Pour an artist a cocktail to “stir the creative juices,” then hand over a Sharpie and a napkin. What doodle will result? We find out in this just-for-fun Friday series.
The Cocktail: A Brandy Alexander Float, dark crème de cocoa, brandy, half and half, and two scoops of vanilla ice cream, dusted with nutmeg, at Plush
The Artist: Jason “Killer Napkins” Spencer, illustrator, designer and painter (watch him at work here). “I started drawing monsters as a kid, right around the time my parents first let me play Doom,” Spencer says. Every era has its pop-culture horrors, from Big Daddy Roth’s hot-rodders in the 1960s, to Topps’ Garbage Pail Kids in the 1980s, to Sega’s video fiends in the 1990s. Now Spencer’s “creepy but cute” creatures, which spawn far more “ewwws” than “awwws,” are sought after by indie clothing and skateboard companies from Virginia to Australia.
Someday, he’ll be a video-game concept artist, although he’s approaching that goal in stages. “I currently dig basements for a living, and after a long, hard day in a hot dirt hole, I don’t have the time or energy to make art and study new techniques and look for more work. Right now my freelance projects have to find me,” Spencer says. “People seek my stuff out by searching for ‘Killer Napkins’ online. I’ve never actually drawn on a napkin before, though. I chose that screen name when I was 15. It’s unique, unlike ‘Jason Spencer,’ which seems to be very popular with lawyers.”
“Killer Napkins” creates most of his artwork digitally, using a pen tablet and Photoshop, but he’s also an accomplished painter. Florissant Valley Community College bought a piece of his work when he studied there — a painting based on The Death of Marat, but with the clown-headed icon of Jack in the Box taking a bath, not a French revolutionary. “My Master Copy class assignment was to update a famous painting for the modern world,” he explains, “so I imagined Jack stabbed by Ronald McDonald.” He has an exhibit of similar genius coming up in October at Aisle 1 Gallery.
Spencer also brings a sculptural element to his art by painting his recurring motifs of hearts and gore on taxidermy forms, such a deer heads. “I just bought a Styrofoam mountain lion from Van Dyke’s Supply. They have an elephant head I really want, too, but it costs a thousand dollars.”
What made you choose the Brandy Alexander?
S: I need a cold drink after working outside in this heat all day. Also, it sounds sort of like a White Russian. Mostly I drink beer, but sometimes I’ll have a White Russian, because that’s what they drank in The Big Lebowski.
What sort of restaurants do you like here in St. Louis?
S: I live in St. Charles, which is convenient for my job. Other than one place on Main Street there, Little Hills Winery, when I go out to eat I come over here. I like the tortas at La Vallesana down on Cherokee, the pasta at Mangia Italiano and the 20-ounce burger at Tin Can Tavern, which is a ridiculous size that no one should be eating. I finished it, though. It took me about 15 minutes.
What kind of food do you eat at home?
S: Deli meat. Whole Foods has some really tasty deli meat. I eat a lot of sandwiches because they’re so portable. Also, I’m always keeping an eye out for new barbecue or hot sauces. My roommates and I like to grill chicken wings a lot, and we concoct our own sauce for those by combining sriracha with Frank’s Red Hot and something else like Gib’s Bottled Hell. Then, we add a big scoop of dried habañero powder to it all. We like it hot.
Plush, 3224 Locust Street, Midtown, 314.535.2686, plushstl.com
Missed one of our Booze Doodles? You can check them all out here!