It feels like a moot point to say that creatives love The Simpsons; it’s a bit like revealing that lots of graphic designers like football, or cut their teeth sketching band logos in their school exercise books. But that doesn’t make it any less joyful when another project comes celebrating America’s favourite two-dimensional family and its influence.
Evergreen Fantasies – published by Folkestone-based independent arts publisher Blue Monday – is a beautifully diverse and comprehensive compendium of more than 100 pages of work, responding to, inspired by, and repurposing characters and scenes from The Simpsons. The book spans numerous disciplines, from ceramics and collage to embroidery, stained glass, comics, marker pens, and mixed media works forged from unconventional materials.
“Over the decades it’s been on television, The Simpsons has continually inspired artists,” says the publisher. “The book is not only a tribute to The Simpsons but to artists themselves, their creativity, and the multitude of ways you can make things inspired by what you love.”
As with anything related to The Simpsons, or indeed any cult classic, there’s much to behold here for the sorts of people who can draw parallels between any situation and a scene from the show. The best of times, the blurst of times, if you will.
But its the skill and craftsmanship, as well as the sheer passion and craft that comes through here that’s really charming. It’s a testament, too, to The Simpsons’ creators that their characters, plot lines and iconic scenes work so seamlessly across cross stitch, piss, and tattoo flash sheets – their versatility makes them seem a natural fit everywhere, not just on screen.
Among the artists featured in the book are Spanish illustrator Ricardo Cavolo; Lee Hardcastle, who’s behind the infamous spoof couch gag scenes created from plasticine; Cool Shit, who’ve naturally made a piece that’s both inflatable and pun-based (you might recognise them from their much-lauded massive Lionel Richie head; DR.ME, the Manchester-based agency that loves The Simpsons so much it’s created two zines based on the show; Instagram favourites Obvious Plant; ZineTent, the beautifully niche publisher of nothing but Simpsons-based print publications, and many more.
“[The Simpsons’] huge cast of characters, stories and catchphrases are iconic and deeply embedded into contemporary culture. Considering the cultural impact of the show, it’s no surprise that artists have been drawn to make things inspired by its world and its characters,” says author Ben Gore.
“I’ve tried to curate a huge variety of artworks in a number of different visual mediums as a showcase of not only the creativity of all those involved, but also as a celebration of the plethora of ways you can make things. Throughout art history, artists have strived to visualise the stories of their cultural history in their own way – whether it’s Peter Paul Rubens or Goya depicting the savagery of Saturn gobbling his own sons or John Everett Millais and John William Waterhouse conjuring up images of the tragedy of Ophelia. In a similar vein, the artists in the book have each taken aspects of the world of Springfield and its iconography and turned it into something wholly their own.
“The show itself encourages these reimaginings and loves to cannibalise the imagery of contemporary culture littered throughout the series of visual references to music, TV, film history, politics and art. I hope that seeing all the ways things can be made helps inspire you to make something in your own way, maybe to even try a new medium.”
Evergreen Fantasies is published by Blue Monday Press; bluemondaypress.com