Friday, September 9, 2011

Amiyumidas Interview: Rodney Greenblat

Hey Puffy fans! A fun treat today! Rodney Greenblat who created Puffy's iconic art took some time to talk to Amiyumidas. His art for Puffy I think is one of the most lasting impressions I have of Ami and Yumi and was something I immediately noticed when I started buying Puffy albums. He is also a seriously nice guy and one of the easiest interviews I have done.

There is some really great stuff here, so let's get on with it!

Wes J: Hi Rodney, how are you today?

Rodney G: Great!


WJ: Starting with the single “Kore ga Watashi no Ikiru Michi” through “Atarashii hibi” your cover art for Puffy’s singles and the "An Illustrated History" compilation album gave Puffy a cohesive look and feel I have rarely seen in other acts. What was your process for doing these singles and how did the story telling for them come to be?

RG: It was so fun doing those mini CD singles in those cool packages. I don't even know if they still make those little CD single packages. The process was that Puffy's ultra cool manager and producer would send me some basic direction like "snow scene" or "beach" or "city" and then I would send a few sketches. From there the Puffy team would choose and I would get to work. Sometimes I would send them a completely different idea.


WJ: Which cover was your favorite?

RG: I think PUFFY DE RUNNBA was my favorite, with Puffy ice fishing. I thought the Aurora in the background looked cool.



WJ: After reading Andie Airfix’s blog about designing album covers it sounds like cover design can be a long drawn out process. What were the challenges of designing the single covers for Puffy?

RG: I'm such an easy person to work with there were few problems. Ami and Yumi are fans of my work, so they usually liked what I sent. The hardest part of all the art I did for them was getting their HAIR right. Their styles changed from tour to tour, and I had to keep up. Puffy's management would send me photos and I would try to get it right.


WJ: You did the set design for Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Puffy which I always thought really tied all of Puffy’s imagry together, what was that like to work on. How was that different than doing cover art for Puffy?

RG: It was SO GREAT working on that set. Maybe you know I am a gifted sculptor and designer, so it was wonderful to have a chance to work in 3 dimensions for a big audience. I made two different designs over the course of the show. There were puppets and all kinds of stuff in that set.


WJ: What are the challenges of designing a set versus an album cover?

I had to make much more detailed sketches. Detailed enough for the set craft people to make the stuff. Totally different than making flat art. It was a collaborative process to design the set.


WJ: Your art still remains part of the pantheon of Puffy and it was great to see your artwork coming back via a towel in the merchandise in support of Puffy’s 15th anniversary tour “A Time For ACTION.” How was it doing a piece for Puffy after what I think is a long break?

RG: I was really glad to hear from them again. They are big stars in Japan, so it is a great honor to be able to supply new stuff for their many fans.


WJ: Your art has appeared in all sorts of Puffy related products, like the skull and cross bones on a tour shirt I have in my collection. What of these smaller scale illustrations have been your favorite in regards to Puffy?

RG: I designed many plastic figure Puffy keychains. Some of these were my fastest selling products. They must all be collector's items now.


WJ: Over the course of fifteen years how would you sum up your working experience with Puffy?

I've benefited greatly from knowing Ami and Yumi. They are big stars, but have always treated me with respect and patience. Their enthusiasm for my artwork has allowed my work to be seen by millions of people.


WJ: Anything about your work with Puffy I might have missed or your would like to pass along to fans of Ami and Yumi?

RG: Did you know that Ami has written the translation for my Thunder Bunny picture books? Of course I can not read Japanese so I don't know what she wrote, but all the fans thought it was great. Ami helped me promote my books to an audience that might not have discovered my picture books.


WJ: That is an amazing bit of trivia I have never come across! Thank you for taking the time to talk to me and fans of Puffy. I have enjoyed the imagery you created for them and wish you all the best.

RG: You are welcome! Thank You!


Check out Rodney's website Whimsyload
Also check out Rodney's Japanese site RodneyFun

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