First off, tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into the vinyl scene. How long have you been making customs for?
I am 35-year-old Texas native that is married with 4 kiddos and hold a regular gig as Art Director at Ignite Partnership. I got into designer vinyl about 4 years ago as a collector, but actually took a stab at it in the early part of 2009.
How would you describe your customization style? Do you prefer using the vinyl figure like a canvas, sculpting your own bits and pieces onto the figure, using odds and ends from around the studio in your pieces, etc.?
Ohh yeah! Nothing is taboo when I am making a figure. I have a box of random toy pieces and materials that can become potential accessories. I usually do a lot of sculpting because I like to add my own features to the figure and really give it dimension and character. I am not that good of a painter so sculpting a eye or nose, etc., comes easier to me.
Of the customs you've worked on in the past, which one is the one that, if asked, you would point to as the one defining custom by Cody Phillips?
I would have to say "King of the Can" I did for Red Bull's art of the can event. I wanted to introduce using vinyl toys as an actual art pieces so I used the Kidrobot Mega Munny for my canvas and used chrome auto paint to deck it out. People were like "what is that made of?" "Is that a baby shape?" LOL. It got some good response and was the main icon for all their advertising for the event, so it got me some good recognition.
Along that line of questioning, what defines Cody Phillips' style? What are your inspirations, etc.?
I am really inspired by a lot of different things. Friends, family, art, music, etc. But what comes out the most in my art is just stuff that I find to be "funny". Random things that I think of that I just need to get out of my head and onto a toy or canvas so I can just sit back and laugh at it. I love it when people share my sense of humor and are driven to my work by the way it makes em feel.
Are there any of your customs that, if given another chance, you'd go about doing a different way in hindsight?
Sure. I am constantly learning new capabilities of vinyl and clay. Every figure is different when you bake sculpt on them, so there is a real learning curve once you start to push the boundaries of your design. Then you get into paint and clear coat in Texas humidity, then you're really screwed. So my approach has changed the last few years on what I use, how I use it, and when to use it. Some of my earlier pieces just looked horrible in the way I sculpted or painted so yeah, I would go back and refine those with the knowledge I have today.
You've recently released (in collaboration with Monsterbot Studio) ISCREAM, your first character to be cast in vinyl. What was the experience like in seeing ISCREAM come to life, and how do you feel now that it's an actual piece that people can purchase?
I am really excited to be working with Scott on the project. We both think alike when it comes to crazy characters, so when I came up with the idea for a series called "Sweet Revenge" (a battle between healthy food and junk food characters) I knew Scott would have some great ideas to run with. It came out great and I can't wait to see some of the customs people make of it.
How's the scene doing in the Dallas-Fort Worth area? Has it changed since Kidrobot Dallas closed its doors and/or since Atama opened theirs?
The art scene is really flourishing in general, but the vinyl scene is just making a footprint in Dallas. ATAMA has done a great job about keeping legs on the awareness of artists and the availability of collector vinyl pieces since the close of the Kidrobot Dallas location, but that in my opinion that is just part of it. Getting more local artists to try their hand at customizing these blank figures and letting the forums and toy collector boards see that there are some outstanding pieces coming out of Dallas will really blow up the vinyl scene and put us on the map.
Are there any other shows or events we can expect to see your work in soon?
I have been really wrapped up with the Vinyl Thoughts show on Sept. 15, but later this year, I will be in the Art Love Magic UNDERGROUND show as an artist and co-host and I will be showing a custom vinyl toy clock at the Dallas Nomads clock show in November.
Thanks again, Brian!
And thank you very much for sitting down to chat with us, Cody!
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Brian Szabelski is Tomopop's Editor-in-Chief, stuck with an ever-growing collection of figures and toys. When he's not posting on Tomopop, he can usually be found working on any number of project... full profile | More staff profiles
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