame Talbot's design. The first variation of the design had Sagan with devil horns and wings. This was the design I submitted to Teefury, but they (rightly so) chose to remove the overtly Satanic imagery. I just thought it was a good pun, and wanted the whole thing to look comically evil.
Me: I noticed a lot of comments that said the word Ockham is spelt wrong. It isn't, right? What is an Ockham anyway?
Branko: See, the reason I chose Ockham is because it sounds more ancient, and made sense with the baphomet/occult design. However, people sure did put up a fuss over that. It IS correct. Unfortunately, certain Americans sometimes don't understand that there are alternate spellings for words. Just look at the way British people spell skeptic (sceptic). I'm sure my understanding of the concept is slightly naive, but I understand it as a principle where out of two hypotheses a simpler explanation is often the correct one because it does away with unnecessary assumptions. But yeah, OCKHAM is correct. The name of the village William of Ockham was born in is spelled just that. There were so many comments that I considered changing it to Occam in the upcoming shirt reprint. But I'm keeping it as it was. My heart jumped when the first comment about that was posted. I quadruple checked before I submitted the design, but it made me so paranoid.
Me: I noticed you have quite a few pieces with sharks on them. I am guessing they are one of your favorite animals. Is animal a right word? Would a shark be a fish or mammal? Anyway, there has to be a reason you use sharks a lot.
Branko: Sharks are fish and they are awesome. They terrify me but are fun to draw. I've drawn sharks because I have a loose idea for a comic book where a shark astronaut explores the icy/watery moon Europa. It was going to be sort of like 2001: A Space Odyssey/Altered States, but with a shark.
Me: You have done a number of band posters, Branko. I'll show one here...
Me: How did you first start to get into that?
Branko: I started going to punk shows at an early age. Over time I befriended people who would promote shows, and somehow I started drawing posters for them.
Me: Are they local Ontario bands you do them for?
Branko: All the posters so far have been for shows that are local, yeah. Sometimes the bands are from the States, though. I would love to do posters for venues outside of my city too.
Me: Does the band or venue tell you what to draw or do you have to come up with it? How do you do that?
Branko: So far every person was okay with whatever I drew.
Me: What music and bands do you like, Branko?
Branko: Mostly 60s and 70s heavy psychedelic and progressive rock. So bands like Hawkwind, Stray, Master's Apprentices, Captain Beyond, etc. I buy a ton of vinyl, so that has kind of taken over my life. Drawing and record collecting, that's me.
Me: I love drawing and record collecting as well. You have done an album cover or two as well, am I right?
Branko: I've done a couple by now, yeah. Album covers are always super fun to draw, if a little frustrating.
Me: Who did you do that for?
Branko: Mostly for my friend Kyle who is in a band called Wayfarer. I've done a few others too. They've all been for vinyl releases so far. It's great because the canvas is so much larger than a CD insert.
Me: Okay, I have to ask what tools do you use? I am guessing you don't use computers like most artists do these days. Am I right?
Branko: I actually do... haha! It's still all drawn by hand though, just with a Wacom tablet. I recently got a new Cintiq which allows me to draw directly on the screen. So much better! As for software, I use Photoshop almost exclusively.
Me: Okay, Branko, if you were gonna design a logo for the Phile, what would it look like?
Branko: Hard question! When I design logos I almost always go for the slick and simple type based solution. I guess that's my college training. So it'd be something like that. I dig the logo you have now, it reminds me of the Monty Python's Crimson Permanent Assurance short. What with the filing cabinet cannons and everything.
Me: Hmmm... never thought of that. Branko, thanks very much for being here on the Phile. Please come back again. In the meantime, go ahead and plug your websites and everything.
Branko: Hey, thanks a ton for the interview! I really do appreciate it! Brankovranic.ca, email@example.com if anyone wishes to contact me directly.
Me: All the best, Branko. Take care.
Branko: You too and thanks again!!
There, that about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Jeff Trelewicz, Laird Jim and of course Branko Vranic. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Jeff Smith, lead singer for the band The Hickoids and then on Sunday English singer Sarah Williams White. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Strawberry Blondes Forever!