Friday, October 18, 2013

Interview with Justin Aerni.

Full Name:
Justin Daniel Aerni

Do you have a nickname or what do your friends call you?
I've been messing around with different names and personas for years.
I don't really want to mention them here because it ruins the mystery
but I use them as a kind of release from being me from time to time.
I can totally relate. I have a pen name I use from time to time. I
made it up using one of those old “What is your porn name?” generator
memes. First name: Your middle name. Last name: Name of street you
live on.
I just tried it and mines ; "Blackie Correll ". I see some interracial movies in my future.
One can only hope!

Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

Current hometown:
"Spokane , Where the dead go to die again." ™ ~aerni
 The history of Spokane is ;
1. Bing Crosby
2. David Lynch
3. Todd McFarlane
4. Justin Aerni

Favorite city and why?
I have love affairs with different cities and they usually die out
faster than my relationships.
I judge cities now on how easily I can navigate the airport. Detroit
was fun for a while because I got to play out my childhood Mad Max
urban cowboy psychotic bad boy dreams and fuck shit up even more and
put some art up and sneak around with my little baseball bat into
abandoned forgotten places which is pretty much the whole city now.
I seriously don’t know why they don’t evacuate Detroit and call in
an air strike. Same thing with the city I was raised in. They should
just blow up the bridges and trench the roads and post it as a
disaster area.

Yeah well Detroit would probably look the same afterwards.
You’re probably right.

April 11th - 1984©

How would you describe yourself physically?
Some kind of rabid magical flying unicorn hydra beast werewolf thingy.
I’ll need you to provide an illustration for that.
Since it's what I look like I've attached my picture.

How would someone else describe you physically?
The same thing but with a giant penis.

The first thing people notice about you is…
I've been told they notice my eyes scanning.. studying them like some
kind of awkward Velociraptor/Rasputin hybrid reincarnation. I like to
really know what these people are made of that come into my life. Test
the waters until I have a clear picture. I'm looking for something
Thank you for the opportunity to add “Velociraptor” to my
spell-check dictionary.

Just doing my part. :)

Hair Color/Eye Color/Race?
brown . brown . white.

Religion, if any?
It changes week to week depending on how I feel. I've been at some
point in my life pretty much every major R. Nothing really fit for a
long period. Some days I'm Agnostic. Some day's LaVey Satanic. Some
days I make up my own. I feel like there are no real answers, only
ways to get through this life. The answers I think I've found are ever
evolving and changing like my art. I try not to take everything too
seriously and over analyze. I do feel like you have to have some kind
of spirituality or some kind of awe inspiring unexplainable muse in
your life. Without that your art's dead.

Are you superstitious at all? Any phobias?
Yeah I have different rituals I do each day for "GOOD LUCK" - I feel
like I found a way to contain it from taking over my life though. I
thought I was agoraphobic for a year in 2012. I couldn't leave the
house. I didn't want to sleep. I didn't want to be awake. I would try
for hours to think of nothing at all. I was actually considering
moving my bed and computer into my closet and just having that as my
room. I wanted to hide… stupid.
I spent a summer sleeping in a long narrow closet in a room I
rented. My room-mates thought I was crazy because the rest of the room
was empty. It was really comforting and quiet and having a windowless
compartment to sleep in was quite nice.

Damn, that does sound pretty nice.
It really was.

Do you smoke/drink? If so, what? Any bad habits?
The last time I drank I almost died. It was saint Patty's day and shit
got crazy. I was naked running around covered in puke completely out
of my skull. I've tried different drugs. Same old story. I can take
them or leave them at this point. I think everything I like / do can
be considered a bad habit.
I can totally relate. The last time I did drugs this happened.
That's probably the best picture I've ever seen since my eyes could
even see. I think the world would be destroyed if we ever partied
I look forward to destroying the world with you someday.

Current occupation/Dream job:
Artist. Dream job? Hmmm. Artist.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
When I'm awake I'm always at work in one way or another. It's all I
like to do actually. Art is kind of a lonely thing and because I am a
social animal I usually walk around downtown looking at the crowds of
people coming and going. Trying to live in the now is something I
always have to remind myself of.
I also love to people watch. My vehicle died so I have to take the
bus to and from work and although I hate all of the social waste that
inhabits the downtown bus depot, I secretly love taking mental notes
for drawing mutants.
Two of my fave mutant bus archetypes that keep popping up for me and
I'm sure this is in every town are:
1. The haggard billion pound cat lady smelling like rotting fish and
cheese who takes up two seats at the front of the bus with her dying
cat "white socks" in a mini cat kennel cab on the way to the vet's
office.  2. The just released on parole drug dealer usually standing
at the very front of the bus holding onto the above hand rail telling
his prison stories to anyone /everyone within a five foot radius.
Favorite catch phrase lines from this character include; "Yo , I just
got out like 6 months ago and I can't even find a job but I'm lookin
to get back into the old business now if you know what I mean." and
"Yo man , you gotta a cigarette for me- I'm fresh out and you know I'm
good for it the next time you see me."
I kind of relate to the cat lady since they’re usually not hurting anyone except for their sense of smell, but I HATE HATE HATE the junkie scum that are always on the bus. And they always fucking know each other. I always want to say, “You do know that YOU are the reason that people hate taking the bus and if you would just kill yourself you really would make both the experience of commuting via public transportation and society in general a better place, right?”

What is your zombie outbreak survival plan?
Well honestly I have thought about this at great length but
realistically I've come to terms with myself that I wouldn't survive a
week. SO I've created my own Human Outbreak Survival Plan, or H.O.S.P
for short. If and when I do get bit, I figure I have 1 to 2 hours max
to get all my shit together. First I would already have some kind of
protective gear waiting. Cause I do. Long story. Police helmet. Some
kind of second hand riot suit.. I would have two huge butcher knives,
maybe more, depends on how evil I'm feeling, that I would duct tape to
my hands so I could never drop them as zombies like to do. I guess
that's the final step but anyways. I would wrap myself in duct tape
like water tight, so when I get all mushy inside like a pumpkin I'll
last longer. I would also layer up on clothes over the gear. I don't
want these humans to know I have protective gear on except the helmet
I guess. Also if you're a zombie you'll need a metal neck brace. I'm
not going to be decapitated so easily punks. When I'm done I'm going
to be the most badass undead nightmare MOFO that has ever stumbled.
Can I steal that for the post-apocalyptic zombie epidemic novel-length book project I’m working on?
If you put me in the book you can.
Done and done!

Weapon of choice:

Do you have any special skills?
Cooking.. love making.. cat petting.. cat cooking.. cat love making.
I often type *laughs* as a tag because emotion is difficult to
communicate in text format. Most of the time it’s just me recognizing
someone’s attempt at humor. You know, like, “Oh. A joke. I get
jokes.”. But this answers actually made me laugh. I read it first
thing in the morning so it was more of a snort-and-chuckle than my
usual braying “HA!”.
When I used to work in the call center my friends and I would test
each other to see how many times we could say "MEOW" in a phone call.
It goes easier if you just add it on really fast to the ending of a
word. So I would say something like ; "Welcomeow to virgin
Meow-bile meow I'meow Justin and I'll meow be taking caremeow of you
todaymeow." I think the record was 40 times in a 3 minute phone call.
Super Troopers! That… is amazing!

Did you go to college and, if so, what for?
No. Self-taught all the way for the win. I don't believe college makes
artists. I've talked a lot about the pros and cons before in other
interviews but to put it simply it just wasn't my path. I'm not saying
it's a total waste of time but for me it was. p.s I have nothing
against artists that have gone to college. Don't be mad broz. I still
love you.

Any pets? If so, what are they and what are their names?
Yeah I had a cat named Straw. He sold out and ran away to the girl
across the street because she feed him better. There was also Sunny.
He was murdered in a tragic hit and run. *sniff.sniff*  Hmmm I had a
postmortem mouse that I kept in a jar full of baby oil. That lasted a
year. After three months the jar kind of exploded. Weird slow motion
chemical reaction I guess.

What is your favorite animal?
I'm a dog person now. I often imagine myself as a dog. Must be a past
life regression thing.

Speaking of pets, any pet peeves?
Facebook. I'm pretty sure fakebook died for me the instant my mom
started liking my erotic status updates.
That’s why I had to block my mom, I mean, your mom.
I don't know I'm usually peeved when I hear people talking about their
pet peeves so I'm going to stop now.

Favorite/Least favorite Food:
Hmm.. Taco night for sure. If I could, and this is creepy as fuck, I'm
sorry, but I would if I could, go to the grade schools and eat the
lunches there with the little kiddies in the tiny desks. Thursday was
usually mashed potatoes and gravy with chicken and a dinner roll. And
Friday was my fave which was pizza on texas toast with ranch dressing
covered iceberg salad, an oatmeal cookie and a small chocolate milk,
but I always stole an extra because I love my milk. I wish I still had
one of those school lunch calendars so I can salivate all over it.
You know what? I just realized that I ate better in grade school
lunch than I usually do all day as an adult. Apparently I’m not very
good at taking care of myself or just not very good at being an adult.

Yeah I feel your pain.

What is your favorite quotation/motto/saying?

What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
My daughter, Amélie.

What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?
Answer 5B. I don't know. It's not worth putting more energy into it. I
couldn't tell you anyway if I wanted to.

Ever had your heart broken? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
Yeah sure, I've been with girls and those times felt like whole
lifetimes. I've been hurt like everyone else. I don't think my girl
drama is worth sharing though. Plus I don't want to give them the
satisfaction of a mention here. I have stalkers.
I hope someday I have stalkers too.
Start going by your porn name. Make fake VHS video covers with your
head Photoshopped into the bodies of porn starts. Make a fake Facebook
profile for your porn star self. It will happen then. I guarantee it.

Ever broken someone’s heart? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
Not intentionally. I'm sure I did in my youth. If that's someone
reading this, I'm sorry.

What is the best thing you’ve ever done?
I did what I wanted to in this life, believed in myself enough to make
my dreams come true and keep coming true on a daily basis. I think the
best thing I've ever done is making the choice to continue.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
See answer 5B.
Ah, yes, the “fifth” answer.

If you could kill one person, consequence free, who would it be and why?
No one right now is worth killing to me.. Kind of a lousy answer I know.
It’s not a bad answer. There are no right or wrong answer to these
questions. It’s like the Voight-Kampff machine. I’m just trying to
determine if you’re an android or not.

I am a machine.

What do you do?
I create things.

How did you get started doing what you do?
I've always made art for as long as I can remember. I used to go
around with my little red wagon in grade school and sell my friends
mutilated doll heads and creepy crawlers I baked the night before. You
remember those? I used to sell them little scraps of art. I would make
folding maps with made up worlds. My fave was Skull Island. They loved
that shit. Skull Island had its own money system. I would design and
make bill$. I've always known I was going to do this as an "adult."
I'm really thankful for all my friends out there in the world who
believe in me and are brave enough and outside of the box enough to
collect what I create.
When I was in grade school I learned how to make origami balloons.
You know the kind you can puff air into and they blow up into a little
paper cube? I started to sell them for a nickel a piece to the other
kids and my third grade teacher made me stop. That, for me, is the
archetypical example of what the educational system does to a young
mind. I was eight years old and I had my own business and my teacher
made me stop. And to think I had to endure twelve years of that

You should do that again sell them now as a weird form of revenge. I'd
buy one from you.
Nah. It was more of a cash-&-carry business model. The shipping would make it an unworkable business model, but I appreciate your encouragement.

What is your advice to other people that want to get started doing what you do?
Well I pretty much have stopped giving out advice but I would ask them
to ask themselves three questions:
1. Are you prepared to give up everyone you love and have everyone you
love give up on you to do this?
2. If you get no recognition, none, forever, and live on nothing, make
nothing, would you still do it?
3. Do you have something real and original to say?
If you answered yes to all three than you should give being an artist
a shot. If not move along please.

What are some of the projects you’ve worked on/finished in the past?
Give us a little history if you will.

I had a nice solo show in Detroit. "HELL AS A ROOM" - That was a huge
thing for me. I put out a poetry book on Amazon called ; "JUSTIN
AERNI's BITTER BATTER BRAINS" - Just staying busy with shows and
putting my art out into the world. I'm excited for the upcoming DAMNED
show in Detroit starting the 24th at the Tangent Gallery.

What projects are you working on now?
I'm writing a novel / poetry book / slash. choose your own adventure
slash. picture book about my life and the underworld due out sometime
next year.

What are you watching?
Your upcoming zombie movie hopefully. Hot damn I would love to be in a
zombie flick.
See my comment on your Human Outbreak Survival Program. If you let
me borrow your idea I’ll write you into a chapter for free.


What are you listening to?
Symphony No. 3 by Henryk Gorecki.

What are you reading?
Your beautiful blog sir.
D’aw. I bet you say that to all the interviewers.

Favorite author/book?
Leonard Cohen - Beautiful Losers.

Favorite band/song?
The Asocials - song ; YLOH

Least favorite band/song?
Don't know, I honestly forgot about it. Kind of proud of myself a little.

Desert Island Music/Movies/Books: You know the deal. Five of each.
Music :
Anything by Atom And His Package - Everything else is just pretend punk rock..
Movies :
1. Hired Guns (The wrath of Seebong) #III – 2004
2. Murder Mouse eats NYC – 1989
3. Icy Meat Treat – 1993
4. Sherman Oaks , A tourist guide through the Bronx – 1980
5. Burning Amanda Svadalitz – 1998
1. Dead Business Men
2. Nonsense Relevant
3. Fragmented Abstractions
4. Sterile Unobtainable Needles
5. Fighting For Fiction

If you could do anything other than what you do now, what would you do?
Nothing, I would shrivel up and die.

Who would you want to meet that you haven’t met? You get three choices:
Alive. Dead. Fictional.

They say never meet your heroes so I would have to say ;
The ShamWow! Guy ... Billy Graham ... hmm. Rebecca Black maybe. I'm
reaching here. .

What’s the best and worst job you’ve ever had?
I worked in a shitty call center for 5 + years before I was able to do
this full time. I'll never forget all the bullshit. It's part of what
drives me today to work as hard as I can. I don't take orders from
anyone and I try my best to do the opposite of what everyone else
tells me. I was a shitty destructive employee to say the least. I'm a
better boss I think.

Are there any questions that I didn’t ask that you wished I had asked
that you would like to answer now?

No, except, are you going to have some samples of my work for the
interview ? Feel free to use any images for your blog.
I’ve been getting that question a lot lately. Especially since I’ve
been interviewing artists. I know it’s a good idea to make the
interviews more visually engaging, but I kind of like to let the words
speak for themselves. Artists, musicians, film-makers, they always
express themselves through the medium of their art. I kind of wanted
to give friends and fans of creative types the chance to know the
person behind the media they like. I might change my mind at some
point in the future, but for now I like to keep it strictly textual. I
figure if the artist provides links to their works any interested
parties can click through to check out more of their work. Plus it’s a
great format for people to promote their work. I’m planning in
integrating audio and video if this thing takes off.
Maybe after I hit 10,000 hits I’ll throw up a little “donate” button
and try to get some people to flip me some petty cash so I’ll have a
budget. I wouldn’t really need the money to improve the blog, but it
would be both a motivator and proof that people are interested.
Okay sounds good.

Anyone you recommend I interview that you can put me in touch with?
Blinky - the fine/street artist if he's not too busy. That would be a good read.

Got any questions for me?
No, let me know about your movie.
Well, it’s a post-apocalyptic zombie-epidemic novel-length book
project for now. But hopefully someday it will be made into a movie,
or a comic book, or a TV show, or a concept album. I’m open to
optioning out the rights once I get it written.

I appreciate you and I have a lot of respect for everything you do.
Aw, shucks, thanks for subjecting yourself to being interviewed!

Closing questions / summary / and thanks:
Thanks for checking me out kids. X)
xox ~ Aerni

Pitch parade:
Give me all of your links for things you want to promote. All of them.


About the Interviewee:
Justin Aerni was born in Arizona in 1984. His artistic career began in
2006 when he started exhibiting his work in galleries and selling it
online. He is also the author and illustrator of such books as;
"Fighting For Fiction"- 2008, "Nonsense Relevant" - 2009 and "Dead
Business Men", a graphic novel in 2009 , "Justin Aerni's Bitter Batter
Brains" - 2012. To date Aerni has created and sold over 2000 paintings
to collectors worldwide and has been featured in numerous art and
culture magazines. bla bla bla.

About the Interviewer:
Scott Lefebvre is the most high God. That is all. ~ aerni

Scott Lefebvre has probably read everything you've read and can write about whatever you want him to write about.
Mostly because when he was grounded for his outlandish behavior as a hyperactive school child, the only place he was allowed to go was the public library.
His literary tastes were forged by the works of Helen Hoke, Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. P. Lovecraft.
He is the author of Spooky Creepy Long Island and a contributing author to Forrest J. Ackerman’s Anthology of the Living Dead, Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction, The Call of Lovecraft, and Cashiers du Cinemart.
His reviews have been published by a variety of in print and online media including Scars Magazine, Icons of Fright, Fatally Yours and Screams of Terror, and he has appeared in Fangoria, Rue Morgue and HorrorHound Magazine.
He is the Assistant Program Director for The Arkham Film Society and produces Electronic Music under the names Master Control and LOVECRAFTWORK.
He is currently working on a novel-length expansion of a short-story titled, "The End Of The World Is Nigh", a crowd-funded, crowd-sourced, post-apocalyptic, zombie epidemic project.
You can check out the blog for the book here:
You can check out the Facebook Fan Page for the project here:
You can check his author profile at:
You can follow him at GoodReads here:
You can check out his electronic music here:
And here:
You can check out his videos at:
You can check out his IMDB profile here:
You can follow his Twitter here: or @TheLefebvre
You can follow his Tumblr here:
You can check out his Etsy here:
You can join the group for The Arkham Film Society here:
You can stalk his Facebook at:
You can e-mail him at:

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