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The Exploding Dog: An Interview with Sam Brown

Illustrations by Sam Brown
Xpat Magazine September, 2006

I first found the website www.explodingdog.com because my roommate had a hilarious wallpaper on her laptop of a stick-figure hippo and I asked her where it came from. Explodingdog.com is a “semi-collaborative” art project in which random visitors send Sam Brown captions for drawings and he draws them and posts them on his website. His simply drawn stick-figure interpretations of the captions range from straightforward to philosophical to hilarious. His personality is equally so, as you will see in this interview.

Xpat: Who are you?
Sam Brown: sam brown.

X: When did you start www.explodingdog.com?
SB: the website as it is now started back in january 2000.

X: How long have you been drawing?
SB: i have been drawing my whole life. but i never took it seriously. i always felt i was not good enough. i even went to art school but didn’t study drawing and did video work my whole time there. the drawings were always on the side.

X: Do you enjoy it or is it just a job?
SB: i love drawing. it helps me think better. like someone who goes running to clear his head. drawing does that for me, which is good because i hate running.

X: What kind of drawing did you do before you started www.explodingdog.com?
SB: the drawings were pretty similar, but bigger and drawn on paper.

X: Do you make any money? SB: i do make enough money to support myself, but i live very cheaply. one day i hope to make it big and get a sports car.

God is not here

X: Do you think you’ll ever stop?
SB: i have no plans on stopping, but i don’t have a plan to not stop. it is strange, the internet has become a thing that most everyone takes for granted now. but it has only been around in its modern form for the last ten years or so. and many parts of that, such as finding cheap flights or google, for even less time. i think it is very possible that either because of government regulation or changes in technology or greedy corporations or a combination of all three, the internet as we expect it to be in 2006 won’t exist in ten years. the internet could be much better or it could be much worse. so in the future there might not be a place for explodingdog.com as it is now.

X: Do you have any embarrassing vices, a shellfish fetish for example, that you’d like to share?
SB: i try not to share anything that is embarrassing.

X: What’s your favorite fruit?
SB: i like bananas, my favorite was apples but now i can’t eat the skin of apples because of the pesticides, if i try to i just throw up. so now my favorite fruit is the banana.

X: What kind of music do you listen to?
SB: i listen to quite a bit of music, right now i am listening to the Kleptones all the time. other than that i am listening to the early rock and roll stations on the XM radio.

X: Do you ever work naked? I enjoy it a great deal. In fact, I’m typing naked right now.
SB: that is disgusting.

X: Do you find that odd?
SB: no, just disgusting.

X: Have you ever done any political drawings?
SB: i have done many. but never anything about a specific person or political entity. i don’t like most politicians. they are too narcissistic.

X: How do you feel about the Bush administration?
SB: i don’t feel good about the bush administration.

X: What do you think of communism?
SB: i really have no experience with communism, but i don’t think it is for me.

X: If you could have any one material item in the world, what would you want?
SB: a gigantic megaphone that was so loud that when i talked everyone in the world could hear me. i would tell the world to shut up, but i would have to open with a really funny joke.

X: I heard you’re being lazy because you now have a daughter. Is this true?
SB: it is true, her name is anna mae, born on august 20th 2005.

X: Is this a service? Do you charge for this?
SB: no. people suggest titles and i do drawings from some of them, then post them on this site. if someone likes the picture i drew, they email it to their friends and say “hey, look at this funny picture.” this site could be thought of as a long term semi-collaborative art project.

X: If I give you a link on my website will you draw a picture for me?
SB: no. you can’t bribe me.

X: Why are your monkeys big and green?
SB: if i choose a title with the word “monkey” in it, i will replace it with whatever word i choose. (most likely “monster”)

X: Can I commission you to make some artwork for me?
SB: maybe. but it won’t be cheap.

X: Can I make my own t-shirts?
SB: sure. if you want to make some t-shirts of drawings feel free. as long as you are not trying to sell them or use them to advertise for your company, i don’t mind.

X: Will you do drawings for an album cover?
SB: probably not. i get this question about ten times a week, and have stopped responding to it. (i am very sorry to everyone who i did not respond to.) something about making CD cover art makes me uncomfortable.

X: Can people use your art on their websites?
SB: if it is a non-commercial or a personal site, i probably will not mind. but please give me credit and a link. credit: “sam brown, explodingdog.”

X: Do people need permission to print, email, or download your drawings for personal use?
SB: you do not need my permission. i encourage you to use my drawings for personal, not for profit, or educational uses. print them out and hang them up. email them to friends. paint your own copies of them on your walls. use them in your powerpoint presentations.

X: Do you have a portfolio of the professional work you have done?
SB: no, i do not.

X: Can i get a tattoo of one of your drawings?
SB: i am flattered you want my drawing on your body forever. i am a little uncomfortable saying yes, but the question has been coming up a lot lately. i don’t have any real problem with you getting a tattoo of a drawing from my website. i am not going to custom design it for you. i am going to feel bad if the tattoo artist really screws it up and you blame me forever. but send me a picture of it if you get one done.

X: Ok, I read the interview, but I still want to ask you something—how do I do it?
SB: ok, you can email me at info@explodingdog.com if you promise not to ask me to draw your album cover.

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