UVD: Would you mind telling us a little background about yourself (i.e. where your from, when you started designing, etc)?
SUCKLORD: I’m bored already, but if you must know, I was born in Greenwich Village NYC in 1969 and started designing toys in about 1979, after the mail in Boba Fett came out. It’s pretty much a straight line from there ’til 2004 when I dropped the Sucklord 66. Except the parts where the line got all crooked and weird…
UVD: Can you tell the readers about some of the designs that you came up with when you were first starting out and how designs have progressed over the years? Also, what are some things that influence you and your work? And is there any artist’s work that inspired you and your style early on in your career?
SUCKLORD: Everything is basically a rip-off of the classic 3 and 3/4″ style of figures, from Star Wars to Micronauts to Dukes of Hazzard. I have used bits and pieces of all of those lines in the Suckadelic Bootleg series, trying hard to dig deep in the crates to pull out more and more obscure references. Everything is just a giant Wacky pack or Mad Magazine. The attitude has always been on the satirical side, but the figures have gotten more complex, with multiple color parts and more detail on the paint jobs, full color packaging, etc.
As far as influences, I always liked the lowbrow shit, MAD and Wackypacks, Ralph Bakshi, Frazetta, Marvel comics, Hanna-Barbera, Graffiti (when it was on the subways) and every shitty toy from the late 60’s to mid 80s. Hustler Magazine And maybe Hyronimous Bosch.
UVD: How did you get started working in trading cards? And do you have a favorite design/series that you have produced/or been involved in over the years?
SUCKLORD: Topps, ever seeking the next gimmick, decided to rip-off the Vader project and needed a shill to find desperate “Hip-underground” artists to do sketch cards for peanuts. Because it was a licenced Star Wars project, I took it on. I ran the Die-Cuts in SW GALAXY 4 and 5 before kicking it over to Simeon (From Art Hustle) to run Series 6. (I still did cards for that, just didn’t recruit).
After series 4, Larz from Sidekick Labs offered to help me produce my own set. I had been thinking about that since 2001, but insisted that it be in the classic Wax pack style. I was clueless how to do that since that tech is not in use anymore anywhere. Larz being the eggheaded scientist guy retro-designed the whole process from the wax wrappers to the chipback cards and SUCKPAX was born. The whole set was really just an artist portfolio in card form plus a bunch of jokey gimmicks and sketch cards. That was followed by The Legendary ART HUSTLE part 1 and 2 plus SUCKPAX 2 last year. Series 3 is cooking now and is ready to drop in October.
UVD: What was it like having so many great artists customize your figure in the “Suck-Off” group show at Munky King? Were there any interesting challenges planning and putting on your own group show?
SUCKLORD: It was a fucking huge pain in the ass and I did it twice, once in LA and once in NY. Chasing after all those flakes is a major headache and I would never do it again. The postage from mailing out the blanks and returning the unsold shit was murder. Plus everybody is on a different page, you gotta answer the same fucking questions 60 times ‘cuz nobody reads the instructions.
The art, for the most part was pretty good though, and including a blank package to customize was a touch you don’t see in custom show, so that was cool. And I did profit and made money for other artists too, so it wasn’t a loss. But Damn what a hassle.
UVD: Would you mind telling us a little about the process that you use to create your resin figures such as the Suckpegs or the Gay Empire series?
SUCKLORD: It’s not complicated. I usually have some kind of Idea, joke, or concept that I think will appeal to people. Then I look for pieces from other toys that I can sample to cobble together a new figure that supports that idea. Or I go the other way and say, “these bits and pieces all look cool together, let me figure out a theme that can justify this configuration.
Then I go thru the process of preparing the figure for casting, which means deciding how many molds it will need to create all the parts and tooling all those parts for assembly. Then I fill in all the gaps and joints with compound. Then I set them up in little trays for pouring the silicone mold material around it. I usually make 2-4 molds of each part. Then I experiment with colors a little and then shit resin for a week or so til I have a giant pile of plastic on my work table. Then me and my slaves go thru it all and clean up all the flash and unwanted positives off the castings, sanding and xacto knifing etc. Then I drill holes for the arms and head, etc. Paint everything, glue it together. Then I go online and steal a bunch of images and slap together a package design in Photoshop, get it printed, spray glue the front and back to chipboard, cut off the excess then tape the figure under the blister. Then I go online to hype it to my lists and the blogs. Then I take the orders and pack them all up and ship ’em out. Then I take the money, pay myself, pay my bills, buy more supplies and then it starts all over again.
UVD: How did the Sucklord 600 vinyl come about? And was it easier to work with the process of creating a vinyl figure or working with your normal small run resins?
SUCKLORD: Making Vinyl sucks and I will never do it again. I had been trying to make production toys since 1994. I was going the traditional route, approaching Real toy companies at Toy Fair, pitching them on artist created toys. Even went to Mattel for a meeting at one point. Nothin’ happened. When Michael Lau came out and 360 Toy Group, I just figured that I would get in on that scene. I started thinking I would sell an idea or get some independent funding and make it happen, It didn’t. When Kidrobot also failed to put me on I was forced to turn to resin. (which turned out to be the best thing actually.) A few years in I had more money and clout, so I figured I’d try Vinyl to see if it could work as a means of expanding my product base. So a year after going back and forth with the factory and not really knowing what the hell was going on, the fuckin’ shit just shows up. It was ok, but 1000 pieces is a lot to move and it took forever to actually make the investment back. Something was lost in the translation.
The figure was ok, a worthwhile experiment, and profitable, but overall not any type of creative or professional advantage over making figures by myself. With resin I can go from idea to marketplace in 4-6 weeks. It’s fun and hands on. I don’t need to sell hundreds of units to make my numbers and pay my bills, and it’s more “arty.” The best thing about the vinyl was the raw materials for customizing it provided. I haven’t given up on mass production for future products, but it will be resin or Pvc, not vinyl. The production of vinyl proved to be too abstract for my tastes. I need to be hands on….
UVD: What was it like working with DKE on The Vader Project? And were there any interesting challenges in creating your piece for the show?
SUCKLORD: That was a fun time. Dov is the most stand up guy in this business and he made that whole experience a class act. The piece was pretty easy for me cuz I used to do dioramas all the time. I chose the subject matter to fuck with people. I suppose the expectation was that I would make some kind of hip-hop or bootleg thing with it. I decided to go with a back-to-the-roots approach and make it about Star Wars and the themes and story of the Saga. If I didn’t know and love all the traditional nerd shit that I am constantly making fun of, the work would have less depth. (if it has any at all). I wanted to keep shit real. Wish it sold for more money…
UVD: How did the Suckadelic Retrospective show with Boo-Hooray come to life? It must have been awesome to have so much of you work on display all in one place?
SUCKLORD: Some rich joker who somehow had the run of a “Real” art gallery decided to piss all over the “Art World” by giving an undeserving, talentless hack a big important show. It was awesome enough, I suppose, but it didn’t really buy me a new life or career. When it was over I went right back to work. The art world didn’t ask for more and I really could care less. Not sure if this is really art anyway. However, it was a useful reference point in my timeline, Having completed enough to actually do a retrospective closes a chapter and sets me up to do another chapter.
UVD: What is your personal favorite medium to work in vinyl, trading card, or resin? And why?
SUCKLORD: I don’t have a personal fav, (although I really enjoy editing video, Shooting- not so much) Suckadelic is an idea, an attitude, and worldview. Not a medium. Using as many mediums and media to get that worldview across is what my goal is. Jack-off of all trades….
UVD: What do you see for the future of the designer/art toy world?
SUCKLORD: What happens to the designer toy world is not really my responsibility. Not sure if what I do is a good representation of that world and what happens to me, good or bad, doesn’t really reflect on the “scene” much, as far as I can see. I guess it will just keep chugging away forever. I don’t think it’s a fad, nor do I think there is gonna be some day where the “Real art world” decides to bend down and give us validation. Which is fine cuz you don’t wanna hang out with those fucks anyway…
UVD: Are there any future projects that you wish to discuss for the reader to keep their eyes open for in the future?
SUCKLORD: Space Necromancer, Scrubs of the Universe, Liquid Tumblr, Gay Empire V, Gay Empire “I DO” edition, Great Zeros of Sports, Vectar Custom Vinyl, Glyos sound system, Suckpax 3, Toy Lords 3, Suckadelic consumer goods, Microsexuals episode 6, Microsexuals Suckpegs, Suck-Zine, Hats….
UVD: What would your encouragements/suggestions be for artists/designers that are either just starting out or who are trying to get themselves noticed?
SUCKLORD: Get ready to work your ass off, suffer great disappointments, lose money, get hated on, become a hater, Give up. It takes a weird, slightly masochistic personality who is a little alienated to keep up this type of work flow. You need new shit all the time to stay on the radar, it doesn’t even have to be that good, you just need a lot of it. Make sure your name is Googleable. Come up with a new word for what you do, don’t use a cliché cuz when some one searches for you they won’t find you right away cuz the phrase already exists in the world and is all over the web already. And finally, be a man of the people. Hiding in your room all day being a genius isn’t gonna cut it. You gotta get out and make friends in this world and you gotta be the type of guy that people like. If people don’t like you, you will only get so far…
UVD: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Are there any parting words you wish to say to the reader?