UVD: Would you mind telling us a little background about yourself (i.e. where you’re from, when you started designing, etc)?
JFury: Well I live in Salinas California and have lived here my whole life besides some time I spent in the bay area when I got out of high school. I have been drawing as long as I can remember and have always loved animation and street art. When I was a kid I would love riding the Bart train to Oakland to watch baseball games because of all the graffiti I could see on the buildings. I even tried my hand at some graffiti when I was younger but I’m not very good at the lettering. So I would just paint characters up on the walls. I took a couple of Art classes in high school but that was pretty much just for the easy grade, plus my teacher wasn’t a fan of the bold black lines that I would use in my art. After high school my art kinda faded to some random drawings here and there due to working random full time jobs and starting my family. It wasn’t till a little over a year ago that I got back into my art thanks to my wife buying me some art supplies for a birthday present and I’ve been drawing and painting almost every day since.
UVD: Since you are fairly new to the scene. What attracted you to the world of designer vinyl toys and what made you start customizing?
JFury: Last year in March I took my kids to Disneyland and stumbled across their vinylmation figures. I thought it was pretty cool to see all the different characters painted on the same platform. When we got home I called a friend of mine who collects all kinds of things to tell him about the vinyl I saw. He told me that I needed to check out kidrobot, I went to the website I saw that they were having the Mega Munny contest so I ordered my first Munny. That first Munny was where I came up with my clown character Two Cent. I was hooked I ended up entering 9 customs for the contest and came in third in the James Brown category. Back then I was only using paint pens because I had never painted before and was pretty intimidated by paint brushes. In October I used brushes for the first time to paint a custom and I haven’t gone back to the pens since.
UVD: You have been utilizing many of the new Dunny sculpts. Are there any interesting challenges working with these new designs? Or is it exciting to work with different figures than many other artists?
JFury: The new sculpts are a lot of fun to work with, but the challenge is figuring out how I’m going to integrate my character with the sculpt. But so far I feel like it has worked out pretty good and has actually helped push me to come up with something that does the original Dunny justice. I never want to make something that isn’t at least comparable to the original design. There is actually a good amount of pressure to make a custom that improves the platform. I was pretty nervous when I stripped the Calavera Dunny, that was one of the best production Dunnys I’ve seen and it was a risk for me to even try and customize that bad boy.
UVD: Besides making custom toys what are some of your other hobbies?
JFury: I actually train dogs for a living so working with aggressive dogs has always been a hobby of mine. I really enjoy the challenge of taking a dog that people don’t want or are just plain scared of and turning it into a great pet. It is also a pretty good rush messing with a dog that would like nothing more than to show me how hard it can bite. But honestly if I’m not training dogs or painting I’m spending time with my wife and kids. I have two girls and a little boy and they keep me pretty busy. So most days consist of dog training during the day and then coming home to spend time with the family until the kids go to bed. Once everybody is asleep I go to my little studio in the garage and will paint till my vision starts to get blurry. At that point it is time for me to crash out and start the routine all over again the next day.
UVD: What was it like being involved with the SoSo Happy Qee show? Where there any problems working with an existing character?
JFury: I was very excited to squeeze in that line up last-minute. It was actually my first time working with a Qee. I had fun putting a little bit of my spin on an existing character. The challenge was trying to add my style to it without taking anything away from the original character. I went through the list of characters that SoSo Happy had and about half way through I saw the Jester character so it was a pretty easy choice at that point. My main goal with that custom was very clean lines because from what I heard there is a chance of production based off those customs.
UVD: Do you have anything that you like to collect?
JFury: In the beginning I wasn’t really into collecting but recently I have started to collect some customs from other artist. I have them up in my studio as inspiration and to show me that I better step my game up. I have also started collecting anything that involves creepy clowns.
UVD: What was it like creating your recent Dragon Ball Z custom Foomi?
JFury: To be honest I have never watched Dragon Ball Z and I was actual worried about doing the custom at first. The person who commissioned the piece sent me a bunch of pics of the character as reference for me. Once I started painting it things just flowed nice and smooth. I really enjoy doing comic and cartoon characters, it really takes me back to being a kid again. I use to sit there for hours drawing my favorite comic and cartoon characters.
UVD: Is there any figure you have never customized that you would like to?
JFury: There are actually a lot but I really just want to try my hand at some bigger platforms. Of course a Huck Gee skull head Dunny would be fun and I have a 10” teddy troop sitting on a shelf that I can’t wait to destroy. So if anyone wants to send me a skull head to paint I promise I won’t say no.
UVD: Do you do any other kind of art or is toy customizing your thing?
JFury: I will paint on anything that I can get my hands on. I am currently working on some skate decks and a few canvas projects. Also I just recently started working with resin, which has been a lot of fun but I have a lot more to learn about it.
UVD: Do you have a personal favorite piece that you have done? Or is this like asking you to pick a favorite child?
JFury: Hahaha, yea it is kinda a tough one to answer but I would honestly have to say the JuJu the witch doctor Calavera custom was my favorite. But that’s because that one seemed to really get me noticed and I really like the feathers on that platform.
On the smaller platforms I have two that I really like and those are the clown ninja and the clown in the tiger suit. Both of those were on 3” Dunnys and I was just really happy with how they turned out.
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?
JFury: I guess the one thing that I haven’t talked about is my 3” dunny series Jus-Clownin. Right before this interview I released series two which consisted of four 3” Dunnys and a 6” fatcap custom. The Dunnys sold out within a few hours so that was pretty cool. The big news on this is series three which will release Halloween this year. I decided I would love to see other artists that I look up to take a stab at some crazy clown Dunnys. So I have a lineup of some of my favorite artist all doing dunnys for the series. So keep a look out on my Facebook and twitter for teasers and info on who’s involved.
UVD: Are there any future projects that you wish to discuss for the reader to keep their eyes open for in the future?
JFury: I have few big things coming up this year. I am taking part in a few custom series that information should be released on soon. I am also taking part in a few shows later in the year that I have some really cool designs planned for. The thing that I am really excited about is I will have a booth at DCON this year. I plan on going big for that one, as of right now I will be releasing a custom 8” Dunny that will be limited to only 5 figures. I will have a 20” Dunny custom and a couple Mega Munnys plus some other things that I’m hoping people will really like.
UVD: What would your encouragements/suggestions be for artists/designers that are either just starting out or who are trying to get themselves noticed?
JFury: First off I would say email pics and info of your customs to the blogs. Most blogs really like not having to go digging through forums and websites to find your work. Also the best advice I can give a new artist is stay original and don’t be afraid to ask artist that have been around for advice. I have been lucky to get some great support from other artist and friends.
UVD: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Are there any parting words you wish to say to the reader?
JFury: I just want to thank you guys at UVD and all the people who have supported me in my first year of the vinyl toy scene.