With Mike Horn
Damion Wolfe, December 2003
Beyond the cornfields, Amish jokes and shopping outlets of Lancaster County
there lies another aspect not oft seen, and that is the people. Many of
them of German heritage and with a quiet exterior, armed with a sharp
wit and warm heart. There is a truth to the slogan "you've got a friend
in Pennsylvania" because I've had the fortune to make many there in my
travels as a singer/songwriter and Mike Horn is one of them. Mike is probably
one of the most generous people I've ever met. He's the kind of guy that
is almost always there to support a show, sending out emails about other
people's events, and graciously allowing me and others the use of his
"Hornswylde Mansion" when passing through
town, and for various shin-digs. But in addition to all of this he is
also webmaster of me and many, a book-preservationist, painter/muralist,
trivia show host and cartoonist.
As a webmaster Mike designs and maintains sites for Curtis
Earth, Yours Truly, Center
City Deli, etc., etc. He has a full time job at Franklin And Marshall
College as a Book Preservationist. He does murals for people's houses
and businesses, and hosts two trivia shows a week in Lancaster County.
Over the years Mike has done some great work that he has begun to assemble
pictures of on his site: WWW.HORNOGRAPHICS.COM.
One of the many great things about Mike's web-designing is that he maintains
originality from site to site. None of the sites look too much like the
other and he does a great job customizing each site to each individual
need. As a cartoonist Mike did a lot in college. There is even talk of
some them being published soon.
One of the amazing things about Mike is that he is able to maintain a
huge creative output along with a constantly filled schedule. He barely
has enough time to come home and pet his cat before he's off to the next
task. Despite the fact that Mike is the busiest man in Lancaster County
he always seems to maintain a ubiquitous presence. He's always available
to help someone out and be there if you need him. He's so busy helping
out others with his talent that he doesn't even have time to finish his
own personal work sometimes. He has an unfinished mural in the walkway
of his house that has been there since I first met him! Mike is truly
a talented man with a big heart. How does he do it all and not go crazy?
Mike took time out to answer some questions about this and other things.
But first please check out Mike's website at: WWW.HORNOGRAPHICS.COM
or drop him an email at horntobewild@Hotmail.com
if you would like to ask him a question about maybe designing a site for
you or various other sundries.
Ladies and Gentlemen please welcome Mr. Michael Horn!
1. How did you first get involved in doing murals and sketches? Do
you have any formal training?
I remember doing sketches of Snoopy and Charlie Brown when I was eight
years old, so it began with cartoons. My parents let my brother and I
paint temporary pictures on the mirrors and vestibule doors for Christmas.
And then I started painting cartoons in my bedroom during high school.
I had art instruction in high school and a drawing class in college, but
I'm mostly self-taught.
2. How did you first get involved in designing web-sites?
I started playing around with HTML when I first got a PC in 95. The first
site was a bare-bones list of pix of my murals (the precursor to hornographics.com).
Then trivia quizmaster Curtis Earth was
looking for someone to take over his site, and he promised to feed me
3. You work at the Franklin & Marshall Library and do all of your art
work, web-design and trivia on the side. Would you like to envision this
becoming full time work and being totally self-employed? If so or if not,
please explain why.
If I could get over my fear of not having a steady paycheck and benefits,
maybe. Gotta pay the mortgage on Hornswylde mansion, you know. Who would
be crazy enough to be a full-time performer, any
4. As we've mentioned, you are a trivia host, webmaster of numerous
sites, visual artist, local PR guy and book preservationist. Please tell
us how you maintain your stamina and still remain creatively inspired
through it all?
Forgoing sleep frees up eight hours a day. Of course, it causes system
crashes in which I go into a coma for three days. Creativity is a slippery
fish best served cold. (See what I mean, I'm starting to crash already).
What I meant to say is creativity comes and goes in sudden bursts. Being
around other creative types helps it to visit more often, though.
5. What is your favorite part of being a visual artist?
The "A-ha!" moment when a work comes together. You can be slogging along
through a piece thinking that it will never work, and then suddenly it
all comes into focus.
6. What are your goals regarding your murals, sketches and web-design
for the next few years?
I would like to complete a mural in my home that was supposed to be unveiled
three years ago. An outdoor small scale mural might be nice. Have a single
panel cartoon published. Continue to work on my caricatures for the American
Cancer Society project. Learn web animation software so we can have a
spinning Damion on the site.
1. What was your favorite childhood toy?
Hot Wheels. And their airplane equivalents, Hot Birds, which no one remembers.
2. Do you think the U.S. Government is conspiring to assasinate all
web-designers whose initials are M.H.?
Yes! I've seen the secret dossier. But first they are busy attempting
to squash the careers of musicians whose initials are D.W. (That's why
Donnie Wahlberg turned to acting)
3. What artist/entertainer, dead or alive, would you most like to sit
down and share a lager with?
I'd say Dean Martin. He'd have plenty of tales to tell, a large bar tab
and hordes of Golddiggers.
4. Who would you rather be stranded with on a deserted island, Ginger
or Mary Anne?
Have you seen Tina Louise lately? Definitely
5. What artists have most inspired your artistry?
Gary Trudeau (my old comic strip was a direct rip-off of his style); Winsor
McCay; N.C. Wyeth; Maxfield Parrish.
6. Would you consider dating a bi-sexual Hooters
Sure! She probably makes twice as much in tips and would be well-endowed
(cash-wise, that is).
7. What advice would you give to up and coming artists?
The more you do it, the easier it gets.
8. What was the name of the first girl you ever held hands with?
My next door neighbor Eileen, although I had the hots (or whatever a six-year-old
gets) for her sister Theresa.
9. Have you ever considered giving it all up and becoming a mullet
No. I had already reached the pinnacle of mullethood with my own back
in 1990. Why mess with perfection?
10. What inspires you most in life?
Probably the idea that if you are given a gift, it is your duty to share
it with others. We're all here to help each other muddle through.