Meet the man behind, Happycloud Thunderhead. He has a beard, makes cute monsters and draws them too. Let's hear what he has to say.
S- Tell us a bit about yourself and your work?
HCTH- I am an artist. I live in Wisconsin. I used to live in Seattle. I have a beard and a cat. Her name is Lulu (my cat, not my beard. His name is Larry). My plush toys, dolls and illustrations are characters from the imaginary fantasy land of Thunderhead Kingdom and the elf village of Happycloud. That’s why I call it Happycloud Thunderhead. I make a variety of monsters, elves, heroes, heroines, sorcerers, goblins, creatures, etc…
S- I see you have a degree in the fine arts. What drew you to making plush?
HCTH- I didn’t quite get a degree, I did go to a private art college in Seattle for a few years and I really learned a lot there. My fine art work deals with abstracting found images and collage.
When I was a kid, I really wanted to be a cartoonist. Then, I saw the book Jazz, by Henri Matisse and I became obsessed with fine art. Although, most of my early paintings were of weird monsters and creatures. It has kind of come around full circle returning to monsters and an interest in illustration. I sort of started making plush on a whim, I just wanted to see what I could do with it; I enjoy a challenge. I tried it, really liked it, and I’ve stuck with it. Plush and illustration are now occupying way more time than art, and instead of separate interests I find my self thinking up ways to blend it all together.
S- It always seems like people are drawn to monsters. Why do you think that is?
HCTH- I think people like the idea that something which should be scary is instead very cute and fun; its silly and ironic. I think its good for kids to fight off the boogie man or monsters under the bed, having their own monster friend to protect them. I like monsters because they fit so well into the fantasy theme. I find myself coming up with lots of different personalities and stories for them. Most of my monsters live in the Forgotten Forest.
S- Where do you think we will see your monsters 10 years from now?
HCTH- I hope to have a line of toys in stores. I want to write some children’s adventure story books. I plan to continue working on my illustration and art. I may explore the notion of opening my own toy store.
S- What is your favorite kind of monster and why?
HCTH- Um, I don’t know. I like cute monsters. Like Gizmo, ET, or Ewoks…er, well, those are aliens but you know what I mean. I can’t stand scary movies, my imagination is to active and I scare myself to easily. I don’t know that I have a real favorite. I have a few monster characters that I want to write stories for but no one will know; Zog, Grum Grum or Krazzug Jr. If I have to pick, I’m gonna say Mer-man from the original 80’s cartoon He-man and the Masters of the Universe.