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Mammal Invades like Mongol Hoard December 10, 2008

Posted by leskanturek in Artists, Guest Visits, Visually Cool & Relevant.
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Mammal is a self published “pictorial dispatch” that allows it’s founders and contributors to “…produce illustrations, comics and visual editorials that interpret, explore, assault, confront, or straight up disrespect a singular chosen idea. The first issue was about newness, the second , and current issue’s theme was machismo. On Monday November 17th, some of the men from Mammal Magazine (Benjamin Marra , Jim Cooke, Matt Dorfman, Tom Forget, and Dan Meth) converged on room 811 to show their work, talk about art, self publishing, viking destroyers, careers, mistakes, successes, Tom Cruise… really everything and anything.

Missing was sixth mammal founder Devin Clark. One of Devin’s shows was green lit for a pilot and he was dealing with “all the craziness of actually making it”. Contributors Eric Eley and Chris Hosmer reside out of the NYC area were also missed.

devin(Top) Two of Devin’s Mammal contributions ( left) tEveryday Hairstyles for the Modern Lady, (right) Devin went around the New York Comic con asking attendees to identify as either “Tough” or “Not Tough” and taking their photo. (Lou Ferrigno pictured

I was hoping that along with students seeing a lot of fantastic work, our class would also get a glimpse at the inner workings and group dynamics of self publishing Mammal. I was fortunate to be the fly on the wall during discussions the group had about cover choices and content. It was interesting to see the shift take place from a group of contributors into a group of publishers. This meant in one case being responsible for content that might offend or be construed as racist. It also meant reconciling each persons view of what Mammal is. All this heated discussion went on in a very supportive, articulate atmosphere. Something that really impressed me and seemed to be worthy of holding up as an example.

Jim, Tom, Dan, Matt, Devin and Ben met while attending Syracuse University and become inspired by each others work. All of them have held down various jobs in the arts along with illustrating, including web design, art directing, designing, and animating.


(Top) from left to right: Jim Cooke, Dan Meth, Matt Dorfman, Tom Forget and Benjamin Marra discuss the best way to corrupt young minds while Ben passes around some awesome sketchbooks.

A number of issues were touched upon during the visit. Holding down a number of careers, Illustrator/Designer/animator as entrepreneur, work ethics, and creating work for yourself first and foremost.

A large percentage of an illustrators income, now stems from self generated projects and entrepreneurial ventures versus a model of supporting yourself from commissioned work exclusively . While there were always illustrators and designers that promoted themselves by developing their own projects, today , these self generated projects go beyond promo pieces. Work is sold through their web sites , toys, stock art, fashion accessories and self published books to name a few.


(Top) Ali Stackpole looking through one of Ben Marra’s sketchbooks. right is Ben’s Zombie Traci Lords. Ben was selected/identified as a Young Gun by the Art directors club. His work has appeared in American illustration, 3 X 3, the Society of Illustrators, and  the Society of Publication Designers.


(Top left) a portrait of Pat O’Malley for Cleveland Magazine (right)The Curtsy 18×24 poster, silkscreen poster. Both by Matt Dorfman, whose clients include the New York Times, Penguin books, New York magazine, Time, Wired,and Mother Jones. Matt is also the voice of cougar from the Meth Minutes.

jim-matt1(Top) Matt Dorfman (Left) and Jim Cooke


(Top- left to right) by Jim Cooke, Machismo Tom Cruise, Jerry Bruckheimer for Esquire, God save the Fan for Harper Collins Publishing. Jim has done work for for FS & G, Harper Collins, Scholastic publishing . and t Black table.com.

tomsolo(Top) Tom Forget explaining how 1950’s true crime pin-up mags have influenced/corrupted him. Tom is also an author, designer and music reviewer for BUST magazine

(Below) Two paintings by Tom (left) Bionic Commando for I AM 8-BIT Gallery (right) Dolly Parton for the DOLLYPOP show at the World of Wonder storefront gallery in Hollywood


Capping off the class was an amazingly funny reel shown by animator Dan Meth , creator of the online animation series the Meth Minute”, and Nite –fite. This September Dan was a panelist at the Ottawa Animation Festival, as well as the winner of the the Frederator Vanguard award. If you watch many of Dan’s Meth minutes (and I suggest you do) you’ll recognize the voices of most of the Mammal guys. Everything and anything becomes animation material in the hands of Dan, stuffed animals, watermelons, body parts, as well as traditional drawing. Meth minutes can also be viewed on youtube.



(Top) Three stills from Dan’s Meth Minute39 “# 2 Sex Machine“. (Bottom) Devin Clark and Tom Forget… and the Meth Minute characters they lent their voices to September 6, 2007 at Frederator Studios

Mammal is approaching it’s third issue along with independent projects on the horizon for a number of the Mammals, I look forward to seeing how the magazine/collective changes and evolves.



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