Mysterious, multi-skilled, and extremely prolific, “Never Brush My Teeth” (they/them) seems to have an obvious phobia: the one which doesn’t give you time for yourself exepting for creating things by your hands. Excusively for Karton, the Athenian illustrator unveil their ramshackled universe made on slimy masses, melted cartoon figures and explosive bubble-gum. | By: Polka B. / Trad : Polka B. & Nino Futur
Can you introduce yourself ? How would you define yourself as an artist?
Hi ! I’m mike (they/them) and my other name is Never Brush My Teeth. I perceive myself as a person who paints/draws and loves zines and self publications. I have a huge interest in risograph printed zines, both in creating them and also gathering/reading other people’s self publications.
I do not in any way consider myself an artist, i despise the terminology and the hierarchies the concept of art can create and i have withdrawn myself away from such
Why did you chose this nickname ?
I had to find a username back when i started my first Tumblr account and at that point this one looked like fun. Also i never brush my teeth. (maybe)
Your influences seems various. You seem really marked by pop culture (comic-books, video games…).
Can you tell us the things you appreciate in arts ? What do you like to listen/Watch/Read ?
Yes i really like comic books/zines and i am very influenced/inspired by them. What i happen to enjoy depends on the moment/mood but its usually things i can relate to at this time in life or things i believe were created with tenderness and respect towards those interacting with them.
I listen to a lot of ska, folk punk/punk and a lot of other varieties, read comics and zines that explore the complexity of existence and relationships. Most often my absorbing will go towards things i find interesting and might be unknown to me and therefore informative.
How would you define DIY ? How did you discover this culture ?
Hmmm not sure how to precisely define DIY, an abstract and brief definition would be that diy is the action of, when that is of course possible, you create things and possibilities in your own terms without interventions and blocks from others, usually mentally.
Discovering the existence of risograph machines was a huge stimulation for me, it felt like the ultimate tool to diy you own zines in your favourite colours.
I kinda discovered this culture through wanting to deal with the things i create with a specific softness without the usual external societal notion of grief there is in the mainstream art world.
While the etimology of DIY is « yourself », i usually imagine DIY as a communal thing with folks who might enjoy the same things as you do.
How and when did you started ? And how did you increased your style ?
I cannot think of a starting point or having a specific style, getting a sketchbook and starting to experimentally fill it with drawings at some point was a start of trying to capture my mood on paper.
Always enjoy trying new materials/mediums and shifting themes, one thing that changed the way i would sometimes draw was getting into printing risograph. File proccessing for multicolour printing usually requires having every different colour separately layered and that would sometimes affect the way i prepared a drawing, if it was planned to be printed.
You seem to have a production rythm pretty fast. Like if you’re producing things quickly and non-stop. Is it a need for you ? Can we use the word « obsession » ?
I dont really percieve it as a need, more like a thing i enjoy and helps me navigate my thoughts into visuals. I usually engage on multiple drawings/projects simultaneously and preferably for a small amount of time on each, staying occupied on one project for a very long time usually causes exhaustion inside me.
You’re starting to create s figurines. Why have you been interested by 3D work ? Do you see it as the logical renewal of your work?
Yes ive always found sculpting interesting and cozy !
Making silicone moulds and casting resin has been something i have only started exploring recently and its very new to me.
Toy-making is a whole new world, you can make your own replications of your scupltures and paint them bringing any drawing/design in 3d form.
There can be some limitations in the shape of the sculpture you want to mould when you are doing simple resin casting without the use of equipment, like a pressure pot. The internal shape of the mould should be considered, when you are doing the sculpt, because contrasty edges and steep « ceilings » in the mould might trap the resin’s air bubbles and create air pockets that will result in holes or missing parts in the cast after the resin is cured.
That creates a puzzle on how to avoid that as much as possible (if you dont want that happening to your castings) and how to create shapes that will help the resin float smoothly out on the surface, bringing up all the air bubbles. I find that calculation very fun and interesting ! I dont think about it as a renewal more like a side interest along with the rest
You also make a lot of fanzines and books. What are your current projects to come ?
Currently I am working on a new riso zine called “EXOSKELETON SOFT”.
It will be mostly illustrations and probably photo collages with combos of drawings, experimenting with new riso colors and fluorescent and duotone inks.
You live in Athens, a very particular city, which never sleeps, very crowded and active, constantly moving.
Does this kind of atmosphere inspire your work ?
I wouldn’t say so, athens is destroying me and leeches away all my inspiration, its an awfull city infested with violent beliefs on all levels. It also does sleep kinda early ( depending on your sleeping schedule ) and usually most people gets up early to start a new day of mistreating eachother.
How do you perceive the D.I.Y. scene in Greece?
It has been very active lately, its so cool that so many people make their own zines/prints/stickers/music/interactive mediums etc.
What is very scarce or is missing a lot imo is spaces/fairs that are accesible and safe, both on personal and communal level.
The greek status quo vibes are incredibly traumatic and damaging and they can be often observed leaking into the communal ‘’diy scene’’ aswell, which is very distressing.
What are the projects to come ?
Hopefully new zines, risograph collaborations with other people, sculpting, and more mouldmaking and toy replications and expérimentations with new techniques.
If you have to pick a song to describe closely the « Never Brush My teeth » spirit, what will it be ?
Hehe not sure if they would describe my spirit, but there are a couple of songs i really love the lyrics of. I am not sure if their creators would want to be referenced in a publication form tho so i will skip writting their names. But there are a lot of ’folk punk’ (or however the people who interact with this type of music, either by creating or absorbing, feel more comfortable calling it) song’s lyrics that are very lovely and interesting !
Thank you !
Thank you for the invitation to participate to the zine ! <3