Mao Mao Ting (“the feline android from off world”), Takodon, and Tonga Joy are just a few of the monstrous creations from the mind of Austin-based artist Rory Skagen. His work evokes fevered (yet paradoxically beloved) childhood nightmares of a generation raised on a steady diet of the Cold War, films like The Day of the Triffids, and Godzilla (and if you were lucky to live in the Mid Atlantic and a few other select areas in the ’60s — Ultraman).
He also turns his insightful eye (which one could envision as vaguely Cyclopean if the man matches his monsters) on vintage ads, space age lounge culture, and murals (including his well-known Austin Postcard mural). Additionally, he’s created a line of utterly warped gifts such as Throwing Gravel, which bring to mind Dan Aykroyd’s brilliant early Saturday Night Live creation Irwin Mainway, purveyor of such fine products as Bag O’ Glass, Mr. Skin-Grafter, and General Tron’s Secret Police Confession Kit. These items are available at Austin’s venerable Blue Genie Art Bazaar, an annual holiday event Skagen co-founded.
Austin Postcard mural on South 1st St. in Austin
Takodon, one of three indoor murals at Mellow Mushroom Pizza on Guadalupe St. in Austin
images via Rory Skagen