REG EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW!!!
by Michael Simone
rom cartoonist, to stage designer, to live-action film maker and animator, Gerald Scarfe operates at the prickly fringe of mainstream culture. He is a well-known for his iconoclastic humor and edgy style of graceful arcs and short, jagged stabbing lines which makes his art stand apart from others. Born in 1936, Gerald Scarfe has become possibly the greatest British cartoonist of the second half of the twentieth century. For the past thirty five years, Gerald Scarfe's acute vision and virtuoso draughtsmanship have charted the highs and lows of British political and cultural life. Gerald Scarfe was first recognized for his political cartoons for the Sunday London Times.
Scarfe first became well known for his work drawing The Beatles. He worked during the Vietnam War for The Times Newspaper, and acted as a corespondent traveling to the killing fields, and reporting via his talent.
He is married to British actress Jane Asher, however, she is probably best known for her relationship with Paul McCartney before he met Linda Eastmann. He began work for Pink Floyd in 1973 and was responsible for creating Pink Floyd's graphics, and animation, from the "Wish You Were Here" tour video's. Scarfe also did the artwork for the cartoon comic book like 1974/1975 tour programs. In this clever program he portrayed each of the band members as comic book hero's:
Rog of the Rovers: Roger Waters is a football player (i.e. soccer) playing in a championship match for Grantchester Rovers. Roger is doped by the opposition but recovers in time to score the winning goal. Captain Mason R.N.: Nick is captain of a ship taking a precious fuel to Egypt during the war. They are torpedoed by a German U-boat but Nick manages to save the day by ramming the submarine. Rich Right - He's Rich & He's Right!: Not much story to this except Rick is a super-rich playboy. This is more in the style of the MAD comics. The Exploits of Dave Derring: Dave is a country boy who leaves his girl to become a speedway star. He's a disaster until his girl turns up at the track and he wins the race.
The program is completely hand drawn, no photos, and seems to be partly Nick Mason's idea. It's quite funny if you know what its making fun of (GB boys comics like the Lion, the Tiger, the Hotspur etc)
In 1979, he created the entire set design, graphics, video's and animation for the theatrical performances of "The Wall" in 1980 and 1981. He also designed the album sleeves. But it was in 1982, where he gained a much wider audience. His distinctive illustrations came to life when he became the film designer and animator for Pink Floyd's full length motion picture "The Wall" by Alan Parker. For Roger Waters' first solo album "Pros and Cons of HitchHiking," Gerald Scarfe created the artwork, animation, and graphics for the concerts as well as the program for the 1984 and 1985 tours. Creating REG the dog, who became the central character for the films, REG has the mascot and symbol for our fanclub. For his most recent film, Scarfe was production designer for the Disney animated feature film "Hercules." Scarfe designed the look of the film—both the bad guys and the bad guys, as well as the backgrounds. His original designs were then adapted by animators to fit the Disney style.
Involved in many projects, Gerald Scarfe has been recently lending his artistry talents to the theater designing sets for Mozart's last opera "The Magic Flute," and a children's opera "The Fantastic Mr. Fox."
Author of many books, including; Scarfe by Scarfe (Hamish Hamilton-London, 1986, ISBN 0-241-11959-6), Gerald Scarfe is truly one of the most internationally celebrated caricaturist of our time whose illustrations have especially affected the hearts and lives of Pink Floyd and Roger Waters fans around the world. He has be gracious enough to consent to this exclusive interview for REG - The International Roger Waters Fan Club.
REG: Can you remember at what time in your life you became interested in art?
GS: Well I was an asthmatic child. So that for most of my childhood I was in bed. Bedridden. And, I of course just read a lot, and I think drew a lot even then, when I was young. And drawing became my way of explaining the world to myself because I didn't have a lot of friends around being a sick child. So I think that drawing has always been my way of explaining things to myself.
REG: You went to L.A. in 1971 to do the animation film "Long Drawn-out Trip". Could you tell us what the project was about and was it successful?
GS: Well the BBC in London sent me to Los Angeles, to work on what they thought was a new animation system. It was something called the de joux (ju) system which is spelled dejoux. That was a system started by a Frenchman which was supposed to make animation an easier experience. When I got there I found that it wasn't a computerized system at all. It was just a system whereby between shall we say frame a and frame e, it kind of mixed through b, c, d, into e. It kind of dissolved from one picture to another. So if one drew a picture it would then dissolve through, or mix through, to the next picture.
Where as in animation you have to kind of do a series of drawings in between to complete the movement. But it wasn't a very successful system in that way. But since I was in Los Angeles, I decided to make the best of it, and I did a kind of stream of consciousness drawing everything I could think of about America at that time. Like, the Statue of Liberty, Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Black Power, Mickey Mouse, Coca Cola, Playboy Magazine, sort of a million images all melting one into the other. I was supposed to be there for 10 days, but I stayed for about 6 or 7 weeks. Hence the title, Long Drawn Out Trip. And it was also a kind of a trip, cause it was very much the drug era. And it was a kind of a hallucinatory trip too.
REG: Yes, I remember the time.
>GS: Yea. And um, when I came back to England I put a very complex soundtrack on it, featuring everyone from Jimi Hendrix, right through to Neil Diamond, you know, everybody that was kind of popular who was kind of popular at that time. And put the whole thing together. And when it was shown on BBC, Roger, Nick, and Dave saw it and they contacted me because they thought they would like me to work with them. And that's our association started. I simply got a phone call one day saying that Roger and Nick had both seen this on BBC Television and thought that they would like to meet me.
REG: And this was in 1971 or '72?
GS: I can't remember the date I'm sorry, it was like the same year that I produced it, it would have been around that time. And I think that I first met them around that period too.
REG: Is the film available now?
GS: Well I have it on video, yea. But the soundtrack was so complicated, in order to re-show it, they would have had to pay so many royalties to so many artists. That it's not likely that it will ever be shown again.
REG: So there is no way that I or any other fan could ever view the film?
GS: No, I have a video copy of it. That's about it.
GS: So it's a lost piece.
REG: It would sure be interesting to see. I believe your wife worked with you on this project?
GS: She did yes, she came to Los Angeles. Her brother lives in Los Angeles, and we stayed with him. And during the day sometimes she would come with me and paint the film. In those days, animation was done by drawing on one side of the film, and painting the colors on the other side. So they were sort of on the different side. And as they showed through the cellophane from the front side, they looked very smooth and well painted, cause they were flat against the cellophane. But that system is no longer used. I just recently did a film with Disney, and they put the drawings straight on the computer. And it's all painted on the computer now and not by hand anymore.
REG: And your wife being a celebrated actress/writer, have you worked with your wife in later years for any other projects?
GS: Not really, no. We did do a little children's book together. She invented this character called Moppy. Which is a little tiny creature. And I illustrated those books for her.
REG: What was the title of the book?
GS: Ah, it was children's books. One was called "Moppy Is Happy," "Moppy Is Angry," Moppy is this, Moppy is that.
REG: Roger Waters was reported as being "deeply impressed" with the Long Drawn-out Trip video. Do you think this work of yours moved Roger Waters emotionally? Did they tell you exactly why they contacted you and what they thought of the video?
GS: Well just that they liked it. They didn't say that they were moved emotionally. They just said that they liked it and thought that I could do something along side their work which could compliment it.
Did you know of Pink Floyd at this time? Were you a Pink Floyd fan?
GS: Well I knew of them but I wasn't a fan, but I mean I knew of their work. After our meeting, Nick sent me a whole batch of their albums up to that point, which was up to Dark Side of the Moon I think. And I was very impressed. You know, I played Dark Side of the Moon and was very impressed with it. But of course I knew of their music. When I say I wasn't a fan, I mean it wasn't that I disliked it, it was just I kind of heard it occasionally and listened to all sorts of music.
And then I think they asked me to work on Wish You Were Here, which was the next album coming up. And I didn't do anything for a long time. I had other projects, and I didn't get around to doing anything for a bit.
REG: So it was Nick who was your main contact with Pink Floyd, or was it Roger?
GS: Well it's difficult to remember. I think it was Nick who initially... I mean in that initial meeting I had with them, they were all there as I remember it. But Nick kind of encouraged me for the next period, and then Roger very much came in, with kind of ideas and thoughts.
REG: What was it you did for Wish You Were Here?
GS: I did some film for their stage show, you know on their circular screen. I had all sorts of bits of film, little snippets of ideas. I mean, one of them I think was eventually incorporated into The Wall film, which was a man blowing along in the wind like a leaf or something and turning into a leaf... or a leaf turning into a man, I can't remember which way round it was. And I had a kind of metal monster, for Welcome To the Machine.
REG: Yes, I'm very familiar with that film. That's wonderful.
GS: And then I did also a kind of man walking along in the dessert and then the wind blew, and he appeared to be made of sand and blew away completely in the sand storm, and disappeared till he was just a kind of a... a stump. That kind of stuff.
REG: I saw the 1975 show when they played Wish You Were Here and Dark Side of the Moon, and saw the films on the circular screen and it certainly was impressive. Did you work directly with the members of Pink Floyd or did Pink Floyd management hire you?
GS: Well no, I worked directly with Roger and Nick and to some extent with Dave. It was a kind of direct conversation with the band really.
REG: As you began to work more and more with Roger, Did you become friends with Roger Waters or would you characterize your relationship as friendly and more professional?
GS: Well, both really, it was very professional because we were both working... it was mainly... when he wrote The Wall, he came to me with the tapes of The Wall, and them for me. And he thought then that it should be a project that we should work on together. And it was very much his kind of project, his story, his project entirely. And he came to me at that point, to my house here in London, and played me the tapes. And he knew even at that point it was clear that it was going to be a kind of a show, and then a film hopefully. He kind of had a clear picture of what he was aiming at even then, an album, a show and then a film. And from then on, we sort of worked together. And we knew one another very well during that period. We spent a certain amount of time together, and played a lot of Snooker.
REG: When Roger told you about The Wall, and what it was about, because of your background, i.e.; brought up in wartime Britain, your Father away a lot which was similar to Roger's angst. Did you have an affinity for The Wall and the concept and what it was about?
GS: Yes of course I did, yea, being very English. And having suffered for part of the war when I was a child. I was too young to really understand what was going on but one of my favorite pieces of animation now is that Goodbye Blue Sky in The Wall because that deals directly with that period in time. And when Roger talks about the frightened ones running away from the bombs, I immediately thought of my days when I was young and I had to wear these gas masks. All the children had to wear a gas mask in case of a gas attack by the Germans. They tried to make the masks like Mickey Mouse faces so the children would like them. But I didn't. They had big ears on them.
So, I created these creatures called The Frightened Ones which in the film you see do have mask like kind of heads and they run beneath the ground to hide. Which is what in fact we did during the war. There were shelters underneath the ground everywhere. They were called Anderson Shelters, and we would go down into them if the siren went. So yes, to answer your question, it was very much a period with which I have an affinity. And Roger and I both... although he's younger than me, he lost his father in the war so he's very aware of that. So it was a very English point of view, all that period.
|REG: The Wall itself is my favorite album and favorite film, and the animation is my favorite animation of all time. But especially Goodbye Blue Sky is my favorite animation of the film.
GS: It is good, yea.
REG: It's wonderful. Roger Waters is somewhat political. Do you agree with, or are you sympathetic to Roger Waters' social and political views?
|GS: Well I think it would be much to say I share his views completely. But I'm not sure there are certain things on which we would agree about. But on the broader issues, the injustices in the world. You know, that would be something pretty much anyone would agree on I guess. Ah, but I'm not sure I know his close personal views. I mean when we met, we really didn't talk about politics in that way. We talked about... anything, you know like acquaintances do. We may not even talk about the film, we might talk about something else, we may talk about something we've seen, or a movie we've seen or...
REG: Your animated scenes and are characterized by the excessiveness and over indulgence of our society. How do you view the world, the United States, and War in general?
GS: Well, that's a big question. Well, the United States, I've always been extremely fond of the United States when I was growing up here in England the ‘50s and ‘60s. England was incredibly dull and everything exciting seemed to be in America. You had movies and you had Elvis Presely and you had Cadilacs, and you had you know, a great life style going, where as we in England, after the war, which was in the late 1940s, had a hard time getting back on our feet, and the ‘50s were a very very austere time. So I've always loved the States and ever since I went to New York in the early ‘60s, I always have a great charge when I go there, certainly to New York or Los Angeles. But I've traveled all over the States and I've liked it very much. When you say how do I feel about America, that's how I feel about America.
|How do I feel about war? Well anybody I guess, I hope, I don't like it. I have been to several wars to draw. I went to Vietnam. And made drawings in Vietnam during that period of the war there, and found that to be a very very sad situation. Completely different to the way it was portrayed on television at the time. When everyone watched anything on television you would see these pictures of American Marines jumping out of helicopters into the waving grass of Vietnam and a really kind of gung-ho spirit about everything. And when I went to Vietnam, I was shocked to find that most of these Marines were in fact college kids, who'd been pulled out of college at the age of 19 or 20, and just sent off into the jungle on the other side of the world. They didn't know why they were there, or what they were supposed to be doing, or when they were told to go into the jungle and kill Vietnamese, they didn't want to do it, they didn't know....|
So the whole of war, when you look at it is probably run by professional soldiers, and the rest of them are just recruits, or people who are just forced to join the army. And when they are in it, it is a very very sad thing. And I found a lot of the American boys over there, did not want to be there, naturally, they didn't want to get killed, what's the point? And I found on the other side, that the Vietnamese people themselves were extremely gentle people (apart from those who didn't want to be invaded by the Americans, who were fighting back). The general population over there were just ordinary people who wanted to get on with their lives like anybody else does. So you had these sort of women, and husbands and mothers, and children there who just wanted the war to go away, they didn't want any part of it. So war is an extremely sad business, because the majority of people don't want to be in it. It's just the few professional soldiers, and generals and politicians who are trying to gain something. So that's how I feel about war in general.
REG: I have to agree with you. I marched in very many demonstrations against the war in the '60s and '70s.
GS: Yea, well I made a lot of cartoons against it too. I was very anti war.
REG: I'd like to see some of your work which is not normally seen or was not made famous by Pink Floyd. Is there some type of book...
GS: Well there are lots of books. People are always asking me how to get a hold of them. When I was working for Disney, a lot of people were wanting to get a hold of some of my books. And they looked up on the Internet, under my name. You know you can buy books on the Internet, I don't know if you're into that sort of thing, are you?
REG: Yes, I do computer consulting so...
GS: Sure, so that's how they seem to find them. Because most of them are out of print or sold out, you know. I haven't done a book for about 3 or 4 years now. You know I have done about a dozen books.
GS: And these are all full of my drawings over the years.
REG: I wasn't aware of that at all.
GS: There's and autobiographical one called Scarfe by Scarfe. Which was published maybe 10 or 15 years ago now. But they're very difficult to find unfortunately, because ah... your not likely to wonder into a book shop and find one. (On the Internet) that's how people have told me, people that are kind of fans, that's how they find them.
REG: Well I'll have to see if I can find one and order one myself.
How do you create. How do you begin drawing? Do you concentrate on an idea or theme, developing characters, and then work to begin the animation process?
GS: Well there's all sorts of ways really. I mean when I was working shall we say with Disney, you know they sent me the script for the film Hercules and I had to imagine what all the characters looked like. And to develop those characters, so nothing exists visually when I get the script. And it was the same with Roger's piece of music when I got it. I just got the tapes, and I got his lyrics. It was up to me, really, to interpret them, as I thought, that's my job. You know it's my job to visualize, what is literal or audible, so I designed all the characters, and I designed what they do and how they should do it and so on. Because each character that comes into ones mind, has a particular character of their own. Like ah, you know, if it's a fat guy, he can run and he can't sprint, and he can't run fast is an obvious example. And if he's a tiny little man, he can't lift big weights and so on, so there is a character to everybody. And I think when I designed them for The Wall, I used to show Roger my drawings. He used to come to the house here in Chelsea in London and I'd have a whole wall of drawings and we discussed those. Sometimes he would kind of get an idea because there was a drawing there. That's also how it could develop.
REG: How did you create the characters for the animation, the puppet like Teacher, the scorpion like Wife, the possessive Mother, the anus and genitalia like Judge, and the rag doll like Pink? Did you draw on examples from your own life or was it strictly from your imagination and hearing Roger's music?
|GS: Well everything I suppose comes from... I think that an artist is a bit like a computer. He receives information from the world around him and from his past and from his own experiences. And it all goes into the brain. So when I make my drawings, although I may not be consciously basing it on somebody or basing it on my experiences, I expect to a certain extent I am. Because it kind of automatically comes out. Especially when one is working you know very late at night or something, and you are kind of semiconscious of what's happening, and you know a lot of ones psyche comes out into it I think, you know, a lot of ones inner self comes out into the work. So whatever one knows, or has done, or has been, automatically comes through. But then there are some characters that do suggest themselves immediately when you read the script. A kind of vision comes into my mind and that's what I... that's what I sketch out. There are many different ways of doing it. One is dredging through the subconscious. Another is really to sit and think for a very long time as to what that person would look like.|
REG: How did you come up with the idea of crossed marching hammers?
|GS: Well the whole piece was about alienation really. About how we... first of all as you well know, how we are hurt by people in our lives. Our Mothers, our Teachers, our Girlfriends, our boyfriends and so on. And how we put a kind protection around ourselves so we don't go on getting hurt. We don't feel vulnerable and we put a wall around ourselves. And that is the danger that Roger was saying in his piece I think, is that if you wall yourself from others too much you become insensitive and a kind of machine or an autonomaton or... And the danger of becoming a thoughtless machine is that you may become mindless and turn to fascism or whatever.|
And so I tried to think of the most unrelenting kind of cruel symbol of that thing in mind. And so the first thing that came into my mind was the hammer, because its metal, it smashes things, it's unrelenting, it goes... And then the other thing was to make it march because it has echoes of fascism and Nazism and so on. So that's how that really came about, these faceless, mindless tools of destruction just marching ever onward unrelentingly.
REG: Shear genius, shear genius. Your morphing of doves to vultures to war planes and sea of people to a sea of blood, did you start out with this morphing in mind, or did it evolve or how did you see that?
|GS: Well I've always... You know that's part of the magic of animation, you can morph from one thing to another, it's something.... I particularly abhor these animated films which just tell something which could have been done in live action. I mean I haven't seen the recent biblical epic that's animated, I forget the name of it now, it's the story of Moses or something. But it looks like all the drawings are done as semi realistic people. It seems to be pointless you know, because you might as well do that in live action. The magic of animation is that you can change one thing to another. You can morph from one thing to another, and it's pure magic.
I still think animation is in many ways an untried art. It still hasn't been fully examined even yet. So yes, I did have morphing in mind. I did have the idea that it would be a string of ideas which would be connected, and one would blend into the next. So if you say the dog would explode and from the center of the entrails of the dog would come forth the eagle, the eagle of war, the Germanic Eagle, since, in this case it was particularly about the second world war. And how that eagle flew across the landscape of London, and England, and laid a War God which towered over the whole of the city. And then that War God turns into a metallic unforgiving thing, and issues forth from him streams of bombers which fly across the sky. And they in turn morph into crosses of death. So it's like a continual narrative to it really.
REG: Yes, it was wonderful. And animation, like you said is really an untried art. Two pieces of animation that I really enjoyed were really published as major motion pictures. They were The Beatles "Yellow Submarine," when they did that animation, as well as... I think the same people did "When the Wind Blows", and that animation was quite new and different containing 3 D effects. Did you enjoy those?
GS: Yes I did, very much yea. I'm a great fan of animation. It doesn't have to be you know like Disney animation. There's many great possibilities, and it's good in all sorts of styles.
REG: Did you attend any of The Wall performances?
GS: Oh, yea, a lot. I think I went to most of them. There was.... I went to the Nassau Coliseum, in New York and certainly here in England. They only played about... I think it played Dortmund, Los Angeles, New York, and London, and that's it, it was too big to put on. It was one of those stage shows which was just so huge. You saw it I guess.
REG: I did not get to see the '80s shows. I saw...
REG: ...Well, I saw the Berlin show, but I saw Floyd in 72 and 75, but I missed the '77 and The Wall shows. So that's why I had to go to Berlin.
GS: Right. That was such a big show that it was very difficult to you know put it on and you couldn't travel with it.
REG: REG interviewed Mark Fisher, (The Wall concert set designer) and he told us that he himself had worked at each of the Wall shows...
REG: ...And among other things, he said that he worked with the controls that collapsed the wall for each show. Did you have any similar duties to perform at any of the shows?
GS: No, thank goodness I didn't no. I was just kind of like the designer who walked around and you know... you're always checking that things are looking the way they should or the film is going to be there and that kind of thing. But it was pretty efficient. So it was really not... that was kind of like the easy part, all back stage stuff.
REG: And how deeply were you involved with the making of the full-length motion picture; The Wall?
The sequence, like the education sequences were completely done on my design, as well as the animation of course. That was designed to be kind of surreal, obviously where the Wife changes into the monster on the wall, all that sort of things.
REG: Did you have a team of animators that worked with you?
GS: Oh sure, yea. I had a lot of animators. There are 12 drawings every second in animation, so that is a lot of work.
REG: How many individual colored drawings were required for the film, do you have any idea?
GS: I've never worked it out. But you could probably work it out by how many minutes there are in the film and how many seconds there are, and multiplying by twelve.
REG: It must be a massive quantity.
GS: Oh sure, yea. It's very very labor intensive.
REG: Why didn't you use computer techniques at that time, was this because they did not look natural enough?
GS: They weren't really sophisticated at that point. They weren't really around in the same way. There has been a computer revolution since then, but at that time...
GS: REG: It was your idea to use skinheads called the Hammer Guard. You said at the time, that for you, this was the worst part of the film. Can you explain exactly why that was? Do you still have nightmares about that part of the film?
I do, because I was worried that they might adopt my crossed hammers as a symbol. And they might become a force of... you know that it might prove to them a rallying point. The danger is when you satirize something, when you try to point out that something is wrong, in doing it you may make people think that what you're actually saying is that we support it. So I was slightly worried that some people might misinterpret those things of violence as something desirable in something like their own lifestyle that they would like to continue. And that they might ascend, might adopt the hammer symbol and become hammer guards or something themselves. Not realizing that the whole film was really saying we are against this, we are against this type of behavior.
REG: Right, you can even see at the (Wall) concerts when the audience rises with their arms crossed above their heads with clenched fists along with Roger in the Nuremberg like rally on stage. And how easy it would be for a mass of people to adopt that type of symbol and characterization.
GS: Absolutely, yea, that was the worrying thing about it entirely.
REG: With respect to your major contribution, were you satisfied with the final outcome of the concert animation? Were you pleased with the outcome of The Wall motion picture?
GS: Well, I mean as an artist I am never completely satisfied. There is always something that's wrong really. Considering when I am working as an artist in my studio, what ever I want to draw, should come out on the paper as I want it. When you're working in a collaboration with other people like Roger and Alan, you have to take into consideration what their point of view is. And they have to take into consideration what mine is. So it's a collaboration. And there may be things that you don't entirely see eye to eye on, which have to be decided and there may be concessions to be made occasionally.
So... I don't mean by this that anybody said I shouldn't draw this or I couldn't do that, but you know it's in minor ways... it's a collaboration, you have to take into consideration other peoples points of view. So that, all in all, I suppose it was extremely successful considering the three ego's involved.
REG: You're doing the work not just for yourself but you kind of contracted to do the work to please others as well as yourself.
GS: Well it's not even to do with the contract, it's just listening to other peoples points of view on it. I wouldn't just change it just you know in order to please. You know the whole point of hiring someone like me is that you get my point of view. But as soon as three people discussing the same thing get together, then they have different views, and if two decide that it's right to do this, and the third one doesn't, either he doesn't do it or he does do it. Or he gets slightly sort of affected by that view.
I'm only trying to be very precise in what I'm saying. I can't even think of any examples of this really. And it's really in answer to your question, am I happy with it, well I'm sure I was yes. Even when I look at my own work that I've done on my own, it's not entirely wonderful all the time, and so I can't be entirely happy all the time with everything.
REG: After the making of the motion picture The Wall, characterize your relationships with the individual members of Pink Floyd? Were you dealing solely with Roger? Did you have any other contacts with any of the other members?
GS: Oh, yeah. Because I traveled around with the band when they were doing The Wall concerts, I went to many of them as I say, I knew them very well. And Dave and Nick are very very pleasant guys, easy going an so I knew them equally well. I didn't really know Rick very well. But I did meet him initially. But the time I was with them, he kind of wasn't around in the band. And so I know less about him, but I'm very friendly with the other two I would like to think.
|REG: After The Final Cut was released and before the band disbanded, Pink Floyd had initially planned to tour the album, and there were rumors that perhaps they would do a movie for it also. Were you contacted, or contracted to do The Final Cut animation for this possible tour or movie as well?
GS: No I don't think so, I don't think it got that far. I think I did a kind of test album cover for it. I think that's all I can remember about The Final Cut.
|REG: When were you asked to do the animation for "The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking?
GS: Well, you mean the date? I can't remember any dates I'm afraid, but I mean it would be, when Roger wrote it, then he came to me and said that he would like me to animate it. But by that time, we were short of time, and of course I really had to draw the whole thing myself, which was very hard work.
|REG: How long did it take to do the artwork for Pros and Cons?
GS: Months and months and months.
REG: Was it your idea to draw caricatures of all the band members?
GS: In the program? No, that was Roger's idea. I think he came to me and said that he would like me to do that.
|REG: How did the character of Reg develop? Did Reg develop from the caricature you did of Roger Waters (i.e. the drawing and poster "Is it Reg or Rog")?
GS: Yes, that sort of came into my mind as usual I suppose.
REG: So Reg the dog developed from that and then from that, Reg became the main character in the animation?
GS: No, I think it was the other way around. I mean I did the poster after Reg the dog was conceived. I think Roger came to me with this idea of Reg the dog. And he pointed out that Reg was rather like Rog, and that Reg was also my name backwards. Ger, the first three letters of Gerald backwards.
REG: That's interesting. So Reg the dog character, became the main character in your animation for Pros and Cons?
GS: Yes, yeah. It's a lazy dog that doesn't want to do anything. He just wants to hang out.
REG: In what ways would you say that the character of the dog Reg, is similar to Charles Schultz's Snoopy? Or is there any similarity?
GS: Well there maybe, but not intentionally. I can't ah... I think our dog was more a sort of bum, than that. You know, he was more kind of useless. His wife was always saying to him, "why don't you do something useful," you know.
You know I can't remember Reg the dog very well actually. I haven't looked it up.... I certainly haven't.... because that doesn't exist on film of course like The Wall does, so I can't even check it out. I have the drawings somewhere, but I haven't looked at them in years.
|REG: Nicholas Roeg directed the film for the live action during the Pros and Cons shows. Did you have any connection with Nicholas Roeg during this part of the project?
GS: Oh yeah, I met with Nicholas. Originally Roger thought that I should kind of story board the whole film, but, that proved to be impossible so Nick kind of went his own way and shot the trucks and things in America.
You know Roger wanted me to storyboard the whole of that was just too much work really. You know The Wall was a tremendous amount of work, and I don't know whether I'd ever want to put that amount of energy into one project again.
REG: So there's no film of the animation from the Pros and Cons that you even have.
GS: No. I have nothing.
|REG: During the first half of the Pros and Cons shows, when they did the Pink Floyd songs, a newer animated Scarfe video accompanied the song, Welcome To the Machine. Was this video made especially for Roger's tour, or was it made during the 70's and never used?
GS: Oh, I don't know, was it live action? Was it a live action movie?
REG: No, it was animation, but it was newer Welcome To the Machine animation then that which was played during the Wish You Were Here shows.
GS: I can't remember. I can't remember a piece of animation that went with it other than the one I did. What sort... can you give me any images of this?
REG: Right off the top of my head, no, I can't remember either. I just remember watching one of the shows and that the Welcome to the Machine animation was similar but different than the version I saw during the 1975 tour.
GS: It may have been the same material re-edited or something like that. I honestly can't remember it.
REG: Were you asked to do any animation for Roger's Radio KAOS tour?
REG: Why do you think that was?
GS: Well because I'd had enough. (laughs) I had other projects to do you know. I didn't want to spend my life with Pink Floyd. And also, you know, Roger wouldn't want me to be illustrating everything from then on. The Wall was extremely successful, and it was kind of like the climax of everything, and then we did Pros and Cons together, but after that I felt, you know I had other things to get on with and to do and make my own things.
I'm primarily an artist, so I spend most of my time on other projects.
REG: When were you asked to do all of the graphic design work for The Wall Live in Berlin?
GS: What date, again you mean?
REG: Well, as it in the planning stages or...
GS: Yeah, yeah yeah... I mean I didn't have a lot to do with The Wall in Berlin. Obviously they used my film and they used my inflatables... and Mark Fisher had the same inflatables as I say and all that.
|REG: For The Wall Live in Berlin concert, were your designs just enlarged from the original Wall graphics and animation's or did you have to scale or redo any of the work?
GS: Yes I think they were. And there were some more drawings, some extra drawings I did which were projected onto the wall when it was completely built.
REG: So you had to redo some of them?
|REG: GS: No, they were completely new ones. Once again I have a very vague memory of what it was. But there were extra drawings that were projected onto the wall. I can't even think of what they were now but I remember doing them. There was one of a devastated room or something like that, a destroyed room.
How did you feel about the inclusion of the graphic design work by 4i with your work in the Berlin show? Do you think that it blended well together?
GS: Yeah, yes it was fine. It all worked well. I think that the Berlin show was great. It was huge.
REG: Were there any unusual problems you faced doing the Berlin concert designs and animation's?
GS: No, it pretty much you know... It was a repeat of what had been in the other shows really. So there was not a lot to worry about.
REG: Before I cut you off a little while ago, you mentioned something about an opera?
GS: Oh yeah, yeah. I've been working with the Los Angeles Opera. About 2 years ago I did Mozart's Magic Flute for them, of which I designed.
And last year, this Christmas, I did a children's opera which is based on a roll doll story, and that was called Fantastic Mr. Fox.
|And it was an opera in which Fox and his family were continually stealing the chickens of this farmer. And the farmer and his friends are out to get the fox, to kill the fox... so the whole lot was about that, it's like for children. But I do quite a lot of stage work, and theater work here in London as well.|
|REG: That's wonderful. You know Roger is working on an opera. It's called Ca Ira...
GS: Yes, I saw him last week yea.
REG: That's a French opera I believe...
GS: That's right yeah.
REG: And I'm wondering if he ever does a video or releases a film for it, if you might be doing some work for it?
GS: I doubt... well once again, I don't know if we'll ever work together again really because you know we've done that, we've had that experience.
REG: Been there, done that?
GS: Been there, done that (laughs).Once again, there are other things I have to get on with here.
|REG: You had worked for 3 2 years on the designs and animation's for Walt Disney's Hercules, is this the largest project that you have ever been involved in, aside from The Wall? Or was it bigger than The Wall?|
|GS: Well, in shear numbers and money, of course it was bigger than The Wall. These Disney films are... I think there were 900 people working on it. That's to administrate as well as art. And yea, I would say that's the full kind of Hollywood bit when you're working on a Disney movie.|
REG: What were some of the challenges you faced doing the Disney film?
GS: Well there's the same problem always at the beginning. I mean nothing exists until I think of it. Nothing exists until I think of what Hercules looks like or what his adversary Hades looks like, or any of the characters. I have no clue until... I just happen to know for instance that one of the characters has the voice of Danny DeVito So then I then I knew that I should make him you know a kind of round, short... So you know... but there are very few clues when you are reading a script, you just... As I say, it's my job really to imagine them and then present them to the directors. And if the directors like them, as they seemed to, then you hand them over to the animators that take these characters on.
|Each animator takes one character, there will be one animator all the way through the movie doing Hercules, and there will be another animator doing his girlfriend all the way through the movie, and so on. And these master animators who take the character also have their team of say, four or five animators, who work under the main guy. And the main guy does all the main movements and so on. And depending on the status of the other animators, they do varying jobs, from the kind of vaguely interesting to the downright boring.
And my job, after I designed the characters was really to walk around the animators desks, in Burbank, and say... the nose are too big, or the legs are too short, or... you know rather like a school master going round the desks of the pupils. So that it kept my characters on line, kept them all going the way I chose...
|Because as everybody said... the advantage of having an outside designer... Incidentally, it was the first time Disney has ever used an outside designer. They've never had one guy doing the whole movie. Usually it's the individual thoughts by each animator that come together under a kind of art direction. But to have one production designer who imagines the whole thing was extremely unusual. So it was my job for the next two years really to keep it on line, keep it going the way I wanted it to, and that was quite hard work.|
REG: A massive project, massive!
REG: One of our members saw your show in Seattle when you toured a lot of the Hercules drawings, and sent us some pictures. And in one of our previous magazine issues we did a small article about the show and we printed pictures of some of the drawings to show our members. And they looked wonderful. You did not come to the San Francisco Bay Area with the tour did you?
GS: No, I don't think the show went there, no. Is that where you are?
REG: Yes, I wish you had, I would have loved to have seen it. You said that you had just seen Roger Waters recently, so I imagine that your relationship is still one of good friendship?
GS: Oh sure, yeah.
REG: We have an indication that Roger is working on a new album and may be touring in the next year sometime. Would you consider doing the animation work with him again or touring with him if he asked?
GS: If he asked, obviously I'd look at it. I'd look at the project and see what is involved. I haven't got a closed mind about anything.
REG: Well that's all the questions I have for you at this time Mr. Scarfe, I know there were quite a lot of them. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your time and you're consenting to the interview. It was wonderful of you to allow me to interview you for our fanclub, and I just want you to know how extremely high in esteem I hold you personally, and I want to tell you that it is an honor to have talked to you at all. So, thank you so much for your time, and thank you also for the enjoyment that your artwork has given to me, and to all Roger Waters and Pink Floyd fans over the years.
GS: Well, that's very kind of you. I hope I've been helpful.