Just like his comic superhero inspirations, Jay Hornsby is a professional geologist, family man, and statesman by day. When night falls, his alter ego, The Belligerent Monkey, uses his super art powers to fight crime. (Or, at least, to beautify Atlanta walls.) Between combating super villains and fighting Atlanta traffic, the jovial Star Wars/Comic Book/PBR enthusiast creates pieces inspired by all his geek-tastic interests. We got a moment of his double life to see what motivates his own character:
SCOUT: Tell us how people might know you?
JAY: I have paintings and prints hanging in a few places across town including the Village Theatre, Whole World Theatre, and Criminal Records. I had stuff hanging in Dakota Blue for about a year and I try to be in a few neighborhood festivals every year including East Atlanta Strut, Kirkwood Spring Fling, and the Cabbagetown Chomp & Stomp.
SCOUT: We love all of your subjects, especially the Star Wars and comic books; you’re practically the Stan Lee of Atlanta. Describe your aesthetic in your own words:
JAY: Bright colors and black outlines done with acrylic paints and sharpie. Low-brow and pop art pieces with inspiration from comic books, tattoos, Star Wars, Day of the Dead, and pop culture.
SCOUT: Amazing, but all this has very little do with monkeys (belligerent ones, at that). What’s the inspiration behind your name? And while we’re at it, would you consider yourself belligerent?
JAY: It’s what we named the tiki bar in our basement and it just kind of stuck. And that depends on when you’re asking or how much whiskey I’ve had at that point.
SCOUT: Besides intoxicated monkeys, do you have another favorite animal?
JAY: My favorite is a zedonk (cross between zebra and a donkey). But a belligerent zedonk just sounds silly because everyone knows they're sassy... not belligerent.
SCOUT: Where do you go to get new ideas?
JAY: Wherever. I’m always doodling and drawing. A doodle becomes a sketch, which becomes a drawing, which becomes a painting.
SCOUT: What was your first art project?
JAY: Basically I learned how to read and draw by reading comic books, so it was probably a drawing of super heroes.
SCOUT: So, I gotta know - who is your personal superhero?
JAY: My dad, Jack Kirby, my grandfather, George Perez, Sam Brumbeloe, my daughter, Joss Whedon, Mike Mignola, and the guy that invented the DVR.
SCOUT: Outside your usual subjects, what is your favorite piece you've done so far?
JAY: My favorite piece has got to be a painting of my wife’s, my daughter’s, and my Converse All-Stars with a “family” banner above them.
SCOUT: Who is another local Atlantan that inspires you or your work?
JAY: The girls at Third Half Studios always have great stuff.
SCOUT: When you’re not working, drawing, being a dad, or daydreaming, where do you go in ATL to kick back with friends?
JAY: Gravity Pub in East Atlanta Village.
SCOUT: Tell us your favorite “curious find” in Atlanta?
JAY: The jalapeno cheese grits at Dakota Blue (Grant Park) and the soysage sliders at the Flat Iron (EAV). Always makes for a tough decision on where to go to brunch.
SCOUT: Mmm… curious food finds. Our favorite. What are you currently working on?
JAY: Right now I’m finishing up a batch of commissioned paintings and I’m working on some new ones in preparation for the upcoming East Atlanta Strut.
SCOUT: Okay, finally, throw out a shameless plug where people can go to check out more of your art?
JAY: My website is www.BelligerentMonkey.com. Or you can go by Village Theater, Whole World Theatre, and Criminal Records and see it in person there. Or you can see me in person at the East Atlanta Strut on September 18th.