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Talented, internationally-recognized illustrator Ed Harrington combines a lifelong love of horror with a fondness for 80’s nostalgia to make amazing art.

Everywhere you turn these days, it seems like 80’s nostalgia has gone full-tilt — from the resurgence of once-popular childhood cartoons like The Smurfs, or movies like It and television shows like Stranger Things being set in the 80s. It’s enough to make an old man like me feel like a kid again.

Virginia-based artist Ed Harrington pokes fun at all kinds of pop-culture figures from days of yore, with a satirical wit that will have you reveling in the nostalgia and reeling from laughter. I had the pleasure of chatting with Harrington about his work, his influences, and his love of the genre. Check out my interview below with this unique and incredibly talented artist.

INTERVIEW WITH ARTIST ED HARRINGTON

Black Cat: Who/what are some of your artistic influences?

Ed Harrington: I’m a fan of just about everything (being an art and design major in college), but am more drawn towards great linework. Love the drawing style of Frank Cho, Jim Lee, Frank Miller and Jae Lee, just to name a few.

BC: How did you come up with the name “Nothing Happened Today” for your Instagram page?

EH: That was actually the name of a webcomic that I drew about the non-adventures of two semi-cerebral drunkards. It was basically a comic with two people just talking while drinking and smoking.

BC: I’m a child of the 1980s, and a lot of your art references the kids shows of my childhood, from Thundercats to The Smurfs to Sesame Street. Discuss how you decided to utilize these beloved characters from our youth in your hilariously twisted art.

EH: It’s just that old adage “write what you know.” This is a hobby for me, so I might as well draw things that I love

BC: You obviously have a strong connection to the horror genre. When did you first get into horror, and what are some of your favorite horror films?

EH: I have always been a horror fan, ever since I was a little kid. The whole Alien franchise is one of my favorites, along with A Nightmare on Elm Street and the Friday the 13th series. More modern horror that I really enjoyed was the first Ring movie, The Babadook and both Let Me In and Let the Right One In.

BC: When it comes to horror, what aspects of the films do you enjoy the most and why (ex- gore, special effects, jump scares, storylines/tropes, certain characters, etc)?

EH: I actually enjoy the practical effects (along with the sense of dread that comes with a great movie). I think that CGI takes away some of the magic, since you don’t have to wonder how they got the shot or did the effect.

BC: When did you start working for the Richmond, VA-based alternative weekly publication Style Weekly, and in what capacity were you brought on staff?

EH: I started in 1999 at a business paper called Inside Business. After about 2 years, I was offered a job at Style Weekly — they are owned by the same company. My job was basically a graphic designer — laying out pages, editing and adjusting photos, creating infographics and illustrations.

BC: Discuss your comic “The HR Department” and why you decided on the one panel format as opposed to a multiple panel comic.

EH: Most of my life, I had always worked on multi-panel comics. They are a lot of work (especially since writing isn’t my strong suit)! Switching over to a 1-panel comic with very few or no words was a “no brainer”.

BC: When did you decide to start getting tattoos, and do you have any significant ones you wish to discuss?

EH: Richmond, Virginia is a tattoo heavy town. I started getting them pretty much right after I moved here for college. I actually worked as a tattoo artist for a few years too! Me and a few of my tattoo-shop co-workers have a few tiny matching tattoos that we put on each other whenever we got really bored at the shop. Those are some of my favorites.

BC: When did you get into archery, and what role does it play in your life?

EH: My dad got me into archery — he enjoyed it and thought that I might too (we have similar tastes in hobbies). It is honestly how I want to spend all of my free time. It’s almost like zen meditation — you have to concentrate on very small actions and movements, but it is also quite relaxing at the same time. Plus, I believe that everyone should have at least one deadly hobby!