Sketching and concept art, sculpture, engineering, painting, multi-media, package design and marketing. Brian, creator of GUUMON Vinyl Labs combines them all to produce a usable object that taps the imagination of a lot of kaiju addicts including me.
I first met him in Amsterdam a few months back while he was curator for the Nederland Monster Jam kaiju show (Kaijumonster coverage, here) hosted by Concrete Image store. The show was a huge success and I own Brian big time for taking a giant risk organizing the first ever kaiju event in the Netherlands. Not only did we have a blast in and around the gallery, most pieces sold out fast and we got to talk to a lot of friendly Dutch Kaiju collectors. GOOD TIMES!
A few months passed and it is about time we did an interview.
What does your studio look like?
Brian: I have two studios that make up GUUMON Vinyl Labs. One in Massachusetts and one in New York state. The Massachusetts studio is smaller, for sculpting and short runs of about 5 - 30. The NY studio is outfitted with three airbrush stations so other makers and artists and I can work together on projects simultaneously. There I can do much larger runs, experiment with new colorways, one-offs and customs etc. Some of the best work I've been able to do has been up there.
|GUUMON: NYCC DAIGOMI|
Brian: Yep, I do all my own sculpts, using various materials and methods. There's usually a lot of production going down at the labs. A new figure is being produced at the moment in Japan. His name is BANGAGON and he's a super badass samurai-ish cat-like kaiju with tusks. He has a sidekick (who is also a badass), a clam figure named Dirty Bit. They will be sold as a set.
Brian: I'm mostly inspired by many aspects of Japanese culture, all types of toy design, cats, and designers from the 1960's, 70's and 80's. I'm also heavily influenced by other kaiju makers like BLObPUS, Plaseebo, Mark Nagata, Paul Kaiju, Gargamel, and others. Collaborating with other people on projects, where both people can get some something out of the collaboration,is inspiring.
Who are your favorite artists?
Brian: Go Nagai, Takashi Murakami, Perry Farrell, Deadmau5, Akira Kurosawa Frank Stella, Gerrit Rietveld, MCA, Prince, James Rosenquist, and of course all of the designers mentioned above.
I heard your latest sculpt is quite different in style that you usually produce, what's going on with that?
Brian: Bangagon and Dirty Bit were inspired by a lot of things really, but mostly while I was in Japan last, I was spending time in Atami on the coast. The beaches, the people, the food, everything was just killer. While there, I was inspired by some of the stray cats I met, and how badass they were. More of the actual story, and inspiration for that duo, will be coming out for the release but that is still yet to be determined.They are more character-based, likeable kaiju, whereas Daigomi was kind of like that abstract kaiju that only a mother could love.
When people hear "GUUMON", what do you want them to think?
Brian: Well, I just want people to think "that's interesting." Some of my designs are meant to be customized, so I do want people be inspired enough to create something new with one of my pieces as a base. I also hope people might like the figures for just what they are.
How crazy has it been getting ready for NYCC, hows it going?
Brian: Well yeah, it's been kinda hectic, but the work I'm doing for it has been rewarding. Like working with Paul Bas from A Thing of Evil has been great. He is an inspiring guy who's all about the toy. I'm stoked to be collaborating with some super talented people like Skinner, Lash, Todd Robertson and Will Long at the moment. Some of these collaborations will appear in the Monster Island booth. I'm also looking forward to seeing a custom Daigomi by Jon at Rampage Toys that is currently in the works.
|Titanium OOZE daigomi GID|
What advice do you have for up-and-coming toy artists?
Brian: Don't do anything like I did....ha ha, I would say "Just do it." If you have the idea to make or design anything, I encourage people to take a risk to do something they are passionate about.
A true Kaijumonster exclusive?
Brian: Well yeah, I'd like to work something out for possibly a short run. Something just for your fans. I do have something in mind; I'd like to send you some pics and see what you think.... let me know if you're down with that.
What can the Kaijumonster readers expect from GUUMON in 2012 and 2013?
Brian: Well I've got 3 or 4 shows in the works, a bunch of customs I'm doing for other people, and besides the Bangagon and Dirty Bit figures I've got about 3 other sculpts almost ready for production. I'm also working on perfecting some new colorways like the "GUUMON Titanium" paint scheme (below on a bootleg Kaws figure) using Monster Kolor paints. I'll have to let you know how all those things are coming out as they happen.