Joe Riley (artist)
Joseph Vergel Riley (February 26, 1964 – September 27, 2007) was an American visual and plastic artist based in Dallas, Texas. A painter, sculptor, filmmaker, and special effects makeup artist, he made horror designs for latex masks and for films, such as the 2004 superhero film Blade: Trinity from Marvel Comics, as well as conceptual art for children's animated series, such as Nickelodeon's Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius franchise from DNA Productions. He was also a notable part of the multimedia beginnings of the Church of the SubGenius as St. Joe Riley.
Joseph Vergel Riley
February 26, 1964
|Died||September 27, 2007(aged 43)|
|Known for||Drawing, painting, graphic design, sculpture, special effects makeup, video|
Joseph Vergel Riley was born on February 26, 1964, in Dallas County, Texas, U.S. His father was Rev. George Vergel Riley (alive as of 2009[update]) and his mother Robbie Jean Riley (August 16, 1927 – June 1, 2006). Joe Riley went to a career development high school in Dallas, Skyline High School, majoring in commercial art, graduated in 1982, and followed at college with stage craft classes and the video department.
Riley became an illustrator and painter, a designer and filmmaker, a storyboard and background artist in animation, as well as a movie special effects and prosthetic makeup artist. He also made videos and audio collages, and sometimes comics. His defining career move was deciding to stay in Dallas: in a 2004 interview, he explained about not moving to Los Angeles, "I really wasn't interested in going to a large pond and being a small fish. I liked the medium to small pond that Dallas was. [...] I wasn't concerned about working on big titled films. [...] It was the work that was the thing... the craft."
Riley was also part of the beginnings of the Church of the SubGenius in Dallas (see Works section) and a friend of its co-founder Ivan Stang. On his blog, Riley reminisced in 2006 about how Stang once gave him a tape of cult "kook" Francis E. Dec recordings that he lent to a friend who played it at a 1993 party in Dallas where Forrest Jackson heard it, leading to Jackson videotaping in 1995 the only documented encounter with the reclusive Dec. About his involvement with the Church, Riley was quoted by the Church's online zine The Stark Fist of Removal as saying: "I'm not into SubGenius for the religious aspect so much. I see the Church more as... genetic stuntmen."
Joe Riley died of a sudden and unexpected heart attack on September 27, 2007, at age 43. He was survived by his wife, Penny Lee Harris Riley., and his 9-year-old son Mitch (Mitchell Ian Riley).
Eulogized by his friend Rev. Ivan Stang, co-founder of the Church of the SubGenius, as "one of the funniest, coolest, most talented, most patient fellows I have ever had the pleasure to know and work with", Riley was involved with the beginnings of the Church as "St. Joe Riley": he worked on the syndicated program Hour of Slack and most of the early SubGenius videos, including the 1991 SubGenius commercial for MTV; he provided key illustrations for Stang's books Revelation X (1994) and The SubGenius Psychlopaedia of Slack: The Bobliographon (2006), as well as cards for INWO: SubGenius (1997, an official supplement to the Steve Jackson Games card game Illuminati: New World Order); he designed the official face of SubGenius mythos entity NHGH, and made the Church's rubber masks of Dobbs and NHGH (also used in the MTV ad).
Riley produced bizarre masks and designs for Funko or Death Studios, and prosthetic makeup or designs for gore or horror movies, such as the Marvel Comics vampire movie Blade: Trinity (2004, New Line Cinema) as painter. Riley also worked as conceptual artist on children's properties: he collaborated to the remake of Mighty Joe Young (1998, Disney/Buena Vista) as post-production coordinator, and made designs for the children's animation franchises of Dallas-based production company DNA Productions, such as the Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius feature (2001, Paramount) and TV series (2004, Nickelodeon) as conceptual and storyboard artist, or The Ant Bully (2006, Warner Bros.) as digital effects and background artist.
From May 1996-February 1999, Riley produced and hosted a Dallas, Texas, cable access clip show called The Hypnotic Eye, collecting and showcasing obscure film material, animation, trailers, commercials, and behind the scenes footage from other local cable access shows and film screening interviews. The series ran 12 episodes.
Main sources used for this article:
- DMN (2006). "Riley, Robbie Jean" (mother's obituary), The Dallas Morning News, June 4, 2006, via NewsBank — Pay article not accessed, but abstract provides middle name and family data.
- DMN (2007). "Riley, Joseph V." (obituary), The Dallas Morning News, September 30, 2007, via Legacy.com — Pay article not accessed, but abstract confirms name and dates.
- LLFHC (2007). [permanent dead link] "Mr. Joseph V. Riley: February 26, 1964 - September 27, 2007" (online memorial), Laurel Land Funeral Homes and Cemeteries, laureldallas.createatribute.com, consulted in March 2009 — Confirms dates and family.
- LMC (2004). "Life and Times of Riley" (interview), Latex Mask Central, October 2004, 3 pages — Industry interview about his horror masks.
- Riley, Joe (2005). ""Get Up Offa' the Meat Loaf of the Gods"". Archived from the original on May 6, 2006. Retrieved March 22, 2009.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) – highlight text if displayed white on white), Riley's blog Men-Oo-She-A, May 7, 2005 — Wife and child data.
- Riley, Joe (2006). ""Francis E. Dec, Esquire"". Archived from the original on October 30, 2006. Retrieved March 22, 2009.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) – highlight text if displayed white on white), Riley's blog Men-Oo-She-A, August 19, 2006 — The Francis E. Dec anecdote.
- Stang, Ivan (2007). "St. Joe Riley" (eulogy), The Stark Fist of Removal, October 6, 2007
- DMN (1997). "Tinsel 'Toon: Dallas animation firm finishes holiday special in the St. Nick of time", by Catherine Cuellar, The Dallas Morning News, December 13, 1997 — DNA Productions press clipping from a pay article about Santa vs. the Snowman 3D (1997, ABC), including on page 3C: "Dallas latex foam sculptor Joe Riley and production designer Dan Dudley created the rest of the eye-popping animation, such as the spooky Nutcracker, a security viewing portal for Santa's helpers and several snow beasts and vehicles, many of which suggest famous sci-fi film sets and characters. Brett Hester, a local graphic designer and former architecture student, then used computers to build and model virtual 3-D versions of the Riley and Dudley drawings."
- DNA Productions, press clippings (including Jimmy Neutron and Ant Bully): There may be more Riley coverage here, but because they are scanned images they can't be searched and have to be read entirely.
- DMN 2006.
- DMN 2007.
- Stang 2007.
- USGenWeb (2002). "Vital Records - Dallas County, TX - Birth 1964" Archived 2009-08-08 at the Wayback Machine, USGenWeb Archives, files.usgwarchives.net, contributed by Chuck H. Mahaffey on January 31, 2002, consulted in March 2009 — Provides county of birth.
- LLFHC 2007
- LMC 2004.
- Graduating Class (1982). "Skyline High School - Class of 1982", www.skylineraiders82.myevent.com, consulted in March 2009
- Riley 2006, "Francis E. Dec, Esquire".
- SubGenius, Church of the (s.d.). "Great Quotes", The Stark Fist of Removal, undated
- USGenWeb (2001). "Vital Records - Dallas County, TX - Marriage 1994", USGenWeb Archives, files.usgwarchives.net, contributed by Chuck H. Mahaffey on September 9th, 2001, consulted in March 2009 — Provides first marriage.
- Riley 2005, "Get Up Offa' the Meat Loaf of the Gods".
- Steve Jackson Games (1997). "INWO: SubGenius Rules, v1.01", 1997, copy on www.sjgames.com: "Card illustrations by [...], St. Joe Riley, [...]"
- The "St. Joe Riley" moniker (similar to Discordian sainthoods) is found back at least as early as this copy of a 1993 post (archived at Google Groups) in SubGenius Usenet newsgroup alt.slack, quoting Ivan Stang: "STANG SEZ: [...] New Video, $20: CLUB NO NEW YEARS DALLAS DEVIVAL - Bulldada special effects master St. Joe Riley barrage-edited (ARISE-style, with billions of weird clips) the footage from this spectacular multi-media show [...]".
- Atomic Books. "The Subgenius Psychlopaedia of Slack: The Bobliographon" (book description) Archived 2008-12-03 at the Wayback Machine, www.atomicbooks.com: "Contributors include: [...] St. Joe Riley [...]".
- Stang, Ivan (1995). "Re: Internet World Mentions Slack!" (archived at Google Groups), Usenet: alt.slack, March 26, 1995: "A negative mold fell into the hands of St. Joe Riley of Dallas, who used it to create a series of hand painted "BOB" DOBBS RUBBER MASKS. The first of these was used in our MTV one-minute Church commercial. The rest are waiting for YOU TO BUY THEM!! Joe also sells the NHGH MASK (seen in Rev. X and the MTV spot -- the hideous mockery of a living smiley)!"
- Fancast. "Crew for Blade: Trinity"[permanent dead link], www.fancast.com, consulted in March 2009.
- Fancast. "Crew for Mighty Joe Young"[permanent dead link], www.fancast.com, consulted in March 2009.
- Fancast. "Crew for Jimmy Neutron"[permanent dead link], www.fancast.com, consulted in March 2009.
- Fancast. "Crew for Adventures of Jimmy Neutron"[permanent dead link], www.fancast.com, consulted in March 2009.
- Fancast. "Crew for Ant Bully"[permanent dead link], www.fancast.com, consulted in March 2009.
- Abstract consulted: "RILEY, ROBBIE JEAN, Born August 16, 1927 went to be with the Lord June 1, 2006. Survived by her loving husband of 61 years, Rev. George Vergel Riley, daughter, Laura Jeanette DeLeon; son, Joseph Vergel Riley and wife Penney; grandchildren, Carol Jean Hodge and husband Bill, Jennifer De'Jan Knowles and fiance' Stephen Kyle Brown, Robbie Anita Brannon and husband Jason, Mitchell Ian Riley; great grandchildren, Katelyn Brook & Keith Arron Hodge, Megan Deanne"
- A query for this page on Archive.org returned the answer that it wasn't archived yet but would be soon and available about 6 months after collection, i.e. about October 2009. In case the page would vanish inbetween, the full text of the source consulted is: "Preceded in death by his mother Robbie Jean Riley, sister Dale Annette Ponder, nephew William Shelton Ponder, and uncle Roy DeLeon. Survived by his wife Penny Riley; son Mitchell Riley; father George V. Riley; sister Laura Jeanette DeLeon; April Dawn Sims; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins."
- Undated interview: date assumed from Archive.org's "oldest snapshot of the last page". Archived from the original on October 20, 2004. Retrieved 2009-03-22.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link), and features user comments dated October 2004 too.
- Archive.org may not have archived some CSS subfiles that define color of text and background, and your browser may display an apparently blank page that's actually white text on white background. By selecting the whole text (using "Edit: Select all" or CTRL+A or such) you highlight it and make it legible again.
- Joe Riley on Myspace
- Joe Riley's blog Men-Oo-She-A at Blogger
- Joe Riley's art memorial at SubGenius.com
Some databases are shared but details vary and none is perfect:
- Joe Riley[permanent dead link] at Fancast (rather complete)
- Joe Riley[permanent dead link] at InBaseline
- Joe Riley at the New York Times/Baseline
- Joe Riley at the TCM Movie Database
- Joe Riley at Yahoo! Movies
- "Joe Riley at Hollywood.com". Archived from the original on March 27, 2008. Retrieved March 22, 2009.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
- Joe Riley at IMDb (very incomplete)