UVD: Would you mind telling us a little background about yourself (i.e. where you’re from, when you started designing, etc)?
Nervis: Ok, first off I wanted to thank you for this opportunity! I was born in El Paso, TX. Growing up there was so boring, not a lot of things to do. So as a kid, I found out about skateboarding, I was hooked man, just saturated myself with that culture. I then started to notice the skate graphics on all these boards and was drawn to them. I started to practice drawing and copying off of comics. I really liked it so I kind of stuck to the drawing thing. As I got a little older, I found out about graff about the early 90s when it made a comeback. So I was amazed at all the bright colors, wildstyles, and characters! Like everyone involved, I started tagging and tagging till I finally got caught and arrested. So after that I moved to Phoenix Arizona in 98. Throughout that time I was still drawing, mainly anime and graff! So then I got my GED and enrolled into the Art Institute of PHX, big mistake. It was one of the worst decisions I’ve made. Never did graduate. In ’07, I came across Dunnys and the whole vinyl scene. Got on the forums and looked around for a few months and decided to take a stab at it. My first pieces where just painted on and really weak. At the time when I started, it was all about the cute shit. So I thought to myself, “ what can I do different?” So learned about super sculpey and the rest is history! Been at it ever since.
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?
Nervis: Well, some of my designs early on where just me trying to fit in somewhere in the scene. One of my first pieces that I did was a cannibal tribesman. It is pretty crappy now that I look at it! Another piece I did was a Mad’L for the Delicious Drips Me Mad’L custom show in SF. It was a vintage turntable with speakers and dials on the face of the Mad’L. Then the lid flipped open and that showed the record and the tone arm, very difficult piece to do!! No matter how hard I’ve tried, I can’t ever make my work look too clean and smooth. Lets see, another was my R2D2 Munny for another local show, it was fun to do that one too but noticing all the pop culture references other artists were doing, I had to get away from that and not be another casualty. So I dug deeper and deeper and started doing creatures, my first being a mini Munny called “BIGMOUTH SUCKA” it was the first time I’ve used super sculpey on a custom. I cut a hole in the face and sculpted teeth and eyes and gave it some texture. That piece right there is the first step in taking my work one step further to a different level than my prior customs. As far as influences early on, id say Erick Scarecrow, Rsin, jay222, TaskOner, Nemo, Osiris Orion, and Motorbot. Seeing the shit they were doing was what motivated me to step it up. Influences that inspired my work came from 80s cartoons, skateboarding, the Maxx comic book, Calvin and Hobbes, and conspiracy theories right now is my main influences on my art right now, just the thought of what if these conspiracies are true??? HaHa!
UVD: Your customs are very detailed and you sculpting skills really show. Could you tell a little bit about your process?
Nervis: My process for a piece is never planned. I always start off sculpting the teeth of the toy. From there I just start working around the mouth and start covering the head and body with sculpey. Then I start to sculpt the eyes and that takes me a few times till I get the right look I want, somewhat ominous. After the eyes I then move on to the sculpting of the body, stomach, feet and the texture is then laid onto the body and head. Bake it in the oven then proceed to digging through my boxes of endless electronics and motherboards to lay out the electronic computers onboard their heads and backs! This takes along time since I have to cut out little pieces of motherboards to fit on the custom. Transistors, fuses, gears and wires all get installed to where it looks good, then I take off all the electronics off again so I can bake the custom without the wires. I learned this the hard way! Then I install and superglue all the pieces back on and wire the crap out of it!! A lot of work there! After that it’s on to the paint process, which is my favorite part. Overall it takes me about 10 to 20 hours for a custom from start to finish.
UVD: Besides making custom toys what are some of your other hobbies?
Nervis: My other hobbies are listening to music, a lot of music! I draw and paint too but not a whole lot. Gonna start to paint some monsters here shortly after I get caught up with toys. Spending time with my kids is another hobby!!
UVD: I see you were apart of the Screaming Sky Gallery ‘When Worlds Collide’ show. What was it like being in that show?
Nervis: It was a very humbling experience for me since I was a part of a very strong lineup, Fplus, Chauskoskis, Zam, Kevin Gosselin to name a few! I mean these guys brought their “a” game to this show. I think I got in this show by a fluke because Kevin Gosselin could not do the show so he threw my name out there, HaHa! No but I was really happy Josh Pierce invited me to be a part of this custom show. These were some of the hardest pieces I had to make because of the fear of making a fool, but overall it was a good show organized by Fplus and screaming sky gallery, thanks!
UVD: Do you have anything that you like to collect?
Nervis: I really don’t collect anything nowadays. I used to buy Dunnys and vinyl toys but not no more. I do have a few ESC toys, and my favorite piece ever, The Luke Chue “Possessed” bear, that thing is sick on so many levels.
UVD: What was it like working with Plaseebo on your Night Gamers customs?
Nervis: Working with Plaseebo was so surreal because here is a guy who I admire and produces the craziest art pieces out there, contacted me about wanting to buy one of my pieces!! So after a few emails back and forth, he told me about an idea he had about customizing some night gamers and put ’em as a limited edition series! I was all over that idea because he is so well known in the scene and me well, I’m still small time so I saw it as a great chance to be seen. After about 9 months the night gamers were done and sold out instantly. It was crazy the amount of emails I received asking me if I could do some more night gamers! Plaseebo is one of the kindest most helpful guys out there on the scene. He was soooo patient with me and gave me free reign over the design and such, never doubted me and for that I’m truly indebted to him, very humble person!
UVD: Do you work with any other forms of art or is toy customizing your thing?
Nervis: Nah, this is what I’m focused on at the moment. Later on I will expand to other mediums once I got a hold of enough peoples attention.
UVD: What was it like being in the NYC♥QEE show that took place about a year ago? Also what was your inspiration for your piece ‘DNA Harvester’?
Nervis: From what I heard, Wolverine was in the house checking out the Qee! It was a very well put show on behalf of Benny of Tenacious Toys! Very happy to be a part of it. From what I saw it was a success! A lot of heavy hitters on that roster. The inspiration for that DNA Harvester, don’t remember how I came about that piece, I think it was one of those running out of time, gotta get it done in 3 days kind of momentum I’m such a slacker! Most of my pieces seem to be that way!
UVD: Do you have a personal favorite piece that you have done over the years? Or is this like asking you to pick a favorite child?
Nervis: Yeah, I cant pick a favorite really, wouldn’t be right, plus I hate my shit, lol. Not really, my favorite by far would have to be the MOD1 custom I did a while back! It was one of the craziest pieces in my portfolio.
UVD: Are there any future projects that you wish to discuss for the reader to keep their eyes open for in the future?
Nervis: Well, I don’t have any top-secret projects or big projects in the works, other than a couple shows in the next few months, Bad Applez show, They Came From The Streets 2 in June, and Vinyl Thoughts 2 in March. Other than that, I got a 3 man show with my 2 brothers coming up in July here in Phoenix Arizona. Gonna be trying out some new works here, hope I don’t flop.
UVD: What would your encouragements/suggestions be for artists/designers that are either just starting out or who are trying to get themselves noticed?
Nervis: The only thing I can say is stay focused and don’t be afraid to be different, don’t follow the herd. Toy and art blogs are your tools, use ’em.
UVD: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Are there any parting words you wish to say to the reader?
Nervis: Thank you for taking the time to read through and all the people that have supported my art from the beginning, thanks to my family. 2012