8BitDad Talks to Rob Kimmel, Lunch Post Dad
Parents always want a way to remind their kids that they love them when they go off to school everyday, and for graphic designer Rob Kimmel, the answer was on his desk: Post Its. Kimmel, an east coaster (Chicago, New York, Massachusetts – holla!), started putting Post Its in his son’s lunch box when he was in kindergarten. Originally, the Post Its quizzed his son, Ben, on things like numbers and spelling. But as time went on, Rob began a game that had Ben, now almost 9 years old, finishing full sentences and pictures.
We were lucky enough to get both Rob and Ben Kimmel to talk to us about the idea behind the art, as well as some of their musical interests, and one of our favorite topics, Star Wars.
Back in September, we mentioned Derek Benson, who keeps a Tumblr of his own lunch bag art. It’s great to see fathers creating traditions with their kids that engage them in a love of art.
Check out this gallery of some of our favorite Lunch Posts from the Kimmels:
And here’s our roundtable discussion. Rob is “RK” and Ben is “BK,” obvi…
8BD: The Lunch Posts started when Ben was in kindergarten, right? Did you come up with the idea or did you get inspiration from someone else to start this sort of interaction?
RK: We’ve always drawn together. Even when he was tiny, we’d fill pages with sea creatures or dinosaur scenes. We were doing something like the Lunch Posts to pass the time on long subway rides. Going anywhere in NYC is a 1/2 hour to hour train journey and Post its are easily portable. When he started learning numbers and letters, I began putting unfinished cartoon post-its in his lunch as a challenge. When he could read, they transformed into little stories.
8BD: Did you immediately think about keeping these post-its? Did you know you’d one day be sharing them with the world?
RK: We keep everything. We’re some sorta mutant variant of hoarders. All three of us are always making things, so our place is filled with our creations, as well as works-in-progress and stuff that could someday come in handy for…um…a robot? A piñata? So we kept all the post its, but not with any intention of ever sharing them. I had designed WanderMonster to write while we were traveling, but I failed miserably at being a travel blogger, and it lay fallow. I kicked the dust off of it and posted some Lunch Posts to crack up the 2 or 3 friends I arm-twisted into visiting the site, and it grew from there.
8BD: Ben, do you have any favorite things to draw?
BK: I like drawing things I see in books. And the yellow bird from Angry Birds. And zombies. I really like making creatures with scales, too. I like drawing scales.
8BD: How about you, Rob?
RK: That’s funny; I like scales too. And hair and wrinkles and suckers…all sorts of creature textures. I love making grotesque faces, too.
8BD: I see a couple of Star Wars drawings – which movie in the series is your favorite, Rob?
RK: I was 7 when Star Wars came out, and I saw it 12 times at the movie theater. The first two are definitely my favorites.
8BD: And how about you, Ben?
BK: The one with Hoth. Cause I like snowy planets and I like the wampa and the creature Han Solo rides. I really like how they planned it, too, the whole idea of the movie. Like Luke getting captured by the yeti, the wampa, and Han Solo rescuing him…it’s just a really good story.
8BD: Do you guys follow any of the other Star Wars universe stuff like the Clone Wars cartoon or the SW: The Old Republic game?
RK: Rob: We just started getting into the Clone Wars.
BK: I was mad because Clone Wars took over the whole entire universe of Lego Star Wars, so I didn’t watch it.
8BD: Do you listen to any of the same music? If so, who do you share an interest in?
BK: My favorite band is They Might Be Giants and my favorite singer is Tom Waits. M Ward is another one.
RK: I can’t add anything to that. I think my job as a dad is done.
8BD: Rob, what’s tougher, graphic design work or fatherhood?
RK: I can’t kiss or ground my clients, so I’ll go with the design racket being harder.
8BD: Ben, what do you want to be when you grow up?
BK: A scientist, I guess. I think they’re interesting because they study a lot of weird things and stuff.
8BD: What kinds of activities do you do as a family – father, mother and son?
RK: We make stuff. Ben’s mom is a costume designer and has done everything from sheer sheep to restore Victorian homes to period. Between the three of us, we can really take creating pretty seriously. You should see our Halloween costumes. When we have time, we love camping and travel adventures, but it’s been a while.
8BD: So how long will the Lunch Posts go on? There’s only so much school you can do until you’re a doctor of something.
RK: Sometimes I think Ben’s lost interest in them, and I propose doing something else, but he just gets pissed and starts demanding them again. I’ve drawn a ton of them, so when he does get bored, I’ll have to find another kid to torture.
8BD: If you could give one piece of advice to all fathers, what would it be?
RK: Do something analog with your kids, something that requires a real skill. It doesn’t matter what you know how to do, do it with your kids: use a band saw or tie a knot or play the djembe or season a baseball glove or make a soup stock.
Thanks to Rob and Ben Kimmel for answering our questions! Please be sure to check out Rob and Ben’s Lunch Posts at WanderMonster!
(It has been zero days since our last Star Wars reference)