Primarily a behind-the-scenes person, illustrator and animator Keryn Thompson doesn’t consider herself a model, but when she does get in front of the camera, she’s like the type of girl who doesn’t like to go to school, but still brings home straight A’s. She pulls it off like a pro without aspiring to be one. Not one for the typical cheesecake poses, Karyn’s expressions (such as the one at left from a photo shoot at Toms River, New Jersey) make me wonder what she was thinking at the moment the photo was taken.
Even though Keryn looks like she’d be very successful in the spotlight, she’s doesn’t have to push for that because she’s been quite successful out of the spotlight. A couple of her more notable design credits include her works featured in the promo campaign for Stevie Nicks’ Crystal Visions album and on Linkin Park’s Minutes to Midnight special edition album.
When Keryn’s not seducing the camera, drawing or creating animated videos that make you say “what the..?” you might catch her at a club tearing up the dance floor or cruising the babes at her local Walmart. Just a couple of things I learned during my recent, and very enjoyable, interview with her that follows. Above photo by Kevin Johnson of Simply Natural Photography.
CHRIS CHARLES: Thanks for taking the time to do this, Keryn. You one of the few “behind-the-scenes” ladies I’ve featured here.
KERYN THOMPSON: I’ve always felt as a female, you’ll have a lengthier career behind the camera than in front. Looks fade, but the ability to write a good dick joke will keep you around a bit.
CHRIS:(Considering asking to hear a couple of her dick jokes, but deciding maybe later) When I first noticed you, I thought you were a model and caught the “My Name Is Art Show” promo shoot you did, as well as a few other pictures posted at your Facebook. Have you done anything else as far as modeling goes?
KERYN: I’ve never considered myself a model but my friends/colleagues have asked me to help out now and then when they were in a bind. The most memorable recently has to be for my friend and fellow artist Richie Brown. I didn’t really know what I was getting into when he initially asked, but the end product had me holding up weird eyeballs and I had lipstick all over my face. I’m not sure if that’s modeling, but a camera was involved. (Photo from the shoot at right)
CHRIS: I like animated productions that are sort of twisted, but I’m talking along the lines of South Park, Family Guy, Robot Chicken, etc. Your stuff is much more abstract. Is there supposed to be a deep message to your animated works that I’m missing or are they intended to leave the viewer thinking “Huh? What was that supposed to mean?”
KERYN: I studied animation at the Rhode Island School of Design, the same college Seth McFarlane (creator of Family Guy) attended. My professors were always looking for the “deeper meaning” in my work, but at the end of the day I think it’s all there on the surface and it is what you make of it. I mean what more can I say about a woman pulling the fabric from her pants out of her vagina? That it has something to do with economic crisis?
CHRIS: While we’re on that subject, I can appreciate your fascination with the female form, particularly breasts. Do you base your drawings on women you’ve seen or know, or do they come from your imagination?
KERYN: I usually hit up the aisles of Walmart to get my creative juices flowing. Walmart has the best babes.
CHRIS: Well, it depends on what town the Walmart is in. I suppose Target is good, too. Anyway, ever had any ladies model for you?
KERYN: I’ve attended figure-drawing classes before, but there were just as many dude models there nude as there were women.
CHRIS: Have any illustrators or cartoonists been an inspiration to you?
KERYN: Sure, I wouldn’t be where I am without them. For illustrators I’d say Jean Claude Mobius, Humberto Ramos, Mary Blair, Martin Emond, Jamie Hewlett and Simon Bisley, but I’d even go as fart to say Marcel Dzama, Henry Darger and Egon Schiele. Cartoonists (or animators as we call in the biz) would have to be Joanna Quinn, Danny Antonucci, Bill Plympton, Don Hertzfeldt, the UPA production team (most famous for Mr. Magoo and Gerald McBoing Boing) …. I could really just go on and on, there are so many who’ve inspired me. I’m constantly looking at other artists’ work. Once you’ve stopped looking, whatever you’re creating becomes stale.
CHRIS:(Thinking about the all the name Googling I’ll have to do later) You state that the female form has always been sexualized and the representation in the media is an obvious farce. Usually, it seems that women who say things like that are, to put it gently, women who would not fit that representation. But you do. I mean, you’re hot and it comes across in many of the photos I’ve seen of you. Doesn’t that seem to make you kind of a paradox?
KERYN: Haha, thanks for the compliment …I was a fat kid so maybe that’s where it stems from.
CHRIS: Can you tell me a little about your business, “Helmet Bunny”?
KERYN: It was originally an outlet for my New Jersey hometown friends at Something Creative. If someone’s band had a show we’d make a post. If one of us had a gripe, we’d talk about it. If we saw a great artist that we wanted to share, we’d share it. We’re currently on hiatus as of right now because my partner in the venture got knocked up
CHRIS: I see. So, do you have any skills, interests or hobbies that I wouldn’t learn about you by just going online and doing research on you?
KERYN: I have some fierce moves on the dance floor.
CHRIS: I’ll just bet you do. So, as I’m sure you realize, artistic people usually don’t like or do well at “regular” jobs. Have you ever had any that you really hated?
KERYN: When I was in high school I used to just walk out of jobs all the time. I’d say I’ve grownup a bit since then. I don’t think I was being stimulated mentally enough as the hostess at Friendly’s or popcorn girl at the movie theater.
CHRIS: You seem to be one who relishes Halloween. What are your plans for this year’s festivities?
KERYN: No idea yet. Last year for Halloween I went alone to as many mundane places as possible, supermarket, library, post office, etc., with my wrists all bandaged up and fake blood soaking out of them. No one seemed to associate it with Halloween though, because more than one person asked if I needed medical attention.
CHRIS: Well, it’s been enjoyable and very interesting getting to learn more about you, Keryn, just as I thought it would. Like to make anyone envious by giving them a shout-out from this interview with me?
KERYN: Steven Soderbergh.
CHRIS: Oh, one last question: I love your sketches of Vampira. She’s one of my favorite cult figures. So, who do you think rocks a tight black dress better; her or Elvira? KERYN: Me, of course.
Candid shot of the Tank Girl-inspired outfit Keryn wore for the “Hello
My Name is Art Show” promo shoot. See photos from the shoot here.
In her Russian spy persona
Among some of her award-winning drawings
Recent digital paint self-portrait Keryn’s been working on. I forgot to ask her
about the significance of the fish in the background.
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Chris flirted with the music business there and in Nashville before joining the U.S. Army and serving in South Korea. He remained in Asia for several years afterwards, teaching English and covering the regional entertainment scenes. Currently in a mindset between Seoul and San Francisco, besides Idol Features, you can also catch his writings in the print edition of the quarterly magazine, Effective.