Today’s a pretty exciting day. We have our first Artist Spotlight post featuring Chris Moore of webcomemonsters.com. 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.
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.
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.
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, www.webecomemonsters.com has official release information and the store, for anyone who wants to see updates and WIP pics, they can find me on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/WeBecomeMonsters . Finally they can also follow us on twitter at @webecomemonster.