An Interview with Fletcher Wolfe
Gabby Granada chatted with Fletcher Wolfe, art editor and web developer for Trouble Child, about comedy, Spaghetti Yeti, and dogs.
Gabby Granada: We talked about creating art that's personal and meaningful and putting it out in the world, knowing it might be entirely misinterpreted. How do you grapple with the dissonance in creating and interpreting art?
Fletcher Wolfe: I think it’s kind of essential, especially for the kind of art I’m inclined to make, which isn’t super representational or figurative. It’s important that different people have different interpretations! I learned kind of early on that when I gave my intention out willingly, people were less interested in the work I was making. I made a series of photographs called “The Tragedy of Spaghetti Yeti” that depicted a little toy yeti drowning in a bowl of noodles. People asked me why I made it, and I really couldn’t give an answer, but that added to the mystique! People found a lot of existential meaning in the sorrows of Spaghetti Yeti, and honestly, that’s pretty wonderful to me. I’m not sure if there is a way to misinterpret the art I’m making. It’s all valid!
GG: If you could spend a day with anyone living or dead who would you pick and why? What would you do?
FW: Ah jeez, truly a difficult question. I think I’d have to pick someone like Tom Waits, mainly just to hear him talk in that voice that sounds like a pack of cigarettes kicked him in the throat. My mom used to play Tom Waits for us when we were kids, so there’s something so comforting and homey about it. My sister adamantly disagrees, but she’s wrong. Anyway, Mr. Waits and I would go to a diner and talk about the best way to make eggs.
GG: You're the editor in chief of the comedy magazine Phony Magazine, and you're really involved in improv as well. What role has comedy played in your life, and how has that role changed over time?
FW: My dad did some improv when he was younger and teaches theater at a high school, so I kind of grew up with comedy in the house always. When I was a little kid, I got bullied a lot, and my dad told me to make the kids laugh so they’d stop being mean. And it’s really been a wonderful deflection technique ever since. There was a time in my life when I didn’t see anything that would make me happy except comedy, so I tried to make it my top priority, but it was too draining. It can be a very toxic environment based on self-interest and self-deprecation, and I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. A critique I often get on the art I make is that it’s too funny or just silly, and that’s fair, but I think it’s really crucial. Even if people don’t find some profound meaning in the work I make, hopefully I can at least make them laugh!
GG: If you could wake up tomorrow and be anything you wanted—just like that—what would you be doing right now?
FW: I’d be working for an organization that makes art with kids. I’ve had the great privilege of working with some wonderful organizations that make art with and for kids, and it’s been truly one of the best things I’ve done. Letting children make whatever they want to make—with supervision—and just giving them the resources and direction allows for them to be as wacky and weird as they want to be, and it’s so fun and empowering to see. Some of the best art I’ve made or been a part of has been completely guided by the will of children. I worked at a camp that was, for all intents and purposes, a LARP [live-action role playing] camp where we let kids make costumes, props, or whatever they wanted out of cardboard, and the things they came up with were just incredible.
GG: You share a lot of dog videos on Facebook, like... a lot. Thank you. Thoughts on dogs?
FW: Dogs are the absolute best thing. If I could spend the rest of my life raising dogs and making little outfits for them, God knows I would. I’m currently without a dog, and literally every day I think about how my life would be improved if it had a dog in it.