This week we have a MAJOR crush on alternative illustration and comic artist
Sophie McMahan. Sophie lives in Urbana, Illinois, with her two sweet cats – Mikey and Diablo, as if she couldn't be anymore adorable!.
Q: Sophie we first stumbled upon your art via instagram, your feed is full of whimsical inspiration shots of Bridget Bardot, 60s Starlets 'The Supremes' and eye catching handmade creative candy. We knew we wanted to feature you as our #Badgirlcrush of the week as soon as we laid eyes on your unique handmade works of art, you are truly inspiring and we hope to give our readers an insight into your everyday creative life!
A: Thank you so much!! I’m totally thrilled and honored to be your Bad Girl Crush of the week!
Q: How long have you been an artist for, your style is so unique, did you study/ teach yourself? Do you work full time as an artist or also have another career?
A: I have been working seriously on my art for the past 5-6 years. I drew all the time when I was a kid, but lost my love for drawing as I got a little older, I didn’t do much of it from middle school on until college. I was pretty lost during those years, with no real passion or direction. It actually wasn’t until my senior year of college that I rediscovered my love for drawing.I was introduced to the work of Lynda Barry and Daniel Clowes – both alternative comic artists – and their work completely blew my mind and flipped my world upside down. Actually - the whole world of alternative comics just blew me away and I knew creating work like that was what I wanted to do. I finished up college and moved back to my hometown in Illinois and took a bunch of drawing and painting classes at the local community college. And I’ve just been working hard and having fun ever since. It’s only been the past few months that I’ve been able to nearly support myself off of my art, and it’s really exciting. I also work part time at an art supply store called The Art Coop, which is pretty great. But ultimately I would love to be my own boss and be self-sufficient with my art. I can’t imagine anything better than that, to do what I love all day and get paid for it, what a dream!
Q: Tell us a bit about your art making process, how does it start?
A: I like to surround myself with what inspires me – my house is full of kitschy vintage pieces, vintage pinup and teen magazines, and lots of artwork by artists that I love. I’ve always got ideas floating around in my head; I try to keep track of them in a notebook. I almost always use photo references to help me out. Once I’ve got the drawing planned, I work out everything in pencil. Once it’s all pencilled in, the fun part comes - inking everything in, and then painting it with gouache and watercolors.
Q: When did your fascination for the 40’s, 50’s & 60s start?
A: I have loved those decades for as long as I can remember, but I think it really started when I was about 6 or 7. It was around that time that my dad started showing my brother and I his favorite childhood shows from that era. We would watch The Avengers, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Leave it to Beaver, and more.
Q: What exactly drew you to those specific eras and how have those times influenced your artwork?
A: I loved the innocence, the cheesiness and sweetness that are portrayed during those eras. I was also drawn to the glamorous females in the shows. In just about every episode of the man from UNCLE there would be a gorgeous and sexy female character, she would usually be both seductive and powerful and then made up to perfection – I was hooked!
Q: Who are some of your favourite women from the 40s and 50s, why do they inspire you?
A: I guess it would be more the 50’s-70’s. My all time favorite woman would have to be Brigitte Bardot. I have been totally enamored by her since I was in high school – her attitude, pouty lips, effortless sexiness, and that glorious mane of hair! I own almost all of her movies and have thousands of vintage clippings and magazine covers of hers I’ve been collecting of her. I can’t get enough Bardot! I’m also in love with Girl Groups from that era – The Ronettes, The Shangri-las, The Supremes – they’re so beautiful and charming, and they’ve created some of my favorite music. I also really love the women in Russ Meyer’s movies like Faster, Pussycat Kill! Kill! and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. They are filled with gorgeous badass women with HUGE hair, insanely curvy bodies, and loads of great makeup, something about that look gives me such a thrill. It’s so over the top and wonderful. A few other favorite ladies would be Dolly Parton, Priscilla Presley, and Tura Satana.
Q: What artists are you inspired by?
A: I am inspired by many other artists! My favorite comic artists are Lynda Barry, Daniel Clowes, Charles Burns, Phoebe Gloeckner, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Lauren Weinstein, The Hernandez brothers, and many many more! I’ve also discovered so many incredible and wonderful contemporary artists through the internet and social media – and have become friends with a lot them – honestly, there are a lot to name, and I’m sure I would forget to name some of them and feel bad – but I love them all!!!
Q: Can you tell us a bit about your personal style and some of your favourite vintage pieces?
A: My everyday style is fairly casual. I have a collection of vintage concert/punk t-shirts that I’m very proud of and wear almost everyday. My favorites would have to be vintage Cramps shirts and my vintage Plasmatics shirts; they make me feel so good and cool when I wear them. I would like to expand my vintage style – I live fairly close to both Chicago and St. Louis, I need to scout out some good thrift stores. I also have a small collection of vintage pastel nighties and sleeping gowns from the 60’s that I adore. Now that I’m working more from home, I can wear these while I work if I please – it gets me in a good mindset for the kind of art I do!
Q: Tell us about all of the wonderful things you make with your art work and where we can find them;
A: Thank you! I realize that most people don’t have a whole lot of disposable income to spend on original work, so I try to come up with affordable products featuring my artwork. I have t-shirts and tote bags featuring several of my designs. I also have comics, prints, buttons, key chains, and make hand drawn magnets. I sell almost everything through my etsy site – youwereswell.etsy.com
Q: Can you share with us some of your favourite musicians and filmmakers
A: This is such a fun question!! I take huge inspiration from movies. My favorite filmmakers would have to be John Waters and Russ Meyer. I get so much inspiration from their movies and their aesthetic. John Waters is the best, his grotesqueness and love of bad America have helped me be more accepting and thankful for my own weirdness – his movies are just the tops! I also love horror movies and slasher films. For a lot of my more recent works of art I’ve used iconic monsters as love interests for my girls – The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Wolfman, and Frankenstein. I have a soft spot for monsters – they need lovin’ too!
I listen to music constantly when I’m drawing. As I mentioned before I love all the old girl groups of the 1960’s. My favorite band of all time would have to be The Gun Club. Jeffrey Lee Piece(the singer/songwriter) has the most beautifully tortured voice of all time – I love him so much. Some of my other favorites include The Cramps, Queens of the Stone Age, Smashing Pumpkins, Deerhunter, Cibo Matto, The Cocteau Twins, Siouxie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, Mazzy Star, Dolly Parton… I could go on forever, but I’ll leave it at that!
Q: What does 2015 hold for you?
There you have it ladies, a little insight into the mind and life of Sophie McMahan, remember this lady is sooo amazingly talented and hand draws all of the goodies you've seen! I am putting my order in for her sinfully sweet magnet sets!. Do yourself a favour and check out her amazing artwork here!:
Website: Sophie McMahan