"I can't help but notice you have quite a few albums with skulls on. And sooo many 'Swans' albums..."
[for they are the embodiment of godhead, and here is the proof]
"...yet you paint pictures of bunnies."
It's true. This weird bipolar element slips into my work. Even Flaboo!, the Fat Chick's debut game features numerous messages in the background shown inciting people to do things like use air-horns in restaurants when other peoples' children scream. As for Incoboto... well, it's a whole game about dealing with the heat-death of the universe while a cute smiley face follows you around.
I've seen this kind of seeming disparity before: there's definitely a Genki-er end of gothic subculture, for example.
On the face of it, I love darkness. I find great sources of inspiration in Poe, Gaiman, Bierce, as well as the music I listen to. But to my mind, it is all 'Romantic'. None of the material I love is ever really about death and darkness. It's all really about the totems and iconography we hide behind while observing difficult issues from a safe, thrilling distance. If it were really about death, nobody would buy it. There's nothing fun about death. Nothing.
As for why so much super-cute stuff comes into my own work... well...
The truth is, I love cute. I love Hello Kitty. I love Miffy. I love the Moomins. I think the imagery and design in work like this has a kind of Jungian mythic reality to it; a fundamentally appealing 'truth' that children pick up on instinctively, and that some adults respond to as well. Or maybe it's the bright, friendly colours.
I'm not alone in my appreciation for imagery seemingly aimed at 10-year-old Japanese girls. Look at the 'Bronie' phenomenon of recent years. Masses of otherwise sane, macho young men openly appreciating some candy-coloured equines, dedicating time to express themselves via fan-pages, fan-music and a profound lack of irony. See the picture? That's Seth Green. He was in Buffy... and Austin Powers... and makes Robot Chicken... and voices Chris in Family Guy. And he's fondling a pony-leg. And he's a man. See the beard? It's a hint.
Like every pub bore, I have a theory.
We are the blessed generation. Unlike our parents, we westerners have no Great Wars, no great epidemics, no great hardships to endure. We live in a uniquely peaceful time that stops us having to grow into sullen, bitter individuals utterly at the mercy of a whimsically cruel universe. Dogs and cats - growing up in their unnaturally sheltered environments - exhibit the same puppy/kitten tendencies.
In conclusion: I like the very, very dark, and the very, very light. I do not like the middle road. I don't like banal, the flavourless, the grey. I live in a time where I can largely pick and choose my reality. As such, I will choose the sweetest and the spiciest, the tangiest and the most effervescent of the things on offer.
To paraphrase Ayn Rand (which I'm sure will get me a few hate mails/tweets):
Once you have identified black and white, why would you ever choose grey?