Illustrator Chuck U talks Robozoology, inspiration and hippies

After eight or so group exhibitions, Chuck finally decided to do a solo show at Nickademus Art and Framing called "Robozoology" featuring paintings and posters done over the past year (2009). We wanted to know more, so we hit him up.

CP: You have a new gallery show at Nickademus Art and Framing. Where does the title "Robozoology" come from? 

CU: I was originally going to call it "Art is None of my Business" but my brother hated that name. So we sat down and thought about it. The word cryptozoology-ish, came up a few times, but that kinda sucked, then somehow we landed on "Robozoology"  since I like to add robot parts to alot of my animals. Not sure which one of us actually coined it, but I'm going to go ahead and take credit anyway.

CP: What inspired this project?

CU: I don't look at the show as a project. Its more like a collection of little projects. To be honest, I have no idea where my inspiration comes from. I'd would say "everywhere and everything" but that sounds kinda douche-y.

CP: You are known in the Twin Cities music scene for your posters and album covers. What elements in the Robozoology collection are different/similar from that work?

CU: A lot of them are similar in style to some of my more recent album covers (ie: the MN Beatle Project: Vol 1, or Dance Band "Geekadelic") as far as lots of line work and stuff. The difference is that for these I didn't have to make anyone happy but myself. No client to please, so I was free to get a little more weird.

CP: What objects are currently on your drawing table?

CU: I actually just cleaned it off the other day. But on my computer desk is a gorilla riding a shark.

CP: Tell us about your most memorable time painting.

By far the live paintings I've done at the Bella Music festivals have been the most fun. Nothing like 3 days of camping, music, and hippies for an environment to paint in. All of these stoned hippies would come up to me, and go into these long, ten minute explanations about what they think is going on in a print. That is my favorite shit in the world.


Daily from Saturday, January 9- Tuesday, February 9
Nicadermus Art and Framing
225 Snelling Avenue N
St. Paul, MN


To see photos from Chuck U's opening show, click here

"Old Hot Dog Mill"

"Old Hot Dog Mill"

Chuck on:

"Monkeys Are the New People"

I spent an insane amount of time on this one. I had it pretty much how it is after about 2 weeks, but then, like an idiot, I kept trying to add other stuff to it. I did that for over a week, before I realized it looked best how it was. 

"Aristo- Trash"   

Not sure where the idea came from, but I thought it would be cool if there were some sophisticated gentlemen sipping tea and smoking cigars in their underwear. After that, I added the trailers and the other stuff. I originally wanted them to be wading there feet in a kiddie pool, but it didn't look right so I added a grill instead. 

"The Old Hotdog Mill"
This one started with just the buildings on the top, but it didn't feel done. I taped another piece of paper to the bottom and kept going in that fashion until it was 4 sketchbook pages taped together. From there I scanned it in, cleaned it up, and colored it.