the muppet show by ape meets girl kevin wilson

If you know anything about me, you know I’m a Muppets fanatic. And judging by the walls in my home, you can see I’m a huge fan of artist Kevin M. Wilson, better known as Ape Meets Girl. We’ve featured many of his prints on the site over the years, and he will have a few new releases at New York Comic-Con, including this spectacular The Muppet Show print. To say I’m excited about this print is an understatement.

Below, check out our conversation with the artist and explore a guide to every character featured in the poster.

This The Muppet Show print, alongside Wilson’s Labyrinth print, will be on sale at Hero Complex Gallery’s booth at New York Comic-Con beginning on Thursday. If there are leftovers, they will be sold online, probably the week following the convention. I sat down with Ape Meets Girl and learned the details of how the print came about.

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What’s your personal relationship with The Muppets and more specifically The Muppet Show?

I honestly can’t remember when the Muppets came into my life, it feels like they’ve always been there. I remember being maybe 7 or 8 and getting a Muppet coloring book, scenes of the Muppets in London, and I spent hours on the floor in my grandparent’s house pouring over those images. The whole Muppet aesthetic has certainly been ingrained since that point. But there’s something about the Muppets, and especially The Muppet Show, that feels inherently British, and therefore relatable. And now I just realized I said I can relate to the Muppets and that makes me want to question everything!

Ape Meets Girl Muppet Show key

Ha, I totally get that feeling.  This piece has more than a few dozen Muppets, which is impressive. How did you choose which ones to feature?

Yeah, I knew from the outset that I couldn’t do a Muppet Show print with just the half dozen big names, it had to evoke those memories of the opening titles, where the numbers of Muppets just seem to multiply, getting progressively more obscure. So I started making a list of everyone I could remember, before looking them up and filling in the blanks. Call it selfish but I kinda went with the ones that evoked personal nostalgia, and I tried to restrict it to those that were there from the beginning rather than the characters that were introduced in later seasons.

I love how you even did a codec, as you have done a few times in the past so that people can easily spot them all. You’re also known for hiding fun Easter eggs in your piece, is there anything interesting people should keep their eye out for?

Honestly, there isn’t really anything hidden in this one. I felt that including a bunch of the more obscure characters provided enough of a puzzle, so it’ll be interesting to see how many can name all the characters. I guess the only thing that could be considered an ‘Easter Egg’ is Swedish Chef’s Poppitycorn, in reference to the popular YouTube video

How long did this take to create?  It seems so elaborate and detailed.

Tricky to say. I started it last year with the intention of including it in my Easter Egg show in March, but it got a little overwhelming so I parked it and came back to it a couple of months ago. It was probably 3-4 weeks work altogether.

You get so much of the details right, from Gonzo’s canon to the signage and backstage, how do you even go about gathering reference for a piece like this?

Lots of googling. Did I ever tell you that when I was looking for Muppets reference I just kept coming across that photo of you and Kermit?

Ha, that’s awesome.

Also, a sprinkling of artistic license. Evoking the ‘feeling’ of The Muppet Show was always far more important to me than replicating it. So when I put the sword fish, diving helmet etc in, I didn’t do that because they really are backstage, just because they felt ‘Muppety’. Most of that stuff doesn’t come from specific reference at all, it’s just memory and what felt right. I realize there are details that are off, like the balcony being on the wrong side of the stage, but as long as the nostalgia is suitably evoked, then I achieved my goal.

And you often play with shades of colored light in your pieces, I really love the pop of color in the spotlight here.

Yeah as a screen print I realised from the start that I wouldn’t be able to achieve a full-color piece, with the Muppets all being so varied the number of inks would be off the chart, so I decided to play with shadow but keep the colors vibrant and saturated, while using the spotlight to pick out that single area of true color. It was a challenge for sure.

Well, I think you did a fantastic job capturing the whole gang in a nostalgic way. I can’t wait to hang this on my wall.

Question for you… Who’s your favorite Muppet? And which Muppet do you most relate to?

Ha, this is hard. I think my favorites have always been ride side characters: Rizzo, Beeker, Gonzo, and Sweetums, so you got all my favorites. Who is your favorite?

My favorite has always been Gonzo, although I can’t pinpoint why. But aesthetically it’s always been Beauregard. I had to give him a nice big cameo in the print like he’s just sweeping away and stumbled onto the stage mid-show.

Ha, I love that. I’ve been lucky to visit the sets of the last two Muppets movies and interview Kermit and Piggy, which to be honest, to me were a cooler thing than almost all of the big celebrity and filmmakers I’ve talked to over the last decade. 

That’s awesome! One thing on my bucket list is to get to Sesame Street one day (literally waiting for someone to “tell me how to get to Sesame Street).

Going to Sesame Street would be epic, hope you’re able to make it someday. Maybe someone will see this interview and send you an invite!

Haha! That would be awesome!

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