Urban Vinyl Daily: Would you mind telling us a little background about yourself ?
Sket One: I grew up in New Haven, CT. I started drawing from an early age, and once I started being involved with hip hop back in 84-86 I started writing graffiti. From that point forward that’s all I did was paint, paint, and more paint. Went to school in Boston and came back to CT and started a clothing company called Unitee Clothing along with being involved with Monkey Business Clothing. Both were doing real well, but then life hit and I got married, had kids, and settled down getting “REAL” work, first a sign shop for 6 years then within marketing for 11. I first started out in toys by being introduced to the whole scene through a friend of mine, and then meeting Tristan Eaton. Tristan really helped me get involved with all that was going on with Kidrobot at the time and always feel blessed he did. I am now living in L.A. doing shows, customs and working with a company called Bad JuJu Games located here in CA. We design App and work on console games.
UVD: Would you mind telling us about some of the designs that you came up with when you were first starting out and how designs have progressed over the years?
Sket One: The designs I first came up with at the beginning were very simple and clean because of the pad printing process. The technology of printing on toys and what was affordable was limited, so your design had to collate with all that. I think as things progressed within pad printing so did the designs, companies were becoming more self-sufficient, allowing accessories, and add on with design so I was able to expand on my designs as the technology progressed. I play with materials all the time, from flocking to GID to shapes to concepts. I try to push the envelope without losing the shape within platform toys.
UVD: What are some things that influence you and your work? Is there any artist’s work that inspired you and your style early on in your career?
Sket One: Everything influences me, from signs to pop culture to everyday items to clothing, you name it. It’s creeping in my mind and being filed for later. I grew up on cartoons, graffiti and comics, so basically the heroes and master of that art is who I looked up to and emulate till this day. As far as fine art on the whole people like: Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, Warhol, Willem de Kooning, and more this list can go on for ever.
UVD: With so many prolific characters in Kidrobot series and a fair amount of other production runs, I will spare us both the time of asking about specific figures. So, instead I would like to ask about what is was like working with Kidrobot for their Series 1 set and if it is difficult to come up with as many as 5 different figures for a series (Dunny 2010 4 condiments + Boom), since there have been a few series where you have more than one design?
Sket One: Working on the first series was awesome. I remember getting the template and trying to comprehend and learn all about pad printing and how things had to be set up. I worked in illustrator regularly, it was just getting what was in my mind to land in the right place on the toy. Not having the shape in front of you or being familiar with it was the weird thing. I usually design a whole bank of dunnys and send’em in. It’s left up to KR which ones they will reproduce and if variants will be made or golden tickets. The artist is pretty much removed from that process, so having 5 in series 2010 was a blessing because we just started out with ketchup, and boom and then mustard and relish and lastly the mayo version.
UVD: Along the same vein, some of the more sought after pieces I have seen on the Kidrobot forums are the Ripple figures since they are limited runs and fit nicely in collections. Would you mind telling us a little about getting this figure made with Kaching Brand, and if there are any more plans for more Ripples or similar figures to come out?
Sket One: I wish I could tell you yes, and fans have asked many times for the various colorways that the factory samples produced, but Kaching is out of business, and I do retain the rights to ripple. Of course, if a company outs there wants to reproduce a colorway, I’m all for it, hit me up let’s talk. There were plans to do a running ripple version with companies and expand on him in different ways, but a lot of projects are discussed all the time, it’s the companies that PULL through, not many do. You can ask any vinyl artist how many projects they fully rolled out only to be killed last minute…for the record that shit pisses us off.
UVD: After perusing the galleries on your site, you seem to have your hand in almost every sort of lifestyle product from clothing to skateboards to snowboards. Is there any area you haven’t touched yet that you are still working on getting a design?
Sket One: I want to play with more furniture and lifestyle items, I designed a sculpture/table base for my show in Alaska. I think everyday stuff, enhanced design,s or just exploring different production avenues. There is so much being done creatively in so many fields so if its new or old, I’m always down to collaborate and always looking to push my self to explore.
UVD: With owning the four 2010 condiment Dunnys, and looking through your portfolio, I see that product placement seems to run deeper than just these four condiments. They seem to range from the Hawaiian Punch mascot to vegemite to Heinz baked beans. Is there a fine line to walk between companies loving the figure and hating it (and seeking legal action), or what has been your experience with their attitude toward the pieces?
Sket One: Custom art pieces and appropriation of logos and such can go either way. I never had a problem with it except for Tabasco, everyone else has been mad cool especially Heinz. Kidrobot was featured in a Heinz commercial and I was highlighted in a book The Heinz Ketchup Bottle: Iconic Packaging by Marcel Verhaaf and it was a great honor. Tabasco sent a cease and desists and by that time I was over it and a couple emails it was brushed under the table. Other one offs of pop culture references have never been an issue, for the most part it’s all good.
UVD: Being that you more than likely have large shares of space in peoples’ collections, who occupies space in your collection of figures?
Sket One: I collect mostly my friend’s pieces, Huck, Tris, Mad, Pon, Luke Chueh. I have some older vinyl Micheal Laus, some Hoodz etc.. I try to keep it small and clean.
UVD: Seeing that graffiti is part of your life, and no doubt that since you have been in the game a while that you have gotten to work with a lot of people. But are there any street artists out there that you have yet to work with that you want to work with?
Sket One: I haven’t painted with a whole lot of graff. Writers beside my crew and close friends that paint, so the list is HUGE, but I’m about to paint with the AOS crew for the first time in Miami Art Basel this year. Looking forward to that.
UVD: After watching the “Banksy vs. King Robbo” video, it called in to question the value some people place on graffiti as street art. Would you mind sharing your thoughts on this trend where an artist can be despised and another can be revered for their vandalism?
Sket One: My take on it is, graffiti has always been a symbol of blithe, out of control society and the word has always had bad connotations. Street art is thought provoking imagery for the most part. They have been labeled and looked at by society as a whole differently and it is what it is, you can’t control it. I have friends who just do graffiti and they are in galleries and such but they are no Banksys should they be at that level, sure but they aren’t…it’s what people want to perceive…beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
UVD: Are there any future projects that you wish to discuss for the reader to keep their eyes open for in the upcoming future?
Sket One: Just link up to my FB page or my twitter. I will be releasing tons of stuff for 2012 and have new projects all the time, just dropped some t-shirt design with suspicious clothing, dropped some customs to get back into the swing of things since my move, so stay tuned, I’m not done yet, in fact just getting warmed up.
UVD: What would your encouragements/suggestions be for artists/designers that are either just starting out or who are trying to get themselves noticed?
Sket One: Be You, Do you, Stay Focused, Stay Hungry and keep grinding.
UVD: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Are there any parting words you wish to say to the reader?
Sket One: Thanks for having me, always an honor to be interviewed and wish you guys the best of luck on the blog and the future, props to my whole crew and to my children.