Interview Eazy E in Wild Strawberry
posted by May 20 at 12:00 PMon
Aye Jay is the creator and illustrator of the Heavy Metal Fun Time Activity Book, the Gangsta Rap Coloring Book, and the Indie Rock Connect the Dots. Coloring in Eazy E with a Violet-Red, Wild Strawberry, and Aquamarine combo fills a colorer with unparalleled joy. Coloring is the way. Fire Burnt Orange, not bullets. No Bloods or Crips, just fuschia. Aye Jay was kind enough to speak from his Chico, CA coloring compound:
What gave you the idea to do these activity coloring books?
Aye Jay: My inspiration was coloring with my son Cohen, who was two at the time. I had a thought like, “Why is there no coloring book that reflects the interests of the people in my age group?” I’ve been a fan of gangsta rap from the first time I heard it, in maybe 1988(?). It seemed like it would be a funny idea folks would like. I then spent the next couple of weeks making lists of inclusions and doing the drawings, went to the local copy shop and had one hundred copies made. I remember thinking there was no way I was going to be able to get rid of all one hundred. I was wrong.
After the book did well as a zine, it was published as an expanded version. I got to thinking about other types of music I like that I could make books out of. From there, I crafted a long term plan of several books in my head. I made Indie Rock Connect the Dots as the low key follow up, and a couple of years later linked up with ECW Press to make the Heavy Metal Fun Time Activity Book.
There’s been tons of positive response to the books. There’s been some negative feedback as well. Can you talk about that?
Getting positvie feedback from the people in the books I look up to is so rewarding. Iíve been surprised. The other side of that is the negative response due to people thinking the Gangsta book is socially irresponsible. Thatís a huge bummer, as it was intended to be silly. I was never thinking about the political ramifications. Several chain stores have dropped the Gangsta book due to pressure from family based groups. Topshop in the UK dropped it and Urban Outfitters here in the states did too.
What are some of your favorite pages from the books?
Ice Cube and Suge Knight from the Gangsta book for the drawings, the Spinal Tap maze in the Metal book for the concepts, and Steve Albini’s foreword from the Indie book, cause it’s so well written and took over a year to get! Working with Andrew W.K. was cool too.
What’s next? Will there be any new activity books coming out in the future?
Yes. I just signed on with ECW for two more activity books. They are genres you know and love. But I gotta keep them a surprise for now. Get your crayons ready though.