Killer-Graphics #1: Interview With ‘Fright-Rags’ Founder Ben Scrivens!

I know we do a lot of coverage on books, comics, literature, and all the other great things going on in horror on the written page, but what about the artwork? Sure, we talk about it here and there, and I will gladly give credit where credit is due when it comes to the amazing artists who lend the talents to the stories that we all know and love…but somehow it doesn’t feel like enough. I mean, we are “GRAPHIC” Content after all aren’t we? That is why I am proud to announce the brand new weekly column, “KILLER-GRAPHICS” where we will be featuring a different heavy hitter in the world of horror art each week whether that be in the medium of comics, canvas, t-shirts, WHATEVER! How do concepts become finished products, how do artists and writers work together to bring fans one vision, and more over, how do they come up with these insane ideas in the first place? The answers to all these questions (and some typical “GRAPHIC CONTENT” banter) and more will be brought to you each week in “KILLER-GRAPHICS”!

So to kick off this awesome new weekly we started at the top of the game in horror clothing with “FRIGHT-RAGS” mastermind and designer Ben Scrivens! Ben was gracious enough to take the time out of running his wildly popular online clothing company to talk to Bloody-Disgusting about the roots of “FRIGHT-RAGS”, what goes into making the shirts that we all know and love, and just what it takes to get that design onto the cotton. Read on for the full interview.

THEoDEAD: ” First of all thank you once again for the interview Ben. before we get started why don’t you give readers who might not know about ‘Fright Rags’ your ‘origin’ story? ”

Ben Scrivens: ”I began Fright-Rags back in September of 2003 as a way to let off some creative steam. I had been working as a designer for a company that made laptop bags, and while it was a good job, I was getting restless and bored. So, on my lunch breaks I work on my own personal designs as well as surf the Net, usually spending time in various horror forums I belonged to (B-D being one of them!). Then I came up with the idea for the “What Would Jason Do” shirt and thought it was funny and could really work on a shirt. I did a Google search and no one had done it before, so I ran it by a few people on an online horror community I was a part of at the time. They all liked it, so I figured I’d get some shirts made and try to sell them. So, during the Labor Day weekend of 2003, I came up with the name, original logo, and website on my own and started taking orders. “

THEoDEAD: ” For a very long time now ‘Fright Rags’ has lead the pack as far as horror clothing goes. How did ‘Fright Rags’ start out? What made you want to bring people these awesome t-shirt designs?”

Ben Scrivens: ”Well, I’ve been a horror fan since I was a little kid (probably too little..), so horror has been a huge part of my life. When I was thinking of ideas of what type of business I could start, I knew it would most likely have something to do with horror, so I started there. I’ve also always been a fan of t-shirts, as I was always looking for something interesting and off-beat to wear. Oddly enough, though, I never had any horror shirts. The ones I saw on the market just weren’t my style. I didn’t want the movie poster plastered on the shirt in white on black. I thought it would be cool to use the films as inspiration and create unique and original art based on them. So that’s where I started, and that’s where our focus has been ever since. ”

THEoDEAD: ” You are obviously a huge horror buff yourself, and you detailed this a bit on your blog in the past, but what horror films inspired you to be where you are today? How did your love for the genre start off? ”

Ben Scrivens: ”As I mentioned before, I got into horror as a little kid. I was 4 years old, and it was Halloween night. I was at a party with my parents and they told me to go watch some tv. I walked over to it just as the original Halloween started (it was the first time they aired it on television, back in 1981). I didn’t move a muscle…I just sat and watched the entire thing. From then on, I was hooked. I wanted to see more of those types of movies. To this day, no other film has had as much impact on me as Halloween…it is my favorite film by far, of any genre. ”

THEoDEAD: ” ‘Fright Rags’ has worked with some amazing artists in the past. How do you approach a would be artist about doing a design for your company? Or do they come to you in some cases?”

Ben Scrivens: ”It happens both ways. I do get quite a few emails from artists asking to work with us. And depending on their work, I may have them do a design for us. However, in most cases I seek out the artists that I want to work with. We have a few that we work with consistently, like Jeff Zornow, as we have similar tastes, ideas, and a great working relationship. But I’ll see an artist from time to time that I would really like to see work on a design, so I just shoot them an email and go from there. ”

THEoDEAD: ” What goes into making t-shirts at ‘Fright Rags’? How does the idea go from being imagined to finally ending up on someone’s back? ”

Ben Scrivens: ”I keep an ongoing list of ideas that I visit on a frequent basis. These are design ideas that either I come up with, or requests from our customers. Then I try and think of the different artists we work with and figure out which ideas would fit with which style of artist. For instance, my friend Evan is great at drawing cars…so he did the Christine drawing. Jeff is amazing at drawing gore, so he does those types of designs. I usually keep the design process going all the time, stockpiling designs until we release the next batch. In fact, I have at least 10 designs done or in the works right now…but they won’t be out for at least a couple months as we have a few other things to release before them. So by the time I release new designs, they’ve been sitting on my computer anywhere from a few months, to a couple weeks. ”

THEoDEAD: ” Besides the regular line of ‘Fright Rags’ t-shirts you offer you also have your artist series that you routinely work on. What is the artist series? How does the process for these designs differ from the normal designs? ”

Ben Scrivens: ”The artist series started out mainly as a way we could spotlight different artists that we don’t normally work with, as well a way to offer something unique. All of the artist series designs also come as prints that are signed and numbered by the artist. They are always limited edition, and it gives us a chance to do something a bit more special than just offering them as a regular tee to our line-up. For example, we worked with William Stout on our most recent artist series, and he did a new version of Tarman. Something like that is incredibly special to us as fans, so it needed to be presented in a special way. ”

THEoDEAD: ” Are there any new projects you coming that you can tell readers about? This is the cheap plug portion of the interview so feel free to run with it! ”

Ben Scrivens: ”We’ve got quite a few projects in the works. Aside from a slew of new tees, we’ve got some very special things coming up. First up is a shirt/poster collaboration with Mondo (www.mondotees.com), which will be out in early April. Later that monthy we have another special edition planned…but details are still hush-hush for now. For anyone reading, you may want to join our newsletter to find out more :)

THEoDEAD: ” The 8th and final question, and it’s a rough one but I have to ask, Freddy VS Jason-Who wins?”

Ben Scrivens: ”Jason, hands down. As much I love Freddy, he’s no match for the juggernaut that is Jason Voorhees!”

Everyone here at Bloody-Disgusting.com would like to thank Ben for his awesome interview. For those of you who would like to see more of Ben’s work, or if you just want to get your hands on some of these awesome shirts, head on over to Fright-Rags.com and be sure to keep it locked here as we bring you another awesomely gruesome interview next week with Zombie Liquorice founder, Jason Bauman!