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Tomopop Interview: Argonaut Resins

11:00 AM on 10.10.2013 // Vanessa Cubillo

Argonaut Resins shares their history along with exclusive photos of their NYCC figures

Hailing from Hoboken, New Jersey, Argonaut Resins has been designing and making figures for six years. While they've created many figures in the past, they are currently known for creating the Tuttz, Pharaoh Hound and Sucio. Their Tuttz is even a finalist at the Designer Toy Awards for Best Resin. 

At this year's NYCC Argonaut Resins will be sharing a table with The Jelly Empire at booth #325. At their booth, both of them will have plenty of exclusive figures and customs designed with the help of many different artists like Megan Smithyman, Clinton Yaws, and Soko Cat. Speaking with Eric Nocella Diaz, he gives Tomopop an inside look at the history and operation of Argonaut Resins as he finishes his preparations for New York Comic Con.

Click the jump to find out the inspiration behind the figures, the story behind their name, and to see exclusive pictures of the figures that will be gracing Jacob Javits Center this weekend. 

How did you start Argonaut Resins and where did the name come from?
END: I got tired of doing business the way I was doing it with my parent company, GoldMane Entertainment Inc. I wanted to try something really different, so I went and set up a simple blog and online store. The goal of this new company was to get rid of the normal clunky website, make interesting and original type collectible figurines while keeping all the costs down and then be able to turn a profit on anything produced.
The company's name, Argonaut Resins, actually came from the Ray Harryhausen epic fantasy film, Jason and The Argonauts that I saw as a kid. That movie changed my life, in a way, by seeing incredible characters go on a crazy exciting journey. The adventure Jason and his crew went on was outrageous, but incredibly well done, with crazy battles, monsters and mythical figures. That whole boat journey with warriors searching for the golden fleece blew me away. So I loaded up my Argo boat with lots of fantastic artists and now we go in search of our golden fleeces, which I guess you can say is what turned into all of the interesting and exciting resin projects that have been produced over the last six years. 

Can you describe the process you go through when making one of your figures?
END: I usually have illustrations with the concept in various views called rotations that give me an idea of how tall, wide and detailed the figure will be before I start any sculpting. I then make a really simple wire armature from twisted up light weight aluminum wire that I would post on a small wooden base. This frame holds the clay while I build up the sculpture's shape and form. I used to make complex wire armatures, but they always ended up sticking out of the sculpture someplace or other when it was completed. So I keep it simple now to avoid that problem.
Your current lineup of figures are the Tuttz, Sucio and Pharaoh Hound. What was the inspiration behind these designs?

END: The Tuttz cat is based on a black Bombay house cat named Blacky my family had as a pet when I was a teenager. We got him at a few weeks old and he was like a instant family member right off the bat. That cat had such a great personality and was forever doing weird things around the house. We had him for a long time, and when he got sick and passed away it affected me deeply. So the Tuttz resin cat concept wound up being a black cat that was immortal and would live forever. The Pharaoh Hound showed up as a companion piece for the Tuttz cat, and the style worked well on a dog too. People think he's Anubis, the Egyptian Jackal head God, but he's not. He is based off the look of the real Pharaoh Hound dog that actually exists. The Sucio was more a test to see if that concept could translate onto another figure and still keep with the aesthetics of the original Tuttz design.

What artists would you like to collaborate with? 

END: I'm working with most of them now; The Jelly Empire (Selina Briggs), Small Angry Monster (Adam Pratt), Emily Bee, Clinton Yaws, Angella Powell and Kilroy's Attic
What has been your proudest moment so far with Argonaut Resins?

END: I'd have to say the whole entire six year endeavor to be honest. All the good, bad, ups and downs tempered the process of producing indie collectibles to probably make it last as long as it has for me. There hasn't been one golden moment that stands out because so much has happened as Argonaut Resins took shape. 
From your past toy releases, which have been some of your favorites?

END: If I had to choose I would say all the Tuttz releases are probably my favorites. Especially when other talented artists collaborate with me to take the brand even farther than I could have imagined. That and the fact that collectors like all the different sizes that the Tuttz cat has been produced in. 
How do you think you've evolved as an artist since you started out?

END: I think I've become more of a designer than a artist due to the amount of actual hands on creation and mental prep on the recent concepts I've created. The ideas now float around in my head and come together right on the work itself rather than on paper with drawings. Early on in my career it was the other way around for a very long time.
Can you talk about some current projects you're working on?

END: Yes, I'm working on a all new Bone Ghost Agent sculpt for artist Sam Fout. I'm also helping put together a custom Obot project in collaboration with Carbon Fibre Media as well as planning something special for this years New York Comic Con in October. The biggest project I'd really like to get off the ground would be the Tuttz illustrated story book with Robert Garrett of Xmoor Studios. The story has been fleshed out, and I even designed some of the supporting characters that will show up in the book.
How do you feel about the designer toy world now?

END: I like how the designer toy world evolves every year, and how resin concepts now have a solid foothold in it. I also love seeing new artists with original pieces show up and do well on the indie circuit.
What do you see in the future for Argonaut Resins?
END: That's hard to say since I don't like being conventional in any sense of the word, and have been known to change course on a dime. I think there will be some big changes soon that may have some of the platforms show up in different mediums other than resin. I try not to over plan what's down the road since doing that tends lock the company in too tight of a course. Everything changes so fast now in this day and age, and I'd prefer solid well received long lasting concepts over multiple easy to forget ones. Playing it very loose has always been a big part in the creation and development of Argonaut Resins from day one. I like keeping a lot of doors open, so anything can happen at any given time.

[Thank you to Argonaut Resins for giving this interview and providing us with photos. Check out their exquisite exclusive figures at NYCC this weekend at booth #325.]

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Vanessa Cubillo,
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