Ridge Rooms is an illustrator and consumer product designer who combines her film school background and love of mid-century design and advertising to create movie-and-TV-themed artwork with a retro flair. Previously an in-house designer for Peanuts, Barnes & Noble, and Pepsi, Ridge relocated from New York City to a sleepy little Victorian tourist town in the Midwest where she owns a pop art boutique called The Mascot Syndicate. Since she covers a ton of nerdy topics, we thought it would be a perfect time to sit down and chat.
Deathlocker: Ridge it’s great to get chance to chat a little and help promote your new print for Patton Oswalt’s upcoming show in St Louis (December 18). How have things been?
Ridge: OK I guess. Trying to get a bunch of things off the ground like getting my brick-and-mortar art boutique remodeled so it can reopen and trying to land some book clients, etc. I’m kinda in a transitional point of my career, I think. I get bored if I’m not challenged, so I’m trying to find some challenging new assignments and clients.
Deathlocker: I have found that distractions can cure boredom. A great distraction is listening to podcasts, as I am sure you are an avid fan of the Deathlocker Podcast, what is it exactly that you like best? The smooth sexy intros by James, Skelton Booty and his social commentary when reviewing movies, the antics of that cheating bitch Kelly, or is it how every episode is pure podcast gold?
Ridge: uhmmm….*crickets*….. Yes it is my favorite podcast of all time. OF ALL TIME.
Deathlocker: Patton Oswalt is a pretty big deal, how did you get involved with him?
Ridge: About 18 months ago, I sent him some portfolio pieces and asked if I could do some work for him. He loved my GID “Spoilers” series and asked me to make him a gig poster in that style. That didn’t work out because there wasn’t enough time so he told me to just do a regular poster which he loved so he hired me to do a few more things after that. This new poster is my 6th project for him. I’ve done four gig posters, his vinyl album cover for his new special Annihilation and also his family’s holiday cards last year, which was a half-Christmas, half-Hannukah design.
Deathlocker: Before you hit him up were you a big fan of Patton?
Ridge: Oh goodness yes. For years. He’s been my favorite comedian since I first heard Finest Hour back in 2011 and then bought his back catalog plus his books. That’s why I reached out. Actually, not to get too sad, but I specifically asked if I could work for him because this was when he was still really grieving the death of his first wife Michelle McNamara, and I knew he really loved art – he gets SO excited about all kinds of art on Twitter and FB, etc. And back when I started to listen to his albums, I was going through a really hard time myself because I was starting my career all over, and just feeling unsure about what was next, and his albums (along with a few other comedians) just kept me laughing and working through a difficult time. I LOVE listening to comedy albums especially when I’m on a stressful deadline. Anyway, his art had helped me through that time, so I wanted to make some stuff for him to try and brighten up his day in any way I could. And hopefully I did help at least a little then, and now of course he’s really happy again with a new family, which is fantastic.
Deathlocker: How much input does Patton have on the direction of the art? Does he just give you an idea and you are on your own to go off and create or is the process more collaborative?
Ridge: Actually the only thing he gave me input on was the holiday cards because it was for his family and they came up with what they wanted for the general idea and then I just went kinda bonkers overboard on details. (I spent a month just researching both of their movies & tv shows – his wife Meredith Salenger is an actress – to get ideas for details to put in it.) Otherwise he likes to be “surprised”. He’s a huge huge patron of the arts and he just wants you to create something from your own imagination. He wouldn’t even let me tell him my ideas for gig posters, he just wants to see them when they’re done. The vinyl was a little different because the label and Netflix and others were involved too, but still in that case, I showed him three sketches and he chose the one he wanted me to finish. I submitted it then for changes, but they didn’t have any for me.
Deathlocker: What was the inspiration for this poster, who is the horror fan you, Patton or both?
Ridge: Both of us. But Patton is really the huge huge horror fan and Halloween is his favorite day. The idea came to me while watching a Universal Monsters marathon on TCM, and I originally mocked it up when I was working on Patton’s poster last year for the Chicago Athenaeum (the steampunk hot-air balloon poster I did) because Athenaeum just sounded kinda mysterious. But I wanted to do the hot-air balloon for that show because it was a nod to the Chicago World’s Fair plus the theme was kinda him lifting himself out of his grief and starting over, so I put the silly haunted house one aside. Although I showed him what I’d done on it so far – and then this year when he started booking his new tour he emailed and said hey let’s do that spooky poster now. It’s really a mash-up of tons of favorite things like kids books (I loved the ALFRED HITCHCOCK AND THE THREE INVESTIGATORS series) Universal Monsters, Scooby Doo, Abbott & Costello, and THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN which is one of my favorite films of all time. I put stuff in like Cthulhu & Poe because Patton is very well-read, and then Vincent Price was added because he’s a hometown hero of St. Louis. (Plus I’m a huge fan of his and he was a very prominent art patron like Patton is.).
Deathlocker: Speaking of Scooby-Doo, on Deathlocker’s last podcast the gang talked about this Daphne and Velma movie that just got released. There were some very strong opinions voiced, where do you stand?
Ridge: I actually didn’t see it. My friend’s kid told me about it and I looked it up … it just didn’t look like anything I’d be into. I have to be honest, I’m mostly a purist when it comes to SCOOBY … I really only like the original short cartoon series, plus MYSTERY INCORPORATED because it’s so retro, but the other stuff … not so much. I did see the first live-action film because I love everyone involved with it and it was kinda funny in a kitsch way, but I didn’t see any of the films after that
Deathlocker: You did a Scooby-Doo print for a show a while back if memory serves. You have actually done several things in the horror gene, if there was one horror property that you would love to do a poster for what would it be?
Ridge: Get Out, which is my favorite film – from any genre – in years. I don’t get hired for that kinda stuff because people see my art as mostly cute – and it is! But I also love doing darker, mod-styled things like my licensed design for The Walking Dead. And Hitchcock of course. I have a huge detailed Hitch piece that I’m hoping to release, but the time’s never been right. (They’d be expensive to print.) I also have a bunch of B-movies designed or mocked-up – like a bunch of William Castle films, etc. – that I keep trying to find a release partner for, but so far none of the poster houses have been interested in the properties. (Or actually, they’ve said they’re not, then do the same film with another artist, ho hum.) I’d also love to do the Universal Monsters of course, and I’m determined at some point to release my Night of the Living Dead and The Ghost and Mr. Chicken posters I made a couple of years ago. So I guess the answer is mostly all classic horror stuff, plus Get Out. Also I think it was you who introduced me to Trick ‘r Treat which has since become a classic I watch every year around Halloween.
Deathlocker: Are you Banksy?
Ridge: I’m Ranksy his much lesser-known, lesser-talented cousin.
Deathlocker: When you were a child did a relative tell you they were going to take your nose, did it, forget to give it back and the art style is a way of working through that child hood trauma?
Ridge: Damn, you’ve figured it out! Actually my grandpa played that game and he had a hook for a hand. Haha. Seriously, though, it was originally a nod to Playmobil which are the happiest looking toys on earth even without noses, and I just stuck with it. Occasionally I add a nose if it really needs it – like on an animal. I drew a nose on Patton for his vinyl cover and my friend immediately said something like “Hey he has a nose! And it looks like his nose!” and I think I remember someone on my FB page also pointing it out like I was going against my trademark or something. I draw noses sometimes! It happens!
Deathlocker: Before we wrap this up, for Nerds that want to get their hands on that Patton Oswalt gig print for the St. Louis show, how would they do it?
Ridge: It’s up on my Etsy shop right now! 5-colors, 24×18. Printed by Seizure Palace. https://www.etsy.com/listing/619342993/patton-oswalt-in-st-louis-screen-print
Deathlocker: I know you got things to do, thanks a lot for talking a few min out of your day and chatting, really appreciate it. Anytime you want to come on the Podcast and chat you have an open invitation.
Ridge: Ha! Thanks! This was fun.
Welp kiddies there you have it. Head over Ridge Rooms store and pick up some great horror pop culture art. Below are a few other horror prints that she still has available. Be sure to follow Ridge Room on twitter @RidgeRooms and Instagram @ridgerooms
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