I've been back in Japan for nearly two years now. I arrived a few months before Corona hit and feel very lucky that I did.
I was the most contented I'd ever been 5 years ago. A beautiful place to live in the country by the sea, more toy work coming in then I had time to keep up with... Some big things changed and eventually the sheds and bungalow that made Bigmantoys so possible was no longer sustainable - bad lodgers, a couple of big promises that never came to fruition... Just then, Japan called like it knew what was happening - a paid tour and flights back with my old wrestlig promotion Triplesix. I sold everything I owned but a few boxes of my favorite books and toys and got myself a job in Japan (a self sponsored Visa is a nightmare to get unless you're here first).
All of a sudden I went from a self employed hermit in the sticks of England to a fully employed (as in I have a 9 - 5 job plus my other stuff) pro wrestler again. Amidst a global pandemic, no less. I never stopped taking digital sculpting commissions but was content enough with that and wasn't promoting my toymaking at all.
I bought a resin 3D printer on a whim and that was it. I'm not getting a job with Four Horsemen anytime soon but I am the type of guy that if you give me the slightest means to make and sell toys, I will carpet bomb the planet with my work. I will do it until I die. I also discovered some great apps on the phone for sculpting that have doubled my sculpting time. A lot of my stuff is sculpted on the train.
So that's it. Bigmantoys was hit with a chance lightning bolt and it came back to life, with all of my old customers and some new ones. Vinyl is already funded and underway. It is the most rewarding thing in my life.
It has been a weird time. I have been by myself for years with no real vision of the future. I have spent more time staring at the sea than I probably have talking to people. Now I live in Tokyo and ride the train past a giant Godzilla on the way to work and am wrestling regularly for a few companies.
Despite my previous lack of interest in personal promotion, I've accepted it as part of the game and you'll see me on my own Instagram now which I never did before.
The passing of my (and many people's) dear friend Ralph Niese last year blew my brain into the cosmos for a long time. I still zone out and shed a tear sometimes when I have enough time alone with my thoughts. I'm glad I got to spend some time with him the previous summer and see his smile again. A lot of us stumble around in life looking for an answer or our true North. Ralph inspired all kinds of people not only with the brilliance of his art but also his absolute authenticity to who he was and what he wanted to do.
While I live in a metropolis and move from morning to night, there's a bit of my soul sitting in Ralph's kitchen in Leipzig while he smokes, or sleeping on the empty beach on a sold day in Sussex while my morning resin pours cure, or just having the most fun imaginable with Luke and is family at Goodleg. All of these experiences are part of why I will always make toys. Whatever's happening in the background, like weight training, it somehow fits my life perfectly. Some of the deepest bonds I have with people are from my time in toymaking.
Anyway. My focus is on my micro figure line #bmtepic and scaling up production. I will absolutely get out of the city again before too long and find a bit place to use as a base of operations. I have so many solid ideas that need to get done. The journey is so rewarding that it's hard to care about the destination.