Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Interview with Brian Flynn about Super7's first bronze release... the "Skullwalker"!

Bronze... not known for being a precious metal but one more of fortitude, this metal alloy consists primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive, and it holds a place in history as there was a time period, the Bronze Age, named after the metal. So why do artists turn to this material to make a statement... simply put, because it's heavy, hard, lasts the test of time and looks bad ass! Today we are getting an exclusive look at Brian Flynn of Super7's latest figure "Skullwalker", and no it's not vinyl or pvc, but solid bronze... Super7's first by the way. We took some time to ask some questions of Brian about the process, the difference between metal and vinyl, as well as some common traits most of Brian's figures share... so please take a moment and CLICK THROUGH for the entire interview with Brian along with tons of info and sketches along with release info (Friday, April 8th at 11am PST • 30 pieces at $300 each).

1. Hey Brian, stellar looking figure you have here! Can you give us the rundown on the mythos behind your Skullwalker?
The Skullwalker is actually a giant sized character. Although huge, he is a bit clumsy, and fairly inattentive. He is blissfully heading off to have a leisurely day, never really aware of the inadvertent destruction he causes along the way. He doesn't mean to create problems, sometimes things just happen that way. He is just out for a nice walk.

2. So I have noticed with the majority of the figures you design (if not all) they seems to share a similar characteristic... the crack/lightning bolt on the forehead... your Skullwalker has this trait as well, what's this all about?
The crack is on all of my "ghost" or "spirit" characters. The crack is the symbol of life after death. Basically, when the body dies, the soul is still alive, and the soul exits the body by forcing a crack through the head allowing it to escape the physical body. From that point on, the soul wears that crack as a scar for the rest of eternity. It is a transition marker -almost like cutting the umbilical cord, you always have your belly button as the scar from your former state of being in the womb. I believe that most things exhibit some kind of life or soul, even inanimate objects (otherwise how could they bring us happiness like so many do?), so I enjoy documenting what I think the world exists beyond the tangible world of these spirits/souls/ghosts as they careen through our world, interacting with it, but not always visible to us.

3. Super interesting... so why now have you decided to make the leap from vinyl/plastic toys, to I guess what most would consider fine art? Is this a platform in which you're hoping people will look at Super7 in a more serious manner?
I think it is a mix. A lot of my art work and Super7 product gets mixed up on a consistent basis, so this is no different to me. I think it is much more of a fine art approach, but you cannot deny that it has a toy sensibility. That said, much of my artwork has that same feeling, so one hand feeds the other. It is all a grey zone. Overall, I think this fits better in a gallery as opposed to a toy store if nothing else because of the price point for bronze, but I think fans of both sides of my work will enjoy it, and I think it can live in both worlds easily enough. I don't think we have to quantify or limit what it is or what it is not.

4. Who produced it, and do you have plans to make more runs of bronze figures... any juicy nuggets to reveal as of what's coming down the pike :-)?
We worked with Brin Berliner on the sculpt, so I was able to meet up with him in person to go over the details, and then we made it at Artworks Foundry in the East Bay, so, once again, we were able to be hands on in all stages of the process. It was really cool to do. As far as what is next? I need to sell this one first (hint, hint!) and then we can get the next figure started.

5. I know there is a ton of push and pull between the designer/artist and the sculptor/factory... how long has this project been in the works?
Surprisingly, this went really quickly. I have known Brin a long time, and there are enough of my toys out there for him to understand my turnarounds and know what I was trying to do very easily. We started putting this together back in November, and it was ready in the middle of February. It has taken us a few weeks to get it photographed and ready for release, but overall, it was surprisingly quick.

6. What is the difference between designing for bronze as compared to vinyl? Did you have plans in the past, before taking the bronze leap, to turn this character into vinyl?
That very difference was actually the reason we made the Skullwalker into bronze in the first place. With seams and manufacturing limitations, there was no way to make this figure in vinyl. We could have made it injection molded, but not in vinyl. The head as a sphere would have to have a seam somewhere along it's radius, and that would have killed the look of the figure. As I looked at a lot of the character designs I had that were not able to be replicated in vinyl, I thought about other solid casting ways to do them. Jamie at Fully Visual had made one of my other designs in metal last year, and I wanted to make something else in that vein, but take the material more seriously. Ultimately, I wanted to make something unique and different, and no one had been making toy size figures in actual bronze, so we decided to give it a try. Now that we have it, I am completely sold on bronze as an outlet for some of the designs I wish I could make, but simply can't because of the difficulties (often the simplicities) of the figure design that cannot be toys.

7. So this little guy stands only 3" tall... what determines the size of the figure?
Since it is bronze, I wanted it to be as affordable as it could be, but then again, big enough to feel "real". Bronze is crazy expensive, so we worked to find a nice middle ground at 3". It sounds small, but because it is so round, it is pretty big and heavy in real life. It is about pool ball size for the head. If it was any bigger, we would be looking at a $400-500 figure. I think that is just too much to spend on something like this right now.

8. Speaking of size... the edition size is limited to only 30 pieces... what determines the quantity, and do you have plans to run off the same design in other metallic mediums/finishes?
This is the only planned release for the Skullwalker. I wanted to make it something special, just like the material is. If you have one, it is a unique item, a special figure in your collection, and not everyone will have one. I don't feel the need to colorway this one a bunch. (I mean, I would totally make a ton of colors for myself personally, because I am a nerd, but it is too expensive for me to do!)

9. So give us the scoop... how much is this going to be and when/where can it be picked up?
The Bronze Skullwalker will be available on Friday, April 8th at 11am PST from http://www.super7store.com or you can pick it up in store at Super7, 1427 Haight St., San Francisco, CA. Please stop on by and pick one up. I appreciate it.

10. Thanks so much for all the great info Brian, and for taking the time to answer all these questions... and with that any closing remarks?
I am super excited about this release. It is a different kind of figure for both Super7 and for me personally. I really hope everyone likes it, so that I can make more bronze figures like this. I think it turned out great -Hopefully you will as well!

Custom 8" Dunny Calendario Aztec "Gold" edition from the Beast Brothers 4/08/2011

The anticipation has been building for the release of this figure as it was dangled in front of us for months (HERE, HERE, HERE)... and now we have the full reveal and release date of the Beast Brothers custom 8" Dunny Calendario Aztec "Gold" edition... and holy smokes did it turn out great! Seriously though... how sweet did this turn out, and the attention to detail is truly epic as the piece looks like it was produced in a factory. These however are 100% handmade with care, detail, and added flair... just look at those gems! There is no word on a price yet, but what we do know is that it will drop via their online store HERE this Friday, April 8th 2011 at 10am PST!

Chris Ryniak x Ferg 4" Misfortune Cat SDCC 2011 exclusive teaser...

Back in February we posted up HERE a very revealing vinyl test pull of Chris Ryniak x Ferg’s 4" tall micro Misfortune Cat which was based off Chris' custom for the "Reconstructing Misfortune" show last year at Munky King... now today we are getting a blurry teaser of what Ferg states will be a Munky King SDCC 2011 exclusive, limited to only 100 pieces, and wow is it looking good! It appears to be an all matte black finish, with a single GID eye... but upon looking at the photo closer there appears to be a little rust/brown around that glow area so who knows what others color highlights are on it. One thing is certain, this is going to be a HUGE hit at SDCC this year, so start saving up on paitience because your going to need it for the long line that awaits this release.

Black / Silver / Copper - Factory Sample of KAWS "Stormtrooper " up on ebay

Posted up on ebay... which has now ended were factory samples of KAWS Stormtrooper figures in a rad silver, black, and gold color scheme. Now I have no idea if these are real or not as the buyer stated "It is not an official Kaws release", and I do know that there are a ton of fake KAWS figures out there... either way, real or fake, these are pretty cool looking and will look real nice next to the officially released white version... haha or bootlegged white one if you have one of those instead.

Scribe and Alisa Ross custom 'Nesting Dolls'

The dynamic art duo that is Scribe and Alisa Ross have completed yet another stellar set of custom figures together, where Scribe attacked them with his fantastic brush strokes, his wife Alisa added her feminine touch to them by cutting and stitching some plush accessories for each figure. This is for the upcoming show titled "Doll Haus: The Modern Matryoshka" and features a whole slew of custom wooden nesting dolls, and as you can see from the above photo, their submission to this show fully utilizes each surface of every piece. This show is launching this Saturday, April 9th at Rothick Art Haus in Anaheim California, so if you can make it out... do so!

Two-headed Dragon Kaiju proto from Mark Nagata

Woah... check this out, just posted up on Mark Nagata's Max Toy Company site is a beautiful proto teaser of a new full sized Max Toy Kaiju sculpt. According to Mark, this figure does not have an official name yet, but it does have two heads and one side is Fire the other side is Ice... EPIC! I love the blockiness of the ics side and the more fluid smooth surface of the fire side... this looks so cool! These are planned to debut at Summer Wonderfest in Japan... more details on it very soon.

Bwana Spoons "Sloth 'n' Moth" in vinyl...

We spotted this little creature at last years SDCC as Bwana Spoons worked with talented sculptor Beth Graves at Brand Loyalty to create a rad little sloth creature that is unlike any designer figure I have seen before... why you ask, well because of sitting on your desk, this piece hangs... and what was originally created in resin is now taking the leap to vinyl and as you can see from the test shots above look really nice! I like the colored one the best because it shows off the details, but that clear will look really nice with some sprays on it :-) No word on a release date or price, but I am sure that will follow shortly!

Amazing Customs from Gabe Griffiths

Artist Gabe Griffiths was quite busy last year, but after a brief hiatus he is back! And by looking at his past work, I'm excited to see more. You may remember his glow-in-the-dark "Inkster" Munny or the "Cityhead" series, or maybe from Kidrobot's Munny Munth contest last year where he took home the Best Head Dress prize. I love his style and how he keeps the form of the original platform, yet still takes it above and beyond. Look for more work from Gabe soon, or check out his portfolio for a whole bunch of customs and artwork.

'Death Is Free' solo art exhibit

Event Press: Street Artist DEATH aka “Don't Easily Abandon The Hope” is launching a solo show at Okiku Kiyomizu Gallery where he will have his first series of custom 3” dunny figures available.This is a blind boxed release limited to 20 pieces. It is available exclusively to the show. Paintings and installations will also be featured in this exhibition, and the first 30 person at the door will receive signed limited edition art prints by DEATH. This is going down on May 7th, 2011 from 6pm-8pm... so be sure to come on out!

Okiku Kiyomizu Gallery
48-34 Van Dam St
LIC, New York City

"Rusty Mecha" custom Munny fromTazX

TazX just sent over some pics of a recent custom Munny he created titled "Rusty Mecha" this may be his best custom yet. I really dig the additional fine details he added along with the bulbous face piece and tubing... which in fact glow in the dark. Another really cool thing about this piece is that it has articulation in the elbows... great work man! This piece along with many others is up for voting right now for Kidrobot's Munnyworld Mega Contest... so head on over HERE now and cast you vote!