Wharton: Farmington artist Adam Koford achieves national fame
By Tom Wharton
The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published May 13 2013 11:24AM
The name Adam Koford might not be well-known to pop culture aficionados. But it probably should be. The Farmington resident’s work has appeared in many places.
For example, he illustrated a Monopoly card segment on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show for correspondent John Hodgman, a man Koford calls a friend. "Back in 2006, there was a popular site that posted a recording of a man reading through 700 fictitious hobo names," recalled Koford. "I thought wouldn’t it be fun if a cartoonist drew all the names."
Hodgman was the man who invented the hobo names in his book The Areas of My Expertise; Koford later helped illustrate the names.
The two became friends to the point that Hodgman wrote the introduction for one of Koford’s books.
Koford’s Twitter avatars of characters such as Bugs Bunny, Yoda, Chewbacca, President Barack Obama, Gumby and Jack Nicholson in "The Shining" are so well known that many prints hang in Twitter offices around the world.
"A few years ago they [Twitter] rolled out their bird-shaped avatar," he said. "As a lark, I made it look like an old man with a beard. I kept going and did a shape-like monster from Where the Wild Things Are and video game characters within the shape. Twitter started liking them and wanting to use them, so they ordered prints of them to hang in their offices."
As a member of the Disney Interactive Studio team in Salt Lake City, Koford helped create iconic video games based on "Toy Story 3," "Bolt" and "Cars 2." He has been working on a new Disney game scheduled to be released this summer called "Infinity."
"I am a storyboard artist," he explained about the work he does with about 200 other artists who work at Disney’s Utah studio. "I do a lot of writing and setting up. It’s called Cinematics. When you play a video game, it stops and tells the story. Characters come in and deliver a line to keep the story rolling between big action sequences. I compose a picture to make the information player see what’s happening."
And he has a been a contributor to Mad magazine.
Koford has a thing for cartoon cats in the tradition of Krazy Kat and Garfield. He produces Laugh-Out-Loud Cats strips six days a week on his website, www.adamkoford.com. Followers of the comics or fans of his other work can purchase his two Laugh-Out-Loud cat books or other merchandise at the on-line store.
"They are hobo cats," said Koford about his creations. "They like to wander the countryside and see the world, like few people do any more."
He was raised with pet cats, but his family of wife Amy, four boys and a girl does not have one these days.
"I have a pretty good idea of their personalities," he said about cats. "Teenage sons are sort of catlike in their wandering and napping."
Sometimes he even offers to draw and sell cartoons of people who simply give him a name.
Koford has posted videos on YouTube as well as on his website of the scribble game he plays with his young children. He has them scribble something on a blank piece of paper and then manages to turn it into a picture.
Much of his freelance work occurs between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m ., a time when his children sleep and he has time to do his own thing.
"My freelance is a form of release," said Koford. "I like my work as part of a team. It’s nice to be around 200 creative people. I feel like I make a difference in the things we make with Disney. But it’s nice to have something in my own world."
And that "world" is made up of Twitter avatars, fascinating cats, hoboes and life drawings, a world that reveals the talent of man whose work may be better known than his name.