Byron Rempel, an artist in Canada, hasn’t even done a book cover yet, but unlike other blogs & websites, we at The Zombiephiles don’t give a shit if people have “made it big” or been accepted by the mainstream (unlike The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, and the rest of the media that haven’t figured out what’s really behind our fascination with zombies). The zombie genre, which includes art, literature, movies – even baking, and then some, is more than just Max Brooks, mash-ups, and hip commercials using the undead to win over zombiephiles. We appreciate the “little guys” who throw themselves into their zombies (not literally, lucky for us), and share their gory visions with the rest of the zombie community.
At present, Byron Rempel is ambushing the internet with zombifications of unsuspecting users, launching campaigns with zombie kitties, and hoping to infect the comic community with his laid-back style. I can’t remember how we connected on Facebook, but I remember seeing some of his bizarre humor at various websites. I thought it was about time that we brought him here for a visit.
Q. How did you become an artist, or were you one already & just decided to try to make a career of it?
I never REALLY tried to make a career out of it until just recently. Before this year I was just flopping around waiting for something to happen. Now I started to make things happen for myself, and it’s been good. The whole art thing started in high school though, when my art teacher, the amazing Marcel Debreuil, inspired me enough to take up the challenge of fine tuning my crude skills. Nearly 20 years later, here we are.
Q. Why were you drawn to zombies (pun intended *waka waka*)?
I first began drawing zombies as a way to draw something, anything, at least once a day. To see if I could force myself to progress and get better. That’s when theDailyZombie began. I figured I’m a messy, sloppy and kinda shitty artist anyways, no one will notice how bad I am by drawing zombies. They’re already messed up anyways.
Q. How would you describe your creative style? What artistic tools do you prefer to use?
A. It’s a mess that gets better the messier it gets. I have tried to draw nice and smooth pretty lines but whenever I do the final image looks flat and dull. When I just let the ink fly and land where it may, the drawings seem to come to life. Mind you I might draw the same image 30 times in practice to get a good feel for what I want, but when it comes to the final image there is no erasing.
As for tools, I really love just using pen and paper, but I’m perfectly happy using crayons, fingerpaints, watercolors or whatever else I have on hand. I don’t have $ to buy the nice expensive high quality art supplies. I don’t think I ever have, and I’ve also never believed the tools make the artist. I sometimes work digitally but I don’t prefer it. There’s something about smearing paint with your fingers that appeals to me.
Q. Tell us about your website, iDrawZombies. Has the zombie kitty become your most popular project?
iDrawZombies is sort of a portfolio site, but it gets neglected because updating websites is a big pain in the ass. Overall though it is supposed to showcase my better work, my zombie portraits and all that jazz. But like I said, it’s neglected. My blog though is seeing more action. It’s getting updated nearly daily with little doodles here and there and a few blurbs about my day. Zombie kitties are an unexpected delight. They’re hella fun to draw and create, or destroy, however you want to look at it, and they’ve led to some interesting commissions. People seem to like my doodles and want me to draw their pets, both zombified and otherwise. Like I said, unexpected, but very happy to do it.
Q. Would you say that a large number of your fans are zombie authors or just zombiephiles in general?
I don’t think I have a large number of fans, but the ones I do have are mostly horror fans. I know a few authors like what I’m doing as well, but not that many. I’m trying to build up a fan base by doing random portraits on Google+ right now, of people not suspecting it. That seems to make people a little giddy with excitement, and its lots of fun.
Q. Do you have plans to feature your work at any of the upcoming Cons?
I would love to, but again, things like that cost money and my kids eat my money faster than I can make it. That being said, I’m really just starting out in this business and JUST started taking it seriously. So you never know.
Q. Did your high speed police escort have anything to do with a zombie outbreak?
Hahaha – I would say that it actually helped delay the outbreak by at least 2 years.