I recently put a post up on here highlighting the Ice Scream Man figure by Brutherford Industries. I have been watching the making of the Ice Scream Man unfold on their blog and have been very intrigued by the process, so I had to ask Ryan Rutherford of Brutherford to partake in a “Five Questions With…!” post. He talks about finding time to devote to creating figures, his DIY approach and he even divulges some information about upcoming projects! Ooooh!
Tamara Petrosino’s retro vision of the Ice Scream Man
How do you find the time to contribute to Brutherford projects when you still have a full-time job?
It is very difficult, I head to my office for the 9-5 five days a week and it’s not always a 9-5, sometimes it’s more. Basically I’m working two full time jobs right now. One of my biggest efficiencies is that I’ve built my secret toy factory in a cave underneath my house (garage).
Most nights I get home and go right to work either in the studio creating and prepping new projects or in the factory doing production. Weekends have been full time factory work for the past few months. Fortunately my wife and partner is as excited about toys as I am so we are able to find ways of spending time together that revolve around making stuff.
In your “About” on your site, you say that Brutherford has been collecting equipment that has been reclaimed from abandoned molders and technical schools throughout the country. What sort of equipment do you use to manufacture your creations?
One of the first pieces I bought up was a vintage rotational molder from the 1960’s. It’s small scale but perfect for a 7-8″ toy. It was a fantastic find, it had literally never been used. It took a little damage in shipping to me but I spent a weekend rebuilding and cleaning it and it works like a dream. My next toy/machine is going to be a much larger scale rotational-molder so I can increase product size. I’ve also got a very small injection molding machine on hand and just started the process of building molds for it. This thing will crank out small objects like key chains, zipper pulls and toys the size of M.U.S.C.L.E. men. Aside from those, traditional vacuum and pressure casting are also a big part of my operation.
Can you tell us what the appeal is to you of taking your creations from your head and getting them into 3-D?
I’ve always been a maker, not sure I always knew it but for my whole life, I’ve had the most fun while creating stuff from nothing. I grew up with a father that was very DIY and craft oriented so I was always in some kind of shop making something, eventually I made it to art school as a painting major. While there I found the industrial design department through an old friend, switched majors and never looked back. So I was trained at Pratt to be an industrial designer with a huge focus on the importance of form and proportion in a 3-dimensional object. I’ve also always been obsessed with multiples, I am never happy just making one thing; I also need to create the system for reproduction. I think Brutherford is the culmination of my training as a designer, experience as a manufacture, obsession as a collector and my bizarre personal sense of humor and aesthetic. I’ve built my own fantastic system where I get to conceptualize wacky shit and then bring it to life and share it with the world…What’s not appealing about that?
You were a big part of the punk and hardcore scene in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia in the 1990’s; do you think music has an affect on your designs today?
I’d say that most likely that scene was a much bigger part of me than I was to it. I think that music and that scene has a huge impact on what I do everyday. Aside from a few choice bands, I’m mostly stuck in a musical time warp and still listen to the same music now as I did then. The anger, angst, humor, politics, and love that came out of the scene coupled with endless hours of 80’s television, certainly helped to define my view on the world.
But more than anything else, I think I learned that if you wanted to do something…just get off your ass and do it. If you wanted to put on a show, you found a place and did it, if you wanted merch, you made it. If you wanted to record and couldn’t afford studio time, you just recorded on a boombox and then dubbed a hundred copies in the back of the Best Buy audio department when no one was looking. It all worked because of the community and that’s no different than anything else; it’s just much harder to wrap your head around it on a larger scale.
Are there any upcoming Brutherford projects you can tell us about?
There are a Ton!!!
We have a few collaborations happening on the Ice Scream Man platform right now; they should hit my site in the next month.
There have been a few images circulating of the mini figures that I’m working on, those are coming soon.
We’re also working to bring some of Tamara’s characters to life. I think they will appeal to a whole new audience; she has a fantastic style that reaches farther in to the realm of “cute” than I am capable of. Don’t worry though, Tamara’s “cute” is still tempered with a slightly demented wit and sarcasm that has been hugely influential on me and my personal style.
The juicy, top secret news is that I am working on blank platform specifically to engage the customizing scene which I love. I feel like the Ice Scream Man is too detailed and specific as an object to really be a great platform for customizing. I’m trying to address that with a form that I think a lot of people will like but with design elements that do not overpower the custom-artist’s work.
Also… I’d like to make it available in a traditional 7-8″ scale and second much larger version!!! But that’s all I’m saying about it right now.
Thank you, Ryan! So happy to have Brutherford Industries Ice Scream Man available in the mph shop in Vanilla, Strawberry and Mint and looking forward to the upcoming projects!