I spoke to the creator of our worst nightmares, David Firth

David Firth
Filmmaker and animator David Firth

A man, a mystery, a psychopath, an animator, a genius. All of these words can be used to describe 32 year old animator and filmmaker David Firth. For at least a decade, the Doncaster born animator has been turning his imagination into short animations that seem to be the root of all nightmares with their dark atmospheres, eerie dialogue, explicit visuals, and disturbed characters. You may have seen some of David’s work on your Facebook or Twitter timelines with the captions “WTF did I just watch” or just plainly “What the fuck…”.

Firth opened his YouTube channel in early 2006 with a brief stop-motion animation video of a camcorder just simply putting itself back together in about 13 seconds. To date, that 9+ year old video is creeping toward 100,000 hits. In his second YouTube video, he introduced everyone to a character named MC Devvo, a foul-mouthed MC. Fast forward some months later after a few more live-action videos, David starts to get back into the animation grind where he acquires the nickname “Fat-Pie“. As David continued making videos for his slowly growing audience, David decides to reupload a 1 and a half minute animation called “Salad Fingers: Spoons”, which originally blew up on Newgrounds in 2004. This animation ended on the front page of YouTube within hours and immediately introduced Firth a brand new audience.

Overnight, Salad Fingers amassed thousands of YouTube views and suddenly went viral… for a second time. You’ve most likely seen it, along with the other 9 installments that have been uploaded over the last 6-7 years. As of now, the Salad Fingers series has grown to reach over 70+ million views on YouTube.

Screencap from Salad Fingers 8 by David Firth.
Screencap from Salad Fingers 8 by David Firth.

David Firth has animated many, many things that he has come to be known by. A few notable animations and characters that he has been highly recognized for include Dog of Man, Spoilsbury Toast Boy, Burnt Face Man, Crooked Rot, the Sock Series, Milkman, and most recently, a music video for Flying Lotus which was released last Halloween (watch below).

No matter how crazy or disturbing Firth’s animations may be, we all must understand 1 thing: creativity. I notice many people complaining in the comment section of Firth’s videos with things to say like “What a waste of talent!”, and it made me disappointed to see the lack of open-mindedness the world has to offer. Many people don’t truly understand the concept of art and storytelling. These visuals and these stories that are being told through David’s work are really fucked up, disturbing and even depressing at times, but look at the bigger picture — that’s life. Don’t get me wrong, David doesn’t make these to teach people life lessons. He creates them because, number 1: he can, and number 2: for the same reasons all artists do what they do; to express his thoughts and feelings in a creative manner. If that’s a waste of talent, feel free to show me a better way to use your God-given talent.

Of course I had plenty of questions for Mr. Firth after watching about — well, after watching all of his animations. At least I thought I had questions to ask him; once you have a David Firth marathon, your mind has to piece itself back together after being brutally fucked with. Long story short, I got in touch with the animator with some questions.

Spoilsbury Toast Boy by David Firth

You’re such a mysterious person. And you probably get this a lot during interviews, but for my sake, tell me a little more about you. What’s something myself and your tens of thousands of followers don’t know about you?

Sometimes things in my dreams come true. Disasters and such. But I can never tell which ones.

How would you describe your imagination?

I don’t think it’s any darker than anyone else’s, I just pay a lot of attention to it, and allow it to wander.

Where did Salad Fingers come from? What made you say “Yeah, that’s what I want to do.”?

Nothing said that. Nothing ever does. I just do things that seem like they might be fun. Like kicking a ball, that is almost always fun.

Is it true you sit in a dark and creepy abandoned building and just sketch? If so, why?

Almost never.

David Firth in Heroes of Animation with Bing.
David Firth in Heroes of Animation with Bing.

“I make animations based on what I find interesting. Only those who misunderstand creativity need to rationalize it.”

About 2 years ago, you mentioned your feature film “The Meadow Man”. What’s going on with that? Has anything changed with that since 2013?

Ask me in 10 years.

Tell me a little bit about the book you’re writing. 

It’s crazy. Fiction. Like my cartoons, but in a book. Just words. It started as small ideas and then it all came together. There are so many things I can do when I don’t have to worry about animating them.

You work with a number of styles of animation. Stop-motion animation, cut-outs, eerie sketches, etcetera… what’s your favorite and why?

Every time I change my style I was sick of doing it the other way. I hate them all.

What do you find to be the biggest obstacle while animating?

Remaining sane.

For your animations, you tend to have characters with some really odd names. How did you think of such names for your characters?

I have a really boring name. I like people with exciting names.

Burnt Face Man character by David Firth
Burnt Face Man character by David Firth

Do you make animations with a specific meaning in mind or do you just create and want your audience to interpret it in their own way?

I make animations based on what I find interesting. Only those who misunderstand creativity need to rationalize it.

Many people complain about how your cartoons are a “waste of talent” because of the obscene stories you tell. How do you react to that?

Those people should consider how such opinions contribute to the world and then reconsider the concept of wastage.

Is there anything that can stop you?

Lack of interest.

As we know, your animations can either be fucked up, depressing, or both at the same time. Sometimes, your animations can cause someone sensitive to feel depressed or traumatized. My question is: what advice would you give to someone who suffers depression after watching your animations?

I’m pretty sure people can figure out what works for them by themselves.

When can we expect the next David Firth animation?

When I have finished making it.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 5.25.32 PM

You can follow David on Twitter @DAVID_FIRTH, on Facebook, and on Tumblr.


Cut x Sewn Magazine Founder & Creative Director.

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