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Artoyz Interview

Chris Booker

I was recently asked to do a short interview for Artoyz in Paris, so thought i'd share it here for you all. The interview can be viewed on their website with pictures too. HERE

- Tell us a little about your work, what are your tools and your inspirations?

My work has changed a lot over the years as I've developed certain application methods and of course my work changes based on my feelings and mood. Right now I aim to create something that can be seen as peaceful, sad, tragic.. It really depends on the viewers interpretation. For me it is about the difference between what we feel on the inside, and what we allow the world to see.

I work mainly with acrylic paints and inks, on vinyl pieces, I couldn't live without my heat gun which speeds up drying times and saves a lot of waiting around. For sculpting work I use a combination of Super Sculpey and Milliput, with tools ranging from  wax sculpting sets, to tin foil (for complex natural textures)

When I first started out I was inspired a lot by anime, and artists such as Tado, who managed to bring those styles over to the west in such a unique way. As I gained confidence with a brush I developed my style into something more painterly, I think now I am mostly inspired by artists such as James Jean, Yoskay Yamamoto, and Yoshitomo Nara. I realy love their ability to create the work that looks so of the moment, yet still seems to completely ignore the way the world around us has affected of a lot of modern styles.

- When did you start working on art toys ?

I started working as a self employed artist in 2011 with the launch of my design in the Kidrobot 2011 Dunny series, however i'd been using toys as a platform for a few years before that, I believe somewhere around 2006.  Art toys were something i'd become a big fan of after seeing them originally on the old Kidrobot website, before they had started producing their own vinyl platform. I remember seeing the Eric So and Michael Lau figures and being totally blown away by the originality (and the prices) They were seen by me then as something unobtainable, partly due to the high cost, and partly because Kidrobot didn't ship overseas, meaning the UK was pretty much cut out of the whole 'scene' at the start.

Soon after that I remember Playlounge opening in the UK, who sold Qee's, which were my entry platform. I remember wanting to have my own piece produced so badly that I painted one myself, then the whole thing blew up, Dunnys were relelased and availability in the UK improved, because they were then something I could actually find without having to source them from abroad, it made using them as an art platform much more viable.  As soon as I noticed a demand for my work on toys, people actually wanting to purchase my customised pieces, this meant I could fund further purchases of DIY toys (as soon as they became available) As there was increased demand, with a growing commission list, and I was able to develop my sculpting skills, it was decided that I should at least give it a try as a 'job' It has been steady ever since, though I am going to be slowing down a little this year to ensure I have more time to concentrate on my original path as a designer.

- What was your last creation on an art toy ? 

At the moment I am finding a lot of time taken up producing work for ToyconUK in April so it's all moving very quickly, I have a number of pieces half finished at the moment, but the last piece I actually completed was a cute Shawnimals Dumpling.  I don't work in the straight clean cute style so much now but it was a nice change, and I know a lot of people prefer this to my current dirty style so I occasionally accept commissions like that. Hopefully my style will continue to evolve over the coming years, along with art toys themselves.