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Thursday, 28 August 2014

STGCC 2014: Sneaking around with Sekure D

Melbourneite Mathew Fabris aka Sekure D is the latest to join the ranks of  toy luminaries Angry Woebots, Frank Kozik and Scott Tolleson but he's no featherweight. He made a career out of customising sneakers and was named one of the world's best sneaker artists in March 2014. He has even earned an endorsement from Singapore's very own SBTG:

"To me, Sekure D's is right on top of the custom sneaker game. In terms of a painted custom sneaker, i would rate his workmanship as flawless as factory made. All his creations are photographed well and takes care of the texture of the leather. Aside from using all original artwork, his style has matured so well that his works are composed, executed and presented with such finesse"
Depending on the level of intricacy, Mathew works anything between 10-16 hours on each pair of sneakers, drawing inspiration from cartoons, comics and cinema. I'm no sneakerhead but I do love owning some 'original' kicks. Whenever I put on my Onitsuka X tokidoki, it's like putting magic on your feet. I just step onto the streets, feeling different, knowing I'm different, but all the delusional babbling crumbles before his custom masterpieces. I could use any number of words to describe his work but like Mathew, I believe the work speaks for itself. 

Me: In a short 8 years, you have put your name on the map. Your sneaker art has traveled from your bedroom to the National Gallery of Victoria, your clients include Nike, Puma and Adidas and you have released collaborative sneakers with Globe and Jordan Brand. How has the lack of art/design school training contributed to your style? I would love to say starting with a blank slate has worked wonders for you.

Mathew: It's interesting to think about, I have heard arguments from both sides. Those being that art school can water down your creativity but I also probably lack some basics that I would have picked up along the way if I studied art instead of Finance and IT. That being said I think being self taught is really a great way to learn, an often expensive way to learn because mistakes cost you time and money but you move forward with greater understanding. Before I started doing graffiti I had little to no art experience, never looked at art books or went to galleries and my first custom sneaker was the very first time I properly used a paint brush, learning on the fly just appears to work for me.

Me: Leonardo. Mona Lisa. Van Goh. Starry Night. Michelangelo. The Creation of Adam. Salvador, The Persistence of Memory. The mention of their names conjures effortlessly an artwork.  Which of your customs (shoes) is the perfect distillation of your artistic essence?
Getting lost in there is not a pleasant thing
Mathew: Wow, the Labyrinth Air Force 1 was the first shoe that represented a focus on me developing a strong style and pushing forward with it. In the sneaker custom game its very easy to get acknowledgement by replicating existing artwork and successful sneakers however where does this get you in the long run? I made the decision to forego some short term success to try and play the long term game and I think it paid off. Brands and galleries aren't going to ask you to work with them if you don't have anything original or creative to present them with, this is my life, I think I made the right decision.

Me: The dismissive "my child could do that" criticism is hurled at the perceived lack of value in abstract art. Sometimes it's a swirl, sometimes it's block, and other times, it looks like an unfortunate accident. You are not one of the detractors and you have mentioned 'abstract graffiti' in previous interviews, a style that you are pushing for and carrying across platforms, from sneakers to toys to canvases. What is abstract art to you and what elements have you incorporated into graffiti?

Abstract is I!
"The style I have developed and grown into is one that is bold, colorful and pulls in all my experiences doing graffiti."
Mathew: The style I have developed and grown into is one that is bold, colorful and pulls in all my experiences doing graffiti. I refer to a lot of my pattern work as abstract graffiti because I have distilled down the aspects of graffiti art I like and think are effective for me and put them to use without any real letter formations or structure. That's the main thing I am trying to achieve, a graffiti almost pop art feel but without having actual graffiti on sneakers because I have found more often then not graffiti on shoes doesn't seem to work.
Raider Air Force 1

Me: I'm a fan of narratives behind customs. Your story line started with Toonbots and Roboheroes, a solo exhibition which led to another, Robots > Humans. Codename Unknown is the leader of Robo Allegiance in a world where humanity needs saving from itself. You would be bringing a set of customised toys to STGCC and have spoiled a few of them. How does Codename Aquatic and Operation Upgrade fit into this universe and what super powers do they posses?

Mathew: Very early on I created a whole narrative for my characters, it provides me with my own universe to pull inspiration from and use to create entities. It has been a big success for me in providing a clear direction in the creation of my characters and art. I don't think I will ever publish the story but the core essentials are that an Artificially Intelligent race of Robots have become fed up with Humans mistreatment of the plant and see the eradication of our species as the only means of their survival on earth. After they all but wipe out humanity they become bereft of meaning and search for entertainment in the form of many of our popular culture icons. A byproduct of the creation of Codename Unknown Artificially Intelligent Robots has been a toxic waste which has spawned a race of Blob monsters who devour everything in their path and to which the Robot Allegiance is now in a war with. Forced to create new robots with pieces of older models found in underwater scrapyards and terrestrial junkyards we are seeing robots whose exteriors are hybrids of coral, rocks and metal. This is where the rocky and coral encrusted races of customs come into play.

Your mother was right: don't trust smiling strangers!
Me: You do know that they look a tad unsettling for saviours. Barnacles-encrusted skin and exposed brains. I don't know if I want to be saved by them. Is the decay some deeper reflection of the moral highwire balancing they have to do and if Aquaman touches Codename Aquatic, would he get STD?

Mathew: Well that's just it isn't it, they really aren't saving us, if anything they hunted us all down haha. They decided long ago they were superior to us and only left a few humans alive, enough for the survival of the species. In regards to Aquaman I don't think he would get an STD but he would definitely get a serious ass whooping, haha, dolphins can't defeat robots, at least not in my story.

6) Can you give us an exclusive sneak peek? :3

Presenting Operation Upgrade Dunny!

7) Operation Upgrade looks like it has not completed upgrading! Look at the fangs on that thing. Ugh! And its brains are leaking out of its ears! :P Ok, next fun question. If your Thing faces The Thing, who would win and why? This sounds slightly erotic but yea.

Why would you need a caption to tell you what this is?

Mathew: It does sound dirty doesn't it haha. Well the real Thing is incredibly strong but I am never going to talk down one of my Codename Unknown team members, he can probably just call in a tonne of reinforcements and ruin his day if need be.

8) Emma Frost drops by and needs help: she has to attend another one of her dreary high society events but she needs your genius. Design a pair of killer heels for the frosty queen.

Mathew: Haha I am not sure I can do that with such short notice but I can tell you this, my phone number will probably be inside the shoe box when I hand them over.

STGCC 2014: Getting under the argyle wrap with Scott Tolleson

So this is me, continuing the shining spotlight on Argyle Warrior. It's 7 more days to STGCC. Wooha! Let's get this on the road!

Me: My favorite from your STGCC entourage would be Deadbeet. The originality is refreshing and I love, in particular, what Jeremiah Ketner did to this ugly (used in the most complimentary manner!) sofubi. A close second would be Trayjus because Guardian of the Galaxy. Which among your showcase is your favorite?  Tell us one dirty secret about it! Should it become the next member of GotG?

I've got one hand in my pocket...oh wait.

Scott: I'm partial to Trayjus because I sculpted him. I hadn't sculpted since I was in college and then decided to throw around some clay one day and see what came of it. Trayjus was the result. I surprised myself with that sculpt because A.) I'm not a sculptor and B.) It came easier than I anticipated. No dirty secrets other than the name. His name came about one night when some friends and I were in a drunken stupor. Amongst our silliness the word "Trayjus" was said and it caught me as being ridiculously funny. It stuck with me months later and the rest is history.

Me: When Yoddha was revealed, three big letters flashed in my mind, namely W, T and F. I'm guessing that the zen-ness is connecting quality between the little green man and the man with ultimate earlobes, and the multitude of eyes is the ascendant mark of omniscience. How far off mark am I on this?

Scott: WTF is pretty much what I was thinking when designing this character. When Jeffrey and I talked about doing this collaboration we both agreed that it would be fun for me to do something unexpected. I wanted to go dark this time. I felt like all my pieces up to this point had elements of cuteness to them, ala. Kookie No Good. I wanted to throw that all out and go with a sinister and mysterious piece. Also, I was listening to a lot of Tool at that time so I'm pretty sure that was a factor. The meaning behind this piece is even the purest of beings have a "dark side".

Don't mess with me bitch
"It's a metamorphosis and a shedding skin to reveal an evil that has taken over."
Me: Being a toy collector like you for years, my favourite has always been Visionaries and unlike the revival of its compatriots - My Little Pony, Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, He-Man - the Knights of the Magical Light never got any loving. Tell us your favourite toy/series and the magic it has over you.

Scott: For classic toy series' it's really hard to nail it down to a favorite. MOTU, Star Wars Transformers, TMNT and Thundercats will always be up there as major influences. Some series' I've loved that I feel didn't stick around long enough were Crystar, Boglins, Madballs and Sectaurs. I always felt as a kid that these properties could have been further developed.

Me: Your history of toy production and design shows that you have the most unidle mind in the industry. With great power comes great responsibility. Imagine our world is about to be besieged by authoritarians aliens who have massive sticks up their butts and intend the same for earthlings. What is the perfect toy weapon you would bestow upon your argyle warriors?

Scott: Dude, each argyle warrior will be equipped with Morning Star of Zuul. Blessed with the sacred Stolle Argyle Crest of unlimited power.

Me: There's a fashion crime of superhuman proportions. The Fashion Authority of (still thinking of something for this) (gave up) (wanted it a P word so it'll be...) needs you. Which superhero costume needs to be sent to the pyre and how would you cover his baby smooth cheeks?

Scott: I'm thinking of something like a less dark, more fashionable Batman. WTF is up with superheroes these days not having a since of fashion? Let's throw some argyle sweaters on these dudes and chicks with some thick rimmed glasses and a shot of Binaca in their mouth holes. Time to mix it up in the superhero world. Imagine a Robin but with an argyle frame of mind. THAT's what I'm talking about. Let's shake it up!

Me: Are your biceps munchable?

Scott: If you're asking if I'm sexy I will have to say, yes. But not the conventional, David Beckham kinda sexy. More like a poor man's Ryan Gossling sexy. I like how these questions get progressively sillier.

And that's it. I'm glad you enjoyed the questions King of Argyle nation! There's nothing out there about the toys that has not already been written so I'm just goofing around. Dearest Scott will be taking all your money come Sept 6th. Choose your poison early for these are definitely exclusives...well, most of them are. If you can't find the booth, GO HOME, YOU'RE DRUNK! :p

Product Info
Yoddha Bust (collaboration with Flabslab)
Edition: 30
Price: $250USD

Bella Lee (collaboration with Pobber)
Edition: Open
Price: $120USD

Oozebeet GID
Edition: 30
Price: $60USD

New World Order Malicus
Edition: 10
Price: TBA

Periwinkle Trayjus
Edition: 30
Price: TBA

Kookie No Good
Edition: 30
Price: $40USD

STGCC 2014 : DrDavidMack

its come to my attention that there are persons who don't know who the one we affectionately call the Mack Daddy is, i'm in shock! SHOCK i tell you....

image shamelessly stunned from his Facebook page

the whole reason i didn't write something about David Mack the last time he was here was because i thought everyone knew who he was! long story short, he created, wrote and drew Kabuki (in school), wrote and drew Daredevil, created Echo, did creative work for Captain America : The Winter Soldier, hangs with Thomas Jane, Amanda Palmer, Clark Gregg, :O he's a pop culture renaissance man if i do say so myself, and he recently was featured in an exhibit at Century Guild in Chicago featuring art together with Gustav Klimt and Egon Shiele!

i met the Doctor at last year's STGCC and i have to nominate him as the Creative personality of STGCC 2013 for being a tireless, friendly, giving, generous and overall nice guy! and what works does he have coming out? lots of Kabuki 20th Anniversary items, a new Kabuki story at the recently released Dark Horse Presents #1, a new hardcover art book : Muse, and together with Cameron Stewart,(another guest at this year's STGCC!) the sequel to Fight Club in comics!

Everyone here at Toys-3tc and Red Dot Diva welcomes back our favourite creator, David W Mack! read more as Diva spoke with DMack recently in San Diego

here's some variant cover titbits you may have missed while he was away,

Kick-Ass 3 #3 DMack Cover
The Fox #4 DMack cover

Scarlett #6 DMack cover
Powers Bureau #1 DMack cover

Red Sonja #26 DMack cover
Daredevil #55 written & drawn by DMack
the New Avengers #39 interior art and cover
Alias #21 DMack cover
5 Ronin Psylocke DMack cover
White Tiger #1 DMack cover

remember to pick up the latest Daredevil hardcover written and drawn by him, Mr Brian Michael Bendis and a whole host of artists...

Daredevil End of Days Hardcover

follow him on Facebook and Twitter

wandering weporter 

check out Red Dot Diva for all the lowdown to STGCC in 8 days!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

STGCC 2014: Spotlight on Daniel Yu

Meeting the man

Daniel Yu calls himself the Resin Slinger. I really did not know why and I did not have the mind to ask when I stepped into his work space, a place where unloved socks go to die, and was awed, partly because I do not work in an office and mostly because if I did, I wanted it filled with toys like this one. He is not a loud man, neither in stature nor mannerism, but I suspect behind the geniality lurks a sinister mind that manifests itself through his works - R. Mortis, Oi! Cthulhu, Gory Bomb, Bronco Buster - they look like nothing of this world.

Tell me about your characters and their world, I prodded. He paused sometimes between resin casting to collect his scattered thoughts. The narratives, the story lines, the universe - all of these comes later. It all starts with a fascination, a muse and it could be anything. For R. Mortis, it was the plague doctor. For Oi! Cthulhu, Lovecraft's evocative prose. For Gory Bomb and Bronco Buster, crazy wrestling moves. 

The floor is as bad as the table

Whatever the starting point, Daniel reimagined them, slinging each creation into an embryonic universe, dormant and waiting. Pointedly, he dropped names: Pirates of the Caribbean, League of the Extraordinary Gentlemen and Hellboy. What do they have in common? Worlds populated with displaced characters, history and legends - Flying Dutchman, The Kraken, Tom Sawyer, Invisible Man, Nazis, Rasputin - and that's what he's doing.
Fun fact: The R stands for Rebecca. It's a girl!

He's remoulding their narratives.

R. Mortis gets swept into mash of post apocalyptic Victorian era. Oi! Cthulhu ditches primordiality and goes left-wing. Gory Bomb and Bronco Buster are just weird. There is no excuse for them.

Daniel stressed that he just wants the collector to have a personal narrative and asked for my take. The Walking Dead, I cited, for its no-holds-barred take on breaching norms, a gritty landscape where morality inflexibility can be a nail in the coffin. That is how I envisioned his characters. They are all survivors. 

Waterboarding in action

He condensed his aesthetic down to 3 (un)holy principles. 
"Sculpt. Detail. Texture."
These are also the reasons he loves the toys from the 90s, with a particular soft spot for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but Daniel, being who he is, does not love conventionally. Excitedly, he Googled for Muckman. 

I played with the word cautiously in my mind. 

It is I, Muckman!
His optimistic vigor was infectious; the incredible number of details was one of those things in life that needs to be pointed out, just like being busy is not being productive or there's never a wrong time to eat ice-cream , and after that, as the meme goes, it cannot be unseen. Despite being a second tier hero, Muckman has come to represent what he loves about toys from that decade. 

It is about nostalgia but it is more than that.

He went on, trying to illuminate the elusive point. The Resin Slinger doesn't do mass appeal. The Resin Slinger doesn't do indie nor hipster either. What the Resin Slinger does is whatever pleases him and I think what he is doing is to flip the big old finger at livelihood, establishments and commercialism. Yes. Muckman, under all the mucous and goo, embodies this profound philosophy.

I can appreciate his candor and his resolve behind his brand and he blasted me with this analogy, handed down by a good mentor. I would love to twiddle with his words but they were succinctly on point: 
"It's like being a musician that starts a band. When you first start a band, you can either write your own music or become a cover band. The former will take a much longer time to develop and establish. The latter opens the door to instant recognition.

When you reach a certain point in a slow-built career, you can insert a cover and people would go, hey, that's cool. If you start off as a cover band, it's very hard to branch out. There will be more options when you start off writing your own songs. I found it to be very insightful and it makes a lot of sense."
And into the cauldron you go

My socks left the studio unsullied and the man who calls him the Resin Slinger? I suppose he's going to stand alone for a while in his own greatness.

Catch Daniel Yu at Booth AA90 and there will be stuff: Crawdad Kid, Bronco Buster, Gory Bomb, Footman, Taupok King and a surprise drop or two! Approach with caution and watch that disarming smile!

STGCC 2014: Hungry Humble and soon to be Humid Humberto Ramos in our Homeland!!

Hungry Humble and soon to be Humid Humberto Ramos in our Homeland!!

image shamelessly stolen from his facebook but it's so cute right!?

check out his recent TV interview on Comic Book Resources at SDCC

Humberto Ramos is the current artist for The Amazing Spider-man (4th iteration) and together with artist, Giuseppe Camuncoli, are taking turns on the book. Humberto Ramos' distinct art can only be summed up as manga-esque with more energy!!

On an impulse :P, he hit San Diego ComiCon and got his art noticed and hitting the ground running on to DC's Impulse and only pausing to dwell on creator owned work before taking the leap to Image comics' Cliffhanger! imprint with J Scott Campbell and Joe Madureira, Humberto got to DV8, Out There, till the end of the recent Amazing Spider-man, up to the climatic final issue #700 where Otto Octavius (Doc Ock) takes over Peter Parker's body, a nasty idea that solicited death threats to Dan Slott, (Amazing's writer), this idea, which was initially eschewed by yours truly, eventually won me over. The following series, Superior Spider-man, with Octavius' evil genius taking over Peter Parker's body and mind became a critical success, and with Spider-man being a bad @$$, made Spider-man more engaging and relatable than ever. One of the reasons for its success, i'm sure, was due to Humberto's expressive art filled with energy and emotion.

One of the steadfast rock steady artists of Marvel's new revolution, the great Mexican artist will, this year, grace our muggy climes during this year's STGCC.
Lets welcome him warmly (it's gonna be hot! Hot! Hot!) Name drop and bring some of his creator owned work and notables for him to autograph and doodle!

Amazing Spider-man #1 (4th & current series)
and issue #4 with new character SILK!! (new 4th series

Amazing Spider-man #700 (climactic conclusion 3rd series)
Humberto Ramos Variant shown here

Spider-island (Daily Bugle giveaway pamphlet)

 the Amazing Spider-man Free Comic Book Day 2011

FairyQuest - creator owned with Paul Jenkins
FairyQuest - creator owned with Paul Jenkins

Revelations - creator owned with Paul Jenkins
Revelations - creator owned with Paul Jenkins

JLA World with Grown Ups -
precursor to Young Justice?
World without Grownups!

 and here's something i bet you haven't heard of
Kookaburra K!! a cute little space sci fi number!

Kookaburra K!!


PS. if you're caught up with the news, Humberto Ramos will be drawing the upcoming SPIDER-VERSE and OLIVIER COIPEL will be helping him on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN!!! BOTH of them will be here at STGCC!!!

go check out his facebook page , his write up at STGCC's guest profile , and follow him on twitter!

Don't forget to tune into Red Dot Diva, follow her on facebook and twitter for all the latest news and gossips next weekend at STGCC!!! and maybe even win stuff!!

Monday, 25 August 2014

STGCC 2014: A Quiccs Interview

Quiccs Maiquez blends mecha and pop culture sublimely, adding his flair for grandiose bad-assery (his catchword) and a dash of street art and hip hop to create custom designer toys that screams Bulletpunk, a style that has definitive rebellious motif: the common symbol found on Jolly Rogers - the skull and crossbones.

It's almost impossible to keep track of this guy's timeline but here goes the valiant attempt at dissecting the craziness that dominates his life:

 - Travelled to Global Tiger Translate Festival in Ulan Bator in Mongolia in Aug 2012. This is only significant cause Angry Woebots mentioned that he's heading there for an art thing. I didn't know there's any art thing in Mongolia, so this proves it.
- Started regressing and destroyed walls in March 2013.
- Induction nto The Red Mutuca Studios

- Entered Pirated Eva Unit 01 into Munnymunth 2013 and didn't win. There is no God.
- Selling out his Assault & Batteries at STGCC 2013
- Found time to join Pilipinas Street Plan and take part in relief and rebuilding efforts for Typhoon Haiyan
- Started Hidden Fortress with wall-destroying friends at the end of 2013

But world domination does not stop there. Quiccs found his footing fast in the world of toy designing and released the much coveted Storm King Machine in December 2013, a hulking 20" resin reinforced with fibreglass Trooper mecha thing that you could probably use to clobber the errant burglar with. And because not everyone can afford art, some of us basked in its glory at the recent May the 4th Star Wars event held in Singapore at the Jurong Regional Library.

July saw the release of TEQ63, a DIY platform which was released at this year's Bangkok Comic Con, and it will be the key feature at their Booth AA17 at STGCC 2014.

Me: When it comes to art, it can't necessarily be translated into words. I've tried getting people to explain to me like I'm a 3 year old what is the essence of their art. Some failed. Some rose like a phoenix (but not the way Chonchita did). I've tried unsuccessfully to get a haiku thing going so here's another approach. Draw something that would explain your aesthetics

Quiccs: I did a recent painting that sums up my art's essence. "Ghetto Geppetto" shows my character and the one who creates him (me). My art is a combination of Japanese Robot Anime Franchises, Hip-Hop Music, and the Graffiti Culture and those three can be seen here :) 

Inline image 2  

"My art is that of a dark but fun representation of my influences as a child growing up."

It maybe less serious than the other art styles that embody a social or psychological messages, but I do believe in the notion that art should primarily come out of your own passion and what you feel like doing instead of trying hard to be deep and convey deep messages all the time. Just like in Graffiti, my art doesnt necessarily need to express a deep meaning to it other than my simple love for my passions for the three infuences that i've mentioned earlier :)

Me: How did TEQ63 come about? Does it stand for The Eternal Quicquidlibet 63? I've noticed a number of people who have commented on something that I agree with - what's the story behind the Daft Punkesque look? 

Quiccs: The character is my attempt into combining my art's major infuences - Japanese Robot Anime Franchises, Hip-Hop Music, and the Graffiti Culture. I've picked certain details from these to combine them into a single character, thus coming in the form of the character :)

"The name TEQ 63 is the combination of the words TECHNIQUE and 63, +63 being the area code for my country, the Philippines. So it simply means Technique from the Philippines :)"

Like i said, I have heavy influences on Japanese Robot Anime Franchises, Hip-Hop Music, and the Graffiti Culture. The Daft-punk-sque look might arise from having similar visual influences that i share with them, though I really do like them and their music as well :) 

Me: If TEQ63 chooses to be a superhero (or heroine), who would he be?

Quiccs: I'd have him choose to be a villain, and I'd choose Galactus :D I've always been in awe of the character since the Infinity Gauntlet series. 

Inline image 1
Terrorising planets since 1966

Me: Avengers, Justice League or Guardians of the Galaxy and why.

Quiccs: I guess Guardians of the Galaxy by default :D I've always rooted for the villains ever since. I find that they are the real underdogs to any storyline since they are the ones expected to lose at the end of the day, most of the time :D They seem to have the cooler backstories and designs as well. 

Optional crotch grabbing raccoon

Seeing the three choices you gave me, I do know how much of a bastard, non-hero Rocket Racoon is portrayed in the comic books, so I loosely choose them :) I did enjoy the movie too more than the Avengers, though they are both awesome in my books :)

Me: What is the one thing you would wish to happen or see at STGCC this year?

Quiccs: This is my 3rd time in STGCC, and first to rent an Artist Alley Booth (AA17) for ourselves, and therefore am hoping to do well on our sales hahaha :D Hoping to snag some items from Mighty Jaxx, Aaron Woes, Ink & Clog, and grab great deals from Mike Ozzo :) Also looking forward to meeting all the new indie artists coming over. Outside of the con, Im very much looking forward to and hanging out at the Flab Slab Studio and also painting again with the RSCLS crew before we head home! :)