Close-Up: An Interview With Artist Beetle Moses

Artist Beetle Moses (AKA Harris Fishman) is fast becoming an internet favourite for his clever and wildly entertaining webcomics.

Close-Up Culture are excited to welcome Beetle Moses onto the website to chat about his background, finding inspiration for each piece, trying to make his girlfriend laugh, and much more.

Hello Harris, welcome to Close-Up Culture. Can you tell us about your background and what led to your interest in art?

Hi James, thanks so much for inviting me. I’ve been drawing and painting since I was really young, almost compulsively. It can be a little obsessive at times. Otherwise, I don’t have what you might call a formal background in art, besides some classes in high school. 

Your work mainly features fun and surprising twists on pop culture favourites. Can you tell us about your evolution as an artist and how you discovered your current style?

That stems from watching a lot of movies. My online presence is still pretty young, only about six months, which means I’m still feeling around to find that happy medium— one where I’m proud of the work I create and my audience likes it too. Parodying movies and pop culture is a great way to encourage engagement, because it makes people feel like they’re in on a joke. Pop culture references can come off as cheap sometimes, but I try my best to keep it clever.

How do you approach your work and find the inspiration for each piece?

I have a scrawling, manic notebook of ideas that pop in my head. Only about 30% make it to page. It has to make me laugh, or think, or there’s no point. The best ideas always pop in your head in the shower, on a walk, or right before bed, so I make sure to write it down before it’s gone again. 

I know if I came up with any of your ideas I’d be extremely proud of myself! Have there been any pieces that you are especially proud of?

That’s very kind of you to say. The first one that comes to mind is a drawing I made of Mario lowering himself down the final pole in a Super Mario level in a very over-the-top pole dance routine. I tried to find the most ostentatious pole routine photos to use as visual reference while I was drawing. The final product came out ridiculous. It was that golden intersection of something that made me laugh while I was drawing it, and also received a great response from the internet. 

What part of the process do you find most fulfilling?

My girlfriend can be a tough egg to crack. If I draw something and it makes her laugh, I know it’s good. Internet attention is exciting, but fleeting. Making my close friends and loved ones laugh is the most fulfilling piece to me. 

Away from your art, how do you spend your time?

I record a weekly podcast called Cold Cuts with my friend Zach, who is also a comic artist under the moniker Yolo Swag Studios. We have totally different art styles, but our personal relationship goes way back, so we have a great time talking about art, memes, and navigating internet culture. Drawing can be really solitary work, so the podcast is a great outlet for me to sharpen the saw. 

What are your plans and ambitions for the future?

Webcomics have been a great springboard to connect with other really talented people, but I’m eager for the next step. I’d love to work on a storyboard or a writing team for a larger project. I’ve also written two short stories I intend to make into graphic novels, which might be arduous, but a labor of love. Having attention on me still feels new, but I know the smartest move is to put my best foot forward and keep working on projects that excite me.

Follow Beetle Moses on Twitter – https://twitter.com/beetlemoses

Follow Beetle Moses on Instagram – Harris (@beetlemoses) • Instagram photos and videos

Check out Beetle Moses’ shop – Home | Beetle Moses (bigcartel.com)

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