size. 6000px x 7200px
by. Elliot Dickson
location. United States
Welcome to Ice Cream Social, the summer's socially distant group art show, featuring creators and makers from all walks of life, coming together to share their love of the greatest treat known to man. Each week through Labor Day, come chill with new artists as they discuss a wide range of topics spanning their personal journeys, art, pop culture, and, of course, ice cream!
We took an unexpected hiatus last week, courtesy of a tropical storm killing the power, but it's exciting to be back with more fantastic art and stories to share, including a terrific homage to Garbage Pail Kids by Elliot Dickson, and a delightful wood sculpture from Nick Modrzynski. Visit the gallery to see these and all the tremendous efforts that stayed cool in the spotlight since July 3rd.
To be a proper role model, I'd have to try
Garbage Pail Kids ice cream
Elliot! Thanks for coming to the freezer to chill for a bit. I've eagerly awaited the day to talk about Garbage Pail Kids here at Ice Cream Social, and its finally arrived! Some people might be confused by this apparent disconnect, so for those who were unfortunate enough to not grow up in the 80s, can you explain the connection between GPK and ice cream?
When I was growing up in Virginia, the ice cream truck that came to our neighborhood sold items other than ice cream, including packs of Garbage Pail Kids cards. They were like convenience store food trucks, I guess. As a Cabbage Patch Kids fan and owner, I loved the raunchy and creative parody, and associate eating a Fat Frog with buying GPK packs.
Fat Frog and GPKs were 100% my thing when it came to 80s ice cream trucks. You've got the green guy here, along with another lost classic, Bubble O'Bill, and so many other ice cream bars. Coupled with the same character from the original Garbage Pail Kids (Leaky Lindsay/Messy Tessie), right down to her purple polka dot dress, this is a truly epic homage to both the cards and ice cream nostalgia.
Thank you. I love including details like this in my illustrations. I kept wanting to add more ice cream bars around Gabby so you couldn’t see the ground, but sometimes I can get carried away, and it was one of those ideas that could have been a ton of work and then I just would have erased it. I’ve also been into creating homages to things I love. I like drawing portraits of my kids or their friends as superheroes, and just did a variant cover for a small comic company that is a riff off of an old Wonder Woman cover. I like playing with images like that.
As both a teacher and parent, how do squeeze in the time for such intricate creative endeavors like this?
Ugh. Squeezing in time is all I do, but I also probably ignore important things to draw. I wake up really early and can sometimes get some drawing in before my kids wake up. I think I am pretty good at using my time efficiently so can block out some time to draw at night, mostly while watching watching TV. My older two kids are also really into drawing so sometimes I can draw while they are working on projects.
Professionally speaking, are you an art teacher? If not, have you found a way to incorporate it into your methodology or assignments?
I’m actually a science, health, and math teacher, but have also taught humanities. I have drawn and created visuals quite a bit in my classes. I illustrated a human biology reader for my 7th grade class and a 5th grade sexual health and wellness book with my good friend and fellow comic nerd. Drawing while teaching has also been a way I’m able to explain complex concepts, especially in physics.
I also think “zooming out” and looking at the big picture, whether it be designing curriculum or thinking about a student and their learning, while also paying attention to details, is really important and something that I do with my drawings.
Are you one of the cool teachers the kids all seem to like because you've got a panache to your teaching style, and maybe once in a blue moon drop a swear word that gets them all excited that you might be a human?
Haha. Definitely not. I was just about to launch into a whole personal philosophy statement about teaching and the importance of adult consistency and modeling, but then I realized people are here for the art and ice cream and I don’t have to be professional.
I'm here for empty calories, exponential grams of saturated fat, and junk food trading cards.
Nobody puts this kind of care into a tribute Garbage Pail Kids card without being a big fan. Which were some of your favorites from the original series?
This is embarrassing but I mostly remember the ones featured in the Garbage Pail Kids movie which came out in 1987. Have you ever seen it or heard of it? It’s really awful, but my sisters and I used to watch it on repeat. But back to the question, I loved the really gross ones, and being a Superman fan since birth, always liked Clark Can’t with his gross pimply face and stained underwear. And, of course Messy Tessie, and any one depicting farting. I think the one I’m thinking of is Windy Winston.
Windy Winston played the trombone, and blew a hole out of his ass.
Not only do I remember the movie, but it was something I had looked so forward to, and when I finally saw it on VHS – renting movies was a treat back then – I was devastated with how awful it was. Fast-forward to adulthood, and not one, but two women bought that DVD for me on separate Christmases. I never asked for it either time, so I must be emitting low-level frequencies.
It’s truly awful. My sister and I thought Tangerine was so cool. I’m curious now about the kind of vibes you have to throw out that makes others think you would appreciate the GPK movie. Haha.
Have you seen any of the modern day Garbage Pail Kids? If so, what are your thoughts on them?
I didn’t realize there were new GPK cards! I looked them up and it makes sense they went with celebrity and political parodies. They still look classic.
It's a mixed bag for me. Some of them are good, but a lot of them feel rushed, and don't include the details that make time melt away as you stare at the card. Details like your illustration has.
Of these ice creams, did you include your own favorite? What got you running down the street to catch the ice cream truck?
Oh, Fat Frog definitely. My memory of that time is fuzzy, but that frog stands out to me. Fake M&M'S eyes and green ice cream is irresistible to a 6-year-old. That’s why I had Gabby holding that particular treat (plus the green plays off the purple dress well). I went to a wedding about 10 years ago and the bride had a classic ice cream truck at her reception and I had a Fat Frog. I’m sorry to report that its taste did not match my memory. I also included my favorite ice cream flavor [in the illustration], black raspberry, although lately it’s been anything to do with coffee.
That's a wedding I wish I crashed, when large public gatherings were a thing.
I can honestly say I've only had a handful of cups in my life until about two years ago. Now I'm hooked, but I hate the taste, so I stay black. What does your coffee game look like?
It depends on the season. In the non-summer months I drink one cup of hot coffee (dark or “regular”) with half and half. In the summer I go full iced coffee. Starbucks store-bought all the way. My family and I just moved from Baltimore and a month before we left, I discovered a cold brew coffee float at The Charmery, one of the best ice cream places in the country. It’s cold brew coffee with two scoops of vanilla ice cream...drooling.
Didn't expect to dovetail back into ice cream so quickly, but I'm glad we did. That sounds amazing.
I had to shout out The Charmery.
So when you're at the Charmery (or any other ice cream parlor) and you're not indulging in a cold brew float, what's your ice cream staple?
Now you’re asking the tough questions. It depends. At Dairy Queen I always go with a Reese’s Pieces Blizzard, if they have soft serve I go with vanilla with Reese’s Pieces, and if we are talking straight up scoops, I usually go with whatever has the most chocolate or, if they have it, a scoop of black raspberry and a scoop of something chocolate. Oh, and Ben and Jerry’s is either Americone Dreams or Peanut Butter Cup. This is like a dichotomous key for determining my preferred order.
That's half the fun of this. You've got some love for peanut butter, and a chocolate craving, but is combining them not high on your list?
It’s strange. I love them both separately, love a Reese’s item, but would never put peanut butter sauce on my ice cream. I’ve never tried it but I would probably eat a spoonful of peanut butter out of the jar mixed with hot fudge.
We all have our quirks. You know we're near the end when I ask... sprinkles or jimmies?
Neither. But if I had to choose I’d go jimmies because they are chocolate.
Cup or cone?
Cone. Sugar but preferably waffle.
Sherbet or sherbert?
Ha! Before we close this out, one more important question. You know how they have those gross jelly beans – booger, vomit, spoiled milk? Would you dare try a GPK-branded ice cream in this vein?
Brilliant question. A resounding yes. I love playing Jelly Belly roulette with my middle school students. To be a proper role model, I’d have to try Garbage Pail Kids ice cream. I know you like making ice cream so when you create this grotesque masterpiece I’d be happy to try a trial pint — and design the carton art, of course.
Jelly Belly Roulette is so stressful! And you got a deal! Elliot, thanks again for participating, promoting, and submitting such an incredible illustration to Ice Cream Social. This has been a real treat. ...cough. (Fart?)
GPK: The Movie
How bad is The Garbage Pail Kids Movie? It holds an approval of 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.
"The production is truly beyond help... The Garbage Pail Kids is rated PG, but it may be too repulsive for children or adults of any age."
The New York Times (8/22/1987)
Former Disney CEO Mischael Eisner was set to finance and produce a Garbage Pail Kids reboot in 2012, but the film was canned a year later.
The film was nominated for the 1987 Golden Raspberries in several categories, including Worst Visual Effects, Worst New Star, and Worst Original Song.
How did Darth Vader know what Luke got him for Christmas?
He felt his presents.
These Baltimore shops "use the best possible ingredients, supporting local farmers and producers whenever possible. Featuring ever changing seasonal ice cream flavors, specialty sundaes, hand-spun milkshakes, and floats. The Charmery loves to collaborate with our local community including artists, musicians, and community figures."
The creative streak extends to their ice cream pies, including flavors like birthday cake or Blueberry Sour Cream ice cream in a graham cracker crust.
When your free-time, side hustle looks as good as Elliot Dickson's (see above), you know you're doing something right. When he's not squeezing out terrific artwork, he's paying bills and shaping our youth as a teacher – one important resource developing another – and his own kids as a father. Support Dickson's work at TeePublic, and give him a follow over at Instagram and Twitter. You can also email him nice words.