Saturday

A Nice Interview With NiceBunny

NICEBUNNY has been producing loads of free downloadable character-toys for quite a while now [tagged] and is currently producing a brand new paper toy every week on his blog and with his pending appearance at the coming Urban Underground Project [blogged], i had a long chat with the man behind NiceBunny, Brian Castleforte about his paper and vinyl creations, including a little surprise ...

TOYSREVIL: how do the concepts of your creations came about? what inspires you? and how did NiceBunny come about?

NICE BUNNY: Each of my creations come about differently.  I love cute little cuddly things as much as the dark, twisted stuff. Nicebunny is actually a perfect example of this, because he is a pretty dark, anti-hero, but still "cute" in some way.  

I created NiceBunny because I thought it would be great if there were a cool character out there that appeals to young people (and older), but also carries a positive message. A simple message. BE NICE! Nice to your planet, nice to animals, nice to each other. Just Be nice!

TRE: that's nice (sorry, i had to say that LOL) ... so which came first, the character drawings or the paper toy?

NB: The drawings came first. And I starting doing many different versions of the character with matching logos for each. (Samurai, Bandito, Tagger, DJ, etc.) which led to some fun t-shirt designs. I'm hoping to get around to doing some paintings of the character, one of these days.


TRE: why paper for your creations/toys?

NB: Well, it has forever been a dream of mine to create my own toys, and once I created NiceBunny, I knew that he was the one. But how does one go about making his own toy? That is no easy, or cheap task. So I started looking for ways to turn it into a toy. I began doing Qee and Dunny customs, of the character, just to have them in toy form. But that didn't get my toys out into the world, into peoples hands. And that's when I discovered BrickBoy, by Sjors Trimbach. I really loved his paper toy and so I downloaded a template to make my own BrickBoy custom. Naturally, I did a NiceBunny version. I modified it to better fit my character, and added ears and accessories. The end result was something pretty different. It worked so well, I made a few more of my other NiceBunny variations.

TRE: can see why they'd help fuel your creativity - your bunnies are mutipling rapidly (altho not as many as your fans would want tho LOL) why did you decide on free downloads for your Nice Bunnies designs?

NB: I did it for a few reasons. As a creator, I just want to get my stuff out there. And I really wanted to get NiceBunny out there and into peoples hands. And I thought they would be a great addition to the paper toy world, so I followed Sjors lead and made them available to everyone. And while I have an audience, I would like to give thanks to Sjors for the inspiration and for his support. He is a great talent and a super cool cat. Check out his work!

TRE: Sjors is good peoplez :) - so how has the response been so far? to the downloads and how has the general "audience participation" been?

NB: The response has been incredible. I have discovered mentions of it all over the web, in many different languages. Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew, German, Russian, Romanian, Spanish. So amazing. The audience participation has been pretty good as well. I've gotten quite a few fan emails with pics of their NiceBunny paper toys. I sent them all free stickers and I posted a bunch of them on NiceBunny.com for everyone to see.

TRE: free stickers are always nice :)))) - are the "nice bunnies" really nice? :p tell us about your creations.

NB: Ha! Well, yes and no. As nice as the Punisher I guess. I mean, he is here to protect all that is nice. However, he is not nice to those who are not nice. He is pissed off and aims to set things right. Of course, he lives in a "comic-esque" world, where it is okay to solve problems with violence.  However his message is intended for the real world... Be Nice! So he is a bit of a self contradiction, but it's all in good fun, and healthy anger.

TRE: i've been seeing vinyl protos of the bunnies at shows and on KaChing's website, what's the story on that? how did the vinyl toys came about? what's it's origin story? was it all part of the "master plan"?

NB: If by master plan you mean NiceBunny's world domination, than yes! Muahahaha! But seriously, like I said, I wanted to see NiceBunny made into toys, and so I put out the paper versions as a way to show how well the character works as such. And to my surprise and great fortune, it worked! But I never meant for the paper toy designs to be made into vinyl. I always envisioned them to be more like the actual character designs. And I still hope to see that happen one day. But I am very excited about them, none the less. I think they are going to be something very different and cool.


Actually getting them made all happened very quickly and unexpectedly. I went to Robocon in ChinaTown to see if they wanted to carry my NiceBunny t-shirts and stuff. And I showed them the paper toys as well, just to help sell the character. They loved them, and introduced me to MD Young, of The Level 5 Group, who is the man who made it happen. It's been about a year since then, and they will be available very soon.

TRE: any further details on it's release?

NB: The Samurai Bunny was supposed to drop at SD Comic Con this July. However, due to some fabrication issues, it has been pushed back to this coming Fall. All the straight, hard lines were proving to be a bit of a challenge. But it's underway now. So, soon little bunnies. Soon!

TRE: who is NICE BUNNY (Brian Castleforte)? tell us about yourself. your "dayjob"

NICE BUNNY: I do freelance motion graphics design & animation for a living, but it's not what I live for. I have been working very heard to find myself as an artist/designer and to spend my time creating the things I love, like art, tees, and toys, for both my own joy and the joy of others. I hope to be in a position soon which will allow me to spend my time just creating art, toys and tees. I'm a little tired of creating graphics to help companies sell their stuff. I want to sell my stuff! Lots of it. HA! But not just to make money, that really isn't my style. I'm just so happy when I am creating, and there is no greater reward to me than seeing people enjoying my work. I saw a kid wearing a NiceBunny t-shirt at Magic Mountain once! That was a very happy day! I mean, there are countless t-shirts out there in the world, and this kid is wearing one of mine. How incredible is that? I love that kid!

TRE: what/who are your influences? what are your inspirations? what inspires you?

NB: Inspiration comes from everywhere, and it is ever evolving. Creatively, my process seems to work in a way in which ideas continually feeds off of themselves and each other. In other words, from every idea or inspiration springs a multitude of additional ideas and inspirations. "Opportunities multiply as they are seized" ~Sun Tzu. The more I create, the more ideas come to mind. I am all over the place as far as my
work goes, and it's because I am attracted to and inspired by so many different styles, mediums, artists, and things. 

TRE: in addition to designing toys, are you yourself a toy-collector? casual or out-of-control?

NB: I am a very casual collector. Casual ONLY because I know myself well enough to know that I will get way out of control if I don't keep it that way. There are so many amazing toys out there. So many that I would just love to have, but I manage to keep most of my urges from being splurges. 

TRE: any of your other characters being developed currently? into paper toys or vinyls? introduce them please.

NB: I just finished a new paper toy design called HedKase, an original, and easier to build paper toy than the last one. The first one (a "NiceBunny Jr. HedKase") is available for download now, at NiceBunny.com




TRE: is HEDKASE a new design? is he the first and only? or harbringer of more bunnies to come?

NB: HedKase is a new design. The NiceBunny HedKase is just one in a series of many other (non-NiceBunny) characters to come. I will be releasing a new character for download, every week (for at least 2 or 3 months) at NiceBunny.com. But I have made a couple special HedKase toys for you and your viewers to download here first. I hope you like them.


[download Optimus Prime HedKase + Bumblebee HedKase]

TRE: dude - those rawk unbelievably HARD! ... from paper toys to vinyl, what's next for the NiceBunny?

NB: I am thinking about doing a contest of sorts, where people can design there own using a blank template, or something along those lines. I'll let you know. 

I also recently finished making some new plush toys, my first, called BUT WE LOVE YOU.


NB: And my wife and I are working on a new line of plush toys that we are very excited about, called PLUSH INVASION, that are based on some prints I've done. The toys are no available for sale at the moment, but we are hoping to get them made soon.



NB: I have quite a few different variations of the NiceBunny character, and there is talk of doing them as smaller versions of the vinyl toys. Perhaps as blind packs. But I'm not sure yet. But I am planning on doing a NiceBunny plush toy soon! :) And one of these days I'm going to animate him as well.

That's all for now

TRE: so where can we find NICEBUNNY products?

NB: I'm working on putting a show together at my friend's new shop, Mobius, in Korea Town. Hopefully within the next couple of months. I'll let you know.

This month I have a booth at the Urban Underground Project in San Diego during Comic Con. Should be a good time.

TOYSREVIL: cheers for your time and trouble Brian! in closing, what do you hope NiceBunny paper toys and vinyls could do for the toy world and collectors?

NICE BUNNY: Make all of their shelves a little more crowded! ;)


- also check out the NICEBUNNY Shop to get your nicebunny-fix :)

[original post circa 25.07.07]

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