A couple of weeks ago, we featured our favorite images from the Hipster Animal series by Dyna Moe. We found her work so rib-tickling and spot on that we reached out to her for an interview. With a lightning quick turn-over, Dyna submitted the following answers to our eager inquiries.
H2P: If you would be so kind, would you tell us a bit about yourself (age, location, artistic background)?
DM: I’m a comedy writer, freelance illustrator, and I teach improvised comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. I live in the East Village of Manhattan, located directly between the hipster meccas of the Lower East Side and Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
The East Village’s native population of hipsters went extinct about the time “RENT” opened on Broadway. It’s full of NYU dorms now.
H2P: What was the creative impetus for your Hipster Animals project? Are the hipster animals ever based on people you know in real life that have animal-like qualities?
DM: I had been illustrating for Mad Men for the previous three years — I can draw a guy in a suit with slicked back hair with both eyes closed. I did a book and designed the pieces for the Mad Men Yourself webtoy. I was pretty burnt out. When the show went on hiatus last year (editor’s note: it’s baaaaack!), I suddenly had no work at all, so I wanted a project that was as far away from Mad Men as I could get. Something really young and modern and silly.
I had rediscovered Richard Scarry while researching 60s book illustrators for Mad Men and thought a contemporary take on his animal-people could be interesting. In his books like “Best Word Book Ever” and “What Do People Do All Day?” there’s lively scenes with animal-people running specialty shops (boutiques, butchers, bookstores, etc.) in buildings with Victorian bric-a-brac — could easily be a street in Brooklyn or Portland or any other hipster center. I checked around on the web to see if it had been done before and nothing came up, so I set up a tumblr in April 2011.
A lot of hipster jokes and hipster-bashing online are really repetitive. It’s just glasses and being arrogant. I try to push the accuracy a little more since I live amongst them.
“She knits sweaters out of 100% organic local cat fur.”
H2P: What has the general response been to your Hipster Animals project?
DM: The tumblr site was very popular right away, faster than I was ready for it. I had 3000 subscribers in the first month or two. I got a fan letter from David Cross in the first weeks (editor’s note: I’d like to read THAT!). A couple of offers of people who wanted to make it into a book, a webseries, a TV cartoon, etc etc. But like a lot of stuff that goes viral, it cooled down a lot and I have a slow and steady following.
H2P: Are there other websites with an animal focus that you look at or draw inspiration from (no pun intended…)?
DM: Wikipedia to start. I look up a broad category like hummingbirds or antelope or something, and see how many different kinds there are. If there’s one I like, I’ll put the species name into google image search or flickr to get reference images.
“Try my balsamic vinaigrette flavored gin.”
If you can’t get enough of Dyna’s Hipster Animals project, check out her personal website for more of her awesome work. Thanks again to Dyna for taking the time from her busy schedule to rap with us…
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