LIKE TOYS, LOVE CLUTTER
LIKE TOYS, LOVE CLUTTER
HUCK GEE 26 Oh, Gee! Article by Miranda O’Brien
On The Cover “Mobile Diesel Steel Armored Emplacement #11 & #13”
by Huck Gee
Zinewolf by Hateball Article by Rich Montanari
LESLIE LEVINGS It’s a Beastlie World Article by Barbara Pavone
VANNEN For a Limited Time Article by Nick Curtis
GUUMON Kaiju Mountain Article by Nick Curtis
Mischief & Mayhem Article by Miranda O’Brien
Clutter 27 | 7
TEAM Miranda Oâ€™Brien Editor-in-Chief
Nick Carroll Art Director
Barbara Pavone Contributing Writer
Josh Kimberg Managing Editor
Jason Ryule Technical Coordinator
Rich Montanari Contributing Writer
Nick Curtis Associate Editor
Mike Torrisi Advertising Sales
We are always on the lookout for new contributors and team members. To get involved, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with how and why you would like to be involved with what we do.
Send review samples for consideration to:
Telephone 212-255-2505 (Mon. - Fri., 10am - 6pm EST) www.cluttermagazine.com
Clutter Media Group 163 Main St. Beacon, NY 12508 USA
LEGAL The publishers would like to thank everyone who has furnished information and materials for this issue. The contents of CLUTTER MAGAZINE reflect the opinions of respective contributor or interview subject, and not necessarily are those of the publisher. All copyrights/rights to images (photographs, design) writing, and likeness are property of the respective owners. Every effort has been made to reach copyright owners or their representatives. All other material is owned and copyrighted by Clutter Media Group. Nothing may be reproduced in part or whole without prior written consent from Clutter Media Group. The publisher will be pleased to correct any mistakes or omissions in the online version of this issue. Printed in the U.S.A.
SUBSCRIPTIONS AVAILABLE! shop.cluttermagazine.com
8 | Clutter 27
Clutter 27 | 9
12 | Clutter 27
Mutantology mu·tan·tol·o·gy noun \ˈmyü-tən-ˈtä-lə-jē\ : the study of indie toys as selected by Rich Montanari of Mutant Vinyl Hardcore. www·mutantvinylhardcore·com
Zinewolf by Hateball Pictured is Hateball’s sofubi toy, the Zinewolf, cast in the unpainted black edition.
I grew up a fan of the odd, vibrant, and extreme. Not extreme like silly energy drinks, rather extreme like seeing Faces of Death. This all lead to my love for anything bugged out — Rat Fink, Neon Genesis, Nightmare on Elm St. — all the way back to Disney. So when I came across the artwork of Hateball, who meshed up all these aspects perfectly, I was fascinated by what this guy was up to. I was overjoyed when Justin decided to make a toy of his very own, not to detract from the amazing collab toy he made with the Brian Ewing, but the Zinewolf was born solely from Justin’s mind in all its bug-eyed glory. The toy is pretty impressive, filled with so many hidden features, including a head inside a head, that you’re gonna need to pick one up yourself to truly appreciate it. I’m very happy to introduce the world to Hateball and the Zinewolf! Tell us about yourself.
influences in your art?
My name is Justin and I started adult life building websites. That led me to work with artists and toymakers of all kinds, and to my love of the medium, collecting, nostalgia, and pop culture. Of course it sort of bleeds into everything I do.
I’m constantly inspired by Luke [Rook] — Grody Shogun — and consider him to be a bit of a spirit guide when it comes to toys. He understands this notion of happy accidents; of not forcing things, and of going with the flow. I’m also heavily influenced by Big Daddy Roth, Peanuts, old Marvel comics, and — of course — H.P. Lovecraft.
How long have you been making toys, regardless of medium?
I have not been making toys for long… at all. My first real, physical contribution to the toy world was in 2011 when Brian Ewing and I teamed up to create Shub Zeroth through our Metacrypt brand. I love the brand that Brian and I have created with Metacrypt, but I also wanted a place where I could really just fuck around without diluting or eroding the narrative, the vibe, that we had set up, thus Zinewolf came about. I essentially make the toys that I’d like in my collection, and if I’m able to sell any past that, I look at it as a bonus. Who and what are the major
Who are your favorite current toy makers?
Every time I get discouraged about there being no new ideas in toys, I look at Jim Woodring’s Lorbo. That toy means a lot to the world. Certainly, I’m a huge fan of what Luke does with his monsters and mashups. I think Koji [Harmon, aka Cometdebris] is a like-minded toymaker to me, in that he makes the toys he would want to have… I love that. Just like anybody who’s ever seen or held a Gargamel toy, I have a weakness for them. I’m lazy about buying, but super excited about Shimomoku. My favorite
toy is still the very first sofubi toy I ever really noticed, and that is the Blobpus Dokugan. There will never be anything better. What’s next from you?
Well, I’ll keep producing zines and patches, that’s for sure. Brian and I have some plans for what to do next with Metacrypt. Luke and I are working on a few big ideas for another collaboration between Hateball and Grody Shogun. I’m talking to a few other you’ve-heardof-these-guys collaborations, which are exciting. I’m also currently in the lab producing a few different sculpts for myself… Zinewolf needs a companion, his own little #zzz. I’ve got a good line of sight on what I want, and I feel like with just a little bit of luck, I can fall into something I’m happy with and pull the trigger on production. For more information on Hateball, please visit: www.hateball.com
Clutter 27 | 13
BY NICK CURTIS
Packaging for (left to right): Luke Chueh’s Bloody Valentine, Shag’s Time for Palm Springs, Huck Gee’s Killing Time, McBess’s Time Machine, TADO’s Daydream, and Nathan Jurevicius’ Haven watches, 2010-2012
16 | Clutter 27
The Walking Dead’s Walkers, art by Charlie Adlard, 2012
Descendents’ Timeage, art by Chris Shary, 2013
Shag’s Time for Palm Springs, 2012
ON AUGUST 31ST, 2009, DISNEY REACHED A DEAL TO ACQUIRE MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT, WHICH HAS RESULTED IN COUNTLESS HOLLYWOOD SUPERHERO BLOCKBUSTERS, INCLUDING IRON MAN, CAPTAIN AMERICA, AND THE AVENGERS. ON THAT SAME DAY, DAVID STOWE RELEASED THE FIRST VANNEN WATCH SERIES, THE SEED FROM WHICH NUMEROUS ARTISTIC TIMEPIECES HAVE GROWN, INCLUDING WATCHES DESIGNED BY HUCK GEE, LUKE CHUEH, AND TADO. STOWE’S VANNEN WATCHES BRAND HAS BECOME SYNONYMOUS WITH INNOVATIVE DESIGNS, METICULOUS DETAILS, AND FANTASTIC COLLABORATIONS, THE LATTER OF WHICH HAVE EXPANDED PAST ART TOY LUMINARIES TO NOW INCLUDE TOP-TIER BANDS AND BRANDS, LIKE BLINK-182 AND THE WALKING DEAD. BUT WHERE DID THAT INITIAL SEED ORIGINATE FROM? OR, MORE SIMPLY PUT… Where did the idea behind Vannen Watches first come from? I got the idea back in 2002 when I was living in Orlando, Florida, however I had no money to my name, and finding an investor wasn’t an option either, because everyone I knew was broke. There was no way I could get a company off the ground properly. So for the next few years, I just put the idea in the back of my mind while I kept an eye on the art, toy, fashion, and watch scenes to see if anyone had the same idea as me. Fast forward four years later and I’m living in Los Angeles, working as a web designer with a soul-crushing threehour commute. Having that much alone time in a car gives you lots to
think about, time I spent asking myself if I was happy working nine-to-five and driving three hours every day. The answer was no. So around the end of 2006 I began to think more and more about my watch idea. No one had yet started a watch company like mine; I mean there’s Swatch, but at that time they weren’t thinking about the artists or properties I wanted to work with.
to quit my job and start that watch company I’ve been dreaming about.” I went home that night, and told my then girlfriend that in a one year’s time I will have left my job and have that watch company up and running. I was so excited and inspired, I stayed up all night and I fleshed out everything that would become Vannen. Wow! So that’s how it all started…
Around late 2007 I had a moment while sitting in traffic where I started thinking about how I’ve had the luck of working and being friends with some incredibly talented people that have all gone on to do amazing things… and they’re all perfect candidates as artists and collaborators for this Watch idea! So while sitting in traffic on the 101 Freeway, I said, “Fuck it, I’m going
Yeah, that’s how it all started. Everything I fleshed out that night is everything that it is today. I still have a few more things up my sleeve from that night that I haven’t done yet, but we’ll get to that stuff later. I knew my company would be artist-based at first and then mixed with music and pop-culture oriented stuff moving Clutter 27 | 17
forward, but I also wanted it to be a special little club, a team of artists, bands, and brands that all had DIY or independent roots, and that made a name for themselves on their own terms. I wanted to help promote their work, and also give their fans a functional collectible. Where did the name Vannen come from? After nailing down what I wanted the company to do and be, I needed a name that encompassed the idea that this was for the fans, and for a group of people sharing something special, while also exposing those fans to other
watches that they might like because they were a fan of this other artist or band. I came up with some pretty good names, but Vannen was the one that stuck. Vännen is the Swedish word for friend, and since this thing is all about working with friends, supporting friends, making new friends in the process, I thought that name was perfect. And that’s how Vannen came to be. How did you select the artists for your debut, the Vannen Artist Watch Series #1? This is something I’ve never really talked about openly, but the Vannen
Packaging for (left to right): Brian Morris’ Time Waits for No Man, Chris Ryniak’s The Order of Things, and Damon Soule’s Square Take the Circle, all 2009
Artist Watch Series #1 that came out on August 31st, 2009 wasn’t the original line-up. The original line-up had Ron English, Joe Ledbetter, and Shepard Fairey. I grew up skateboarding with Shepard back in Charleston, SC during the mid-to-late ‘80s. And as soon as I had the watch concept fleshed out and mock-ups in hand, he was one the first guys I went to show off the ideas to. I just sprung it on him in person, and I got a real, 100% honest reaction. He had no idea I was going to tell him I was starting a watch company or show him mock-ups. To this day I still remember the look on this face as he was inspecting the mock-ups, he was so stoked. I knew if he was genuinely that excited about it, other people would be too. Shepard got on board and was slated for Series 1, but at the last minute a few things came up with him, and the other guys, so I never released their watches. I have physical, fully functioning prototypes of those watches, but they were never released. In the end, it all worked out because the final line-up for Series 1 ended up including Damon Soule, Brian Morris, and Chris Ryniak. Three solid guys, all incredibly talented, grounded, humble dudes that are completely genuine human beings. Those three guys were such a joy to collaborate with, and I’m honored to have worked with them. Your watches have lots of little touches to really make them special. What inspired this direction? When I set out to make these watches, I knew I had to give added little details to our watches and sleeves — etching and engraving, autographed packaging, surprises, the use of matte and gloss coatings, die-cutting, and embossing. Even if a fan doesn’t see it at first, they’ll stumble upon it later and totally appreciate it. I’ll see posts online from fans that never saw the etching on the crown, or they never noticed the art on the inside sleeve, and post up about how much they love that kind of attention to detail that we offer. It’s all the same stuff I would appreciate if I was buying a watch, or any other product, and that’s why I do it.
Blink-182’s El Conejo, art by Munk-One, 2012
18 | Clutter 27
You’ve recently been doing quite a few licensed property watches, so is
Manifest Destiny’s Flora & Fauna, art by Matthew Roberts, 2014
there a chance we’ll see more pieces where those and your artist watches crossover? From the beginning I always wanted to pair up artists with properties, and we do that with properties that are receptive and encouraging of such. In the past we’ve made artist watches for Dexter with Ty Mattson, Blink-182 with Munk One, The Walking Dead with Charlie Adlard, Less Than Jake with Richard Minino, and the Descendents with Chris Shary… and we’ll continue to do these artist and property collabs where we can. But sometimes bigger properties don’t want you to pair them up with an artist, and you end up only allowed to use what they have on file because its already been approved. In the right light this also fun because you have to be creative with what small amount of art they allow. Which is fine, because I love being limited… it just tests your ability to be resourceful. It’s a great exercise in taking what they gave you and making it better.
The Walking Dead’s Walkers, art by Charlie Adlard, 2012
There’s another toy company that hit me up last year about collaborating too, and their stuff is amazing also. So, yeah, hopefully one of these days we’ll be able to do a companion piece set of a watch and a toy. We shall see. And, of course, what are you working on making right now? The limited edition Artist Watch we just put out by Santa Cruz-based illustrator Cody Meilick, aka Pitchgrim, for the band Teenage Bottlerocket came out great. It’s a nice homage to Jim Phillips, and his Santa Cruz skateboard designs from the ‘80s. We’re also doing an Artist Watch with LA-based designer
Kii Arens, who has done some amazing gig posters for Muse, Die Antwoord, Lady Gaga, QOTSA, and Radiohead. We also have a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive with our friends at Skybound Entertainment. They have a new comic/ TV show called Outcast, and we got to make a watch for that. It’s a good one, that’ll be revealed very soon, so keep an eye out for it.
For more information on Vannen Watches, please visit: vannenwatches.com
With the wonderful assortment of art toy designers you’ve worked with, have you ever thought about pairing a watch with toy release? Totally. There’s one guy I’ve been chatting with on and off for years about a collaborating together. He makes some of the best art toys out there. I really love his attention to detail, and I know if we get the chance to collaborate, it’ll come out amazing.
Teenage Bottlerocket’s Skulls & Rockets, art by Cody Meilick, 2015
Clutter 27 | 19
By Barbara Pavone
It’s not often people get the opportunity to revisit their favorite childhood hobby and turn it into a real job, but for Leslie Levings that’s exactly what happened when she decided to embrace her 10-year-old self’s passion for sculpting full-time. Following a break to study photography and writing in college, as well as a rather unique gig at a bunny shelter, Levings stocked up on Sculpey III and Premo and started hand crafting her signature Beastlies. Although there are recurring features and species, no two creatures are ever exactly the same, making them all the more collectible. These days, the Kansas City native, who now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and one too many cats, is also making Dubious Beasts and Larval Lake Monsters, and exhibiting unique creatures across the U.S.
22 | Clutter 27
What inspired the creation of the first-ever Beastlie, and are they still in your home? I made a lot of little Sculpey creatures when I was a kid. As I got older, I started to focus on more “serious” art, so I gave up Sculpey in favor of more traditional media. After college, I kept thinking about how much I had enjoyed making little critters and I thought I’d give it another try. For a while I made a lot of things like elephants and cats and koalas and squids. Eventually, I stopped making real animals and everything started to morph into this particular style of creature, which I started calling Beastlies. I don’t have any of the early ones around, but I do have pictures of them. They make me cringe so hard. I guess everyone feels that way about their early work.
Did you go through a lot of trial and error before landing on an aesthetic you liked? Yeah, sort of. Some of the early ones look like really terrible versions of their current selves, and some are heading in directions that I later abandoned. I tried out tentacle monsters, big-headed baby minotaurs, a whole bunch of dragonlike things — at a certain point all of those felt like dead ends to me, so I
a new creature, do you envision or draw out exactly what they’re going to look like, or is it more of a ‘whatever happens, happens’ type of approach? Depends on if we’re talking about Beastlies or the larger sculptures I do for art shows. For Beastlies, I’ve made so many now that the process is pretty much second nature. I start with a little potato shape for the torso and go from there, organic style. Larger pieces require more actual planning.
These days, where is most of your inspiration coming from? Has that changed over the years? “Untitled,” 2014
just kept refining what seemed like the right direction.
You’ve actually quit your day job to pursue Beastlies full-time. Was leaving your career a difficult decision to make? “Career” is a very strong word for the string of unrelated jobs I worked! The last two I had before going into art full-time were at a rabbit shelter and a comic book store, so quitting to go all in on Beastlies was not really a difficult decision, though it was definitely scary.
When you’re sitting down to sculpt
For Beastlies, I find a lot of inspiration in good animation, comics, and toys. Unique character design is always inspiring. One big inspiration is The Muppets. For larger, non-Beastlie creatures, I spend a lot of time at aquariums and natural history museums. Got to go right to the source for those. I’m not sure if it’s changed over the years, I’m always finding new sources, but a lot of my old ones are still important to me.
At what point in the creative process does each Beastlie’s background story come to life? The very, very end. That’s the last thing that happens before I put them up for sale. Clutter 27 | 23
Have you ever created a Beastlie so adorable that you just couldn’t give them up for sale? I forced myself early on not to consider keeping them. I think the rabbit shelter was good practice, actually. You become fond of a bunny, but still want it to get adopted and find a good home. Sometimes if I break a Beastlie that I like, I’ll glue it back together and keep it, though, so I do have my shelf of special needs Beastlies that can’t be sold.
If a Beastlie version of you were to exist, what would it look like? Just one Beastlie? If you gathered every Beastlie I’ve ever made and smooshed them together, it would be sort of a self-portrait of my brain. They’re each like one little pixel of a larger emotion or thought. Short answer: Purple.
What is it about sculpting that has made it your go-to favorite medium versus, say, painting? I’m just not great at painting. It’s frustrating to not be able to convey what’s in your mind, and I’m much better at expressing myself in a three-dimensional medium. I sculpt with several different materials, but polymer clay and epoxy clay usually end up working best for most of the projects I do.
Other than crazy amounts of clay, what would we find during a visit to your studio? How about the coolest thing we’d spot? When I make the big Dubious Beasts pieces, I usually include little environments and landscapes, so in addition to my basic art supplies, you’d find a lot of rocks, twigs, bones, seed pods, moss — all kinds of diorama materials. The coolest thing, though, is this wall panel that my Dubious Beasts partner Shing Yin Khor made. It looks like the interior of an old ship, complete with a light-up porthole. It was part of the display we made for a nautical-themed group show we curated and now it lives with me.
Are there any contemporary artists who you particularly admire, whether in the toy world or more traditional art world?
“Six-Plated Tecaedin,” 2014
I’m really terrible at this question for some reason. Can I answer by listing the artists whose work I’ve bought most recently? I got a print by Nicole Gustaffson not long ago, a fluffy yeti head from Yeti and Friends, a cat skull sculpture from Kristina Drake [and] I’ve been meaning to get Babel, the book of paintings by Martin Wittfooth, so I’ll add that to the list.
Sculpting aside, what is your absolute favorite pastime? I like creature watching and poking around in tide pools. Most of my free time looks more like me falling asleep on the couch with some cats, though.
“Alton the Beastlie, ” 2015
Might we start seeing Beastlie companions in the near future? I make a bunch of creatures that aren’t Beastlies, including these little tiny guys I call Nibblets. They exist in the same world as Beastlies, so those might count as companions, I guess! For what’s next, there are some potentially exciting wheels turning, and I’m hoping that all continues to move in a good direction. Fingers crossed!
“Wittaker the Beastlie,” 2015
Please finish this sentence: “Leslie Levings is…” Weirdly paralyzed by this question.
For more information on Leslie Levings, please visit: www.beastlies.com “Bertie the Beastlie,” 2015
24 | Clutter 27
“THINGS MAY COME TO THOSE WHO WAIT, BUT ONLY THE THINGS LEFT BY THOSE WHO HUSTLE.” - ABRAHAM LINCOLN
CONSIDERED BY MANY TO BE ONE OF THE GODFATHERS OF THE CUSTOM SCENE, AND CERTAINLY A FOUNDER OF THE AMERICAN ARENA, HUCK GEE HAS BEEN INVOLVED SINCE BEFORE THERE WAS MUCH OF A SCENE TO SPEAK OF. HIS STYLE IS INSTANTLY RECOGNIZABLE, HIS TALENT AND CREATIVITY PROVIDING THE BENCHMARK THAT SO MANY OTHERS CAN ONLY ASPIRE TOO. HIS DESIGNS THEMSELVES ARE ICONIC, FROM HIS SLICK SKULLHEADS, TO GORGEOUS GEISHAS, TO MAGNIFICENT MECHAS; SO MUCH SO THAT HE’S HAD A PIECE ENTERED INTO THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART’S PERMANENT COLLECTION. THIS YEAR HAS SEEN GEE TAKE HIS ART TOY CAREER IN A NEW DIRECTION, WITH A FOCUS ON AMERICAN MADE QUALITY PIECES, PRODUCED IN HIGH END MATERIALS, THE BEST (WE ARE TOLD) IS YET TO COME. WE CAUGHT UP WITH HIM ON THIS DAWN OF A NEW ERA, TO FIND OUT WHAT INSPIRED THE CHANGE, WHY THE MOVE AWAY FROM KIDROBOT, AND WHAT THE HELL IS THE BLANK? How involved are you with production pieces? For instance, the Dunny series you have worked on. I’m very involved. I used to include way too much detail and the company would come back and slash half of what I put in. It’s why you end up with a Dunny series where half the figures are all holding the same katana, because originally I had ten different accessories and the company shredded it down to what was a profitable option. PITA [Pain In The Ass] is what it is. These days I try to design smarter. I understand printing limitations and mold expenses so I better try to design within those boundaries. Well, that’s for production pieces. When it comes to
my handmade product, ain’t nobody stopping me.
and why did you sell them at a gallery show?
Speaking of the handmade pieces, do you have any idea the number of customs you have made in total over the years?
(Laughs) At some point I started building an extra 11th figure of every set of 10 I made. Just for myself really, to stock my display cases. A couple years later, I was trying to figure out how I could produce my own gallery show. I was already working 50-60 hour weeks, how was I going to have time to work on an entire new side project building 30-50 pieces for a solid gallery show? And then I looked at my display cases full of my 11/10 pieces and it hit me. (Laughs) I wish I could say it was some master plan but it was really just recognizing the opportunity around me.
(Laughs) I have no clue. Let me do some quick math. Ummm… probably over a thousand? I have all my files, I could probably sit down and figure it out exactly… but I have way too much other stuff on my plate. I say this as I realize that at some point this week curiosity is gonna get the best of me and I’m gonna sit down and try to figure it exactly out.
Tell us about the elusive 11th customs,
You said in our last interview (ed. note: issue 8) that you didn’t collect toys anymore. Has that changed? I don’t collect much these days. I pick up random pieces here and there, the occasional chunky mech that catches my eye or a new figure for my TMNT collection — but even that I trimmed down to just collecting Donatello. I have to put tight restrictions on that collector impulse or it will empty my wallet in no time. I’ve still got a huge selection boxed up in storage, but some of the more important stuff is out. The stuff that inspired me a decade ago.
Talking in general about inspiration and where it comes from, has that place changed over the years? Opposite:“Kokio’s Courier Service,” 2013
Clutter 27 | 29
Yes, constantly. I have this habit of hyper focusing on whatever new thing catches my eye. I will consume everything I can about it and then two weeks later, something new will catch my attention and I go thru it all over again. I live in a tumultuous melting pot of inspiration.
One of the more consistent inspirations seems to be cars. In particular, fast ones. Where does this come from? I grew up surrounded by cars. My Dad was a mechanic and, at one point in time, a UK rally driver. But the passion didn’t bite me until I was in my 30s. Before that my life was already too full with music, b-boying, DJing, graffiti, drawing and chasing skirts. Top it all off with living and working in San Francisco (SF) where you don’t need a car and there’s not much room for anything else. SF’s not really a good breeding ground for developing an automobile passion. But I moved out of SF for a few years which led me to buying my first car — 15 years ago — and it’s been a problem ever since. Too many parts, too many track days, too many empty parking lots full of cones, too many blown motors, and far too many close calls.
And just like all my other passions and inspirations, it’s going to be what I look to when I design. It’s my source material.
Since our last interview you have had two beautiful children, congratulations on that. How did having children change your art ? Motivation. It was one thing to doodle along through life, being lucky enough to make art for a living. Paying my bills, having fun, living for me. But now I’ve got two wonderful children and I want them to blossom into amazing adult human beings. I want to show them the world and spend as much time as humanly possible with them while I make that happen. Talk about hurdles. How do you work 60+ hours a week and still make it home for dinner and a bedtime story? So… these two little rugrats are incredibly motivating. I analyze everything. I don’t have time to fuck around with silly side projects that once tickled my funny bone. I gotta knock everything out of the park. I gotta draw. I gotta sculpt. I gotta focus. I gotta hustle.
As one of the originators of the U.S. scene, how have you seen the industry change? It exploded. It retreated. It shed it’s dead fluff, and has been reborn. I’m pretty lucky to have got through the majority of the last 10-15 years fairly unscathed. I’ve seen plenty of artist buddies get fucked over by a variety of companies, and it’s painful when it happens. People dump months of work into a project or lines of toys only for the company to turn around and drop everything. Our contracts don’t usually have a clause for a company abandoning a project, and 99% of these projects are paid in royalties with no initial payment. It can be high risk. The movement is now being directed by independent designers, mold makers, and painters working out of their kitchens and basements. It’s back to it’s roots and exploring new boundaries. It’s fresh, it’s exciting, and not just limited to toys. The boundaries are blurry. I’m seeing some really awesome peripheral creatives. Want a cute wall mounted plush yeti bust? Want a clear resin
“The Grifling with a Long Pointy Stick,” 2014
30 | Clutter 27
figure of everybody’s favorite meth cooker? Somebody’s making it, locally, by hand, and it’s gorgeous.
So do you think the future of designer toys are becoming even more independently made and less mass produced? Look at all the vinyl crap Disney and Funko churn out. Designer toys? Those aren’t designer toys. If there is no designer’s name behind it, it’s not a designer toy. It’s just another factory made hunk of mainstream bullshit. I mean seriously, have you seen the quality control on those POP! toys. It’s embarrassing. Now that’s not to say that there’s not a place for that. I love browsing the aisles of Toys “R” Us as much as the next person. There’s plenty of cheap crap on those shelves. But if you want high quality, that’s something hard to find there. I love the new TMNT series figure designs, but the quality of the Playmates stuff is garbage. It’s sad to see gorgeous designs manufactured for the mass market like that. It dilutes the brand. But I’m not their target audience. An 8-year-old kid running around waving a plastic bo staff is their target audience. Luckily I have companies like Revoltech filling in the high quality TMNT gaps. That being said, if I could produce a line of figures, that maintained a high level of quality and they were sold in Toys “R” Us, I would have no problem with that. There’s a niche for that, and as much as I am an artist, I’m also a designer, and I have bills to pay. But I am conscious that if that were to happen, what was being sold in that mainstream outlet would not be my art. It would be my design, my world building, my brand, but not my art... If you want my art, you’d have to wait for me to handcraft something.
Why opt to move away from Kidrobot, which has been the main focus of your art toys, and go in this new direction? To be honest, and let me try my damnedest to say this politely, I no longer have any trust in that company. Fifteen years ago it was fresh, exciting, and led by incredibly talented individuals taking over the world. Once the headquarters moved to Boulder, it took a very strange twist but one that still treated me incredibly well. Over the last eighteen months I
“The Grifling King,” 2014
watched it burn almost everyone in the industry. It was painful to watch and downright ugly to be involved in, but I soon realized what a great opportunity this was for myself and my own brand. Walking away had been long overdue.
Tell us about your new direction and what inspired it. Late last year I took several months to analyze my business and where it was going. I stepped back and looked at the bigger picture. I was tired with how things had been going. I was having success but I was beginning to feel like I needed a new direction, and that I needed to focus more on my own brand exclusively. One of the first questions I pondered was: Do I jump into producing my
own vinyl? I investigated selfmanufacturing vinyl overseas, priced it all out, but at the end of the day I don’t think vinyl is the future. It’s high risk investment for a low quality product with terrible turnaround times and production costs that continue to escalate. I’ve been very successful doing handmade sets of figures, but one of the constant requests I get is to lower my prices and make them more available to everyone. So I sat down and examined my business. What could I change? My handmade sets of 10 are simply expensive to produce, but I’d recently been having success doing larger, more affordable runs with Sket [One] and others. And we were doing it all here in the U.S. That’s a huge plus to me. Clutter 27 | 31
“John Player Special OBP,” 2015
32 | Clutter 27
I’m not taking any sort of moral or ethical high ground against manufacturing abroad, but it’s simpler. I can turnaround all of my designs here, test everything out, make molds, pour resin, test paints, see the finished product in person and turn it around for delivery within weeks. It may be more expensive than cheap overseas plastic and vinyl, but if the quality is proven — and it is — then the product has value to my fans. The icing on the cake is that I’m working with local talent and paying people a good living wage in safe working conditions to make this all happen. Supporting local manufacturing and local artisans. And that’s when it clicked. I already knew the direction I should be taking because I’ve already been doing it. I just didn’t see it.
Tell us a little about your process. How do you start a new design? Everything starts in a sketchbook. Then maybe I draw up some more exploration and sometimes I’ll toss it into Illustrator and do some turnarounds. Finally, if it’s a custom, I start sculpting and fabricating. Interestingly enough, recently while I was working on my new platform, The Blank, some of the designs kept feeling really stiff as I built them up in Illustrator, so I tried something I hadn’t done before, well, not intentionally: I tossed the design back forth between illustrator and pencil on paper. I drew it up, started
“The Gulf OBP,” 2015
laying it out in illustrator, then printed the turnarounds out and did pencil markups and corrections and then back into illustrator, then printed it back out... It went back and forth like this through dozens and dozens of revisions. it felt really good, really organic, and I am ecstatic about the final result. I will be doing this a lot more moving forward.
Is the idea for your own platform toy a new one? Did it stem from your new direction and moving away from Kidrobot? Actually, The Blank has been in production since— (Checks files) Holy shit, 2011! But I didn’t have the design right. It never flowed right. I redesigned it several times since
then until I stumbled upon it’s latest incarnation. And then I did a hundred or so revisions of the current design to get the feels right. And damn, it feels right. But… The Blank is not done. I’m not sure if it’s ever going to be done. The first release is version 1.0 but I’m going to constantly refine it. As I work with it, figure out how to improve on it and update it. Release constant variations. I already have version 1.1 and 1.2 on the drawing board. Let’s have fun with it. Working here in California with my own team, my own molds and resin, I can be nimble & I can innovate. This is gonna be fun.
So is The Blank made out of resin too, produced in USA? Handmade resin, made in the USA! This industry needs a serious shake up. We have thousands of creatives that are all working on the same two platforms. Seriously? That’s the best we can do. Let me tempt you with something better...
Does this mean your customs will all be on this new platform? No more Munnys/ Dunnys etc? Oh fuck yeah. Never touch a Dunny or Munny ever again as far as I’m concerned. Let me expand on that. For the better half of a decade I have been working primarily on a platform designed by Tristan Eaton. Mad respect to Tristan, he’s a talented mother fucker, but “White Wolf Rider,” 2013
Clutter 27 | 33
The Blank v0.6 early prototype turnarounds
it always bothered me that I wasn’t working on my own platform. It’s easy to say I was lazy but I don’t think that’s honest. I enjoyed what I was working on and the stories that were evolving. I just never got around to stepping away from what was working so well.
was fun, while it lasted.The Blank fixes all this. And now that it’s finally here, I question why I seriously didn’t do this a decade ago.
Those 2 designs, the Dunny, the Munny, have severe limitations. They haven’t evolved in 15 years. Anyone that was paying attention knew that I eventually started casting my own variations. Adding longer limbs to add more variety. My standard torso has a neck peg that is tilted slightly farther back than the original so that the chin is raised and the figure isn’t constantly staring at the ground. I’ve got probably 4 or 5 different sitting variations. I’ve got drawers full of different arms: straight forward, straight to the side, bent right, bent left, twisted. Shit that used to drive me crazy working on those stubby little fuckers. And that
Draw first. Draw, draw, draw. You have to crawl before you can run. And a solid foundation in drawing will pay off dividends if you go into sculpture or fabrication or fashion or ANYTHING creative. Draw first and draw all the time.
34 | Clutter 27
What advice would you give that new artist that just walked into a toy store and gets involved in customizing?
Where do you see your art in five years? I’m gonna blow shit up again, it’s really exciting!
For more information on Huck Gee, please visit:
Clutter 27 | 35
KAIJU MOUNTAIN BY NICK CURTIS
Photo: Sam Krueger
GRANTED A SPECTRAL ILLUMINATION BY THE STARRY NIGHT SKY, THERE RESIDES A RUSTIC WOODEN CABIN THAT IS NEITHER DILAPIDATED NOR DEMONIC, YET THIS MOUNTAIN TOP LOCALE HOUSES MORE MISSHAPEN MONSTERS THAN YOU WOULD IMAGINE. LOVINGLY REFERRED TO AS STUDIO GUUMON, THIS STRUCTURE IS WHERE ARTIST BRIAN MAHONY ABSCONDS TO IN ORDER TO CREATE CREATURES THAT COULD BE SEEMINGLY RIPPED STRAIGHT OUT OF A CLASSIC KAIJU REALM. MAHONY IS FORMALLY TRAINED IN A VARIETY OF MEDIUMS, HAVING RECEIVED HIGHER EDUCATION FOR ILLUSTRATION, PAINTING, SCULPTURE, AND EVEN FURNITURE DESIGN, BUT HE BLAZED HIS OWN PATH AND BEGAN GUMMON TOYS INSTEAD OF FOCUSING ON MORE TRADITIONAL ART. “I CREATE BECAUSE I HAVE TO,” HE NON-CHALLANTLY ADMITS. “WHEN I CHALLENGE MYSELF AND I’M PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES OF WHAT I THINK I’M CAPABLE OF, I FEEL MOST AT ONE WITH THE WORLD AND TIME.” AS FOR WHY HE FOCUSES ON THE MONSTROUS, A SLY SMILE CREEPS ACROSS HIS FACE AS HE STATES: “IT’S MY NATURE.” 38 | Clutter 27
Photo: Sam Krueger
WHERE DID THE ANONYM OF GUUMON COME FROM?
GUUMON originally just meant Gooey-monster because the sculptures I was working on at the time were similar to Hedorah, having a goopy, oozing texture and usually semiheadless, with misshapen limbs and almost always lethargic posture. Many aspects of the original creation of GUUMON initially came from some traumatic accidents I’ve unfortunately experienced over the years. Simply put, I’ve been dealing with chronic pain in various parts of my body, especially my back. That has translated somewhat into the posture and surfaces of my figures. WHAT LED YOU TO CREATING TOYS AS AN ARTISTIC OUTLET, SPECIFICALLY WORKING WITHIN THE KAIJU REALM?
I’ve been interested in creating things all my life, but a few influences led me to designing and producing kaiju. First, being raised watching Ultraman and Godzilla TV shows and movies. It hit me at that age on a level where I was so captivated by the characters
that I actually, like others, felt a sense of empathy for all the monsters on a certain level, some more than others. I absolutely went with the notion that those fantasy situations were real in my imagination, and would have liked to enter those worlds if I could.
DO EVERYTHING YOURSELF?
But all that lay dormant in my psyche until after college, when I entered the computer gaming business and met some contemporary artists that I respected. It just so happened that we noticed we were all heavily influenced by and had a secret geek passion for Japanese monsters and robots. During that time I was an extreme admirer of the character design and paint style of BLObPUS. His designs represented to me the cutting edge of kaiju design and the idea that I could possibly do work in that vein was something I wanted to work towards. It wouldn’t be until after producing my first GUUMON that we would meet and then collaborate on future projects, which has been one of the highlights for me.
Yes, most designs just start with an idea, which is translated into sketch, then sketched in 3D, then I do a series of mock-up sculptures using various materials including liquid vinyl, wood, found objects, different types of clay, etc. Then I decide on a more finalized sculptural mock-up made actual size or slightly larger. Then I refine the surfaces and design proportions, working out how exactly the joints will behave. Then there is cutting up of the sculpture, then creating a flexible mold around all the pieces, pouring the wax positives, refining the wax positives to get it ready for the metal mold, then the pieces are shipped to the factory where the metal mold is produced. Each character comes to life in a slightly different way, but that’s the general procedure. After the prototype is finalized I start to come up with colorways I think will work well on the figure, then spend hours painting them until I fall over in ecstasy.
WHAT’S YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS FROM INCEPTION OF THE IDEA THROUGH EXECUTION? DO YOU
PROBABLY YOUR MOST ICONIC CREATION — TO ME — IS DAIGOMI, WHICH DIRECTLY TRANSLATED IS Clutter 27 | 39
JAPANESE FOR “BIG GARBAGE.” HOW DOES THE NAME RELATE TO THE CREATURE? DO YOU HAVE A BACKSTORY FOR THAT BEHEMOTH BEAST? WHAT INSPIRED HIM?
Yes, Daigomi was inspired when I noticed in Japan, there is a happening called “Sodai-gomi” in which largerthan-normal garbage items are left for pick-up at specified places and times, with a special tag attached to the item. These items may often be salvaged or scavenged by people who are inclined to find new use for them. So people who had unwanted items that could be salvaged would bring it
to that street corner at the designated time, then people who need these items could come and take them for free. As we all know Japan has very limited space, so rather than have these items go into a landfill they can be recycled when another person makes them their own and finds a new use for the objects. Daigomi the kaiju character, is born from this pile of big garbage. His nature is generally good; even though his image is ugly and imposing he has healing powers of touch and does try to help mankind. Alas, he is misunderstood because of his appearance. I’m currently working with illustrator Erik Jacobus
on creating the comic book about the Daigomi origin story. It will be released this year in Japan. YOU’VE RELEASED A COUPLE OF DAIGOMIS WITH DIFFERENT HAND ATTACHMENTS, EITHER A DRILL OR A BOULDER-LIKE SLEDGE HAMMER. ARE THESE NATURAL EVOLUTIONS OF THE DESIGN OR SOMETHING YOU’D ALWAYS PLANNED TO DO?
Yes, well, the origins and inspiration of all those attachments is heavily influenced by the Henshin Cyborg toy line by Takara in the ‘70s where the
“Spiked Softbody Krunk,” 2014
40 | Clutter 27
available selection of attachments for the limbs was extensive and highly imaginative. Personally, I feel that toys should have multiple attachments that make the playability just that much better. It makes the experience of owning the toy that much more special. CONVERSELY THE BANGAGON IS QUITE A DIFFERENT DESIGN FROM THE OTHERS… IS HE PART OF THE ‘SAME WORLD’ IN YOUR MIND? AND WHAT’S WITH HIS OYSTER OMAKE?
Not necessarily. Bangagon is a
cross between a walrus, a cat, and a samurai, and his partner is named “Dirty Bit.” Dirty Bit is a clam who is a weapon and a good friend to Bangagon. While visiting places near the ocean in Japan, I was interested in the history of the samurai clans that existed in those areas long ago, while simultaneously charmed by the multiple stray cats in these areas and their obvious badass personalities. Bangagon lives in a seaside cave with Dirty Bit. They have a symbiotic relationship. They are the last of each of their respective clans, so they need each other to survive. During the night, Bangagon gets to sleep in the cave
while Dirty Bit sits keeping watch at the cave opening. In the morning, Bangagon goes about his day holding a sleeping Dirty Bit under his arm. If need be, Banagon can throw Dirty Bit. While airborne, Dirty Bit then spits out toxic ooze that burns the enemy. KRUNK IS SIMILAR IN DESIGN TO THE DAIGOMI, BUT VERY DIFFERENT AS WELL. IS THERE A BACKSTORY FOR THE KRUNK? AND WHY DOES HE SOMETIMES HAVE SPIKES?
Krunk was originally designed to be mostly a DIY kaiju. I had noticed
“Crusher Daigomi,” 2014
Clutter 27 | 41
that people were inspired by the Dunny figures and were painting and customizing them. That was interesting to me. However, the traditional design of the Dunny and other toys like it was too simple for my taste. So I set out initially to create a basic kaiju shape that people would be interested in customizing and painting in a similar vein, but with a kaiju theme. Over the years there have been so many artists that have taken Krunk and customized him to such a degree, it’s been such a blast. As far as spikes are concerned, when Krunk is in a Berzerker mode spikes pop out of his skin. Virus mode is when multiple eyes pop out onto the surface of his skin.
“Half and Half Bangagon,” 2014
YOU HAVE BEEN KNOWN FOR YOUR COLLABORATIONS WITH OTHER ARTISTS. WHAT IS THE DRAW TO DO THAT? WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF THE COLLABORATIONS THAT STAND OUT AS SOME OF THE BEST AND WHY?
To me it’s like a gift to be able to — or have others want to — collaborate. As far as any of them standing out to me as the best, that’s a tough call. Each collaboration has its own life and interesting outcomes. Some that are seriously notable however are Daigomi done by Bob Conge (Plaseebo), three-way collabs with MechaVirus and Buildbots, and the fascinating reinterpretations of Krunk and Daigomi by Shing Yin Khor. I’m continuously amazed whenever BLObPUS, Paul Kaiju, or Mutant Vinyl Hardcore paint a one-off. I’m also into working with painters, sculptors and designers that are not specifically in the kaiju production business, to see how they edit, paint, and re-imagine some of my figures, for instance the Daigomi figures painted by Hardart Kustoms’ Jerry Cates. Jerry paints cars and helmets, and his most recent notoriety came from designing and painting US Olympic skeleton racer Noelle Pikus-Pace’s helmet. He always does amazing work. I also love collaborating with killer graffiti artists. Specifically I have recently been working with Boston-based Merkthose. His style is epic. Getting to know so many artists through collaborating with them just enables all of us to mutually expand our talents and I hope to never stop doing that. I CAN IMAGINE THERE IS QUITE A BIT OF WORK GOING ON AT YOUR 42 | Clutter 27
STUDIO IN BOSTON, CARE TO TALK ABOUT CURRENT PLANS OR FUTURE RELEASES?
Umm, yes. Currently I have a ton of projects going on at both the Boston location and at the labs up in New York State. Without getting too specific, I have about two collaborative sculpts in the works with other makers and about five new GUUMON pieces on the horizon. Two or three of those are set to go into production this year. One of them, I can say, is a reproduction of Krunk, just a slightly more refined version of the original called the Evolved Krunk. It will
be released in Japan first when it’s finished. And, of course, the revised GUUMON website with the new store is going up soon, and my schedule for showing GUUMON is already set up to the point where there’s at least one or two significant events happening each month. I hope to be at many of those events to meet people who are interested or involved in this genre.
For more information on GUUMON, please visit: WWW.GUUMON.COM
BY MIRANDA O’BRIEN
“Blown Away”, 2015
SOMETIMES LIFE DRIVES YOU IN AN UNEXPECTED DIRECTION, AND SOMETIMES IT DRIVES YOU RIGHT BACK TO YOUR ROOTS. FROM G.I. JOE TO TRANSFORMERS, JOSH MAYHEM’S WORK SERVES AS A REMINDER OF HIS TOY COLLECTING HISTORY. BREATHING NEW LIFE INTO OLD TOYS, HIS ECLECTIC STYLE MASHES SCRAP METAL, WIRES FROM VINTAGE ELECTRONICS, AND WEAPONRY FROM A VARIETY OF FIGURES, WITH SLEEK PAINT APPLICATIONS AND MODERNIST DESIGNER TOY FORMS. A SELF-TAUGHT ARTIST BASED IN LOS ANGELES, MAYHEM’S WORK, PREDOMINATELY MECHA AND KITBASH THEMED, TOOK A LEFT TURN WHEN HE, ALMOST BY ACCIDENT, STARTED EXPERIMENTING WITH RESIN. HE LITERALLY BLEW US AWAY WITH THIS NEW DIRECTION, AND WE HAVE EXCITEDLY BEEN FOLLOWING HIS PROGRESSION EVER SINCE. 46 | Clutter 27
I started collecting Transformers when I was very young, as well as Hot Wheels and Micro Machines. When I was a bit older, I started collecting G.I. Joes, hundreds of them, many of which I still have. I’ve always loved action figures, they’re just badass, and I think that translates into my art. Over the years, I’ve grown to appreciate and collect a wide variety of different types of toys, though Dunnys initially got me into art toys and I still collect a mixture of production and custom pieces.
IS JOSH MAYHEM YOUR REAL NAME? No, Mayhem is a moniker. In 2000 I was very into the LA rave scene and I ended up doing stage props for several large events, including Electric Daisy Carnival 2000. The name of the prop company was Visual Mayhem, and I became Josh Mayhem. The company was short lived, but soon after I started DJing and Josh Mayhem became my DJ name. When I retired from DJing, I decided to keep the name as my moniker as it was my art that inspired the name in the first place.
ARE TOYS ART? Definitely. And just like any other kind of art, there’s the good and there’s the bad. When I worked at Toy Art Gallery (TAG), I remember people walking in and looking thoroughly confused. They didn’t understand why these toys were so expensive. I explained to them that it makes more sense if you looked at them as limited edition miniature sculptures. Then, when I dove more into the details of the origins of the pieces, it all started to make more sense.
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START CUSTOMIZING TOYS? I’d only been collecting “designer toys” for a relatively short time, and I really became fascinated with the customizing side of the scene. The first custom toy designs I created were for a series called The Askew Rangers, an idea I came up with when I saw some dumb online Photoshopped picture of a squirrel flying with jet pack and a machine gun. I truly wanted to dive head first into the scene, so through a little determination and persistence I was given the opportunity to work at TAG in Hollywood in 2011. During what I considered to be a paid internship at TAG, I learned the ins and outs of the designer toy scene, and was invited to participate in my first custom group show at TAG, entitled Bellicosity, based off of Nathan Hamill’s Bellicose Bunny toy. My piece sold and soon afterwards my Askew Rangers started to sell. Invites to more shows started coming in, and eventually I started earning commission work as well.
TELL US MORE ABOUT THE ASKEW RANGERS SERIES? The idea was to have heavily armed creatures from the forest of the future battling for supremacy in a world where survival of the fittest is the only law of the jungle. The series had vibrant colors and crisp lines utilizing simple paint foundations as complimentary backdrops to an overwhelming display of weaponry and accessories. Every Askew Ranger had some form of a working component to it, including working lights, spring loaded and moveable devices, and removable elements that evoked the versatility of an action figure with the visual aesthetic of a designer toy. I guess the Gunnys were simply the next evolution of this initial concept.
THE GUNNY CONCEPT REALLY TOOK OFF, HOW DID THAT EVOLUTION HAPPEN? The idea for the Gunnys kind of just fell into my lap. Since my customizing style often has me re-purposing items that would be considered junk, or mashing up other toys, my friends started collecting broken electronics, wires, and old toys to give me to use. I always enjoyed that because my art was inspiring them to look at items that would normally be discarded in a new creative way. One friend had a table at his work that was kind of like a “free for all” table, meaning that anything that was left there was free and up for grabs to whomever was interested. One day he came upon a box labeled “Transformers” and noticed it was
“Fire Mundam,” 2013
Really all toys are miniature sculptures, not just art toys. Whether it was originally sculpted out of clay, wax, or digitally, it was sculpted by some kind of artist at some point, and that makes it art in my opinion.
WHERE DOES YOUR PASSION OF TOYS COME FROM? I read an article somewhere that some adult toy collectors collect because they couldn’t necessarily get all of the cool toys they wanted when they were kids due to financial issues. I think that may be one of the reasons why I’m obsessed with toys today. Clutter 27 | 47
DEVELOPED OVER THE TIME YOU HAVE BEEN CUSTOMIZING?
Acid Rain Series 1, 2013
I think that with every piece I do, my style progresses in one way or another. It’s always a learning process. Figuring out new ways to avoid previous mistakes, or working with the irreversible mistakes you do make. These processes essentially allow you to become more efficient and confident moving forward.
filled with all kinds of toy robots. He later surprised me with it and it turns out it was filled with a ton of Gundam kit parts, including what I found to be 5 complete kits after putting the pieces together. So that’s when I was inspired to incorporate them into my art and the first Gunny Series was created for the Tenacious Toys booth at New York Comic Con 2012. These were actually the first custom Dunnys I had made.
When I was asked to participate in the Clutter Gallery’s Custom Show, I wanted to take that idea to the next level and the first Blown Away piece was born.
YOUR ORIGINAL BLOWN AWAY 8” DUNNY RECENTLY SOLD ON THE SECONDARY MARKET FOR WELL ABOVE THE ORIGINAL PRICE. IT’S FANTASTIC TO SEE THAT THERE IS A THRIVING SECONDARY MARKET, BUT HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT COLLECTORS SELLING YOUR PIECES?
ARE YOU A GUNDAM WING FAN? I’ve always been a fan of the Gundam Wing toys because they’re just bad ass robots. But, to be honest, I never really watched the show too much prior to the creating the Gunnys. It wasn’t until after the popularity of the Gunnys started to take off that I really started to get more into the show and the storyline.
WHERE DID THE IDEA FOR THE BLOWN AWAY SERIES COME FROM? This is a perfect example of how a commission can evolve into a completely new artistic direction. One of my collectors received a custom piece from another artist, but the resin clear coat on it didn’t quite cure correctly, so he commissioned me to fix it. At that time I had never worked with resin so I was unsure of whether or not I could, but I decided to give it a shot. As I poured the resin over the piece, the idea of creating my own piece with multiple layers of resin and paint drips popped into my head. That idea eventually evolved into my Acid Rain series of Munnys and Dunnys. 48 | Clutter 27
I actually have mixed emotions about that. On one hand, as an artist, it’s great to see that people are willing to spend that much to own your work and it gives you more confidence to price your pieces higher at gallery shows. On the other hand, you start to ask yourself if maybe the collector grew bored with it, which kind of stings a bit. If the collector needed the money for financial reasons, that’s understandable, but when collectors buy pieces with the sole intent of flipping it for profit that bothers me.
I’ve been drawing and painting my entire life. In my late adolescent and early teenage years I got pretty heavy into comic book art, creating my own stories and characters. I particularly liked Todd McFarlane’s art and was heavily influenced by his work; even today, his influence can still be seen in my custom toy art. Later on I became more focused on surrealism, perspective, and fantasy art. I like to push myself to try to raise my own bar with every piece I do. I find it exciting to step out of my comfort zone and try to push the limits to try to take my art to the next level. I don’t want to be pigeon holed and known for one particular style. That’s another reason why I love taking commissions, sometimes that new idea will create a whole new direction for me. My steampunk style evolved from a 3” Dunny commission where the collector simply asked if I could do a steampunk style Gunny.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT NEXT FROM YOU? I’m working on knocking down my commissions list for my extremely patient collectors. Probably going to be a bit more selective when it comes to choosing future shows to participate in, in order to accomplish this. Hopefully I’ll have my own booth for the first time at DesignerCon this year.
When it comes down to it, it’s just business and flipping is always going to be a part of any art scene. I try not to take it personally. When I first started customizing, I remember saying to myself that if I ever saw that people were flipping my customs it meant that I made it. Now that it’s actually happening I do feel a sense of accomplishment, and regardless of how I feel about it personally, I know that it can only mean good things for me going forward.
For my day job, I work at Entertainment Earth selling toys wholesale and have been discussing possibly making my own production toys with them, or helping to design concepts for their line of Bif Bang Pow! licensed products. Really excited about what lies ahead in the future, and I’m looking forward to pushing the boundaries of my art to the next level and beyond.
HOW DO YOU FEEL YOUR STYLE HAD
For more information on Josh Mayhem, please visit:
SUBURBANVINYL.COM 4 Frederick Street, Waldwick, NJ, 07463
The JUNE 2015 issue of your indispensable guide into the world of art toys, counter culture, and underground art. Included in the pages of t...
Published on Jun 1, 2015
The JUNE 2015 issue of your indispensable guide into the world of art toys, counter culture, and underground art. Included in the pages of t...