Makers Monday: Toby "Cougar" Anderson

What do you create?

I create Drawings, Artist Trading Cards, Mediated Modular Prints (stamps), Paintings, Murals and sometimes Skullptures. I am trying to complete and organize a couple of bodies of works, a series of 777 Artist Trading Cards about Cats on Skulls and a series of Monster Drawings made from my name.

What materials do you use to create?

I use a wide range of materials depending on the project, but my go to medium of choice is a fresh sharpie and for color, either or a combo of markers, pencil crayons and/or watercolor. 

Why do you create?

I'm not sure, I've never been diagnosed, just kidding. Everybody creates, more or less and in one way or another, it's human nature.

How has your art practice evolved since you first started?

First, define first started? Because really that was when I first held a crayon or whatever my mom put in my hand. Of course there is an evolution of fine motor skills, of art skills, you learn new mediums and tools. Personal interests change, subject matter changes, You grow older, life has phases, you evolve, but when you can look back, you do see patterns and reoccurring themes that started in your youth.

Teaching art, which I began shortly after earning my B.F.A. , has also become a larger, almost central part of my my art practice.

How much time do you spend on your art practice? Is it enough?

It varies from day to day, depending on projects and how busy I am with teaching classes and our family's schedule, and to be honest, my mild MineCraft addiction eats up some valuable time, but no, it's never enough. 

What is the most rewarding part of creating?

Making something where there was nothing, is kinda neat.

How is your art unique from others?

Well, I don't know if anything is truly unique, or if that is even that important. I believe as artists we're always referencing something. Now all that being said, I don't think anyone has ever drawn hundreds of cats sitting on skulls, so maybe I am unique?

Do you have a philosophy?

Like I told Stats Canada, maybe 25% Buddhist, 50% Jedi, 20% Viking and 5% Catholic? Does that give any insight? I do always tell the children “There is no Fail in Art” (copyright YbOt StudiOs). I also enjoy Yoda's “there is no try, only do or do not” and also Spidey's “with great power comes great responsibility”.

What does creative joy mean to you?

There are certainly zen like moments when you're in the groove, and the only world that exists is the one your creating, that's nice.

Name some of your heroes/influences,art or otherwise

My former instructor, Don Mabie aka Chuck Stake was very influential on me. I also admire the work of Mark Ryden, Tim Biskup, Jim Woodring, Gary Baseman, Ralph Steadman, Takashi Murakami, Ed Roth, Marcel Dzama, Mr. Dressup & Bob Ross just to name a few. I love Arnold Schwarzenegger and the late Machoman Randy Savage and random squirrels. I dream of being either Spiderman or Batman. I take inspiration from the music of Beck, Ween , Frank Zappa, Chad VanGaalen (whom I went art school with), The Foo Fighters, Van Halen and of course The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

You can find Toby online at: I am a bit of a techno-resistor, Luddite, digital hermit, but I do have a website.

Toby works with the local CREATE program and has been facilitating young people's art programming for years. He was a previous instructor at the Observatory for some of their Summer Camps AND is now one of our summer camp instructors.