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Interview: Geoff Galt Talks Cyanide & Happiness, Art and Animation

My recent misadventures in Dallas were riddled with twists and turns that included two bomb threats and all my stuff covered in talcum powder. One of the best twists was getting the chance to hang out with Geoff Galt. Surely you’ve seen the irresistible comic strip musings of Cyanide & Happiness all over the internet. The comic strip that gives you a healthy dose of dark and all too real humor. Galt happens to be C & H’s pre-production artist and is incidentally also an awesome dude who dragged me out to one of the best Thai restaurants in Dallas. Geoff is a diverse and talented artist and I wanted to make sure our readers here at SG got to meet him too. Check out the video below to see some of his handy work.

RR: Have you always been artistically inclined?
GG: Absolutely! When I was little I was always doodling comics inspired by Calvin & Hobbes and The Far Side. I was constantly doodling, on homework, on scratch paper, napkins, wherever and whenever. I loved making people laugh with simple comics. It wasn’t until I discovered Newgrounds.com in the early 2000’s that I began to realize that a lot of content creators were about my age and they seemed to be doing everything themselves or with minimal outside help. It was really inspiring and taught me that animation is achievable, reachable, not later but right then, right now. I knocked out a couple of animations, learning a lot on the way, went to college to expand that knowledge, and to oversimplify it, a few years later I applied to Cyanide & Happiness. From this vantage point, I want to hone my skills even further and keep climbing in the industry as I learn more about it.
RR: In terms of your work with Cyanide & Happiness, what is something that has surprised you with your position?
GG: I’m constantly surprised with what this team can accomplish under such tight time-frames. When it’s all hands on deck, the turn-around can be astounding, and I’m always inspired by my coworker’s talents and knowledge. Everyone at Explosm is really chill and supportive of one another, and that’s really special and cool. It feels like a family.
RR: Who and what are some of your biggest influences when it comes to your work?
GG: Well there were quite a few heroes I look up to from Newgrounds who have since branched off onto other things. I love the Game Grumps and I was thrilled to see Danny and Arin live when they came through Dallas. Arin Hanson used to go by Egoraptor, and back in the day was known for his flash animations like Metal Gear Awesome. So when I was just starting out, my first flash animation was like an “Awesome-styled” parody of Zone of the Enders, a favorite mecha game of mine by Hideo Kojima. Other heroes were animators like Harry Partridge, Oney, Stamper, Zeurel, Michael Swaim, this list could take forever. I’m very much inspired by that era of animators, and also by Jhonen Vasquez who seemed to break out into success from comics like Squee and Johnny The Homicidal Maniac to the whirlwind following he had with Invader Zim. I would very much like to breakout similarly and keep going.
RR: What advice would you give to aspiring professional artists?
GG: Constantly update your portfolio. Every month, and only fill it with the best of the best. If that means you gotta be churning out stuff all the time, so be it, you should be practicing all the time anyway. Because if you find yourself with an opportunity to do a little extra work, and the only things you have to show for are years out of date, that hurts your chances. I love my job but I got too comfortable after a year or two working here, and it’s awkward trying to network with other artists when the art you’re showing them doesn’t reflect your current skill level. YOU know what you can do…so prove it. Keep it up to date if you’re serious about making a career out of your art.
RR: Can you talk to us about any side projects?
GG: Some of my earliest commissions were working for bands, and it’s looking like that’s kicking up momentum again with a few album covers. I’m self publishing some fun science fiction war novels which are all a practice leading up to a baby of mine years in development, an original sci-fi webcomic following a squad of mechs reminiscent of Armored Core and Mobile Suit Gundam 08th MS Team.
I want to thank Geoff for taking the time to do this interview and for hanging out with me in Dallas. You can find Geoff on Twitter (@Phobotech), IG (@Phobotech), and on Newgrounds at phobotech.newgrounds.com.
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Rebecca Rothschild

Editor in Chief
Rebecca is a writer and narrative designer living in Chicago working on several animation, comic and game projects. She is the creator and writer for the sci-fi comic book series Warshiner as well as the free web comic Shero and Vex. She has worked on games like Mutant Football League.

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