Saucetown Interview: Sean Simmans
We sat down with artist and madman, Sean Simmans, the man responsible for all hand-drawn wizardry in our fine publication. Without him, we would be nothing (or worse). Behind the pen is a twisted genius, a funnyman, a father and an icon to many of our readers. Enjoy...
Saucetown:So, how did you get started, what inspires you and why do you keep doing art?
(illustration by Sean Simmans)
Sean Simmans: I began doing art as a way to skip partaking in schoolwork, right about when grade two happened. My scribblers were full of doodles and nonsense, inspired by Mad magazines, Star Wars (brand new!), and Uncle Scrooge comics...very little of anything educational. This would be a problem for the next ten years, or so. Maybe it still is. Remember Uncle Scrooge comics? Those were fantastic! In time, I added National Lampoon, Rip Off Comix, and Heavy Metal to my reading list of mind-rot. Currently, I think I am inspired by other Artists...like, "Holy hell! That frickin’ guy is making CASH and he’s FAMOUS—I better churn out some comic nonsense and try to grab a piece of that pie!" And, seeing an odd-yet-pretty face at the grocery store can send me into an artistic spiral.
Saucetown: How has working with Saucetown harmed your reputation and/or personal relationships?
Sean Simmans: It has harmed my entire life, because I preface everything—from job interviews to professional proposals—with, "Hey, b*tch, I work at SAUCETOWN!" and none of them are as blown-away as I believe they should be. Even in dating. I lie and say, "Yeah, SAUCETOWN, that’s mine, I’m the boss of that sh*t" and I can’t say that such boasting has even gotten me a proper [redacted].
Saucetown: Why is Canadian bacon not just called "ham" like it should be?
Sean Simmans: I’m not a ham fan, so this Canadian bacon thing has never impressed me. It is, indeed, a member of the ham family, which includes the "picnic shoulder." We call it "back bacon," which is what it technically is, being that it’s a cured chunk of loin (the middle part of your pork chop). I grew up in a world where people smoked meat as a diversion, the way modern civilized folks read literature or play Fortnite. Most of us—like most of you—prefer side bacon, which contains all that excellent suet. Yum! Weirder, however, is that people like my father call Canadian bacon "peameal bacon," because it’s got that fancy breaded edge to it. He will say, "Hey, you want some peameal bacon with that?" and people will reply, "What? NO! Don’t we just have regular bacon available?"
Saucetown: You’re stranded on a desert island with your three favorite albums of all time. What happened and why are you on that island?
Sean Simmans: Wait, what? Am I there because my three favorite albums have caused a mini-singularity? This question has me buffaloed. I was all set to talk about Pink Floyd’s Animals and instead I have to figure out not only why I’m on this island, but why I’m there with three albums? Don’t I have a minimum of thirty favorite albums, since they’re all in my phone?! Did my phone even survive? How am I charging it??? This is a sad story, because I probably have enough charge left for ONE SONG before everything goes dark and the crabs eat me. You know what—and this is true—I will probably die without ever having chosen a tune. Are we doing shout-outs here for the Oregon bands? Is this a loaded interview question? Yo—"Years For Months"!!! Wooo!
Saucetown: Who would win in a fight: Ashley Olsen or Mary Kate Olsen?
Sean Simmans: I actually pictured Ashley Judd, because she’s also a celebrity triplet, I think—and she was naked in the movie Bug. She could most certainly whup Mary Kate’s bony ass.
Saucetown: What is your creative process? What inspires you, turns you on and/or ignites the Simmans fire?
Sean Simmans: With art (painting, etc.), I usually get swept up in a concept, the way a (lunchroom) joke might begin. "So, there’s this bald eagle and he’s sitting in a bar..." It’s not quite that simple. Maybe it is. It’s the swirl of a tiny fart of a concept. Sometimes, it’s just anger. "Why haven’t I seen a flying saucer? Damnit—I’m painting one!" The comic strips work similarly. With those, I don’t script them, though, when I am untethered to (from?) a writer. I have a few story ideas in mind, a couple gags in mind and I try to let it all progress organically, because I’m very excited to see what will happen in the next panel and how this stupid joke will ultimately manifest.
Saucetown: What projects besides Saucetown, Mars Cafe and Rizzo have you been a part of?
Sean Simmans: I did a book for Simon & Schuster in 2010 (as "W. Bill Czolgosz"). No need to name it, because it’s out of print now. It didn’t make me rich. I spent an inordinate amount of time going to different bookstores across Canada (I was relocating and doing thousands of miles back and forth, convinced that hauling my own things in smaller batches would save money). Then, I would search out my book on the shelf and enjoy the YAY! moment, before I’d go out for a beer and a beef dip. Okay, two beers (three). Other than that, just small-press stuff. A couple creative writing mags, a few magazine and book covers, More than anything, I design ads, logos and privately consigned doodles for people. That is the "butter" of this operation, as opposed to "bread and butter," which would imply that utility bills are being paid.
illustration by Sean Simmans (click to enlarge)
Saucetown: Any future plans for Simmans?
Sean Simmans: I want to be doing exactly THIS—sitting in my little studio and painting nonsense—but, with more money. Probably, I will have more wiener dogs and maybe married to a retired stripper, just past her prime so that she has to "settle" for me (it’s fine if she’s missing an eye, but I hope she has most of her teeth). Magazine covers, comics and a few more novels. And, maybe, I will get this Death Ray movie project off the ground, finally.
Saucetown: Describe the perfect pizza using only adjectives.
Sean Simmans: Thick, chewy, crusty, saucy, cheesy, mushroomy, dirty, greasy, umami, meaty, racy, nasty...I think "Portuguese" can be an adjective—they’ve made some pretty great pizza in my travels and they’re white, so I don’t think I’m being racist.
Saucetown: How can folks get in touch with you?
Sean Simmans: I am currently available via SaucetownMag.com, of course, plus SeanSimmans.com and TheMarsCafe.com (I had to append "the" because someone else, oddly, already had "MarsCafe," but it works, because George Lucas was originally going to release The Star Wars and I sort of wish he had. I’m actually becoming quite fond of "The Mars Cafe," but my life is tiny and ridiculous, so I am easily impressed). Of course, my email is also pretty straightforward—[email protected].