I was super happy when Spanky Stokes obliged to have me ask him some questions that had been rattling around in my brain. He is one of those go-to sources for toy news. I often find myself visiting his site and after what I only think has been a few minutes, I’ve spent an hour or so filling my head with a plethora of the latest toy info. I owe a big part of my involvement in the toy scene to bloggers like Spanky Stokes, who always come up with killer content to feed my healthy addiction.
You are an integral part of the designer toy scene. Your blog is one I regularly check for extensive information on toy news. How in the heck do you keep up with all of the new releases and news?
Geeez, thanks so much for the compliments… I guess even being at this for 5 years now (this July), it’s still hard to think of SS.com as being integral, and really it’s very humbling, so thanks. As for how do I keep up… well up until a few months back I was doing 98% of the posting myself. It was a very daunting task trying to balance a day job, my personal life, and the occasional custom show here and there… so I sent out a PSA over Twitter asking for writers and the response was overwhelming. I took on extra writers (TrustPigs, Kellipop, CowBandit, Ardabus Rubber and Anubis2night) to help with the load… needless to say, spreading out writing assignments amongst all of us has been a true blessing, and I am super thankful for all the help I have been getting!
And on a related note, your enthusiasm for toys hasn’t wavered, how do you keep it going strong when you are having to produce so much blog content day in and day out?
I truly love this toy scene, I have made soooo many life long friends because of it… and in all honesty, being a designer myself, I find so much more to be positive about then to be critical of. I enjoy waking up in the morning and seeing m inbox full of new designs, new artists, new projects… that’s why it’s so easy to fill up a day of 20+ blog posts, 365 days a year… the designer toy community is constantly growing, and I for one am excited to be a part of it!
You often times put your personal opinion into your blog writing. I know that a lot of times, writers steer clear of doing this for one reason or another, but I do respect you very much for doing so. Have you ever noticed any backlash from this?
This is something that I think is very important to do. It helps differentiate yourself from the other sites out there… putting your opinion in a post helps people understand where you are coming from. That being said, I find myself really trying to choose my words in the best way that I can so that I am not hyper critical of a certain item or subject. Like my mom always said “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”… and I really believe this. I have had people get on me for liking everything too much… which is silly to me because if you look at things enough, you can always find something good in it. In our scene, and in every other art scene, things are so subjective and art really is in the eye of the beholder. I choose to see things as the cup being half full rather than empty, and some don’t like that about me… and trust me, I went to art school and got all the critiques I could handle (some harsh, and some well spoken)… and I believe that critiques help artists grow… but there are ways to word them in order to encourage… and that is what I try to do.
You are a talented artist yourself, whose work do you find influencing your artwork these days?
Talented? You are too kind :-p I myself love monsters, zombies, things with fur, gnarly animals, teeth, skulls… I guess things on the darker side of the spectrum so when it comes to all of those categories I am really digging what artists like Skinner, Lysol, MotorBot, Chris Ryniak, Dave Correia, Neil Winn, Chet Zar, Kathie Olivas, Brandt Peters, and so many more are doing theses days. I think the boom of the social networking in our society today has really opened inspiration for every walk of life to flood in no matter where you are… it’s soooo cool!
I am sure you’ve been asked this before, but what are some of your favorite toys in your collection?
I have amassed quite a collection of the years… and it continues to grow. Some of my favorites are any MAD*L, everything the fellas do over at UNKL, I love older Western vinyl like some of the early StrangeCo. stuff, designs from Jermaine Rogers, and Bigfoot. I have really just recently got into collecting some sofubi and kaiju, and I have a good amount of Paul Kaiju pieces (resin and vinyl)… but the pieces that I hold most dear to my heart are the ones in which my friends have made or customized. I really love owning these pieces because most of them started out around the same time I did in the scene, so it’s so great to own a piece from their journey… that way I can share in the success of their careers.
Can you tell us about any projects that you are working on at the moment?
I have a few pieces I am working on for some shows coming up, one at Super7 in SF and the others are for SDCC 2012… and just like the rest of the toy community, I have a few secret things in the works. Oh, I also want to push my Stroll figure more, and have been looking into getting a plush made via crowd funding like Kickstarter. I am also getting married in August… so needless to say, I have enough on my plate to keep me busy 🙂
A big thank you to Spanky Stokes!