20 Questions with Charles Murphy

Barb
Barb Sweet
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It’s Pride Week in St. John’s and the eye-catching logo is the work of talented graphic designer/animator Charles Murphy.

Charles Murphy designed the logo, guide, posters and merchandise for St. John’s Pride 2014. — Photo by Barb Sweet/The Telegram

Murphy’s work is all over Pride, as he did all the branding and designed the posters, the guide and merchandise.

Since moving to the province about five years ago, Murphy said he loves living here and has been an active volunteer in the non-profit sector.

Besides being a member of the Pride board of directors, but he has a seat on the Planned Parenthood NL board and is co-head of the PFLAG NL (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapter. He has done freelance artistic and logo work for Make It Better NL, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) Youth group, Planned Parenthood NL's Camp Eclipse and other community organizations.

Murphy works on animation games for kids for Clockwork Fox in St. John’s, but has also been involved in some TV programming.

The events schedule for Pride Week can be found at www.stjohnspride.ca.

 

What is your full name?

Charles Paul Murphy

 

When and where were you born?

February 1985, Halifax.

 

What brought you to Newfoundland?

Work. I am an animator and designer at Clockwork Fox. I work on animation games for kids. I also worked for Best Boy Entertainment for four years on education show teaching kids about animals, called “Mickey,” a mixed animation and live-action show. It aired on Pet Network. Then we did shows for Animal Planet on rescues and surgeries.

 

How did you get involved in Pride?

A few of my friends are on the board. I wanted to help Pride become more visible and bring a brand to it. They said come on and help out with the logo, and that’s the first time they approached me. And afterwards, spots opened up for me to jump on the board. From that I joined the board and took over all the branding.

 

What’s the best thing about the LGBTQ community in St. John’s?

I would say it is a pretty well-knit group. If you don’t know somebody, chances are one of your friends knows that person. It’s a pretty small community. But at the same time, it’s a lot bigger than we think it is. With the festival that happened last year, there were 1,000 in the park. I feel it’s a big community, it’s just kind of hidden, but it is well connected.

 

The worst thing?

Because we are all connected. If one person knows you, the other person knows what you have done. If you do one bad thing, five people know it, versus that one person knows it. It’s a double-edged sword.

 

What has been the defining moment  of your life so far?

After college, I had to make a decision on my own where I had a chance to move here and make a living. That was so far the defining moment of my life, the stepping stone of where my career was going to go. I feel like I have had a very normal childhood other than that.

 

What are some music you like?

Of Monsters and Men, Florence, Marina & The Diamonds, Sia, Ellie Goulding, Gorgon City, Tom Odell, Studio Killers. I can listen to anything. I was raised on Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash and jazz, and on my own I branched from that. People make fun of me when I listen to Peggy Lee, but I love Peggy Lee.

 

What food do you like?

Anything different and new. I love pasta and chili, but anything I have never tried before I will not say no to. I have even had chicken feet.

 

Do you have a best dish you cook?

I have a best dessert — pumpkin cheesecake, it’s amazing.

 

If you could live in or visit another time, when and where would that be?

When was a time when you could walk in a bar and it was full of smoke and jazz? I don’t like cigarette smoke, but that whole atmosphere, like “The Great Gatsby,” that kind of time period — the 1920s when everything was nice hats, fitted suits, smoke, nice cars, industrial, the whole new rush of technology age, that’s where I would want to be. I think I would be fine in the Roaring Twenties.

 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Hopefully successful. I see myself still in Canada, hopefully happy. As long as I am happy, I could be doing anything. I could be doing animation. I could be going back to school. I could be having kids. I could be moving back to Halifax. I can just see myself being happy.

 

What drew you to animation?

Oh my God, Disney. I had a huge love for animation since I can remember. I wasn’t always planning to do animation. When I first was going to pick a career, I was going to be a paleontologist. It was the first word I knew how to say when I entered elementary school. I knew how to say paleontology. I was excited to learn about dinosaurs. Then I realized it would be a great profession, but you literally have to wait for someone to die to get into that position. So the next step was animation. The Disney animated cartoon, “Sleeping Beauty” is my favourite movie … that whole style of animation moving pictures grabbed me and it still catches my attention. I will still spend $13 to go see a movie in the theatre if it’s animation. I won’t if it’s live action. It’s a got a firm grip on me.

 

Who is the hero of your life?

My parents. They divorced when I was seven and my mom looked after me as my dad travelled around and still supported me and still kept in contact, but he remarried. My stepmom is fantastic. She helped me a lot through school and my mom and my dad. I had a three-tier parent system going on. They’re all really great. It’s hard when you are seven years old and your parents divorce and you think it’s something to do with you. After a while, I actually don’t think I would have wanted my life to be any different because they gave me something separate — each one of them — to balance my life out.

 

What’s the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?

Basically it’s being told that I have a doppelgänger in Mount Pearl that looks just like me. I have had people that honk and wave at me and call me by another name, the same name all the time. I can’t remember it now because it’s been so long, but when I used to work in Mount Pearl, I’d get honked at and called whatever this person’s name , and when I moved back to work here (in St. John’s) it stopped.

 

What is the coolest thing that has ever happened to you?

When I was 12, I was given the option to go to Disney World for free with a group of kids from all around the Halifax school district.

 

Has your experience as a member of the LGBTQ community been mostly positive?

Yes. The only thing is I find sometimes it can be misinterpreted as to what my orientation is. Because I have dated both genders. That sometimes is hard to deal with. If I am with a girl, I am “this way” and if I am with a guy, I am “that way.” It’s that kind of thing that still irks me. I have never faced anything compared to the hate crimes other people have faced. Even if I was completely straight, 100 per cent, I am sure if I walked down the street, someone is still going to call me a faggot. It’s still going to happen. That’s just what people do. I have not had anything horrible happen to me, but I know people who have. I know people who have had stones thrown at them. I know people who have been beaten.

 

What could make the world better?

I just want the thought of having to fight for equal rights to stop and for it just happen. That everyone around the world should live in a world without fear of losing their jobs, homes and safety.

 

Why do you think some people — whether they are LGBTQ or are viewed as different in some way — are targeted by bullies?

I think it comes down to insecurities in the other person and also because people laugh at certain things. So, whoever is making fun of someone, once they get gratification for doing it, it’s a continuing cycle. … It’s gratification the second someone acknowledges it. I feel if someone acknowledges it in the way that, “This isn’t funny. This isn’t cool, stop it,” they will change the whole cycle. And I think that has started with the Make it Better campaign and the anti-bullying campaigns. People are stepping up in that role, that (bullying acts) are not jokes, that it’s nonsense. It’s changing, but I think it needs to change at a faster rate. We are still hearing of people taking their own lives for whatever reason.

 

Who is someone living or deceased you would love to have lunch with?

My grandmother. I would love to see my grandmother again. She passed away more than five years ago now. She always had a way of making things seem OK.

bsweet@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Planned Parenthood NL board, Disney World, Halifax school

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Gorgon, Mount Pearl Canada

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