Covering The Toy and Art World One Post at a Time

Cesar Diaz

photo-1UVD: Would you mind telling us a little background about yourself (i.e. where you’re from, when you started designing, etc)?

Cesar: My background has always been in art: painting, sketching and photography. I went to College of the Canyons in Southern California to study illustration. It wasn’t long after that I got into digital photography. This is where I learned Adobe Photoshop pretty well, and I must say, I loved it! Oh, and then there’s toys. Since I was a child toys have been a big part of my life. Most people I know grow out of buying or collecting toys, but not for me. I just love holding and admiring a toy. I think now a days that’s the new form of expressing an idea. Instead of painting on a flat canvas, why not show it in third dimension?tumblr_mn1368E5ZD1qhsdtjo1_1280

UVD: What attracted you to the world of designer toys and what made you start customizing?

Cesar: Well, I remember back in early 2008 going into a comic book shop and seeing a blank Munny vinyl for sale. So I bought it thinking it would be cool to paint my own toy. I had no clue what I was doing so I basically did everything wrong. I used cheap acrylic paints with regular Sharpie markers. The end result was a complete disaster. I quickly gave up trying to paint my own toys and went back to my digital art. It wasn’t until 2009 that my wife and I went to Disneyland and saw Disney’s Vinylmation figures. Those vinyls really caught my attention, so I bought one of the DIY figures and did more research on creating custom toys. From then on I haven’t stopped customizing figures. tumblr_mmkb5zUvbN1qhsdtjo1_1280

UVD: Are there any artists that inspire you and your work?

Cesar: There are several artists that inspire me, but my absolute favorite is Miss Mindy. She specializes a lot on Disney-themed pieces. Her paint job is out of this world. The detail she puts into her pieces leaves me speechless.  

UVD: What was it like working to put together ‘The Customation Project? There were a lot of really cool pieces at the show have you thought of doing another Vinylmation Show?

Cesar: The Customation Project was a great experience for me. I got to work with a lot of amazing artists. A lot of work went into making that show, thanks to my brother and Proxart. What I loved about the art show was that it felt so indie. The show itself felt customized. It was great for what we were trying to do at the time. There were talks to do another one with new artists but because of other priorities in my life I kept pushing it back. However, now that I’m more and more involved in other types of DIY molds, I would love to do another one that is not just limited to Vinylmation. Hopefully The Customation Project 2.0 will be a reality in 2014 “wink, wink”

UVD:  Besides making custom toys what are some of your other hobbies?

Cesar: Besides customs I really enjoy making art prints. I love iPad art, which is artwork done using an iPad. It’s a cheap way of creating some really cool digital art pieces. A majority of the art prints I do have been created using an iPad with the Wacom Bamboo stylus and the apps Procreate or Adobe Ideas. Most people use tablets for web browsing, games, email. I use it as my preferred drawing pad. I cant even remember when was the last time I drew on paper. I just love technology! tumblr_ml0leiZgKj1qhsdtjo1_1280

UVD: You have a ‘The Walking Dead’ Inspired carded series in the works for this year’s Designer Con. Would you like to tell us a little about that series? 1454361_10151978817773464_320818137_n

Cesar: As a huge zombie fan it made perfect sense to make a Walking Dead Dunny series for D-con. This will be a mini series that consists of Daryl Dixon, Merle Dixon as a Walker, the Governor, a random Walker and Michonne with her two pets. I wanted to pick out characters I’ve really enjoyed from the show so far. With the exception of Michonne and her pets, the figures will be carded to give it that action figure look. The carded figures will be priced at $75 each and come with a plastic clam shell protector for displaying. Michonne with her pets will be priced at $120. In addition to buying a Walking Dead figure, buyers will also receive a limited edition original 8×10 matted Zombie print designed by me as a bonus.544140_10151983117698464_1021552150_n

UVD: Recently you have started casting your very own resin figures. Are there any challenges that you weren’t expecting? Any tips for others just starting out in this process?

Cesar: It’s a big challenge to cast a perfect figure without air bubbles. At first it was a bit discouraging but the more I do it, the more tricks I’m discovering. I think that’s my favorite part of this type of art, is discovering. I’m always up for trying new things. It gets boring doing the same thing on the same mold all the time. As of right now it’s hard to give tips to new artists getting into resin casting. The process is still very new to me. I guess the only tip I can give at this point is to never give up. At the beginning you will make a ton of mistakes, but with every mistake comes knowledge as well.  Screen Shot 2013-11-03 at 2.43.48 PM

UVD: Is there any figure/Platform you have never customized that you would like to?

Cesar:  I’m actually very interested in working on the “RAAAR” DIY mold. There is something about the look that really attracts me. Also, I’ve gotten several requests to do a couple of customs on the Tequila mold, which I plan to do in the near future.

UVD: During your years of customizing you have worked with a lot of different characters. Are there any characters that you have never worked with that you would really like to?

Cesar: I’ve always wanted to make a set based off the video game “BIOSHOCK”. I just love how all the Big Daddies look like. Actually, talking about it now gives me the urge to make a Big Daddy Dunny…LOL! I’m also a sucker for black and white movies and TV shows. A Twilight Zone custom set would be pretty cool too.  

UVD: Do you have a personal favorite piece that you have done? Or is this like asking you to pick a favorite child?

Cesar: it’s exactly like trying to pick a favorite child. No matter if I do customs or paintings or prints, to me it’s just my art. The word “favorite” doesn’t exist in my world.tumblr_mq470sqR4z1qhsdtjo1_1280

UVD: Are there any future projects that you wish to discuss for the reader to keep their eyes open for in the future?

Cesar: My future projects pretty much involve more resin figures. I want to be able to perfect that process. It’s such a great feeling to create something out of nothing. I don’t want to rely on pre made molds all the time. I also have a couple more collaboration projects in the works that I cant really talk about. Hopefully they will be revealed soon. tumblr_mma1xigbQ21qhsdtjo1_1280

UVD: What would your encouragements/suggestions be for artists/designers that are either just starting out or who are trying to get themselves noticed?

Cesar: I say this all the time, NEVER GIVE UP! There will be times that you think your art is crap. I wont lie, maybe it is. But that shouldn’t stop you from continuing to get better. Till this day I still have the very first Munny custom I made back in 2008. Believe me, it looks horrible. I actually have that custom displayed in my room to remind me how much my art has evolved. As for getting noticed, well that’s actually harder than the artwork itself. Take lots of pictures and post them on forums, Facebook groups, Twitter and the king of all social media, Instagram. I think I’ve gotten more clients with Instagram than any other way so far.tumblr_mtc6i0Hf801qhsdtjo1_1280 

UVD: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Are there any parting words you wish to say to the reader?

Cesar: Do or do not, there is no try.tumblr_mtx7wqP7Y51qhsdtjo1_1280

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