Exclusive Interview: Griffin Grail-Bingham
What was your New Year’s resolution? Did you promise to go to the gym more? Or did you take a vow to pick up a new hobby like fly fishing or mountain climbing? Perhaps it was something a little bit more vague and abstract like ‘be nicer’? In the wee hours of January 1st, 2017, while Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper were cackling in Times Square and everyone at your party was half-heartedly debating whether or not to go to that dumb and expensive rave, Griffin Grail-Bingham, 26, made a resolution to paint the Minions once a week. Though he never painted before in his entire life, he had a creative desire that had to be quenched. Now on the second year of his sprawling project, Bingham has developed a small but passionate Instagram following. Every week, he posts a new selfie with one of his masterpieces. Each painting references a famous work from the canon and is accompanied with a dry and often hilarious caption. Along with a painting of a demonic Minion dangling a pale corpse, Bingham writes. “Your Postmates has arrived.”
Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with the Portland-based visionary about his practice, the artistic canon, and his enigmatic bond with the Minions.
Dish Rag Magazine: When did you start painting?
I started painting the Minions and painting in general January 1st, 2017.
Dish Rag Magazine: So, you just started doing it spontaneously?
It was a New Year’s resolution to jokingly paint the Minions every week and I kind of just stuck with it and now I am going on year two!
Dish Rag Magazine: Year two, wow. Why the Minions?
I don’t really have a good answer. I just thought they were funny and it’s pretty easy to replace people in famous paintings with the Minions because they kind of look the same. They are humanoid things.
Dish Rag Magazine: A lot of your work sexualizes the Minions. What’s up with that?
What is up with that?! My goal isn’t really to sexualize the Minions but it’s a lot easier to draw a naked Minion than a Minion with clothes so a lot of it is just laziness. Also, a lot of art is pretty horny itself so I am trying to stay true to the art that I am basing it off of and a lot of that involves drawing some sexy Minions.
Dish Rag Magazine: What has the reception to your work been?
It’s been overwhelmingly positive! I am surprised. It turns out that a lot of people out there really like Minions! Everyone is very nice and very supportive in the Instagram Minion community. I have never run into a hater. Even my parents are into it.
Dish Rag Magazine: What’s the future of your Minions project?
I am going to keep on doing it until I don’t have any room left in my apartment to hang the Minions. Then I am going to start sending it to people.
Dish Rag Magazine: Have you sold any?
No, haven’t sold them. I just hang them up on my room. I don’t know if there’s very much interest in buying the Minions. They [the paintings] are pretty small and not very nice to hang up, I think.
Dish Rag Magazine: How are you similar to a Minion?
Well, Minions are pretty boring and don’t have that many interests and just go with the flow. I think I am kind of like that. I am pretty happy most of the time. I guess that’s like a Minion. I gotta be honest, I don’t know that much about the Minions. I have only seen one of the Minions movies.
Follow Griffin Grail-Bingham on Instagram.