UVD: Would you mind telling us a little background on yourself?
Skinner: I grew up in Auburn California, moved to Sacramento when I was 19, and then moved to Oakland about 3 years ago. I started designing toys out in Sacramento about 6 years ago I think.
UVD: Are there any artists that inspire you and your work?
Skinner: Yeah man! Frazetta, old comics, Jack Kirby (Gold & Sliver age Marvel), Eerie Comics, Filipino artists, Alex Nino, I really love this dude Gonzalo Mayo, Harryhausen, Wrightson, Arik Roper, and this dude Brandon Holt fucking shreds! Toy designers I like include Paul Kaiju, Mutant Vinyl Hardcore’s Rich, that cat down in New Zealand who goes by Seymour art, Scott Tolleson is starting to get wild and I like it! Luke Reich or Weird Luke as he’s called, Dan Willet at Unbox Industries is just a machine! Also, I love Ricky Wilsons freaky shit, I wish he would do more of his own stuff!
UVD: In 2014 your artwork was featured on the cover of Mastodon’s ‘Once More ‘Round The Sun’. What was it like creating the piece and how did it feel when you saw the final product?
Skinner: It was fucking amazing! I had so much fun working on it! I didn’t know what I was doing but it ended up ok.. Brann had a lot of faith in me and it was really a gift to have him believing in me. Seeing it finished was definitely exciting.. I just finished a music video for them last month it’ll be out soon! It’s 6 minutes long..I wrote it and helped direct it! The song is called ‘Asleep in the Deep’.
UVD: Besides making amazing artwork what are some of your hobbies?
Skinner: I wish I had more time for disc golf, eating pot brownies, or playing basketball. Also, going to movies!
UVD: What first attracted you to the world of Kaiju/Sofubi toys? And do you remember what it was like when you first saw one of your designs produced?
Skinner: I grew up super amped on Godzilla, Ultraman and monsters in general. Clash of the Titans, The Hulk, Jaws, and all that kind of shit! It was all wild and new to me! Ultraman was an early obsession of mine! How could any 5 year old not like it!?
When I got my first production vinyl piece, The Ultrus Bog, in the mail it was super surreal. It was cool that Luke and Amy of Lullubell Toys did that with me! Such a rad project and it’s still one of my favorites. It just has a cool kinda timeless feel to it when I hold it and look at it I think, “I would have lost my shit over this when I was young!”
UVD: Recently you released two self-produced sofubi figures ‘Morgoggs’ & ‘Ogos’. Could you please tell us about the history behind the figures and what it was like going through the production process?
Skinner: Well, I work with my buddy David Arshawsky on a lot of stuff. First of all he’s an old 80’s sculpting legend type of guy. He worked on a bunch of the toy lines we all had growing up such sad Ninja Turtles and shit like that. So, I just kinda respect his history. Second, is I always have ideas for toys but am usually slammed doing art projects, hitting deadlines, or finding time to take mushrooms and hike.
So, when he hits me up I will send him scans of drawings, tell him the vibe of the piece, and what I like currently then he will just start. Sometimes he’ll hit me up because he’s looking for something gnarly to work on because he doesn’t always get to go crazy on shit. He knows I’m real chill on the control aspect of the design and I let him kinda be free with his interpretation of my stuff. Besides he’s an old master and I also like the way it turns out! At this point I’m in a collaboration mode and not a control mode any more. I’m doing so much shit that’s not related to each other that if I tried to control everything I’d lose my mind. Besides that I’m liking the flow of just collaboratively working with random people and industries!
UVD: All of your artwork features an incredible amount of detail, a wonderful use of color, and great designs for ghouls and monsters. Would you mind giving us a little insight into what are some of the tools of the trade you use in your process?
Skinner: Yeah man of course! I use cel vinyl paints, air brushes, Windsor Newton series 7 brushes, well primed boards, Bristol Paper, and Royal Talens inks. Also, for murals I use spray paint and Montana Ink.
UVD: In March you had a solo show called ‘Seduction of the Innocent’ held at Vinyl on Vinyl in the Philippines. Could you tell us a little about that show? And what is it like having your artwork featured around the world?
Skinner: That show was sort of a mix of my love of comic art, social political dissent, spiritual humor, and kinda being antagonistic. Also, there’s a demographic of the Philippines that loves western culture and I was kind of undermining that with my art. I love traveling the world and I’m down for more but I need some time to chill. The last 6-8 months has been insane for me!
UVD: Somehow in your busy schedule you find time to also run a lifestyle brand called Critical Hit. If you wouldn’t mind telling our readers a little about it and are there any releases they should be on the lookout for in the near future?
Skinner: I pretty much exclusively release my own stuff through my site, Critical Hit, because I want autonomy and not have to do business with anyone I don’t feel inclined to. I’m releasing new silkscreen prints, collab runs with Miscreation Toys, Mike Sutfin,Yoshi and the surfboard figure, and Leecifer. I’ve been lagging for so long., I have so much shit to paint! It’s really hard to stay on top of all this shit and not to mention my new stuff I’m trying to find time to paint. Also, the Unbox Industries collabs are always immaculate! I’m always releasing new shirts and hats, patches and stuff on Critical Hit as well!
UVD: Are there any future projects that you wish to discuss for the reader to keep their eyes open for in the future?
Skinner: Short animation films, the Mastodon music video, new prints. Look out for paintings and I’ve also been working on a cartoon pitch with Blake Anderson for Comedy Central. Let’s see how it goes!
UVD: What would your encouragements/suggestions be for artists/designers that are either just starting out or who are trying to get themselves noticed?
Skinner: Just get really really good and make a bunch of friends!
UVD: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Are there any parting words you wish to say to the reader?
Skinner: love you guys! Thanks for being kind to me and letting me get away with being a freak!
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