I love me some Nyan Cat! Meow! So when I emailed PRGuitarman and practically offered him my left kidney if he’d do an interview with me, I got a totally sweet response back. Chris Torres is the man behind the pixelated poptart sensation, Nyan Cat. And lucky me, I got a chance to ask him all those burning questions I have had buried inside. Chris has done a few other interviews, so I really wanted to get the scoop that no one got. Hopefully I somewhat accomplished that.
First question…. can I get a run down on WHO you are? We all know your name is Chris Torres, but where are you from, and what do you do professionally? Oh, and how old are you!
I’m 26 years old and live in Dallas, Texas, born in Puerto Rico. I love art, The Internet and am kind of a homebody and shy in person but try to be outgoing in whatever situation I’m in.
Professionally, I actually recently resigned from my 9-5 office job and have been making my art business a full time thing. I’m very happy with the decision, even though it was kind of a crazy one, but know I made a good choice.
What is a “P R Guitar Man?” Do you play guitar?
My screen name is now more of an ironic thing to me. I made it maybe 13 years ago back when I was on AOL and DSL was the NEW thing. A friend and I bought some used guitars and thought we could totally make a band or something, so I changed the screen name to fit that occasion because I thought it was going to be a big thing. The PR stands for Puerto Rican, but it can also stand for Public Relations since I do that online, too.
I no longer have the guitar but keep the name around since so many people know me by it now. It’s my Internet identity, it’d be difficult to change it up.
How did Nyan Cat come about? What exactly were you trying to accomplish when you created this darling GIF?
Nyan cat originated back in my webcomic, LOL-COMICS, back at PRGuitarman.com. I’ve been doing comics since I was in middle school and are based off experiences in my life. I’ve made several comics about my cats, particularly my Russian Blue named Marty.
One day, I was doing a charity Livestream event for The American Red Cross and I asked people what they think I should draw. What resulted was me choosing “Pop Tart” and “cat” from that list and combined them together in a hurry
I had been experimenting with 8 bit designs, so a few days later I decided to take a crack at it and turned it into the 8 bit graphic we all know today. I honestly wasn’t expecting anything out of it aside from getting a new Twitter avatar from it. I t went unnoticed on my site for a few days before uploaded to YouTube by SaraJ00n and it’s all history from there.
When did you first know Nyan Cat was a super Internet phenomenon?
Maybe around the time the YouTube video hit 1 million views. Back then, I thought one million was huge! Nothing I’ve ever done before has been able to Generate the same number of hits. Also, when people started showing me photos of strangers dressed up as nyan cat at conventions. That was awesome, too.
Have you heard of any famous people or pseudo-celebs loving on (or hating on) your Nyan Cat masterpiece?
Off the top of my head:
- Conan O Brien used a parody called Conyan on his show a few times
- Jimmy Fallon has used it on his show MULTIPLE times and has even danced on stage to the song.
- Both Skrillex and Deadmau5 love using it in their work. Skrillex uses it constantly in his shows. I’ve talked to both of them and they’re really cool people
- Jenna Marbles dressed up as Nyan Cat for Halloween and seems to love everything about it.
- Mark Hoppus seems to love it, too, because he currently has a huge Nyan Cat that accompanies him on stage during his new tour.
- Got to meet Hannah Hart from My Drunk Kitchen and not only is she absolutely delightful, but she loves Nyan Cat, too
Holy macaroni that is a lot of famous Nyanners I have never heard about… I am sure you’ve seen the many various Nyan Cat spin offs like What’s your favorite Nyan Cat spin off?
There are so many! It’s so hard to choose. Oh god, okay, I’d have to say my favorites are a tie between the Smooth Jazz Nyan Cat and Stray Cat.
OMG Stray is so sweet I want to cry Q.Q So, what are your personal favorite Internet creations, GIFs or videos of the moment? (Not created by you of course)
There’s so much new stuff everyday it’s hard to choose a favorite anymore! Some personal favorites of mine are Scumbag Steve and Keyboard Cat. Also, I usually love GIFs with cats in it, or people getting in funny accidents. Then there’s this gif
I adore Keyboard Cat… that song is too catchy. And that gif just made me go O_____O So, what’s your homepage?
My main comic page is PRGuitarman.com, but I’ve been without a working computer for a whole so I haven’t been able to make new comics. I’ve retreated over to Twitter.com/PRGuitarman, where I retweet cat images and ironic things.
Some slight internet stalking allowed me to discover you are a comic/cartoon lover from back in the day, having created “inside joke” comics among your friends in Middle School. What sort of recurring characters did you have in your original comics from “back in the day?” Any hilarious memories or stories about this experience?
My comics from middle school were so dumb, now that I look back at them. They mainly featured teachers I didn’t like put in funny situations, a series with a stick figure guy that just laughed at people, and funny banter between friends. I think the only character that has migrated over to my new comics is my Sun character. It’s just a drawing of the sun being a character that the main protagonist talks to, but can be a jerk at times.
However, my time making comics in high school taught me How to fit humor into four simple frames. Back in school, friends didn’t have much time to read my comics since they weren’t allowed in class so I had to keep things quick and simple. I think my style has adapted to that formula.
Your 4 panel on Valentine’s Day is spot on hysterical. What cartoons or cartoon characters inspired you, or do you just love? From when you were younger, or now! How about comics?
Nickelodeon’s Doug was a big inspiration in my youth for his “slice of life”, yet completely ridiculous imagination scenarios he’d get into. I’ve always had an over active imagination like him.
Rocko’s Modern Life was great, too, because it features a main character that’s always put in a bad situation and we as an audience are just supposed to laugh at his misfortune, yet root for him as the underdog.
I was big into Nickelodeon as a kid!
Oh god yes, Doug and Rocko were both amazing classics. Love them both! Who are your cartoon or comic artistic role models?
What’s your favorite food and drink?
PIZZA! And I enjoy Coke Zero. Usually both Pizza and soda together is all you need to make me happy.
What’s the coolest opportunity you have gotten from the Nyan Cat fame?
Honestly, the best opportunity I’ve gotten from Nyan cat is to be a part of something that people all over the world love and recognize. It’s turned into a really strong entity and I love how people use it to spread love in their own ways. That, and it’s given me the opportunity to travel, which I’ve never really done before, and it’s lead me to meet a lot of cool new friends both online and offline. Finally, and this just happened very recently, but I was just approached by JAKKs Pacific, one of the top 5 toy dealers in the world , and long story short they’re working with me to release Nyan Cat toys! That has been one of my life long goals and I still can’t believe it’s happening. It’s an awesome feeling to know your work is appreciated that much!
Thanks to Chris for being an original and creating this fantastic meme and icon we’ve all grown to love over the years. What memes do you adore? Leave them in a comment!