Aug 27, 2007
Proto Monday >> The Family by Brian Morris
Today on Proto Monday we take a close look at 'The Family', a series of vinyl mini-busts created by Chicago artist Brian Morris (ooo000ooo) slated to drop in the fall/winter from Rotofugi and Squibbles Ink. Brian's been turning heads with his jaw-dropping customs so it's fitting that his first original toys are based one a series of customs. 'The Family' features his intricate style on six different 5" mini-busts, inspired by 'found' thrift store ceramic busts and sculpted by Joe Somers (Squibbles Ink).
As seen in these first shots of Brian's hand-painted "Brother" proto, this series will immediately stand apart in a sea of art toy releases. 'The Family' brings a much needed injection of variety with the darker subject matter and Brian's black and white retro tattoo style. Eager to learn more, Vinyl Pulse had the good fortune of grilling (err... interviewing) Brian about his 'Family' . It's a good read -- enjoy.
Brian, please tell us a little bit about your self.
I live on the south side of Chicago, eat alot of red meat, prefer whiskey to wine, favorite color is black, born in '76, work in digital advertising, married with a cat, '62 Cadillac in the garage, don't believe in god, believe in people, heavy metal poser, country music, Sharpies, Subway for lunch 5 times a week, tattoos, mohawk, deep in love, early to bed, early to rise, saver not a spender, old is new, new will be old, you can't take it with you, small town raised, slight in stature, shit-talker. Trying to get back to the basics.
Congrats on your first original art toys. 'The Family' takes the minifig concept and flips it up with mini-busts. Where did the mini-bust idea come from?
Thanks - I'm excited. Kinda surreal. Never imagined there would be series of toys based on my stuff. At 5 inches tall, they are more "small" than "mini".
The series is based on two ceramic busts I customized a while back. I posted a few pics of them here and there and got a good response. People really dug them, got comments from everyone, even Mike Giant posted them on his blog (huge f'n honor). So when Whitney & Kirby approached me about doing a production toy, the busts were the natural choice. Actually, I think Whitney and Kirby were the ones that suggested that we do the busts. So the credit goes to them.
Whose Family ? Tell us more about the characters.
Hmm. It's your family, my family, his family, her family, their family and our family. I'll let the family members speak for themselves.
This first hand-painted proto screams Brian Morris with the black/white fine detail and of course the wicked graphics esp. the skull. Tell us more about your style, where it came from, how long you've been rocking it... Will we see color on some of the figures or is this straight up 100% B & W ?
Funny thing about style... Seems to me that when you stop trying to find a style, the style will find you... 10 years ago I gave up on drawing and art. I got tired of trying to find my voice or whatever. It took 6 years of not picking up a pen before I HAD to draw again... and the stuff I make now grew out of that. I had to kinda forget about making stuff that I thought would be "cool" and make stuff that I really felt. Had to stop imitating and copying and start from scratch. Though, subjects I like to deal with haven't changed since the 4th grade... aside from a brief graffiti stint. Mom still has a drawer full of grim reapers and graveyard drawings from when I was 9. I think a big part of my style is that it is drawing... I can't paint. This stuff is all about line... Color and I don't get along very well either, I got no interest in her, so she dates other guys.
Will the figures make use of color?... Lemme just say there will be different "ways" of the sculpts.
What's it been like working on these toys with Rotofugi and Squibbles Ink ?
It's been an honor and a learning experience. They have been really great about handling all of the the logistics so I only have to draw on the sculpt and work on the packaging. Who can ask for anything more? It's always rad to work with friends, it's more like hanging out with a purpose.
I really look forward to seeing Rotofugi & Squibbles bring these to market, it's going to be really good for Chicago art. With a little bit of devil's luck, we'll turn some eyes toward the midwest. So many talented people here, kinda makes my head spin when I think about it.
Any chance you'll super-size these little guys and go BIG ? What's next ?
There are a ton of projects in the works, plenty of toys and a solo show at Rotofugi in October. I gotta get through these next few months then I'll look forward. Maybe super-sized busts, maybe a line of shirts or prints... most likely I'll do nothing for a stretch.
[Thanks to Brian Morris for taking a break from his hectic schedule for this interview and to Rotofugi and Squibbles Ink for allowing us to bring this first look to you].
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Amazing stuff. Brian Morris for president.
Brian fucking rules
Morris is a stud. Nuff said.
*wipes tear from eye......
Congrats Brian, Amazing.
"it's more like hanging out with a purpose."
I love that!
ALWAYS TOP SOIL!!!
Congrats Mr. Morris!
Can't wait for these to drop. I love Brian's stuff.
Good God, I can't wait!
woohoo! hurray for brian&rotofugi&squibbles ink! can't wait for these to come out!!!
Thanks all! - Appreciate your support "The Family'