Print for SweetTalk, a series of talks by design professionals, 2007. Client: Candy Collective; Creative director: Richard Seabrooke.
lives in Dublin, Ireland
Want a little Chris Judge in your life? He’s everywhere—especially in Ireland. A Dublin native, Judge creates work that’s a little bit menacing and a little bit cute. His drawings have adorned the backs of buses, children’s T-shirts, and even a bathroom scale where your weight is displayed in increasingly larger monsters. You can read his monthly comic strip Dystopia (written by his brother) in Totally Dublin, a free bar-and-nightlife guide, or see his work for clients Coca-Cola and Vodaphone in ads all over the country. His art has been in a number of gallery shows, and though he’s embarassed to admit it, his illustrations also grace the walls of two McDonald’s restaurants in Dublin. “Luckily, I hate McDonald’s, so I never have to see them,” he says. He’s been on the airwaves too, playing lead bass with his recently dissolved rock group The Chalets, whos songs were featured on Grey’s Anatomy. A graduate of Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology, in Dublin, Judge jokes that the worst part of being a freelance illustrator is “working eight to ten hours in my own company every day.” But, he adds, “I couldn’t paint or make the things I want to in front of other people, so I guess it’s worth it.”
Where do you usually draw? I always have a notebook on me, preferably a chubby Moleskine, so I end up drawing everywhere. I usually draw a lot at home on my lap with the TV on in the background. I used to be precious with my notebooks, but now I fill them up in a few weeks with all sorts of crap.
What’s your most essential tool? I guess my favorite tool at the moment is my Pentel brush pen. It’s incredibly versatile; you can draw the thinnest to the fattest line in one stroke and fill in blocks of black in seconds. She’s a beaut. Photoshop is the most important program I use, but sometimes it’s more of a necessity than a pleasure. I’ll have to give my right hand and brain credit for all the hours they put in.
What is the strangest job you’ve had? The strangest job I’ve ever worked on was painting the “Creation of Adam” scene from the Sistine Chapel in a toilet in this weird house when I was in college. It was a perfect replica except Adam was Dave Mustaine [of Megadeth] and God was James Hetfield [of Metallica], and done in the style of The Simpsons. Dreadful.
What are your favorite museums? My favorite museum is the Science Museum in London. It’s packed full of the most amazing human endeavors, and the kids’ area is incredible fun. I think adults secretly have more fun than the kids in there. My favorite museum in Dublin is the National Museum of Ireland–Natural History. The contents of its Victorian cabinets predate Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species by a few years, which is pretty cool, and most of the animals are disintegrating, which makes it more otherworldly. As a child I was obsessed with the enormous fat walrus at the back and the stuffed dodo upstairs on the rickety landing.
Who first taught you to make art, and what do you remember first drawing? My dad always drew with us when we were kids; he has an amazing ’50s British comic book style, and I still see him drawing with my nephews and niece, so he was a big influence. My mum painted a lot back then as well, so there were always lots of art supplies in the house. My brothers and I were big comic fans, so I was always drawing copies from them. I remember drawing the Superman logo over and over again. I can still draw Garfield and Judge Dredd perfectly from memory.
If you could collaborate with one other artist, who would it be? If you could illustrate any text, what would you pick? There are a lot of comic artists, like Mike McMahon and Kevin O’Neill from the U.K., and Dan Clowes, Jaime Hernandez, and Chris Ware, who I would give my right arm to spend a few hours drawing with. Make that my left hand, actually. I would also love to exhibit with people like Gary Baseman or Tim Biskup when I grow up. I’d love to illustrate one of Douglas Coupland’s books, but in a very unconventional way—e.g., hang out with him and draw and build stuff with him to create a graphic novel to represent the book in a new way.