When did you first start customizing vinyl toys, and do you have a favorite that you have done?
I think the first time I worked on a handmade vinyl figure was for the 2004 Dunny Show in NY. That show blew my socks off. Lines wrapped around the block. My first taste of what was coming. Was an amazing experience. My favorite work of my own is probably my Minosu and The Golden Bull piece. It was a lot of work with a lot of headaches but it was one of those works that I finished, sat back and went, “holy shit, I nailed it”. I have a very organic creative process and sometimes I just don’t know until it’s done whether the concept will work or not.
Do you have any super secret up coming projects you can tell us about? We won’t say a word.
Hahahahaha… *silence* …ahem.
Tell us a little bit about your process, from idea to art, and what inspires you.
It usually begins with an idea or a concept. Sometimes I can see the fully finished piece but more times than not it’s just an idea that will click: “Samurai Space Marines in Giant Robots? That sounds awesome to me!” …or something like that. From there I’ll sketch up a design. My sketch usually stays very rough. I usually don’t figure out what the hell I’m doing until I get my hands into the creation. Sometimes a texture or color palettes just come together organically. Sometimes I find when I’m stumped on how to finish a project, I’ll just set it aside. Something will inspire me over the next few weeks that will point me in the direction of how to finish it. Like I said, it’s an organic process… or is that just lazy?
Pop culture inspires me. I have spent my life devouring videogames, sci-fi movies, anime, RPGs, toys, etc. And it comes through in whatever I do.
Do you prefer to work in 3D mediums or drawing and painting?
No preference. Both appeal to my creativity differently. I’ll work in one medium until I get bored, then switch over to the other. Damn you ADHD.
If you could have any other occupation and be as good at it as you are at creating AWESOME art, what would it be?
It’s tie between dancing or motorsports. Dancing was my true passion growing up. I still love the dance floor, I just don’t have the edge I once did. Skills are rusty, too many broken bones and torn ligaments. But nowadays it’s motorsports. I absolutely love bombing canyon and backroad twistys. I also do the occasional track day but no matter how much I enjoy it, I know it’s just a hobby. Just sharpening my driving skills. I don’t have the time nor budget to invest in real motorsports.
What were your favorite cartoons and video games growing up?
First and foremost, Robotech. There was no US TV anime before Robotech (and yes, I know it’s Macross but for me, it will always be Robotech). They revolutionized my tastes. Space combat? Giant robots? Emotional story line? Characters that actually died? That started me down my fascination with Japanese pop culture.
And videogames? Hmmm… it came much later in my life but Final Fantasy 7 was revolutionary to me. Such a huge, immersive game. The first, and only one of 2 games that brought me to tears. And they never got FF right since. Every sequel moved farther and farther away from the cute aesthetic, in the pursuit of photorealism. I never understood why, it was the cute SD characters I loved!
Can you tell us something about yourself that not many people know?
I won my first coloring contest at 4 years old. It was in the local UK newspaper for Battlestar Galactica. I only used one color, orange, but I stayed inside the lines. It was a Cylon. And it was awesome.
Who are you listening to?
Right now, The Streets just rolled onto my Pandora station. Mike Skinner kills it. There’s just something about the way he tells a tale… reminiscent of good bluegrass: Music as storytelling.
Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with on a project , if so who?
Colin Christian. I’ve always admired his work but I fell in love with the life size Hello Kitty piece he put in the 35thanniversary show. I want to spend a week in his studio, wrap my head around the materials and scale of his projects.
Oh and Alex Pardee…. so I can touch his beard.
Godzilla vs Zombies who wins?
Zombie Godzilla wins. Duh.
When Team Washburn comes up to SF can we stay with you for a few weeks? We don’t eat much.
No, you don’t sound like much fun:www.washburnteam.com
Where is the cool place to hang out on a Saturday night?
These days, it’s on my sofa. With my dog. And an Xbox controller. What.
Sandwich or Burrito ?
Fuck. That’s tough. Wait, wait… ZOMG, my (ahem) second million-dollar idea today: Sandwichburrito!
Interview by Adam