Pictoplasma focus: Mr Bingo, rude postcards and dirty queens

Hate Mail

Dirty Queen, via Erotic Review

Hair Portraits

I suspect that Mr Bingo is not as odious as he’d like us to think. And even if he were, i’ll forever admire his typically English touch of diplomacy:

Does Mr Bingo work for free?

In 2011, Mr Bingo started mailing insulting postcards to total strangers. All you had to do was ask and pay 50 pounds for the service. Probably because his hand-drawn messages had more foolishness than bile, people queued to be mocked and abused. The press loved the idea too and Mr Bingo soon ran a spectacularly successful Kickstarter campaign to fund a Hate Mail book. If you live under a rock (like i do occasionally, nothing wrong with that), you might have missed the Hate Mail brouhaha but encountered his work in austere newspapers, dandy magazines, or on cans of beer, restaurant walls and skateboards.

Mr Bingo and his acerbic wit will participate to the Pictoplasma conference in May. I’d really like to go this year but if i can’t, i’ll have a series of upcoming interviews with the conference speakers to console me. Here’s the first one:

Hello Mr Bingo! I’m sure you’ve been interviewed thousands of times about it, but i’d like to talk about Hate Mail. The Hate Mail works are witty and funny but but did anyone ever get seriously hurt or angry about any of it?

Yes, you’re right, I’m bored of being asked about it.
As far as I know, nobody has been hurt or angry about any of my Hate Mail, but then if they are, we’ll probably never know.

When Hate Mail is available for sale, it comes with clear guidelines which say that I have no responsibility for any sad or suicidal feelings and it really is all your fault. Once you stipulate that upfront, unless they really are thick as fuck, people are too embarrassed to admit that they’re offended. Generally though, people who buy my stuff aren’t thick as fuck, because they understand the subversive/comical nature of the project.

Was it ever a possibility that worried you?

No. I’m not a total cunt by the way, I have 4 personal ‘rules’ for topics which are out of bounds for me. These are race, sexuality, disability and Religion. I care morally/ethically about the first three, the religion one is in there through absolute fear.

Hate Mail

Hate Mail

Hate Mail

Hate Mail

Are you still responding to Hate Mail requests? Or have you had enough of spreading horrors?

Yeah, I’ve stopped doing hate Mail.

Oldie made this video in support of Mr Bingo’s Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for Hate Mail

And if you had to Hate Mail yourself? What would it look like?

Well there’s so many things I hate about myself, looks, personality, mental problems, anxiety, loneliness, a terrible lover, it would be hard to choose one.
I find it’s always better to choose one thing and keep it simple and hard hitting rather than a diluted mixture of things.

Illustration for the Washington Post

Interactive iPad illustration with movable parts for Project Magazine

You also work for newspapers and do some illustrations related to politics and politicians. Do you manage to keep your own political views to yourself? Or does any of your opinions transpire in your drawings?

I actually stopped doing commercial work now, but yes I’ve done a few illustrations for ‘clever’ publications.

Sadly, I live in my own little bubble and have no idea what’s going on in news, current affairs and politics and as a result, I’m not even able to formulate opinions on politics. The only opinions that come out in my drawings are observations on modern life I suppose, kind of observational comedy.

I wish I did know about politics and had views and angles because I reckon I could make some killer work in that field!

Mr Bingo’s illustrations for ‘Show Dogs: The Road to Crufts’. Directed by James Newton

I love dogs (well, staffies mostly) and i always dreamt of going to the Crufts show. It looks too serious not to be hilarious. Could you tell us about Show Dogs? How did you get to make that film?

I was lucky enough to meet a bloke in a pub who was the director of Show Dogs and he asked me if I was interested in doing some type and animated bits for the film.
There’s a lot of different reasons for doing jobs but with that one, it was one of those “I just wanna be part of this, it’s a fucking documentary about people who show dogs” reasons.

Any advice you could give to young illustrators / students who would like to have a fulfilling career as an illustrator?

The most successful people in this industry aren’t necessarily the most talented ones, they’re just the ones who actually bother to do stuff.

What are you going to present at Pictoplasma?

I’m going to talk about how to get the public to fund your stupid ideas.

Thanks Mr Bingo!

Illustration for the Camden Town Brewery


Illustration for Foxtel

Illustration for Tiny Acts of Rebellion

Catch up with Mr Bingo at the 12th Pictoplasma Conference & Festival on 4 – 8 MAY 2016 in Berlin.