Interview: The Artist of Garbage Pail Kids Creates Some New, Grosser Stickers

Hey, remember Garbage Pail Kids? The gross, punny trading cards that played as an anarchic counterpoint to the Cabbage Patch Kids craze of the ‘80s? Or am I dating myself too much? Anyway, John Pound, the artist who drew the majority of the original Kids is back, along with fellow alt artist Adam White to release a new line of ridiculous stickers, taking on anyone from Sarah Palin, to Skeletor*. We chatted with Pound and White about their sticker project, the artistic process, and what famously serious indie creator was responsible for Garbage Pail Kids in the first place:

MTV Geek: Okay, tell us about this sticker pack... How'd you guys end up collaborating on it?

John Pound: Two years ago Adam started compiling an art book (with the working title of SHIN SPLINT), with artwork by various artists. I sent him some personal paintings, some randomly-generated code art prints, and also a couple unpublished commissioned paintings.

While waiting to place the art book project with the right publisher, Adam came up with an idea to publish a set of stickers. He worked up two new designs, but my time and attention was needed on other projects. So I said to Adam, if you can adapt some of the art I sent you for the art book, those could be my stickers. Surprise me.

Months later, when I had forgotten all about the sticker project, and Adam sent me two images of new stickers he'd made from my unpublished commissioned paintings. One was a Garbage Pail Kids-style "Heman and Skeletor" design, and the other was a GPK-style Sarah Palin parody/portrait. Suddenly the sticker project was ready to print.

Adam White: I think John pretty much covered it. :) Also, he and I worked on a Garbage Pail Kid spoof card a few years ago that did well. The front, hand painted in his classic GPK style, and the back a short comic by me. Just like the originals stickers, center peel out and all.

Geek: Talk about each of the characters in the pack, what went into designing them?

AW: It was fate. As John was creating Garbage Palin and Wee man I was 1700 miles away working on Sickey Louse and Barf Tator, unknowing we were both creating pop icon spoofs.

I've always wanted to do an unusual surreal take on Mickey Mouse and over the years have drawn up at least 10 different concepts. Mickey Mouse is instantly recognizable just from his silhouette, and Darth Vader already has 2 feet in the darkside. In the end taking these 2 familiar faces and combing them with Johns characters of old and new pop culture, to make an interesting combo of weird you would be proud to stick on your Trapperkeeper™.

Geek: When you design a one off character like this, how much back story do you - as an artist - need to create in your head? Or not a whole lot?

AW: It's a free for all! The more chaotic the better! GRRRR!!!

Geek: John, I know you designed the majority of the original Garbage Pail Kids, which even now seem to be immensely popular. What do you think caused their lasting appeal?

JP: For doing Garbage Pail Kids, Art Spiegelman (of Topps) asked for grossness, shock value, rebelliousness, exaggeration, humor, and pushing people's buttons. What I added to the mix was to paint each character with feeling and with love. Despite the "yucch" factor, I also wanted them to feel good to look at. (Mixed messages, to keep things interesting.)

Geek: What else are you two working on going forward - together and/or separately?

JP: Lately, I'm working on some experimental art books, created by writing code. They're randomly-generated sketchbooks. (I don't have them on my website yet.) And I'm hoping to see a copy of Adam's SHIN SPLINT art book someday. The photos I saw looked great.

AW: A variety of wacky and weird collaborations ahead. John and I think a lot alike when it comes to art. If the before mentioned Shin Splint sees daylight it includes artwork by Devendra Banhart, Travis Millard, Michael Sieben, and Neil Krug, as well a ton of other amazing illustrators and photographers!

A few things coming up in JUXTAPOZ Magazine, and a couple pages in a book put out by Beautiful Decay Magazine.

Also, I hope to do more animation projects. I was fortunate enough to work on a video with The Faint, and got the bug. Music videos, movie titles, and commercials would be a lot of fun. I love seeing an idea set in motion, literally.

You can order the Slime Time Snack Pack 1 at, with every twenty-five packs randomly signed by the artists. So buy twenty-five, right?

*”What is the difference, am I right?” – A Stand-Up Comic Who Isn’t Right

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