UVD: Would you mind telling us a little background about yourself ?
RSIN: Yeah I guess as far as art goes it’s always been in my life. I remember being young and just drawing the cartoons or animated movies I watched. Then in High School I took some commercial art classes, which ended up with me kicked out because of a close minded teacher. During all of that I was still drawing weird monsters, clowns, graffiti, tattoo designs etc., all just sketches or ink and color pencil. In 2005 when my mom passed, I was at the time out of work and not really sure what to do. In 2006, I decided I was going to apprentice at a local tattoo shop. I was there about a year and a half, drawing flash and doing tattoos. I was never really comfortable in the shop, or doing a lot of the work that there was. During this time I had seen some artist selling canvas through the gallery in the shop, and thought I would give it a go. Up until December of 2007 I had never painted. I was given a blank 7” munny back then and that would be my first vinyl toy. Soon to follow were a bunch of terrible canvases and some more toys lol.
UVD: What is your favorite toy to use for your customs?
RSIN: Over the past 3 years I have had a bunch of awesome platforms to work on. But I have to go with the Munny. For myself it’s what got me into the scene, and allowed me to find something I enjoy doing. It’s a cheap platform and allows you to do pretty much anything with. I think it’s also the platform most of us custom artists started on since it’s just a classic platform and I still enjoy working on them.
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?
RSIN: Well if you want to see where my vinyl has come from just head over to my Flickr. As I mentioned before, as of Dec of 2007 I had no clue what I was doing. And if you look at my very first post on there you will see a bunch of mini Munnys I did in Jan of 2008. Early on when I first got into this I started sketching ideas. It was still easier for me to take those ideas and put them on paper then to apply them to vinyl. I just didn’t have the skills to make what I drew come to life on a toy.
Back in 2008 with my new-found love for painting, I would lay down at night and just lay there for 2-3 hours thinking of ideas, and ways to do things. These ideas would sometimes be sketched out or just remembered. I call these thoughts and ideas, “Whispers”. Everyone has them, the things your mind is thinking about right before you sleep. It’s when I am most creative, cause my mind can paint things I will never be able to in real life. I started sketching out little pictures of what I saw the next morning, or even that night. Since then I have just been expanding on that idea. With each custom things change and I learn with every piece. I feel just by going through my Flickr you can see how things have changed. Like I said I am still new to all of this, 3 years is not very long when it comes to painting and sculpting. I am just blessed to have so many supportive people out there enjoying what I create. What I want people to take from my whispers and the ideas behind them is that if you have an idea or thought, be creative with it. Let your whispers take life, it’s a pretty good way to release and let go of certain things.
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?
RSIN: Feelings play a role, cause when I started it was a way for me to escape and get away and helped me deal with my mom passing. She is an influence on some of my work. She never got to see me do any of this. I wish I had found this while she was still alive, I feel she would have loved it. Music is also big. There is never a night here in the studio I am painting and don’t have some music on. Painting with the flow of music and just getting lost in what you’re doing for hours and hours is great. As far as design goes, I have always been a fan of Dia De Los Muertos art. I have since taken pieces of that and added it to my whisper design. Another big thing in most of my work is the stitching. For myself I just like the way it looks, always black and white, on really bright colors. Now days I don’t sketch ideas as much and feel influenced more by what ever comes out. I just sit down and paint with little thought and just let things flow.
As for artist I remember checking out the KidRobot forums back in July of 2007. Back then I remember seeing customs from guys like Drilone, Motorbot, Southerndrawl, Leecifer, Dlux, Besto, ect. It was cool seeing what everyone was doing. I think back when I got that first Munny I sat online for days checking out the work of them guys before I even touched the Munny. I remember being scared of messing it up. I did a lot of reading on what to do and what worked best. In the end I used a bunch of sharpies on it and sprayed it with a clear coat that later became sticky lol. But seeing those guys work back then gave me that push to get better. To this day those same guys still push me to get better. They are all amazing artist and its been awesome showing with them over the past 3 years.
UVD: We love to see your custom Mega Munny’s. Are there any interesting challenges when working on such a large-scale toy?
RSIN: Thanks, I love working on these big toys. And yeah there are plenty of challenges with any custom regardless of size. But for me the big ones are a lot harder to take apart. The heads on the Mega are a pain to get off, and after my first one the rest have stayed whole through the painting process. Besides that your detail and lines have to be perfect on these big ones, if its a little off you can tell. Sometimes its just tough to handle correctly as to not mess anything up. I think the hardest piece I have had to do was the 22″ Custom Green Van Orlax, when I got it, it was in pieces. Had to put it all together after it was painted, took a long time!
UVD: You have participated in many shows custom shows in the past few years. What was your favorite show? And what was the piece you created for that show?
RSIN: Yeah there have been a lot of shows over the past 3 years. I love doing shows. Even better when they are close enough for me to drive to. That said the Coalesce show in the Bronx, NY back in 2008 was something I will never forget. It was the first year I was doing customs and painting and I was showing in NY with some amazing artist. Was also my first time going to a show that I was a part of. Also got to meet a lot of fellow artist and people I respected like Shane Jessup, Pon, Seen, Brian Colin, Fas, Kano etc. Was just a surreal experience.
As for pieces its hard to pick one. I like a lot of what I have done over the past 3 years. Almost everything from past shows has been sold. But if there is one piece I liked a lot was the Scribe Rumpus I customized for SDCC. It was just an honor to be asked by Scribe to custom one, and I really like the way it turned out. Also sold at SDCC to some amazing people who have supported me over the years.
UVD: You where one of the featured artists in the NYC♥Qee show. What was it like working with a completely new platform (Mini Qee)? And what was it like being in the show?
RSIN: Yeah that show was great. I actually drove up to the opening that night, great trip. Fellow artist Matt Anderson and his soon to be wife Jamie were also there and we had some fun in NYC before the show. Plus lots of artist came out for the night, and even one Wolverine lol. As for the Mini Qee’s, they were great to work on. Always nice to have a new platform to work on, and being one of the first to custom one was cool. I ran into a small issue were I torn an arm off and had to make do with the that, but in the end the piece looked great and sold at the opening. I’d say this was only my second time at a show that was pretty big, so again I just had a great time talking with fellow artist and networking. Big thanks to Benny from Tenacious Toys. Must say Benny is one of the nicest guys out there. Constantly helping out artist, he is truly someone who wants the scene to grow, and has a love for what he does. Also thanks to Kevin from Toy2R for allowing me to work with him over the past 2 years on a few shows. He is another guy who has shared things with me and I have learned from. Working with both them guys over the past has been a pleasant experience.
Speaking of Mini Qee’s. There might be a special custom Mini Qee set (8 pcs) being released at NYCC this year. Also I have 8 here to do for my store sometime this year.
UVD: Which do you prefer to work on vinyl toys or canvas? And why?
RSIN: It’s a toss-up, I started out on a lot of canvas cause I wasn’t good on vinyl. Looking back on it I wasn’t very good on canvas either lol. Right now I love vinyl, I wake up everyday ready to tackle another toy. I currently paint like 50 hours a week, and almost all of that is on toys. I wish canvas was as easy to sell as custom toys, but it’s not. Even at $100 I have trouble selling a decent size canvas. Then again it’s a lot easier to ship a piece of vinyl then it is a canvas. I think for the time being I am going to focus on the toys, and when things cool down and I have the time I will focus back on canvas.
UVD: I realize that I have asked specifically about some of your designs, are there some that I did not ask about that you wish to take a moment to talk about?
RSIN: Not really, as far as designs you can see what I enjoy doing online. Right now I am just having fun with them, and keep growing with each new piece finished. There are many of things I’d like to do in the future but not having the income to do so is holding all that back.
UVD: Are there any future projects that you wish to discuss for the reader to keep their eyes open for in the upcoming future?
RSIN: I am constantly trying to expand. Right now I am making just enough money to stay on my feet, so the extra income isn’t here right now to do a lot that I want. But would love to in the future, do a resin release of my Whisper sculpt, do some t-shirt designs, and just see what else there is to custom. My heart really is in these toys I paint. Anyone out there want to make some toys hit me up. As for stuff that’s happening. June 4th I will be in Washington DC area for the Urban Decay II show at the Workhouse Art Center in Lorton VA. Might have some things for SDCC with Dragatomi. Also project with the guys over at Custom Toy Union. Mini Qee, and new 20” Qee’s at NYCC. Working on putting together a show in CA later this year with some talented artist. Might be making my first trip to the West Coast! I am sure I am missing stuff. There is a constant flow of new things every week.
UVD: What would your encouragements/suggestions be for artists/designers that are either just starting out or who are trying to get themselves noticed?
RSIN: First off just create. Let those ideas flow, and just do what feels right. If this is something you want, do whatever you must to get there, quit your job, lock yourself in a room for a year, anything. Being an artist is hard work and you must constantly push yourself. As for getting noticed, find yourself a style, or theme that’s going to separate yourself from everyone else. And submit your work to open call shows when you find them. Biggest thing of all is practice. I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for the 200+ toys I have painted. Paint everyday, and take the suggestions of others to help you grow. Post your work where people will see it and comment, take the good and the bad. Also TRY to never get discouraged. Its hard, and believe me I still struggle with this every week, every night. But if you feel this is what you should be doing, and what feels right, then grab onto that and never let go. Remember always make art for yourself first. For if you’re not happy with what you’re doing what’s the point. Just Live, Love and Create.
UVD: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Are there any parting words you wish to say to the reader?
RSIN: 3 years ago I found something I love. I wake up every morning ready to paint. I have been blessed that I have an extremely supportive wife, Lindsey, you make this all possible. To my family, thanks for always showing love. I hope one day I make you all proud. To my Mother, I miss you everyday, hope you would approve of where I am headed in life.
To everyone else that had supported me over the past 3 years, you all are the best. Honestly you all have no idea how much your support means. Thanks for sharing kind words, and allowing me into your lives through my art. You all have allowed me to grow to the point I am at now. Without you all I would just be a guy sitting in a room covered in paint surrounded by misfit toys. Thanks. And here’s to the future!
Last note, there is constant confusion on what my name is, from Resin, to Risen, ect. Heres a break down of where its come from over the years lol. A.R.S.O.N. > R-SIN > RSIN. So there ya go lol!