Tell us a bit about yourself……
I live in Germany in a small town about 2 hours north of Frankfurt. It’s called Kassel. It’s famous for the Brothers Grimm fairytales since most of them originated in this area and it is also quite well known for the Documenta, a fine art fair that happens every five years. During the day I work for Sourcebits, an Indian software company. I am lead artist and art director for one of the iOS games we are developing. In the evening (and sometimes night) I make silly weird toy sculptures. I like to paint and draw. I studied that, even. Sometimes two friends and me transform into a DJ named “Frau Mit Muskeln” (engl. Woman With Muscles) and make people dance to simple but loud electronic music.
Do you have a favorite toy?
I think I don’t have one favorite toy. If I collect things they need to have a story or memory connected to them, which makes them stronger than others. For example I have an old Ultraman (Metoron) toy that I bought at the Charactics store in Osaka during my stay in Japan in 2007. Every time I look at it I can recall all the trouble I had finding the store. Like walking in the completely opposite direction even though I had downloaded a map of that particular area to my Nintendo DS. I didn’t own a GPS enabled iPhone back then. But, I would be lying if I didn’t admit to the fact that I also buy toys just because they are visually stimulating.
When did you fall in love with Kaiju?
I think I fell in live with kaiju when I realized that many productions in the western scene were too simplistic for my taste. I’ve always had a fondness for mythical and fantastic creatures and I think Japans rich folklore with all its strange otherworldly inhabitants speaks to me. I find zombies rather boring but a bad tempered umbrella? Now, that is cool.
What is your favorite comic?
I have been very impressed with the classics such as Akira, Watchmen, Krazy Kat, Tin Tin and so on. I keep standing in front of my collection and I try to put the finger on the one favorite but inevitably I catch myself thinking: “But what about this one next to it? Isn’t that also extremely awesome?” Hahaha.
Resin vs. vinyl your thoughts….
I don’t care what medium people use to create their work. If someone produces crap in a more expensive medium it doesn’t make it any better. Also, there is more than just resin and vinyl. Some of my favorite 3D artists do not even work with any of the two.
Best monster movie?
Seven. The only movie I can credit with giving me a nightmare. Perfect Blue was also very scary. Ok, both are not really monster movies but considering scariness there is nothing that scares me more than humans. We make the best monsters. Special effect monsters rarely reach the psychological complexity of humans. Design wise I would say that Tetsuo’s transformation in Akira is one of the best.
When bringing a new creation to life where do you draw inspiration?
Inspiration can come from almost everything. The process is difficult to describe, maybe even impossible. I would say the most important thing is to keep your sensory channels open for everything around you. I read (news, books), watch movies and documentaries, go to fine art shows, visit museums, play video games, listen and DJ music, eat and cook good food, have sex, go for a walk in the forest… That sort of thing.
At the moment I am fascinated by vintage biological and anatomy illustrations, mold (decomposition) and digital corruption (data loss). In the sci-fi worlds in my mind where mankind and technology have fused I keep wondering about the potential sickness and infections one could get. That’s also the explanation for the drawings in Color Ink Book. All these creatures are failures of generated bodies to be worn by humans. The cause is a digital sickness that corrupts the data flow and produces unwanted cancerous growths.
Is your process for customizing different from that of making a new toy?
I don’t plan anything when working on a custom toy. Somehow I never have. My own toys are heavily planned on the other side (apart from a few exceptions). I make a lot sketches and drawings before I jump into the part of sculpting the toys.
Which of your projects is your favorite to date?
I can’t say. It is easier to point my finger at the one project I am unhappy with. I have a toy character I named “Ana Carpenter” which was my first attempt at creating a toy with articulation. The whole thing was not really successful. The joints did not work as I had hoped and additionally I never was really content with the sculpt either. I guess it is because the idea for the toy was not solid enough. It was rushed. On the other end are my custom toy projects that I do for shows (or collaborations) and I am happy with all of them.
Tools for the trade?
Pen and paper. Wax and scalpel.
Any big plans before years end?
No. I’ve had a very successful year so far. If something grand comes up, I will be honored. If the year slowly fades out, I will be happy because it’s been a good one.
Best place to grab lunch?
There is a restaurant called “Lichtenhainer” about one minute from my home and they serve a really good bacon burger with home made sauce. Best in town.
Burrito or sandwich?
I have fond memories of both. I lived in the US (Lebanon, IN) for a year, attending high school and I regularly ate at Taco Bell and Subway. Both were new to me back then. Nowadays I can’t stand either of the two companies. There is an excellent sandwich place here in town but a distinct lack of available burritos. But tell me; is it even possible to compare burritos and sandwiches? The taste and experience is so different.