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Pop surrealist Chris Bodily talks Salt Lake Comic Con

As Chris Bodily creates his freeform art, every pen mark becomes a permanent part of the finished piece. “When I put a line down on the paper, I just have to embrace that line and build up around it,” he says. “That’s how a lot of my more personal work is created.” Eventually, an illustration of animals, faces, skulls, knives, ropes, wrenches and just about anything else can emerge on the paper to create an otherworldly work of art.

Along with freeform work, Bodily has gained a following for his drawings of geek culture icons, like his family portrait of Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, mugshots of Gotham City bad guys and Doctor Who pieces that resemble old comic book covers.

“I’ve been drawing my whole life,” Bodily says. “I watched a lot of cartoons and read a lot of comic books as a kid, so it was always something that I loved.”

Based in Ogden, Bodily and his wife, Chelsea, sell his prints and originals under the name Hatrobot at local events, such as the Craft Lake City DIY Festival earlier this month.

At Salt Lake Comic Con, Bodily promises a limited run of geeky prints he’s now working on and will reveal at the convention. While he’s keeping the subjects secret, we expect them to sell like discount sonic screwdrivers to a room full of Whovians at the con.

“One of the best things is when kids come to the booth; they just get excited,” says Bodily, adding that he also loves seeing people react to his pieces that offer humor, like Sesame Street’s Count giving in to his vampiric urges and victimizing a fellow puppet.

At past Salt Lake Comic Cons, more than just the everyday fan noticed his work.

“Peter Mayhew [who played Chewbacca in Star Wars] got a copy of my Chewbacca; Brent Spiner, who played Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation came to my booth and bought some of my work,” Bodily says. “When fan art’s done well, it doesn’t purport to be original, it’s an homage to the people who are creating these things, so that’s the payoff when you can connect with these people, they see your work and are flattered by what you’re doing.”

Along with the limited-edition prints, he’s currently working on a comic book series based on Hellskate, Sahna Foley’s upcoming horror/roller derby film. This October, Bodily will teach a class through Weber State University Community Education on creating comic books.

While at Salt Lake Comic Con, Bodily says to check out work from other local artists, too, like Vanessa Colunga, Candace Jean and Heather Mahler. Not going? You can find Bodily’s artwork at this year’s Urban Arts Festival, Sept. 17–18, or at hatrobot.com.

— Jaime Winston

Images courtesy of Hatrobot

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