Everything is either possible or impossible in this universe. For example, it's very possible that there's an image of He-Man with Spongebob's face or any other weird cartoon mashup somewhere on the internet. On the other hand, it's likely impossible that you didn't have a favorite cartoon or cartoon character as a kid. There's also a possibility that somewhere out there, there's a person who managed to dedicate himself to both of those things and mix it into a passion that keeps on giving.
Meet Aaron Craig from Sunshine Coast, Australia, whose work is intensely saturated with nostalgic cartoon icons from the '70s, '80s, and even through the late '90s, and some contemporary ones. His whole work is centered around doing mashups of characters from different cartoon universes. He calls it "Pop Mash". Being "a huge Masters Of The Universe fan as a kid" himself, the artist borrows from Marvel and DC comics, the Simpsons, the Hanna Barbera universe, Warner Bros, and much more. Sometimes the references go far beyond cartoons and seep into the general Pop Culture as a whole. Considering how much he draws from, the possibilities are near-endless.
Can you identify each character in his work? If so, post in the comments to show that you were the cool kid!
The author explored his motivations and inspirations with Bored Panda: "Typically, I paint things that remind me of my childhood growing up in the 1980s in Australia. The nostalgia of what I watched as a kid makes me happy so it’s what I like to use in my pieces." Fun fact: his favorite characters were Marvin the Martian and Gossamer from Warner Bros' Looney Tunes.
The passion for drawn visuals is what drew him closer to where he is today. "I wanted to be an animator growing up. I used to dream of being an animator for Disney and would rent Merry Melodies and Silly Symphonies from our video shop religiously. But I ended up studying fine art and graphic design, which I think shows through in my paintings." As an observer, I can safely say that it does—Aaron tastefully fuses the characters together and deliberately balances them out, as if he's making a poster.
As of now, the artist still enjoys the same classics. "I'm still watching '80s episodes of Masters of the Universe. Occasionally, I also watch Disney classics, Warner Bros classics, and Films by Studio Ghibli." He admitted that one of his key influences on why he's so into cartoons was, in fact, his dad. "My dad loved some of the old Hanna Barbera stuff, and BBC classics like Danger Mouse and Roger Ramjet, so I also use lots of those in my work." And Aaron's bringing up a new generation of cartoon fans in his home, too: "I’ve brought my own boys up watching Masters of the Universe and playing with my vintage action figures." His work and his story remind us that cartoons are good for everyone. Enjoy!