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The Design Issue 2004

Long Gone John

I love waking up every day and being hit with sensory overload.
VICE Staff
Κείμενο VICE Staff

Photos by Dan Monick

  I love waking up every day and being hit with sensory overload. I treasure everything—art, artifacts, junk—it's all the same. I go out every weekend to swap meets looking for more stuff to bring home. That's what I work for and what makes me happy.

As a child, I collected matchbook covers and discarded bus tickets I found on the ground, but I've been seriously collecting and acquiring since I was about 17. My first apartment was decorated with stuff from people's trash.


I was in Japan one time and saw these statues in a store window in Shinjuku. I was in awe. I've collected figures of anime girls for years, so these were the Holy Grail. I took photos of them, and when I got back home it took over a year to finally get them.

When I moved in, the fireplace was a big, flat, nasty beige slab with no mantel. It was very modern. A friend and I designed the mantel and I had it carved, then I changed the opening and put in Italian marble.

The big yellow guy is Eugene the Jeep. He was created by E.C. Segar, the guy who made Popeye and Betty Boop. He's my favorite cartoon character of all time. He is a good little guy with a happy-go-lucky demeanor. He lives on a diet consisting entirely of orchids, and he has the power to disappear and re-appear in a different location. That makes him one of the earlier comic-strip advocates of teleportation. My version of him was made in 1951. It was based on a toy from the 30s made for the president of Colorforms, and it stood in their showroom window until he retired and took it home with him. I guess he finally died and it ended up at an antique toy show. I paid a fortune for it and have never regretted it.

That painting is by Mark Ryden. He's my best friend and coincidentally my favorite artist. The painting is six feet by eight feet and called

Snow White


Long Gone John is the man behind the Sympathy for the Record Industry label.