Happy Proto Monday! Today we're stoked to bring you an exclusive first look at Jesse Hernandez's first original figure, Ozomahtli, coming from Bic Plastics. As you can see, the figure's hyper-detailed sculpt finally does Jesse's art justice. While platforms help to promote an artist they are definitely limited in terms of translating an artistic vision. Not so with this figure which brings the full impact of Jesse's Aztec inspired art to bear. It's an intimidating piece at 9" tall (6" without the removable headress) and roughly 7" wide. Beyond pics of the sculpt and original designs (after the jump), we figured it was only right that you hear from the man himself. So here's our interview with Jesse Hernandez.
Hey Jesse. Can you give us the lowdown on Ozomahtli? What was the inspiration for the design?
I wanted to create a toy that reflected my style and heritage. Also to create a piece that is very detailed and intense, with a timeless design. There have been many monkey inspired toys before, but I wanted to make the king of all monkeys with Ozomahtli.
Your work is deeply rooted in ancient cultures such as Aztec and Mayan — does Ozomathli come from one specific culture or is it a mix? How do you approach the balance between cultural accuracy and compelling toy design ?
Ozomahtli literally means "Monkey" in Nahuatl the language of the Aztec people. My work generally reflects the Aztec culture, but I'm definitely influenced by the Mayan as well. I try to make art that will spread knowledge, and also inspire other people, in much the same way as my canvas work.
Ozomathli makes its own way with a seated pose. Did you make this choice to convey the sense of regality ? Was he seated from the jump — throughout the design process ?
Yes as you can see in the original design he has always been sitting. I think the crown gives him a lot of regality, and also puts fear in any potential enemies. I wanted to put him in an original pose that was natural for a monkey.
While you've done several platform toys (FLCL Canti, Kaniza, and Dunny), this will be your first original vinyl figure. Making that jump is a considerable challenge — did you consider resin as an alternative to relying on a company to do vinyl ?
I'm very excited to finally have my first original vinyl piece come out. It's been a long time coming. I've had deals with a lot of companies that fell through the cracks, for various reasons over the last 4 years or so. No I never considered resin for this design, but am looking into doing some short run resins in the near future, so keep an eye out.
[We'd like to congratulate Jesse on Ozomahtli and thank him for slogging through the interview in the wee hours of the morning!]