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MAN-E-FEATURE// Exclusive interview with Skin Deep creator, Scott Wilkowski…

(photo taken from Scott’s personal artist proofs)

Gaining notoriety for his breathtaking clear skeletal style of (official!) bootlegging, Scott Wilkowski‘s career in art toys has lead numerous successful projects, including the hand sculpt and casted Green Death robot, the Bud and Yoka custom series, Lulubell’s Creature Feature, and most recently, the Skin Deep show.

Debuting at last year’s Designer Con, Skin Deep’s collection of 6 re-castings of iconic art toys have since become some of the most sought after pieces on the planet. We managed to catch up with Scott ahead of the third and final leg of the Skin Deep tour over at Portland’s Screaming Sky Gallery to find out about his influences, his plans for the future, and of course, that ‘infected’ bootleg style…

(photo taken from Scott’s personal artist proofs)

What first got you into the art toy scene and toys in general?

I’ve really had a life long fascination with toys. I have a feeling that I thought about and played with toys a bit differently than other kids in my neighborhood. Wild characters and costumes, fine details all spoke to me from birth on. As soon as I graduated with my Industrial Design degree in 99, I started my professional path of sculpting.

Do you have any fond memories of a particular toy when you were growing up?

I loved my Han Solo Hold-Out Blaster. I was so excited to bring it to Kindergarten Show & Tell only to have it taken away first thing in the morning because weapons weren’t allowed!  I still remember my 5 year old self being so bummed out by that.

You’ve worked alongside the likes of the legendary Brian Flynn (of Super 7) in your career as toy sculptor/creator. Are there any artists in particular that have inspired you in your work, and is there anyone you would like to collaborate with in the future?

I think Art and Life is one long haul. I really like seeing artists amass a life’s body of work and the changes that happen along the way. Successful or not, it’s all inspirational to me.

There are new collaborations on the horizon! This kind of work is really important to me. Spending a decade working alone in the studio has kind of isolated me from society. So when given the opportunity to work with another artist to create something new, I’m all for it!

Your Skin Deep ‘infected’ bootlegs have propelled your work to the forefront of the art toy scene, what gave you the idea to initially create them?

There was an open invite from DKE for the Yoka show. I always wondered what it would look like to cast something inside of another and if I could pull it off.  Since the Yoka is a bear, I was doing a bit of research on bear skeletons. I found very interesting sites about Cave Bear worship. In the Drachenloch caves, discoveries of Cave Bear skulls  arranged by Neanderthals are thought to be man’s earliest form of worship. The ideas of worship and artefacts are what the first Yoka was about. This concept is my jumping off point for all of the infected figures. All of these skeletons I make are deformed. They are forced to live in a body they might not really belong to.

We most likely all have alters’ to our toys. I’m not talking about any kind of religion, but we do treat these objects with respect and have special places in our homes for them. There is great tradition in artifacts of worship. I’m curious what future societies will think of the Art Toys that are made and treasured today.

(photo taken from Scott’s personal artist proofs)

Since the bottom of the industry fell out a few years ago, more designers/sculptors have been casting and releasing work independently. How can you see the future panning out?

I think it’s great that people can make whatever they want and there is an audience for their work. There is something very fulfilling about doing it yourself. It’s difficult for many reasons and amazing that individuals still are going for it!

As for the future…I’m just trying to get through the day! hahaha

Do you think we’ll ever see the huge production houses rise again, or is the more personal nature of handmade, strictly limited art toys a healthier option for the ultimately niche industry?

Some things will grow for sure. I think there is a rhythm to life and to production. Some things happen at the right time and some things don’t. You just have to do the best you can. The niche industry will support what it can, big or small.

What plans do you have for the future? Are there anymore ‘infected’ bootlegs to come? And will you be working on any new original toys? We loved your Green Death figures, so would love to see an extension of the range…

Yes, there will be new Infected bootlegs. I have many ideas for new original toys. I need to squeeze more from my day! Brian Ralph and I are working on more little resin robots. One destroying everything in it’s path soon!

Any final words?

Thanks!!

Check out www.scottwilkowski.com from time to time.

Skin Deep

February 23rd – March 25th, 2012

Screaming Sky Gallery,

1416 NE Alberta St.

Portland

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One response

  1. Pingback: MAN-E-NEWS// New teaser of the Micro-BUDS from Ferg… «

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