regardless of intent or eventual result (as opinions lie in the hands of the buying public, as some may argue), i'd bugged Huck Gee himself about his vinyl-journey thus far, the genesis of Akuma Bomb and what the future holds for his creations [*NSFW - ADULT-themed drawings ahead]
TOYSREVIL: first off, how long have you been in the vinyl-trade? customizing / designing and how has the journey been thus far? have you enjoyed the ride?
HUCK GEE: Hmmm... I don't think I ever quite quit collecting toys from my youth, but I didn't get into vinyl until I stumbled over the HK artists back in 2000 or so. Started toying around with the idea of making toys out of my graffiti and illustration characters shortly thereafter. Then I bumped into Paul Budnitz and the rest is, how you say, history? It's really been an amazing ride. A lot of hard work over the last 10-15 years and sometimes no clue where it was leading but I never quit doing what I loved to do, draw. And it has paid off ten-fold. Can't wait to see what else the future holds, good or bad. Although, to be honest, I'm kinda hoping for good.
TRE: as do your fans too, no doubt :) - we've seen many an awesome Dunny+Munny-customs from you, as well as your trademark-style on platform toys, but i don't know if peeps realize this (besides noobs like me LOL); besides your Skullheads, AkumaBomb would actually be considered your first ever all-original-sculpt (design) vinyl-toy, isn't it? why did it take so long?
HG: Good question. The 12" Skullheads took 2 years to finish production. Took downright forever and the retail price was way over what I had originally intended. I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to work with Marc Jacobs and Jil Sander if I had it do all over again but I wish I could've kept the price down to make it more affordable for the true collectors.
HG: After that, I kinda just fell into the routine of doing whatever came my way. Customs, Dunnys, Qees, CircusPunks, Trexis, etc. I was having fun and enjoying the results. But it wasn't until recently that I realized I had boxed myself into a corner as a toy customizer.
HG: I love working on Dunnys and expanding the little Dunny world I've been creating but when it's all done and said, the Dunny is still Tristan's figure. And that doesn't sit well with me. Nothing to do with Tristan's l33t skills, I just realized I was building a universe I didn't own. So now we have AkumaBomb and I have some new "Gold Life" stuff in the works that should shake things up a bit. :D
TRE: consider us "shaken" :) - how long did the conception and evolution/developement of the AkumaBomb take? what was the genesis of the Akuma Bomb? what was it's influence?
HG: AkumaBomb is based on a print I did a couple years ago. She's sort of Skullhead's main squeeze. I had original drawn up AkumaGirl years ago to see if I could smash monstrously twisted and stupidly sexy into an image that worked. And then tossed her through a bunch of Japanese Pop imagery. I had her in tentacle porn, on a bosozuku bike, at a JGTC track, etc. And I think it worked. I liked the results. Now That I think of it, she was actually one of the first toy concepts I threw at Paul Budnitz back in 2002.
TRE: works for me!
HG: Anyways, once I got the approval for a figure, I think it took about 12 months from initial drawings to finished product in hand. We went through about 3 completely different full sculpts, a dozen or more tweaks to the final sculpt, then we had some balancing issues to sort out with her placement and the flex of a soft vinyl bomb. The last thing I wanted was one of numerous vinyl figs out there that collapse on themselves once they get any sort of light or heat applied to them. The printing was spot on almost from the first try and the box art came together gorgeously.
HG: Before I did the yahoo-cowboy version we used for AkumaBomb, I did a Kamikaze pilot version. One single print, that's now in someone's private collection. It was part of my toying around with Japanese Pop stuff. Something of the Japanese imagery and a giant bomb didn't sit well with me though. Brought up mental images of Hiroshima and I didn't want to make light of such a horrific event. Maybe that was just me but whatever the true reasoning, I decided to redraw her in her yahoo-cowboy gear. Something a bit more WWII Bomber NoseArt-esque and pretty symbolic of the monstrous USA cowboy throwing bombs around. Don't get me wrong, this isn't some sort of anti-war statement. But there is something truly monstrous unearthed any time bombs are dropped in this world.
TRE: tell us a little known secret about the Akuma Bomb.
HG: I have some really, really nasty drawings of her hiding in my studio somewhere. But for some reason I think I'll have trouble getting them made into toys. :D
TRE: i wonder why? (*heh*) ... i reckon tis the unclear boundary of the average-masses' own tolerance of "art" versus "toy" and all it's moralistic opinions (not to say they are all unwarranted, mind) and that "toy" may be argued "for kids", but "art toys" may actually warrant their own boundaries, IMHO ('art' versus 'opinion of the masses') ... that aside, no doubt this is just the tip of the iceberg with other original-designs to come - anything else that's coming along that you can leak a dribble or two to your fans about?
HG: Tons and tons and tons of stuff coming out over the next 12 months but nothing to disclose yet. Okay maybe a little... NINJAS!!!
TOYSREVIL: ya got me there! fair enough - cheers for your time and trouble, HG! in closing, could you share with your readers; WHO IS HUCK GEE?
HUCK GEE: Damn, who is Huck Gee? A self proclaimed b-boying, skirt chasing, toy designing, illustrating, world travelling, racecar driving, troublemaking computer nerd.
- find out more about HUCK GEE on his website / myspace / biography on Vinyl-Creep [additional images via]
[original post circa 15.10.07]