Toby Hudson spent much of his childhood basking in the cathode-ray glow of the television, losing himself in all of his favorite cartoons. While watching, he would bring the cartoon world into his own by doodling his favorite characters on everything he could get his hands on. Decades later, he’s taken his doodles to a new level by placing the characters alongside beautiful tattooed women. The juxtaposition of reality and cartoon is made even more striking by the way the cartoon figures ooze and drip all over the page, melding the gorgeous with the grotesque.
We spoke with Hudson about where he finds his inspiration, his favorite characters and how people should have more fun with life.
INKED: How did you get into art?
I’ve been into art my whole life, ever since I was a young kid sitting in front of the TV watching cartoons. I would get a pencil and some paper and sit there drawing the characters for hours. I grew up watching a lot of “The Simpsons” and “Spongebob Squarepants” and things like that and always loved the look of them. Eventually, I had folders full of my drawings and this is when I first really got into art, at a young age.
What are some of your earliest memories of art? Do you remember when you fell in love with creating?
Some of my earliest memories of art were definitely when I was a kid buying those coloring books and sitting there coloring them in. I would always buy the Spider-Man ones, as I loved that as a kid.I would always draw in my books at school, just like doodles, and sometimes I would have a few of the kids around me watching me draw and they’d always call me talented, which boosted my confidence early on. That’s when I really started to fall in love with art.
What are some of the mediums you have worked in through the years?
To name a few: drawing of course, using pens. I gave painting a go for a while, 3D art with clay, and collage-style art. When I got into college and later in university I went on to do a lot more digital-style art and that’s what led to my current style.
How would you describe your current style?
I would describe it as “pop culture visual art,” perhaps. I’m sure everyone has their own interpretation of my art and their own description of it. I’m just drawn to bright colors and black lines, and I also love to make this drippy style on a lot of my work. It’s something I’ve always seen and loved. I remember being younger and seeing the “Goosebumps” logo on the books and thinking, “Damn, I love that.” I like to add it on the cartoon characters I draw as it makes my work feel more unique to me.
What elements of a photo stick out to you and make you think, damn, I need to draw all over this?
When deciding what photo I want to work on next, it all depends on the space in the photo and the lighting, and if I feel it will work well with the art, I’ll draw over it. I visualize drawing the clothing or bikini on and how it will look and also if there’s space to add a character into the photo. One day I just drew over a bikini and thought, damn, that looks kinda sick. So I continued to do it and people seemed to love it so I stuck with it.
Who is your favorite character to use in a lewd way?
My favorite character to use in a lewd way would for sure be Rick, from “Rick and Morty,” or Homer Simpson. They just seem to work well and have the best expressions.
Who are some of your artistic influences?
Some of my artistic influences would have to be KAWS, Takashi Murakami, Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, Banksy, McFlyy, Buff Monster, OG Slick and there’s probably plenty more but I can’t think right now [laughs].
Are you trying to make any sort of statement about society with your work? Or is the purpose behind it a little more light-hearted?
The purpose behind my art is just light-hearted and fun, it’s a reminder to not take life too seriously. Hopefully when you come across my work it makes your day a little better. I just love creating art. Some of the reactions I get when I send clients their work make me feel good knowing I’ve made their day.