What were you doing at age 17? We’re guessing the answer is not “gaining Tumblr-based stardom for your witty web comics whose subjects range from Twin Peaks to feminist theory.” But that’s what Canadian high schooler Séamus Gallagher — amajor7 on Tumblr — has been up to for the past year. If you use Tumblr, it’s very possible you’ve seen his drawings — many of them have racked up tens of thousands of notes on the platform. And for good reason — they’re infused with the humor and self-deprecation of a Smiths song, while addressing the cultural and social interests of young, arty internet-obsessed types. Nearly every drawing of his tickles a specific fancy of ours, or elicits a sigh of self-recognition (yes, we really are that mopey). Particularly, we have been struck by his ink portraits of David Lynch and interpretations of the filmmaker’s work (specifically the so-hip-right-now Twin Peaks). We spoke to Séamus about his Lynch obsession, how unrequited love inspires his art, and how to be famous on the internet without your parents catching on.
Flavorwire: How long have you been drawing? What got you interested in art?
SG: For a few years now, but I’ve only started sharing them online since last fall. I really wish I had a better/less pathetic reason as to why I started drawing but it was just to get the attention of this guy I had feelings for. I would draw album covers of bands that I knew he liked around him, hoping that this would make him like me for some reason. I don’t really understand what my 13-year-old self’s logic for that was, especially since he was straight, haha whoops. But on the plus side, it got me interested in drawing! And I can draw any Jack Johnson album cover really well now, so, um, that’s something I guess.
I’m pretty sure all of my interests or talents have formed as a result of unrequited love.
How does using Tumblr shape what kind of art you make? Would you like to work with other platforms or in other media?
I think that people on Tumblr are generally nicer and more accepting than other social networking/blogging sites. I can draw something that might be only funny or interesting to me without feeling like everyone is behind their computer screen rolling their eyes at me. Plus I just think Tumblr works perfectly because the majority of people on the site are like me: disgruntled teens/20-year-olds that like puns, so that’s nice. When I first created this blog I only posted music I was into, but as I became more comfortable with the idea of feedback from people online, I gradually posted more and more drawings that I had been working on, until it became a sort of comic/art blog. I’m really glad I did that. Hearing criticism from other people, no matter how kindly they put it, is tough, but it has definitely made me more self-aware, which is good.
Right now I’m happy just posting my drawings on Tumblr. It would be nice to one day publish a book of my little drawings, but that goal’s pretty out of reach, so for now I’m content with posting my work online and seeing what people have to say about them. Internet validation is pretty rad.
What has been your weirdest interaction with someone on the internet?
Someone once sent me a picture of themselves naked with “amajor7” written on their junk. It was the weirdest and most flattering thing that has ever happened to me.
What is it about David Lynch that makes him such an inspiring subject? What’s your favorite work of his?
I just love the way he seems to live in his own little world and how unintentionally charming he is (I mean he starts every tweet with “Dear Twitter Friends,” how great is that?) I also love his face. He has a great face and great hair that really stands out, so even if I do mess up a portrait I might be working on of him, people are generally still able to tell who it’s supposed to be because of his iconic hairdo or sad blue eyes. Plus, older people are always much more fun to draw, since wrinkles lend themselves to more opportunities for details in drawings.
I would say Twin Peaks is my favorite work of his, but that’s a) probably obvious by now and b) more of a collaborative thing between Lynch and Mark Frost. My favorite movie he’s directed would have to be Mulholland Drive, though. It has all the typical elements of a David Lynch movie (lingering sense of eeriness, complicated storyline, great soundtrack), but it works together so perfectly. I love all of Lynch’s work (with maybe one exception), but I think he really hit the nail on the head with Mulholland Drive. Angelo Badalamenti’s score worked so well with the movie, and Naomi Watts was incredible in it.
Favorite scene from Twin Peaks?
The ending, for sure. I don’t know if spoiler alerts are still necessary for a show that’s over 20 years old, but I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who might want to watch it but hasn’t yet so *SPOILER ALERT*.
When Agent Cooper smashes his head into the mirror and turns his grinning face towards the camera, it is one of the most intense scenes of any television show. Because you relate Cooper with goodness and protection throughout the entire series, and then all of a sudden he turns into this evil spirit! And then it ends! And, like most of David Lynch’s work, it just kind of leaves you with this really uneasy feeling and asking, “What just happened? What did I just watch?” It’s perfect. I’m totally going to have to re-watch that episode tonight.
Who are some of your favorite webcomic artists?
That’s another thing I like about Tumblr. I’ve been able to interact with great artists who are way more talented than me. My internet friend Beth has been really encouraging and wonderful towards my drawings, which is always nice to hear, but especially from someone as talented as she is. I also really like Kate Beaton’s work, even if I don’t understand half the history references she makes. Two other super cool artists that I sort of admire from afar online are K. Funk and Suzy X, who create a lot of great queer and feminism-related comics.
If you could meet or work with any artist in any medium who would it be?
Stephin Merritt! I remember watching his documentary Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and The Magnetic Fields, and there was once scene where Emma Straub was talking about a couple who tried to commission Merritt to write a song for their wedding, and so he wrote them a song that went like, “You will never have sex with anyone else except Brad Pitt,” and then the song kind of turned into a story of having a threesome with Brad Pitt. That’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard. Stephin Merritt’s one of my biggest heroes, and I probably idolize him way too much but it’s hard not to idolize someone who wrote a three-hour-long album consisting of 69 love songs called 69 Love Songs.
It would be unbelievable to create posters for any of his bands.
Click through to see Séamus’ David Lynch-inspired work:
Image credit: amajor7