Artist Spotlight – Alison Perez

Today’s artist spotlight is the talented Miss Zukie, also known as mild mannered Ms Alison Perez. She’s been making her impact in the art toy world with her cute and colorful Zukies. Very recently, she simultaneously broke into the vinyl and the custom art scene by releasing her first DIY Zukie! The one thing that’s really struck me about Alison, is just how driven she is to get her creations out there to you. Please take some time to check out her site and order a few of her toys for yourself or loved ones!

– Knives

Hey! To start things off right, can you please state your name and a tell us a little about yourself.

MZ – Well my given name is Alison, but my artist name is Miss Zukie. I’m a contemporary artist and the creator and toy designer of a character I call Zukie. I started drawing at the age of 7 and never stopped. I was an AP Honors in Art in high school and just graduated from C.W Post University with my BFA. I work with different techniques like airbrush, wood work, water color, etc… I like to learn different methods to enhance my ability as an artist.

Tell me a little about Zukie. What inspired them?

MZ – Zukies where created 2 years ago. Zukies are mysterious characters that do not talk; they have thought bubbles and facial expressions. Zukies are about color. In my life color has always been a way to express feelings. I want people to understand that using the vocal fold for communicating is not necessary. Nonverbal behavior increases the bond between people and is an intimate way of communicating with each other. Zukies intend to generate emotions through their visual thoughts and thats how they create that bond with us. Zukies come from garbage. Years and year of decayed garbage an egg  is formed.  Something so ugly turns into something beautiful.

What inspired me? Well I took a trip to Florida and stopped by this gallery where I saw amazing artwork from an artist named Fabio Napoleoni. He also has a character.

Oh? What’s his character’s name?

MZ – His characters don’t really have names, what inspired me was the colors and what his paintings meant. As I read in his bio his painting are about his daughter and how he loves her.

How long have you been making your own toys? What started you down that path?

MZ – This is the first year that I have a vinyl toy in selected stores.
I just entered the vinyl toy scene last year and it’s very new to me but I learn fast. Two years ago, I created Zukie and I never really told anyone until earlier last year.

Can you talk about your technique at all? Your process? Do you do all the creations yourself beginning to end?

MZ – I started out making my first mother mold. Size about 4″ tall . This first series was made in plaster of which I made 56. Then I just thought to my self “what’s the point in spending all that money for supplies when I can save up and have my own toy made for me?” As for the process of how my character became vinyl …basically my lawyer did all the work. It really is hard to find a company that’s trust worthy. And that’s why I hired a great lawyer to make sure I protected myself and my character. It was about a year process. As for the company I worked with to see them produced, I just send them some photos and have had constant discussions with them about what I want. It’s important to find a good company who will support your ideas. It’s also a pretty expensive process but it was worth it.

How many different varieties do you have currently in production?

MZ – Right now its just one vinyl figure. Probably later I’ll have another version of the Zukie made.

I really like the DIY Zukie you sent me.. I hope they’re a big hit for you. They’re so simple, a little like a blank canvas.. something anyone could paint or change into anything.. and yet they still have that touch of character that’s entirely yours. Was this your goal or part of the idea when designing Zukie?

MZ – The DIY Zukie was a part of my main goal. The other half of my goal is to see other artist create a Zukie with there own style. A part of my personal goals, which is a pretty big part is having many shows around the world.

 Are the DIY Zukies limited or made to order?

MZ – They are made to order. You can get the DIY Zukies in my shop at, Yukifish in Germany, The OutLand Store in the Neverland’s and ToyTokyo in Manhattan. There will be more stores added to the list. But even with that small list, Zukies are half way around the world ^_^.

What other designers/artist are you inspired by?

MZ – I would have to say I learn from everyone, Rsin, CashCannon, Matt Anderson, We Become Monsters etc. (our interview here)
But I would like to give a special thanks to ZAM ART  who was the first person to give me info and show me the game of vinyl toys. He help me out and answered all my questions when I needed them.

Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years? What are some aspirations/plans for your future toys? Do you have any other types of toys in the works beyond Zukie?

MZ – I hope to see myself living life creating art. It’s hard for me to see my self not doing something I love. As for plans I can say I plan as I go. As of other toys not Zukie related I have some ideas. 😉

Star Wars or Star Trek? Why?

MZ – Hahaha I pick Star Wars. I was always a fan of the movies. I grew up with Star Wars as my dad is a fan so he bought most of the toys and movies.

You get one super power for a single day, what would it be and what would you do while you had it?

MZ – I will I have to say teleportation!!!!! I could go anywhere. The first place would be Japan . I always wanted to go there experience the beautiful colors and architecture.

Where can folks go if they want to look at and purchase some of your creations themselves?

MZ – My web site is WWW.ZUKIES.NET and they can find my shop, blog spot, and Facebook fan page for updates.

Thank you Alison for the various Zukie pieces you sent me and the lovely painting! I wish you all the success in your upcoming shows! Speaking of which, would you care to share some of those details?

MZ – I would like to announce that I am having a big show called “Zukie Vs. The World”. I invited many talented artist to participate in this show. The show will take place at ToyTokyo Underground Gallery in NY. More Details later on .
For updates follow:




Thank you!

If you’re an independent artist and would like to be considered for a feature here on RtR, please don’t hesitate to shoot us an email with a link to your website/art samples and tell us a little about yourself!






Artist Spotlight – Chris Moore of “We Become Monsters”

Today’s a pretty exciting day. We have our first Artist Spotlight post featuring Chris Moore of I want to thank Chris for taking the time to do this interview and for sending a skelechub for me play with! Don’t leave just yet, but do check out Chris’online store where you can grab one of his gruesome creations AND save a little money with the coupon code 2012die now through the end of January. 

– Knives

Let’s kick things off formally, tell the world your name and a little about yourself.

C – Sure, my name is Chris Moore. I’ve done art in some form or another pretty much all my life. My training and degree was centered around industrial design, prop construction, and makeup FX.  I currently work 8-5 doing tech work for a huge corporation, then come home and try to cram in 4-6 hours on toys. Luckily I have a very supportive wife!

I have one of those too, don’t know what I’d do without her. How long have you been making your own toys and what started you down that path?

C – I guess I really started making ‘stuff’ while living in Los Angeles. I had been there for a few years, didn’t really do much in the way of FX work, had not worked on my portfolio and generally didn’t touch art anymore outside of some doodling. I had always collected toys to some degree and then stumbled upon some Medicom Freddy Kruger and Alien Real Action Hero at a toy store. Well holy shit – I couldn’t believe there was an old school Gi Joe style Freddy and Alien doll. Keep in mind this is before Hot Toys, or even BBI / Dragon, as far as I am aware. From there I got into 1/6th a bit, and my other big toy love, Chogokin. I don’t care for anime but give me some brightly colored goofy looking robots and I’m a happy guy. Anyways, back to 1/6th, I loved that Freddy, nobody was making zombies at the time, so I made myself a few for my collection. I think I have something like 30 now, packed into 2 shelves of a Detolf. I needed a horde, and I wanted them unique. I dabbled in this fashion for years, just creating for myself. Over the years people had continually asked if I sold them and my response was always ‘Well then *I* wouldn’t have them anymore, so what is the the point?’ I had no desire to share my stuff if I didn’t get one – these were all made for me. Someone eventually directly asked for a commission, and it was hard to argue that – I’d be making it from day one for someone else, so I wouldn’t have any feeling of loss as the toy was never ‘mine’. Odd distinction, I know, but it was a requirement for me, for whatever reason. After that and getting into buying other indie toys, I saw that the process used for these small run resin toys were exactly what I went to school for, and then something clicked – I can use the skills I already knew to make my own stuff, keep it, AND share it with other people. I sold a bunch of my collection, bought some equipment and started working around July of 2011. First release was December of that same year.

Can you talk about your technique at all? Your Process? Do you do all the creations yourself beginning to end?

C – I do make them from beginning to end. A few started with a sketch – something I want to try to force myself to do more often as it helps you sculpt faster if you are not designing on the fly. Basically, I sculpt in Magic Sculpt and Sculpey Firm, depending on what I’m working on. Then I make my mold out of Silicone and start casting. I are just about done with a pressure tank setup as well, so no more wasted resin trying to get bubble free pours, and I should be able to do crystal clear resins and use some fun additives (GITD, Color changing, beads). Once the Casting is cured, I demold and do some clean up with a knife – nearly took my thumb off in October doing this, which delayed series 1 to December. After demolding and cleanup, the pieces need washed of mold release and then once dry, painted. I really do want to do some collaborations as well, though.

Where did the idea for your creations come from, what’s their story? 

C – I’m no writer, so there isn’t much of a storyline to them. I just like monsters. I guess it’s more of a Secret Base thing, where it is just a slew of weird creatures, than a Three A thing, where there are comics providing a backstory.  I can be somewhat self-critical, so I think this may be a safety mechanism – if I grew to dislike a backstory, no matter how happy I was with the figure, I’d grow to hate the actual toy. I’m much less confident in my writing than in my more physical art skillset. I think a story would make them easier to market in some ways, but I’m terrible at self promotion and have plenty of other areas to improve there without the additional issues I’d give myself trying to tie these guys together or flesh out why or how a fat skeleton slug thing can even exist. I’ll leave that up to the owners.

How many different varieties of monsters do you have currently in production?

C – Produced and in the store, we have Skelechub, Skellafella, Footlie, Stumple and Birddog. Currently in production for Series 2, I’ve got a new variation of Skelechub (new sculpt) a budget figure named Ghasp, and 2 others.

Where do you hope to see “We Become Monsters” in say, 10 years? What are some aspirations/plans for your future toys?

C – I’d love to quit my day job, but if that can’t happen in 10 years or ever, I’ll keep going. I’d *REALLY* like to do some sofubi style vinyl stuff but the barrier to entry is way too high for me right now, cost-wise. So what I’m doing is sticking with resin, for now, and experimenting with materials and articulation. I do feel there has to be a garage castable material out there somewhere that could be close to vinyl – I need to grab a new Burman Foam catalog and dig around a bit. I may take a stab at glass or concrete work as well – a combo of those with the cold cast metals I’m already using could allow for some interesting higher tier pieces.

What other designers/artist are you inspired by?

C – Whew, I’m going to miss a ton, but here we go: Secret Base, Gargamel, Super 7, Pushead, October toys, We Kill You, Monsterforge, H_X, Plaseebo, Defiance Speed, Emily Slade, Dave Webb..

.. and anyone I ever see making resins or customs and trying to get them out in the wild. There is so much amazing work out there. Almost everyone is super helpful too – best two tips for anyone thinking of trying this is ask for help – you will get it, and WEAR A RESPIRATOR.

Indeed! OK, changing gears a little.. Star Wars or Star Trek and Why?

Star Trek, original series. It is timeless and always hilarious. Seriously, it is amazing comedy. I like SW just fine, it just is not funny and comedy always wins.

You get one super power for a single day, what would it be and what would you do while you had it?

This is rough, I’d want a package option, picking just one is hard. I’ll go with teleportation, just for the cheap travel and awesome toy shopping and food in other cities. I love Tokyo, so eating lunch there everyday would be awesome.

Me, I’d have chosen the power to print money… and bacon.

Chris, it’s been fun. Thanks for your time and for sending me a Skelechub to play around with. Where can folks go if they want to procure one of your creations themselves?

The website, has official release information and the store, for anyone who wants to see updates and WIP pics, they can find me on facebook at . Finally they can also follow us on twitter at @webecomemonster.