This month’s calendar, Evil Robot Pogo, was inspired by the super fun and quirky Robot Monster and Ghost Company. In honor of our February Pogo art, we took a moment to catch up with Mad Scientist and Creative Director, Kevin Scarbrough.
Who is Bartholomew Finkerton IV and what does your company do?
Bartholomew (“Roux” to his friends, enemies, business cohorts, attorneys — prosecuting and defending — bartenders, employees and employers) is the ghost of Robot, Monster & Ghost.
We are a boutique graphic design (web, print, identity, illustration) company with a specialty in “don’t be boring.” Sometimes we’re loud; sometimes we’re weird; sometimes we are calm and subtle — but never boring. Damnation before boredom.
It’s impossible to pick favorites! I think, though, the best way to answer that is my favorite part of any project is when it first comes through the door. There is always a moment when you’re sitting with a sketchbook and scribbling notes and drawings and everything just “clicks.” Then you bring it to the client, and it’s wrong (I’ll get to why in a moment) and together you figure out the answers.
Yep. We’re usually wrong on the first round. If you’re afraid to be wrong, you’re going to get paralyzed. Just be wrong! Get it over with! Figure out why, then move on to something better.
We throw ourselves into our client’s projects and businesses. We’re nerds, we love to see the inner workings, we like to see what makes the clock tick. So saying, it is impossible for us to know a client’s business as intimately as they will — but it is difficult for the client to understand storytelling, design and the tech we use.
So we throw ourselves at the initial issues with a base-level of knowledge that we’ve been able to acquire (enough to ask the right questions), art-nerd-love, and passion. Clients tend to know just enough about design to have the same reaction. Not the technical, nerdy terminology, but “I like pink”, “I like monkeys.”
Combine the two and we have a great team.
I understand your workspace is pretty creative. Tell us more.
I love Chicago, the minions love their respective cities (Vegas, New York), so we all work from home or coffee shops or wherever is convenient. We’ve all been working together in various levels for many years, so communication is fluid and quick. A happy crew is a productive crew.
How do you stay creative and what are your sources of inspiration?
We stay creative by focusing on details — the basis of a great story are details. Let me give you an example — “Pogo popped into a bar.” You have your base, right there. We know who Pogo is (wonderful, adorable Pogo the Catalyst Ranch Monkey) and we all know what a bar looks like — and yet every bar is different, isn’t it?
So we ask questions and sort details. What color vest is Pogo wearing? Is it day, night, twilight, dusk? Is the bar closed? Is it busy, is it dusty? Are there waitresses or is it just the bartender? Does the bar have a mural or mirror behind it? What is the soundscape like — scraping chairs and muffled coughs, or is it loud and rambunctious?
Are people wondering at the sudden appearance of the most glamorous monkey in the scope of existence, or is it a bar full of monkeys to begin with? Or a bar full of Pogo clones?
Think of the adage “write what you know.” We create what we know. So to keep sharp and get better with every project, we seek to know as much as we can about as much as possible.
We’re nerds. Glamorous, adorable, evil nerds.