I first met Karl last year at the SpiegelTent drama shindig, since then we keep bumping into each other with many bruises endured. Above is some of Karl's drawings and design, I reckon it's pretty impressive stuff so thought we should have a birra a chat..
RoryBird - You studied graphic design in DIT, were you afraid that by doing arty stuff all the time it would become a chore rather than a pleasure?
Karl Watson - I basically flipped a mental coin. Do theatre or art. I figured it’d be easier to keep up the theatre side as a hobby than the art side. My parents had heart attacks and I got in shit for not wanting to do Law or something with actual exams (no way man). So I went to art land (after a year in Africa saving the world). My dad’s response was “I hope you like being poor”, but in a gruff, angry Scottish voice (having Scottish parents makes getting given out to faaar more entertaining). Graphic Design seemed to be a better option for making a career than fine art – jobs wise. But then the recession came and fucked everyone over.
I do want to stress that I hate DIT. Tried to drop out in first year and reapply for Dun Laoghaire but they persuaded me to stay. The only reason I survived third year is because I got to go away to Edinburgh College of Art and Design to do illustration, which was awesome (go there instead). And then for the first 6 weeks of fourth year I’d given up, but thought “Ah fuck it” and started going in, and working hard and now I’m done forever, and you can’t make me go back.
That being said I haven’t done a scrap of design since I graduated because a) my laptop crashed and b) I totally burnt out staying up all night finishing my degree for weeks and weeks and weeks etc. But I love all the things I’ve learned, like a (debatably) irrational hatred for Comic Sans and Papyrus. The are vile, why can’t everyone see this? Design isn’t a chore because a) it’s super fun and b) when it’s not fun you’re generally earning money for it, and earning money for doing corporate design is better than working in Dominos. I’d know. I worked in Dominos when I was 16. It was shit.Also, I have a fairly niche style, not that many people are going to be hitting me up to design financial annual reports. Although they should, because a financial annual report with zombies and robots and giant squids on it would be awesome. Also rockets and unicorns.
RB- I'm a big big fan of your drawings mister, how do you plan on sharing this talent with the world then!?
KW - Cheeers missus. I’m going to reach fame and success by being interviewed on trendy internet blogs and then Spin will pick me up and I’ll create comic versions of all their presenters and mini drivers to critical acclaim. Nah, I don’t know, I’ve got a lot of stuff in the pipes for mates, which I’m looking forward to get cracking on: logos and album covers and T-shirts (oh my). I’m very busy with me Internship at the moment but after this summer I’m going to get all prolific and shit, sketchbook-wise. And then, well, just you wait. It’ll be shit-awesome. I’m trying to see how many times I can put the word shit into this. Maybe that’ll be my ‘thing’, like the way Lady Gaga is a man.
RB -What was your favourite Roald Dahl story? I just like to talk Dahl is all.
KW -The one where his granddaughter becomes a fat model. Oh no wait lol. Fantastic Mister Fox or the Magic Finger. Actually, no it’s Fantastic Mister Fox. Magic Finger was too scary, and we had this book that transformed the characters into animals when you hold it up to the light, which is shit-cool now, but evil witchcraft when you’re 4. And Mister Fox is, quite simply, the shit.
RB - What's your favourite and least favourite bits about living in Dublin?
KW - I want to live in this little town in the Transkei called Coffee Bay, in a rondavel. I’ll surf in the morning and fish in the afternoon and draw in the evening, and somehow this will make me money. Peut-être . My favourite thing about living in Booterstown (which is in the county of Dublin and not just a mere suburb) is cycling probably. My bike is called Moonbike and he rocks. The worst thing is the fact that it’s not a sunny beach in Africa.
RB - Oh, while we're here what about this new theatre group you're gathering up? Tell us what the idea is.
It’s called Come As Soon As You Hear. Because this is what we want you to do. We’ve been using the name when we DJ in Spy, when we did some costumed entertainment at the Taste of Dublin Festival and for a night we organized in the Twisted Pepper. Also, for throwing the epic basement parties we’ve been doing for the past year (in The Basement on Clarendon St).
At the moment we’re hosting some script writing workshops which are being dramaturged by Dan Colley, who is a bit of a genius if we’re being honest. It kind of not just theatre, or it is but with a more exciting, more experimental approach. I like organizing stuff for it, everyone who is involved is super creative and adds a lot of momentum. You should come and do something Rory, like a really super offensive fake news report. About Fingerbanging, the new craze that’s sweeping the nation. Bang bang bang. Fingerbang. Yeah.Shit.
RB - I'm yet to be convinced about fingerbanging.