Edmonton artist known as 'poo guy' on a roll with bathroom art
'I mean, it's strange but a lot people do like it'
Jeffrey Dekker is surprised no one has ever made a stink about his work.
He specializes in what he describes as "borderline" bathroom art.
His Edmonton-based company is called Upper Dekker, a play on his family name and a bathroom prank too disgusting to be described here.
One of Dekker's most popular prints features a personified piece of poo frolicking hand-in-hand with a grinning roll of toilet paper. It's titled Wedding Smells.
Other signature, hand-sketched designs feature titles such as The Sistine Crapel, Charmin's Dream and Crapunzel.
"Some of them, they are disgusting," Dekker said in an interview with CBC Radio's Edmonton AM. "They are a little bit shocking to some people.
"I get a lot of strange looks when I show up to any market. I do get people coming up and saying, 'Good luck selling any of these.' But I don't think they realize, they are very popular."
The 'poo guy'
Dekker has been touring craft and trade shows in Alberta for years, selling his work alongside artisan jewlery, handmade soaps and tasteful landscape paintings.
After more than 20 markets this season, Dekker said he has become known around the circuit as the "poo guy" and has no problem with that.
"I won't be getting a personalized licence plate that says that, but I'm OK with it," Dekker said. "I have a lot of fun doing it."
Despite the subject matter, Dekker said his work has never been turned away by a craft fair and rarely garners negative responses from potential customers.
Even if people find his illustrations gross, they tend to get the jokes.
I mean, it's strange but a lot of people do like it.- Jeffrey Dekker
"It's very rare to get a negative reaction from anybody," he said. "I mean, it's strange but a lot of people do like it."
Dekker started selling his brand of potty humour on a lark seven years ago.
He was working as as an animator in Calgary when a colleague asked if he wanted to join their booth at the comic convention, after another seller dropped out last minute.
"He knew that I doodled at my desk and wanted to know if I was interested," Dekker said, who works for a traffic company that designs road signs. "And, of course, I was willing to do it because I wanted free tickets to the convention.
"I remember driving back from the convention thinking, 'This is amazing. I can't believe people like my stuff.' "
In fact, his work has been selling so well Dekker wants to make art his full-time gig.
"I was always just thinking I would do a couple shows, I would have some fun and make a little bit of extra money," he said.
"It just keeps getting more popular. I really do have to start taking it more seriously."
There is one critic Dekker is still trying to win over. His own mother.
She isn't keen on his chosen muse, and would rather see him flush the toilet humour in favour of something more palatable.
"My family is still trying to wrap their heads around it. I get the question, 'Are you still drawing the bathroom art?'
"They're supportive but it is kind of strange. It's not the landscapes that my mother likes."