Saturday 27 April 2013

MECHGARR~! PHALANX! And a lot more stuff related to what's happening at C2E2 this weekend.

I wish i could go along. Right now most of the American contingent to our worldwide 5.5 squat action figure movement are a the Chicago Comic Con with works by me and a bunch of fellow action figure artists/nerds at the Nerd City booth. The collection is known as the Phalanx, headed by Ben "Galaxxor" Spencer and it looks soooo cool. I have to say, when it comes to comics and toys, no-one does it like the Americans. I did some fun weekends of collecting in Japan but in the States now, thanks to the internet, you've got the complete back-catalogue of all cool stuff ever available it would seem.
 I've been to a few cons here, and aside from perving at Cosplay girls (does the fact that conventions are often based in hotels never make you think your chances of pulling are way higher?), the lack of scale means that you're pretty limited in what you can get.
Imagine though, walking along, seeing some hot pro-cosplay girls 7/8 naked, taking a pic with a guy dressed as Gamera, then chancing upon this!

(Pics (C) ManorMonster? studios, Fantasic Plastic Toys)

I remember in the mid 90s you'd see "garage kits" at conventions. It was something we in the UK at least, just didn't give much recognition to. I find it hard to imagine anyone who loved figures as a kid never wanting to make their own. Forgetting the coolness of the fact that these all fit into my vintage MOTU collection - these are full blown ACTION figures! What's that by MoM in the top right? It's got the same magnetic joints and is totally compatible with his figures...



I've been planning a collab with Brandon of MoM studios for ages. I sent him a couple of blank casts. He came back with a re-engineered, re-invented version and it's awesome. It's 100% playable, and super posable.

THese are a C2E2 exclusive but i'm just so glad with what I've been able to do with Treegarr. The unbelievable help from Ben Spencer in getting it done in the first place (not to mention the support. I'm a pretty sensitive guy and if I think i'm wasting my time with something, i'll drop it like hot shit), and then getting to do the collab with him was awesome. It's this kind of stuff that keeps me on the resin when money's tight. Then Brandon makes this! This stuff for me is the payoff. It certainly isn't about the money - i'd have to me a masochist if it was.

Also at C2E2 this weekend is my contribution to the amazing first release playset for Mystical Warriors of the Ring - my first mini comic.

I'm highly self critical of my art. I don't know how it looks to other people so I'll see what feedback I get on it. I did a lot of work but everytime i say that I think of Napoleon Dynamite saying "I spent 3 hours shading the upper lip".

The box set the comic is part of is immense and unprecedented in the amount of stuff you get for an indie minifig.

Thursday 11 April 2013

Toycon and self indulgent waffle.


Toycon UK happened. Was great meeting up with my old mate Dan, and Niall and hanging out behind the table. Selling a bit of stuff.
Here's me goofing around the Unbox Table where Dan kindly let Niall (TruTek) and I  pitch our stuff as if I'm someone important. Me and Niall slept 2 - 4 hours max the night before, finally meeting up after over a year of bullshitting together online and on the phone was really cool. We were up 'til the early hours round his cutting card and spraying gloss on stuff. His toy collection is mental. Probably worth as much as everything i've ever owned all added up.

Me and Niall slept 2 - 4 hours max the night before, finally meeting up after over a year of bullshitting together online and on the phone was really cool. We were up 'til the early hours round his cutting card and spraying gloss on stuff. His toy collection is mental. Probably worth as much as everything i've ever owned all added up. And it was almost all resin/vinyl. I break even if I do well each month so my collecting is limited to production toys and the odd resin minifig. There is nothing fairweather about his passion for toys - which is why his blog rocks so much.

So yeah, 3 hours of sleep, hot as flip, HIKING SOCKS boiling me entire body and slicing course woolen fibre into my feet with brutal lack of sympathy. And I look like one of only a handful of people making "I'm a nerd" toys. And having my "display" next to "professional or die" Niall, and Unbox, who flew Jeff f'ing LAMM in for the con, I felt like the unemployed brother who couldnt afford a suit for the wedding.

UME toys. They are huge of course - everyone loves 'em. I know Niall and Rich know each other quite well but surely he won't have time to talk to me right? Wrong! He and his wife (who mimed at me from accross the hall making me piss my pants laughing despite us not even talking) were fucking awesome. A real class act and one of a few people that made my day.

The boys from Triclops studios were there, and seriously cool as flip. I mean really really nice and easy to talk to. The new BASTARD figures had me laughing out loud despite the slicing pain of my socks on my pulpy feet. I was concerned that us being in the UK too, they'd be like (before I knew them, mind) "This is our patch - fuck off" but actually we all got along and had a lot of appreciation for each other's stuff. We had a laugh too.

Final arse kiss of the entry. Chris of the Tarantulas and Ralph Niese at the Fishtank Castle booth. I committed to a full squat on my bamboo shard socks to question Chris at length about his influences. How is his appreciation of Japanese 80s aesthetic so authentic? Is he nerdy about Takara/Bandai stuff like me? I didn't have time to ask. BUt I asked a lot of stuff and he was more than willing to tell me. Cool as fuck. And he's English - I never knew! 
Then there was a European Viking with a bunch of OMFG and NerdOne stuff on his table, as well as a pretty nice looking early 90s style B+W comic, and some resin figs i'd never seen before. He was seriously cool. His knowledge of GOOD stuff  (the REAL good stuff) was superb and I got a comic off him... Glyos art... Ralph Niese... Shit! I've been talking to Ralph Niese all this time! Maybe it's the ex-wrestler in me that made me feel instant guilt that I hadn't paid appropriate respect on first introduction. He didn't care about that... he had...

GFFSHHHFFFFSSHHH! Are you kidding me? I mean... but... WHAAAA!!!? ME and Niall were freaking out. Why hadnt we seen it? Is it one of  a kind? Dare we ask the price? IT was one of a kind. Further obsessive trawling of Ralph's work this week has shown me that this is Saturday-man - made form Aves, a Kenner STNG fig, some re-cast Yugo MOTU bootleg he-man faces, and Bootleg MOTU legs. It was just fucking insane.

So that was pretty much the day. I regret not picking Jeff Lamm's brain more but he was busy with customers and also looked like he could snap my neck silently without anyone noticing if I annoyed him.

 I sold way more stuff through PMs and in my store (EXCLUSIVES IN STORE NOW! - i'll put that at the top actually).
Would have been great to go to the after party but me an Niall were dying on our feet. I nearly lost a box of Goodleg Toys' 5.5s and my 5.5s on a train at one point i was so tired.

After making a selfish prick move his bag so i could sit down on the packed train home, I thought about what a fucking great year it's been and the friends i've made. Gold Dober taught me everything I know about toymaking, and i've been able to realise visions I've had for many many years. He's too unassuming to ever say it but the way he works is deep poetry in my eyes. The perfection he demands of every joint and angle in his castings is like a Swiss watch maker.

 I've met, and now work with people I have an uncanny amount in common with, and have a huge amount of genuine respect for. It's like all these people that must have thought the same thing as me as kids grew up all over the place, and thanks to the internet, we can all hook up and do stuff. I've got a comic and 2 totally different sculpts of mine appearing at C2E2 this month. I'm not rich, but life is good.

I know they won't read this so I'll say now. That studio I was working in since the new year? Worst part of my adult life. I was trapped in a cold studio where no molds would cure, i was breathing in gallons of 2nd hand smoke, and had to put up with the sound of adults trying to impress/ fuck each other at high volume. Got out a week ago and am way happier and more productive. "Artists" who were all talk, drugs, and image. I've met people with gumption and commitment and talent that puts those charlatans to shame.
 Art's what you do when you create something you would create if no one ever got to see it but you. That's real art by my definition. I've been lucky enough to meet people I consider to be modern greats. The high points have definitely NOT been the money. Having John Santagada do the art for Treegarr, the collaborations that figure has allowed me to do, getting treated as an equal by people who I aspire to work like - that's been some of the most valuable stuff i've ever experienced. Thanks to everyone who gave me some time to help me and has bounced ideas and energies with me. I'm a cynical fuck and like lots of people, I'm learning, working my arse off, trying to make something happen. I haven't felt this kind of mutual camaraderie since wrestling in Japan.