Friday, November 7, 2014

DesignerCon 2014: Preview and Information

Almost finished packing up, and ready to board a plane this evening for a trip to sunny California! If you're in the southern California area, I strongly recommend this convention - it's always a blast. It's an inexpensive way to get up and personal with SO MANY talented artists and designers, as well as see exclusive and brand new toys, plush, art, and apparel items.

Here's more information about DesignerCon:

You can find me at the Circus Posterus booth (booth #700 on the convention map). I will probably be walking around some of the time (I want to see all the cool stuff too!), but I'll always have the CP booth as my "home base".

If you are wanting to get any of the Circus Posterus exclusive items (including my stuff), the first day of the convention is always a trainwreck of people trying to get what they want, so the CP staff has implemented a protocol to handle this - see someone at the CP booth and they'll explain how it works! You'll need to get a raffle ticket, and sales will begin 45 minutes after the doors open. This is only for the rush of Saturday morning, any other time is normal.


Chris Ryniak and I will be doodling and signing together from 12 noon - 1pm Saturday and Sunday.


This is what I'll have at the table this year:

Spool Pipsqueaks (6 available, $100 each)
Hand-painted Pipsqueaks with painted glass eyes, sitting atop handmade "antique" thread spools, with custom label.

Poppyseeds (12 available, 3 colors, $175 each)
My newest resin figure, handpainted with a cute antiqued collar which can be removed.

One of a Kind Dust Bunnies (3 available, $550 each)
Original, handmade Dust Bunnies. Hand sculpted and painted face with porcelain teeth and glass eyes.

Clear-bagged Pipsqueaks (50 available, $18 each)
FIFTY Pipsqueaks in clear bags - no surprises, just pick the color you like best!
(Colors shown below are just an example, not the specific colors available)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October Online Sale: Information and Preview

Wednesday, October 22nd, at 3:00 pm, EST, my shop will open for a small sale before Designer Con.

The shop is here:
Note - The items will not appear in the shop until the time of the sale.

Not sure what time this is in your time zone? Try this site with a handy time zone calculator. I am located in Ohio, USA, which has the same time zone as New York City:

These are the items that will be in the sale:

Grape Soda Pipsqueak: $18 (50 available), one per customer please.
Clear purple resin with purple glitter.

Pipsqueak Cauldron 2-pack: $38 (10 available), one per customer please.
Contains one Pumpkin Orange Pipsqueak, and one Glow in the Dark Pipsqueak with tinsel glitter. They come in a plastic cauldron with purple paper confetti and wrapped in a gift bag.

Some sketches and drawings will be available -  are all approx. 5" x 7" image size (though sizes of paper may differ), and in the $65 range.

Note that there is a small stain in the upper left corner of this one...I don't know what it is, and didn't notice it when I was drawing.  It could be easily hidden by using an oval frame.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pocket Sideshow: Development to product release!

The first painted colorway of my first sofubi toy, "Snowshoe".
For nearly a year now, I, along with Circus Posterus artists Chris Ryniak, Kathie Olivas, and Brandt Peters have been working on developing a four-figure sofubi vinyl set with Mr. Shinji Nakako of Tomenosuke-Syoten in Japan.

The idea behind the figures was to make them "chibi" versions (exaggerated, baby-like proportions) of our characters, at a small size, and the heads can all fit on the all the bodies, so if you'd like, you can have a Dust Bunny head on Kathie's tentacled girl body, or maybe Brandt's Skelve skull on Chris's monster body. Lots of fun.

Concept turnaround sketches, late 2013.

We started finalizing drawings in December of 2013. The sketches for mine that you see here are actually the fourth iteration of my character's design. Of all of the characters, mine was actually the most problematic - because the heads had to be swappable, that meant that the neck joint for every figure had to be exactly the same. That was not so difficult to accomplish with the other three figures in the series, but mine caused headaches. The reason for this is the overall shape of my characters - the other characters have a very clear division between head and body, with a specific area that is a "neck", which is something all my characters lack.  Dust Bunnies are basically stretched-out gumdrop shapes, and if they have a skull/neck/spine anywhere in their anatomy, it's hidden under many layers of padding and you can't really see it.   So the neck size issue was really making mine NOT work at all, which actually almost resulted in it not being produced at all.

Luckily for me, Chris Ryniak (thank you Chris!!!) stepped up to the plate and offered some different approaches, including the one you see here - a Bunny in a snowsuit with a big parka hood. The oversized hood gave his upper section the right silhouette to balance against the other big-headed characters, and the area where it cinches around him creates a neck joint, while still allowing me to keep the proportions of my Dust Bunny characters.  It's a perfect solution! Plus, I get to see what my guys look like when they're all bundled up for winter expeditions - pretty dang cute.

Youhei Kaneko's final sculpt of my chibi figure, ready to go to the factory.

After we got all of that sorted out, it was time to get master sculpts finished. Our sculptor for this project was the incredibly talented Youhei Kaneko. Youhei has a really interesting way of sculpting, which is very different from how I work - it's a mostly reductive process in which he carves the figures from a solid block of rigid material, and then builds back up when needed. He had to do many changes as we went through a nearly three-month revision process. It was a lot of work, but we all wanted to make sure the figures were just right before they went to the factory.

Waxes, made at the factory.
After all revisions were done and the sculpting phase was finished, the sculpts went off to the factory for preparations to be made for the molding and casting process. The molds used for these figures are made of metal, which is electroplated around wax versions of the toys. What you see above are the waxes, and the cylindrical shapes on both head and body will allow pour spouts in which liquid vinyl can be poured into the molds, as well as a flange on the head piece, which will fit snugly down into the body and hold it in place.

The figures will be available soon as a set from Circus Posterus. There are lots more colorways to come as well. It's been a really exciting journey from concept to finalization!

More information and lots more pictures in these blog posts too:
From the Tomenosuke blog - Part 1 and Part 2.
From the Circus Posterus blog - here.

The final figures, unpainted, in black sofubi vinyl.

Final set in the first colorway.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Unseen Forces: Recap

Well, it's been a week and a half since the opening of my show with Chris Ryniak, titled "Unseen Forces", at Stranger Factory gallery in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I think I've almost had enough time to sort of recuperate from the months of frenzied art-making, packing, shipping, travel, and set-up!

You can see pictures of every single piece in the show HERE. (Give it a minute to load, the image density is huge)

I feel like after every big show, I say "this was my favorite body of work to date"...and I feel that about this one too. I think that is a good thing! It means that I'm not only pushing myself to make work that continues to inspire me, but also that I have a healthy outlook on my strengths and weaknesses, which is an outlook I struggle to keep up a lot of the time.

Amber Pumpernickel, lit from behind.

This guy has horns cast in the same amber color.

His breastplate is cast from a cluster of citrine, and given a rich faux-bronze patina.

The overall tone of Unseen Forces was that of mysticism and magic - but from a naive and almost childlike perspective. Chris and I often talk about the idea of magic, and how though we're open to the idea of it, we have a hard time believing in supernatural things. But we both love the idea of magic, and wish that it were real. This show was a fun way to explore ideas of ritual, magic, and secret mystical organizations, set against the backdrop of our characters.

Stargazers with constellations inset into their foreheads.

Ivory horned bat displaying his bronzed crystals and Eye of Providence.
This heraldic bat bears the emblem of the Esoteric Tooth Cult on his banner.

Thematically, most of my pieces involved ideas from Alchemic study, astrology, and gemstones. I also decked out quite a few of my guys in full regalia reminiscent of the various posts in the hierarchies of secret mystical organizations (or my over-romanticized ideas of them, anyway!).

In terms of their production, this show really challenged me to use some fabrication techniques which were not really new to me, but using them at this scale was. I have never done much transparent resin casting in the past, but since introducing my Pipsqueak minifigures a while back, I've done enough experimentation to feel more comfortable with it. Both Chris and I integrated a lot of transparent effects into our work - many of which were cast-resin crystals, made to look like real quartz. I did use some real crystals in some of the pieces, but soon found that the resin versions were far more versatile to use, since they could be easily sanded, drilled, and worked with, not to mention their superior durability and light weight compared to their geological counterparts.

"Lux ex Tenebris", the show's centerpiece is 32" tall!
Lots of those faux crystals in action here...

Chris and I are very big on the idea of unified shows - that in a two-artist show with a central theme, both artists' work should be both their own, but still hold the entire show together. We accomplish this by using a unified color palette (for this show it was mostly blacks, greys, and neutrals, accented by pops of blue, amber, green, and yellow), and similar visual elements. We both used the resin crystals in our pieces, as well as fabric accents (something I do all the time, but Chris does not) for the "secret society" pieces. We also used the same resin horns (cast from the horns of a male dik-dik) in both of our work, to help tie it all together. This created a very unified look to the show as a whole, even though both artists' work could stand alone, which was our goal.

We created a sort of "ritual" on this old trunk, for our characters to conduct. Photo credit Chris Ryniak.

The gallery waiting for guests to arrive!  Photo credit Chris Ryniak.

The show opened, the gallery was absolutely packed, and though I know some people missed the opportunity to purchase the piece they wanted, I think everybody who came by was happy! I am very grateful to EVERYONE involved - from the people who work directly with us, to the people who made the trek (from as far away as Japan!!!), to people fueling my artistic fire by following me online and posting your thoughts and likes.  You all keep me going and I am very grateful to have such an awesome art family out there!

So now I say goodbye to Unseen Forces, but there are big things just around the bend. So, onward!

Taking pictures at over 10,000 ft. elevation, on Sandia Peak. Literally on top of the world!
Photo credit Chris Ryniak.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thank you!

Just wanted to say THANK YOU so much for following my work online! It's a big deal to me that so many of you stick with me to see what I do next. I know everybody's time and attention are limited, so it means a lot to me that you devote your time to my work! My online family means a lot to me, thank you for being a part of what I do!