Welcome to the August edition of Reactor-88's Custom Corner. This month we’re highlighting Cat Atomic.
What’s your name?
My real name is Felix Martinez but within the art and toy community, I'm more commonly known as Cat Atomic. Being able to be part of a community where I got to pick a name for myself really drew me in. I've always liked to create names for things. I remember as a kid always coming up with names for the characters I drew. That would be the first thing I did. The look and personality of the character was always based off of the name I'd pick for them.
Where are you located?
I'm from Bergen County, New Jersey.
Day job or full-time artist?
I'm a graphic artist/sign illustrator for a national chain of organic food markets. So in other words, I paint organic strawberries and grass-fed cows for a living.
Any random things you want people to know about you?
Three things you should know about me: 1) I would eat a slice of extra cheese pizza for every meal, every day, if it probably wouldn't kill me within the year. 2) I'm terrified of shower drains. 3) I'm a huge fan of stand-up comedy and hope to one day build up enough courage to actually try it.
How long have you been painting toys?
I started painting toys in April of 2014 after a friend invited me to a toy show that he was a part of. I asked questions on how to get started, bought a Munny the next day, watched a youtube video, and was hooked instantly.
Anything specific you’d like people to know about your toy work (style, influences, special techniques, etc.)?
I'm heavily influenced by a lot of different things and artists. I'm influenced by guys like Nychos for his subject matter, James Jean and Tristan Eaton for their use of color, Jon Paul Kaiser for his super clean line work and Dave Tevenal, who along with being an amazing artist is a straight up work horse and that's something I admire a lot and struggle to even come close to achieving.
I wish I could say that there's some deep rooted meaning behind my work, but there's not. I just paint them the way I do because I think they look cool. I do however, think there's something interesting about painting skulls that denote a feeling of death and reminds us of a very real life occurrence on something that most people associate with childhood and having fun. I'm certainly not the first person to incorporate skulls into their toys but every time I see it done, it always strikes me as a very intriguing combination of two totally different themes.
I'm a firm believer in putting as much thought into your supplies as you do your design. That being said, I've put a lot of thought into my supplies and I find that often times, the best paints are cheap store brand paints. However I think high quality brushes are really the way to go. The money I save on paint goes directly to high quality brushes. What you can achieve with a good set of brushes takes a toy to a whole other level.
Do you take commissions?
I do take commissions! Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Best way(s) for people to contact you/see your work?
If you'd like to see my most up to date work:
– follow me on Instagram: @cat.atomic
– check out my online portfolio, which has more than just toys: catatomic.carbonmade.com
– or if you want to purchase a pre-made toy from me, check out my store: catatomic.bigcartel.com