Artist Brody Rose expresses his coaster fandom via quick sketches during his subway commute.
Joel: How did you get into roller coasters? What parks did you visit growing up?
Brody:I became fascinated with roller coasters at a young age. In the summer I would visit my grandmother and aunt in Kenosha, WI. Six Flags Great America (then Marriot’s) soon became my favorite place on Earth. Before I was tall enough to ride, I would sit and watch the coasters for hours.
Ironically, when the time came, I wimped out! My grandmother and I waited in line for The Whizzer and got all the way to the station. I must have looked terrified because she asked me, “Do you still want to ride this?” I shook my head, and we walked all the way back down. We continued to sit and watch for hours. In future years The Demon (back when the tunnel lights were in full operation), Tidal Wave, and The American Eagle would grow to have a special place in my heart and imagination.
However, growing up in Florida, my first roller coaster rides ended up being on Big Thunder Mountain Railway and Space Mountain. I was captivated by the theming. I have been a member of the American Coaster Enthusiasts since 1988.
Brody:I originally was posting photos of the doodles on my Facebook page. Then, a few friends convinced me to start a blog dedicated soley to the drawings. I now have a Twitter handle, too: @CoasterDoodler. I began making the doodles themselves for a few reasons. 1) I work as a graphic designer, so I am constantly creating on the computer, facing deadlines and working within clients’ constraints. Over time, I had lost touch with making art for art’s sake; I simply wanted to start drawing again. 2) I have a 60 minute round trip comute via Metro and wanted to start doing something productive with my time. While other people do Sudoku, I do my doodles as a morning ritual to get my brain going. 3) The idea of drawing coasters within existing imagery was inspired by my dad, who once sent me a postcard from Japan on which he doodled a coaster onto a hotel building. 4) I wanted to make believe again like I did when I was a kid.
Joel: Do you approach the doodles with something in mind or do the ideas come to you after you see the photo that you want to work with?
Brody:The images spontaneously inspire me as I browse through the paper. On occasion there will be a story that I know will be featured, such as Strausburg’s first game or the tsunami in Japan. I am curious to see how a coaster can be incorporated.
Joel: I would imagine that it might be tough for you to pick, but what are some of your favorite doodles?
Brody:I like the ones that provoke imagination (“Vertigo”), tell a story (“Nightmare on My Street”), or simply bring a smile to your face (“Oprah Busts Out”). The first one I ever did holds a special place in my heart. It’s kind of like when you see clips of the Simpsons from when they were on the Tracy Ulman show. The style is simple and underdeveloped and it’s fun to see how much they have evolved. However, if I had to choose a few to hang in my house purely for aesthetic reasons they would be ones like: “Melting Down,” “Uni Coaster,” “Double the Fun,” “Tipsy Curvey,” “Fire Crotch,” “Riding The Current,” or “Endurance Coasting”. They all bring the little butterflies in my stomach that I get when I see roller coasters.
Joel: Is there something in particular that you look for as you decide which photo you’re going to doodle over?
Brody:I usually look for one of two things: an image of something that I can have riding a roller coaster (“American Gothic”) or a picture into whose landscape I can incorporate a coaster and have it interact with the subject matter (“Make Coasters, Not War aka Tribute to Kingda Ka”).
Joel: Have you done any roller coaster artwork that wasn’t a doodle?
Brody:Yes, drawings, paintings, photography, you name it. In my adolescent years, I was constantly making coaster models out of anything and everything (toothpicks, popsicle sticks, clay, wire, paper, Legos, etc.). I also started taking photographs of roller coasters when I was pretty young. There was nothing more exciting than getting a roll of 36 developed (with doubles) after a trip to a park. I was very methodical in keeping them organized in scrapbooks, which I still have.
In high school I did more drawings and paintings and in my Research and Development class I made a working model roller coaster called the “Mighty Serpent” from balsa wood, poster board, a bike inner tube, and an electric can opener. As an undgraduate in college, I studied graphic design. So, I was able to take a lot of art classes. No matter the medium, I always returned to coasters for subject matter. By the time I graduated, I had a nice collection of coaster art, including a 6 ft. sculpture made from rebar and a coaster ring made from bronze. (I will put some pics up on brodyrose.com)
Joel: I’m not sure if you’re able to sell the doodles, but if you do I’ll be one of your first paying customers. These doodles are so fun to look at. Do you sell them or just archive them somewhere?
Brody:As of now, I am archiving them all in a portfolio (currently 275). They probably mean more to me than what people would be willing to pay. Maybe I could sell digital reproductions? A book would be cool. Someday I want to have a fundraiser gallery show featuring the originals with proceeds going to a organization that is important to me, like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). I was diagnosed with depression 12 years ago, but with the support of my family and professional care the disease is under control. Drawing the doodles plays a roll in maintaining my happiness.[/two_third_last]
Joel: Imagine you won a $1 billion lottery and you could build your vision of an ideal amusement park. Describe it. What would it look like? What types of rides would it have?
Brody: Here’s what it would look like:
1) A healthy collection of coasters from B&M, The Gravity Group & Premier (LIM & LSM based).
2) Disney-quality theming
3) Terrain & landscaping like Busch Gardens, Williamsburg
4) The tradition of a park like Kennywood
5) A zoo like Busch Gardens, Tampa
6) Location near the water like Cedar Point
7) Plenty of lights at night like Hershey Park.
8) Friendly staff like Holiday World (so i hear)
9) All of the marketing material and online presence would be executed by HZDG.com
Here are a few things it would NOT include:
1) Generic coaster names, like “Shockwave” or “Goliath”
2) Roller coasters built on parking lots
3) Stand up or flying coasters (the payoff is not worth the gimmick)
4) Closing time[/threeforthslast]