When I first stumbled across Cal Garrioch’s (Calgee) art on Instagram, I was blown away! I not only noticed how versatile of an artist he was, but I was immediately drawn to all of his creatures, monsters, and macabre influences. The horror movie references he portrays in his art are enough to put a smile on any horror fan’s face.
I’ve had the recent pleasure of being able to interview Cal about his inspirations in art and in life. While diving into the world of “The Calgee,” I also discovered that Cal is a jack of all trades in the world of art! He also is the producer/host of the Pens & Pixels popcast in Ottawa, Canada.
“Pens & Pixels is a concept art and illustration collective based in Ottawa. We run bi-monthly events consisting of industry talks, creative jams, art workshops and more.”
To learn more about artist and illustrator Cal Garrioch, check out the interview and some of his work below!
When did you first realize you wanted to be an artist?
Cal: My parents tell me I was born with a pencil in my hand. I know I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. I’ve always just felt that drive to create and get whatever is in my head out on to paper.
What inspires you in your art?
Cal: Horror stuff! Go figure. You know, I grew up watching all sorts of movies and playing all kinds of games but horror and monsters were always what stuck with me. The Alien franchise (yes even Alien: Resurrection, it has Ron Perlman), anything Guillermo Del Toro touches (also usually has Ron Perlman), and Bloodborne/Dark Souls creatures are some evergreen things that are always inspiring me.
What is your favorite thing about being an artist what do you like about it?
Cal: My favourite thing about being an artist is that I always feel like I have something I want to do. Maybe that sounds weird or stressful but whether it’s side work or personal, there’s almost always something I want to be working on. And I think that makes me pretty lucky.
When I hear other people say they’re bored, or don’t know what their passion is, I try not to take what I have for granted.
What was the inspiration for Pens and Pixels?
Cal: Well, I am just the humble co-host of the Pens & Pixels Popcast. My friend and colleague Mike Kent (@mikekentdraws) is the creator of the Pens & Pixels organization so I’ll let him take it from here :
Mike: “The inspiration for Pens & Pixels was to create a community for artists in the entertainment field. Art is often a private exercise, artists spend a lot of time looking to connect and share their work. Its why online communities like Art Station or Deviant art are so popular. We wanted to make a space online and out in the world where other professional artists could meet, share, network and discuss there industry they love.”
What is the ultimate goal for Pens and Pixels?
Mike: “The goal for P&P at the end of the day is to provide a forum for all artists wanting to participate with other like minded peers in their field. We want to provide entertainment, education, experience and opportunity to a group of people who want to express their creativity.”
Who are some of your role models inside and outside of the industry?
Oh jeeze. Jhonen Vasquez and Jamie Hewlett really shaped my art style. I spent countless hours staring at their work when I was younger. They’ve both done fantastic work, I’d love to have even a fraction of their skill.
Mike Kent is one, the dude is a fantastic artist and has such great work ethic. He juggles so many things at a time, it’s pretty admirable.
Junji Ito is another fantastic comic artist that I strive to have the same level of work as one day.
And my parents! They both instilled the value of hard work and dedication in me. Can’t thank them enough for that.
If you could be a character in a movie for a day, who would it be and why?
Cal: Hellboy. So I could be Ron Perlman AND a demon. That’s a double win.
What do you like to do when you’re not working on pieces?
Cal: I like to spend time with my partner, goofing around watching movies or kicking back and watching TV. Getting lost in a video game. Taking my dog for walks while catching up on one of the million podcasts I listen to. Cooking new recipes, reading comics/horror novels.
Do you have any suggestions for those wanting to become an artist?
Cal: Practice! Draw from life. Every time you draw something you aren’t satisfied with, it’s just practice for the next time. You’ll know what not to do.
But above all else, enjoy it.
What is your favorite piece of advice in life?
Cal: Maybe it’s cliche, but one that has always resonated with me is, “You get out of it what you put into it.”
It’s versatile and can apply to so many aspects of your life. Your artwork, your relationships. Hell, your cooking skills. Am I ever going to be Gordon Ramsay? No, I wish. I didn’t put in the work he did. But I’ve come a long way from microwaving Kraft Dinner.
What’s this interview about again?