Artist Spotlight: The Wildly Creative Mind Of Thomas Toye And His Comic Book Series Illogical Comics

This is a collection of art and a brief interview with Thomas Toye.

Toye is a New York based artist that does a variety of art and screen printing, but is probably best known for his comic book Illogical Comics and appearances in anthology books such as Screwjob. You can view more of his art or purchase items at his store, Illogical Comics, and Tom Thoye. Check out his bio, interview, and images below.
"Subject: Thomas Toye. Type: Humanoid. Born: 1987. Runs a company called Illogical Comics in New York that has a made up staff. Produces comics, prints, audio recordings, and sculptures of varying quality."


TMS: What are your artistic influences? And schooling/background?
TT: Oh I don't know anymore, lately I've been into the paintings of Alan Lee and Juan Gimenez, and I'm obsessed by metal demo tape artwork and design no matter how unskilled. I went to RISD in Providence from 05-09 which put me into debt of around $140,000 -another propellant to be constantly working. I got a lot out of it though, I really didn't know anything, still don't know much.
TMS: What were some of your favorite comics/films/tv shows growing up?
TT: I liked cartoons, dinosaurs, and monsters. I remember being really into the Swamp Thing cartoon, can't remember if I knew about it being a comic then, Nickelodeon cartoons, Looney Toons, Beast Wars. I don't think I really had a preference for any particular comics, but I was probably most interested in Spawn and Spiderman. My brother and I tried to watch Terminator 2 and Aliens a lot, our dad kind of let us watch whatever, stuff on cable was edited most of the time anyway. Wrestling was real and Undertaker was the coolest. I always wanted to watch The Head Saves the Earth, but never really knew what it was or when it was on back then. I used to watch a lot of the show Sightings too.
TMS: Any other relevant projects, gallery shows, etc. that you have been involved in the past that you would like the readers to know about?
TT: Some friends of mine and I have the Collective Stench which is a name we use when applying to different comic festivals. It could be anyone! There's a website it's pretty funny. I'm in a band with my friends: the artists Lale Westvind and Laura Perez-Harris. It's called Gun Tit.
TMS: Can you explain your artistic process? How long does a project typically takes and what type of materials that you use? Do you have a go to soundtrack that you typically listen to while working?
TT: I start out with pencil most of the time, and make a lot of mistakes and changes, sometimes erasing the whole picture or page, then, if it's a comic or a print, I'll ink it with a brush and ink. Lately I've just been using these uniball pens to get the line work down then going back over it with brush and india ink to change line weights and add different textures or something. If it's a painting I'll start with a quick pencil sketch to map out the area then use these opaque water colors to lay down colors. Sometimes I'll go back into it with gouache. I can't really work without music anymore, it helps me stay focused and locked in. Depends on what I feel like listening too. Mostly metal stuff or Tangerine Dream sounding techno garbage these days.
TMS: Your current series is called Illogical Comics. Can you tell the readers what it’s all about?
TT: Not really, it's revealing itself to me too. So far there's a lot about transformation, exploding and crime.
TMS: What are your inspirations for the stories and characters?
TT: The way I feel inside. I don't know, I try to think about a creature's relationship to the environment it finds itself in and then what could happen if everything was made variable, but not random. Whatever creeps in when I'm going to sleep.
TMS: You do a lot of silk screen printing with your comics. What made you decide to go that route?
TT: My brother re-learned how to screen print after he got out of school, then he taught me how to do it, and we tried to run a shop in a shed behind our parents' house for awhile. making covers and books was a good way to practice printing, so I made one longer book where I xeroxed the pages and printed the cover and that was cool but expensive to xerox. So then I made a shorter book with the intention of screen printing the whole thing myself, and got some attention for that. It's fun, it's nice to be able to control every aspect of the process yourself and not rely on machines or anyone else. The mistakes are all YOURS!
TMS: Is your artistic style specifically influenced by any artists, comics, or movies?
TMS: Yeah, it changes all the time, but I can say that I always go back to John Carpenter's The Thing, and Rob Bottin's work on it as well as all the artists who worked on it. The way it looks, how they did the effects, it's great. All the work that went into the first Alien is always a great inspiration too. All the hand painted movie posters that come out of Ghana are like the best paintings ever made too.
TMS: Illogical Comics is self-published? Can you talk about the pros and cons of self-publishing a comic and how you typically distribute your product?
TT: For the most part yeah, it's all me, except with the books Entering A Room Full of People and the Illogical Comics Dailies Book. EARFOP was published by my friend Paul Lyons up in Providence under Hidden Fortress Press, and the IC Dailies Book was originally published by my friend Snake Hayden in Portland, OR under Snakebomb Comics. So they would print the pages and I would print the covers. Doing it all yourself is nice because you keep all the profits, you have the satisfaction of going through that experience, and nobody is telling you how to do it, but you're doing it all yourself, that's it, you run out, you need to make it again. That takes time away from working on the next thing. So then I just sell it online, or put the books in a few stores when I can, I don't really make enough copies of anything to be distributing them all over the place. We printed like 400 copies of EARFOP though, so Paul handles distributing most of those, which is cool.
TMS: It is geared more for an adult audience. Can you talk about any difficulties in doing what are considered adult and/or low-brow comics?
TT: Hmm, not sure, because I don't know how difficult it is to make more child friendly work where I would need to edit myself more. Trying to make comics that other people want to read is hard.
TMS: How do you feel about the current comic book landscape? Do you follow main stream comics?
TT: I don't really follow whats going on with main stream stuff, because there's so much of it, and I've barely gotten through all the work I've received from friends at the past few fests. I like Godzilla in Hell, that's probably the most mainstream thing I've looked at. The landscape is cool, there's a lot going on and something for everybody and always room for new blood.
TMS: Can you tell us about any other projects that you are currently working on?
TT: I'm working on a new Mouthgate tape, which might take awhile because I'm trying to get a decent job. Also trying to map out the story for the next Illogical Comics long player: Dr. Crosseyed's Laboratorium of Phantasmagorium. An old character comes back, the bounds of reality are challenged! Maybe, who knows, things always change as I work on them.
TMS: What are some of your favorite movies, comics, television shows, and other current artists?
TMS: My favorite artist working today is my friend Lale Westvind, she makes these great sci fi comics, and these insane animations. They've got it all. It feels good to be genuinely more interested in what my friends are doing than what is going on anywhere else. Some of my favorite movies are Ricky-Oh Story of Ricky, Deadbeat At Dawn, Stalker, 2001, Evil Dead 2, Space is the Place, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Crazy Thunder Road, The Exorcist and I already mentioned The Thing and Alien. I think my favorite comic series is Miyazaki's Nausicaa. What is the last song that you listened to? Mortuary Drape- Not Still Born (The Unborn Plane).