It’s that time again for comic collectors to convene in an convenient epicenter and scrounge more clutter for their spaces: NYCC is this weekend. As if the Nags we not a sufficient reason to go, you bet your bony butt there’s some news coming from the Metacrypt. You may remember them from that dude Shub Zeroth I’m always blabbering about. Well they have their first offishull painted version coming out, GID vinyl with translucent black, red and orange sprays. It’s beautiful. It’s going to be available at the Lulubell Toys booth (#408B) and also a the Brian Ewing booth (#120 in The Block area).
Oh yeah, speaking of Brian Ewing, not spring chicken, that guy. He’s designed more posters for your favorite rock bands than you have favorite rock bands. Or posters. Check the portfolio, son, the man truly has no fear. So naturally I approached him, because it can’t be all Hateball, all the time (edit: I am informed that yes, as a matter of fact, it can). And we’re talking exclusively about toys, because this is what truly concerns us. Why would a man who’s a successful artist stoop so low? Was it the tons of profits involved? The instant sex-appeal of men who still play with oddly shaped figurines? The unlimited fame that comes with designing a toy that is un-recognizable? I had to know.
Gnou: Before this toy, did you consider yourself a “toy guy”? Has anything changed now that you’ve made your own?
Brian Ewing: A toy collector – yes for many years. Not really a toy designer – until now. I had been approached a few times to design toys but I wasn’t very focused or the deal didn’t seem like a good idea. At one point (in 2010) a client asked me to research, design and produce a toy for them. I think that’s when Justin and I had first considered working on a toy together. Justin had reached out to people he knew in the toy world and was able to help me put together a proposal for the client. Sadly (or luckily) that client didn’t really understand the cost and amount of work that would go into producing the toy and the project died.
Gnou: And so I ask: “paper or plastic?”
Brian Ewing: Paper or plastic? I’m more of a crossover collector. I dig whatever appeals to me. Justin’s definitely had an influence on some of my toy collecting for sure. I collect a lot of Universal Horror Monster and 3A stuff right now.
Gnou: A few years ago there was talk of your working with Sideshow on a figurine, what happened there? Blatantly reading too much into the onomastics, do you feel more comfortable working in the Metacrypt than you did in the Sideshow?
Brian Ewing: I can’t really discuss that stuff. I signed a non-dsclosure agreement. Sideshow is awesome though! I feel very comfortable working as the other half of Metacrypt. Justin and I have been good friends for the past decade. So we can bounce ideas off each other and not feel too pressured to make the client happy since we are the client. We let the other do as they want and then we present it and see what works and what doesn’t. Metacrypt is very different from a commercial toy company. We have less money (sigh..) and responsibility. So we can work at our own pace. Metacrypt is about symbiosis in many different ways. Justin is the voice and I am the maker. Justin and I work together as a team on Metacrypt, but our friendship makes for a strong foundation. If the work ever got in the way of our friendship we both agree we would burn Metacrypt to the ground and skip off into the sunset.
Gnou: You made a print of Shub Zeroth’s face – how much did the sculpt influence your drawing?
Brian Ewing: The sculpt happened after I did the print. I pulled the drawing from my designs that we gave Luke in order to produce the toy. Originally the print was for a group show and Justin suggested I save it for something else – so I released the print during San Diego Comic Con when we unveiled the prototype sculpt of Shub Zeroth. I then took the art and used it for the header for the Metatype Release .0 at the 2012 NY Comic Con.
Gnou: Have you put any thought into painting a Shub Zeroth?
Brian Ewing: Oh yeah definitely! But we keep running out of blanks! The response to the full figure releases we had at SDCC this year surprised us and we blew through them so quick that we didn’t really get to save some for ourselves. I have a solo show coming up in November ( http://rivetart.com/get_show?i_show=78) and we planned on doing a small release of Shubs for it. Not sure if I’ll be painting them or if Luke will. We have a ton of crazy ideas so we need to pick the one that works best for my show. The rest we’ll use later. Glad I saved my airbrush! People laughed at me when I was a kid, for wanting to become a professional t-shirt airbrush artist at the mall…now I’ll have the last laugh. No I won’t. Nobody cares. I can’t speak for Justin, but I’m curious what kind of spin another artist can put on Shub. We hired Craig Robson ( http://daggersforteeth.tumblr.com/ ) to design our first shirt based on my original Metacrypt designs. Seeing it reimagined by someone else was awesome and a learning experience. We’ve also seen some amazing custom paint jobs of the toy by other artists and it’s been very humbling. I feel like I’m seeing Shub for the first time when someone paints him up.
Gnou: Would you be able to replicate your current artwork style in painting a 3D figure?
Brian Ewing: I’m not sure I can replicate my artwork style on the figure. I’d probably lose my mind. It’s a different medium so I wanna try a style that’s different than my own. Part of the appeal to me with vinyl toys is the abstract paint jobs they have. It’s fascinating.
Gnou: Hateball mentioned that the Slime and Glack releases were his top picks… What is your ideal Shub made out of?
Brian Ewing: Boobies… If I had a favorite I’d have to stop. We’ve only done a few releases so I’m not sure yet. The ideas we have for future releases gives me more of a nerd boner. Until those get released. Then I’ll be more excited to see what else we can do with it. It’s all about the journey.