2008-WRAP-UP WITH TRE: ERIC NOCELLA DIAZ (END of Argonaut Resins)

Artist, Sculptor, Comicbook Illustrator, and more recently; Toy-maker - Eric Nocella Diaz aka END [Blog/DeviantArt] is living the creator's dream right now with the white-hawt Argonaut Resins, flush from their recent resin-success with Jared Deal's sold-out VLADIMIR figure and the coming EL DIABLO with Robbie Busch (whose latest BLUE-Edition is being sneaked here):
EL-DIABLO-BLUE

And as 2008 draws to a rapid-close, TRE talks to END and catches up with what had gone on before, and what to look forward to in 2009 :)

TOYSREVIL: Altho we've conversed online, this is the first ever interview I've had with you on my humble little blog! Forgive me, my friend ... so as we begin, please do share with us: WHO IS ERIC NOCELLA DIAZ aka END?

END: A humble toy maker who likes all things new. An artist willing to take risks and try to do cool fun things regardless of what anyone else thinks.

END-WORKSTATION
[Exclusive peep @ END's workstation! / CLICK THRU for the rest of the interview]


TOYSREVIL: Dude, that's waaay too humble of you, IMHO! How have things been for END, for 2008? Besides your white-hawt Argonaut Resins - how have things been progressing? Workwise / Creatively / Productively?

END: Things have been good for 2008, I've actually slowed down a bit and have been focusing on other things besides making sculptures all the time. I'm currently updating the GoldMane Entertainment website which has been long overdue. Hopefully I'll get some new images up of all the latest projects I've recently completed and some of the others I just never got around to posting.

I've also been spending a lot of time putting together a trade paperback collecting all 4 issues of the indie comic book series Galtow over at Xmoor Studios with co-publisher and biz partner Robert Garrett.


TOYSREVIL: I don't believe I've ever mentioned how envious I am of you - working in both toys and comics = both of my "dream jobs"! I wanna be like yous when I grows up! LOL - And waking up from my own daydreams - Argonaut Resins came out from within the shadows in 2008 = silent, swift and deadly LOL! Tell us about Argonaut Resins. How did it start? And why?

END: I had been experimenting with the whole concept of resin produced product off and on for about two years now. I started with the Keylon Jakes limited run prepaint Galtow bust for my indie publishing company Xmoor Studios (produced overseas) and then with a unpainted garage kit of the Revenant Ghost Zero project (produced here in the States) for Dave Flora who's over at Moonstone Comics now.


[Grey Keylon Jakes / Revenant Ghost Zero]

END: After seeing how those two did against the market helped me formulate a much better approach on handling all the new projects. I also wanted a venture that would be separate and be totally different from my GoldMane Entertainment company as I still do more private sculpt gigs with that entity.

Argonaut Resins is a looser free type crazier anything goes artist / sculptor driven endeavor. I racked my brain to find a way to produce product at a fraction of the cost and reap the rewards on the back end sales along with the artists involved. I figured the best chance for it to work was to team up a good solid artist or two (who don't need to be famous or have a following - just have a wicked toy concept I like enough to produce) who got the whole idea of what I was trying to do and would stick to the full execution of the plan and specs for it to happen.


[Cell Phones Kill Wave 1 / Argonaut first official resin toy - designed by END]

END: The figures we'll be doing in the begining will be very similar to vinyl toys but just made in resin. Eventually they will get better if we continue to get the support like we had on the Jared Deal - Vladimir Halloween toy which has now spawned a second series after the initial sellout of the first wave. The other factor that really makes this work is that the toys are not only high end reproductions but are very limited and in some cases almost every figure can be different with a variation on the paint schemes. We're not locked into 100 - 200 single colorways, huge shipments of 500 - 600 pieces that in most cases need a major distributor to move.


END: Argonaut has none of that - just me the sculptor producer to get all the figures made and the artist / designer - to provide the specs for the sculpt, the packaging if there is any and be able to do some quality paint work on the selected figures. The artists I join up with must be able to paint their own castings as it really gives the toy more value and turns the piece into a work of art.

No overseas factories with product handled and painted by total strangers and the project can be discussed over a phone call and in most cases face to face. We can usually get everything done in a month or two depending on how complex the figure or it's packaging is. Then there's the simple online store where I load images of everything when it's done and we're off to the races. The artists also have to help promote it online through awesome blogsites like yours to make sure enough people see what we're offering and hopefully support us.


END: Many buyers may not support the resin idea right off the bat but I think they'll change their minds once they see what cool things can be done with this medium and how fast it can hit the market. When I approached Jared Deal with this resin toy idea he got it right away and had emailed me a design for his Vladimir bat toy the next day. He even liked the idea of going crazy with the paint apps and not being locked into any preset color ways. It was like the artistic handcuffs were off and we were free to run wild with whatever ideas came to mind as long as it made the toy even cooler. Even the coffin packaging Jared did for the Vladimir toy just kept evolving and when he would suggest something I was like - go for it!!!


[Jared Deal's Vladimir - Wave 1]

END: Since I've been involved with the licensed product for so many years I've decided it was time to get away from that type of work for a while. It was time for me to work on some fresh new things with new amazing artists and have a little fun. With Argonaut Resins we get to chat with the people who like the toys enough to buy them and build friendships along the way and it makes the whole thing a blast.

So far the artists like this format because it keeps them in control of their project and can put money in their pockets without any silly one sided deals that take months to pay. The best part is the cost and expense to pull it all off is very attractive to them as well.Waiting a year or two for a vinyl toy can sometimes kill the project even if the concept is awesome and well anticipated, not to mention the added costs if things go wrong or need to be redone. Overseas shipping can eat a nice whole in your pocket too.


[Jared Deal's Vladimir ICE - Wave 2]

TOYSREVIL: I can imagine (tho Im not in the thick of it) the lines between "creative" and "creation" may sometimes be too wide a gap, perhaps? Any particular reason for resin? (Practicality or Creative?) Do you like resin, and is it the preferred material of your choice?

END: I chose resin because I can control the finished outcome with this medium. No factory, no production team, no overseas shipping, I can hand over a box of completed toys to an artist to work his magic on - then we're done. I could also create product from scratch personally but it's more fun being an extension of the featured artist and translating their work. I had been completing all my professional toy work in resin castings my entire career so it just made sense to use this particular platform. It's just a matter of simplifying the overall process and keeping it cost effective. I'm still experimenting and who knows what will come out of Argonaut Resins - sky's the limit.


[Robbie Busch's El Diablo WIP]

TOYSREVIL: "Productive" and "Cost-Effective" is the buzzword mantra for the coming year/s, I reckon - where the journey of the product - from conception to the hand/s of the collector - is shortened drastically, not just geographically, but also by virtue of time saved via waiting, IMHO. As a creator and artist yourself - do you think you've achieved what you set out to do, in 2008? If yes, how so? If no, what do you think happened?

END: At first early on in the year I'd have to say a big fat no. I got distracted occasionally and had a few missteps but it was all worth it as I righted the ship by years end. The world of vinyl and statue pre-paints frustrated me to no ends with a slow deliberate production pace. I also talked with a lot of artists and most were not too crazy about the amount cash outlay needed to get a vinyl toy done. Finding a few solid artists to share my vision was the most rewarding for me.


TOYSREVIL: And the fruits of labour, inevitably I reckon would taste as sweet (I'd really like to think so). What were the milestones for you Eric, in 2008? Any particular product you are proudest of?

END: The Milestone for me was getting Argonaut Resins off the ground full blast by years end. What people don't know is there was a first test resin toy I did with another artist friend Matt Beers that called Bully Boombu. That was the toy project that actually got me thinking this whole crazy idea could work. I think he sold about 25 of those guys if I remember correctly. There were even plans for a second wave with a different color way. As for proudest of - I'd have to say all of it. No one piece in particular, just the whole idea and being able to bring it to life.


TOYSREVIL: Oh man, Matt's Bullys! How cool was that? Beyond your personal journey, how do you think 2008 fared, in terms of toy quality in the general market? Designer vinyls, custom shows or otherwise? And what's the direction it may be taking for 2009?

END: I think 2008 was a good year for all of the above. Heck, look at all the new artists popping up customizing everything in site and there's almost a new show every other week now. I have no idea what's going to happen with vinyl as you have all these indie producers popping up and some of them are making some awesome product giving the bigger producers a run for their money. Look at guys like Erick Scarecrow, Kano, Klim (of Bigshot Toyworks) and Robert DeCastro dropping some cool ass toys all over the place. I think next year will bring even more exciting releases and a lot of new talent and many more art shows.

TOYSREVIL: The prevailing mood in Singapore right now has gotten citizens bracing for the inevitable recession to come in the new year, which no doubt is echoed by the worldwide community by and large ... with all this talk of worldwide recession, how do you think the toy market will do, in the very near future? Or will it not be affected much at all? i'm very curious becoz I personably have been in deep-recession for the past coupla years, so my market-compass is a tad off in this regard! LOL

END: The recession can only scare us for so long. We all know the government over here as well as abroad are trying to get things whipped back into shape but it's going to take some major patience, hard work and time. Artists will continue to keep doing what they do no matter what. I think people will buy less but they will still buy even with the economy the way it is ... heh ... if a sweet toy release is uber limited and can be gone by days end and you're totally feeling it - what would you do?

TOYSREVIL: I agree. Quality of materials, design and limited availability would perhaps make the difference in decision making, moreso than previous purchasing history perhaps? How does one "survive" in the new year to come? Is the market expanding, or shrinking?

END: To survive - I think one needs to become wiser and learn to create newer opportunities. The toy market will continue to grow and expand without a doubt there's a lot of artists out there that haven't thrown their creative hats in the ring yet. As for quality - I'm sure that too will eventually get better for all those producers out there. Collectors will get online and get in your cyber face if quality control is not what is should be, especially for an expensive designer toy.

TOYSREVIL: Too true - communication is near instantaneous in this cyber-age, and folks are more willing to have an opinion and say it out loud and proud - regardless if anyone wants to hear it or not! LOL ... Where do you see Argonaut Resins in the scheme of things? What would you like for A.R. to do? What can folks look forward to, in 2009 - from END and A.R.?

END: I'd like for Argonaut Resins to produce more cool toys with an expanded roster of interesting and talented artists in 2009 if possible. Personally, it would be for me to continue to grow as a artist/ toy producer and do everything in my power to make that happen. END would like to eventually get to a Galtow Warrior Jiya sculpture for Xmoor Studios at some point in time...*wink wink*


TOYSREVIL: Anything you regret doing (like releases, or otherwise) and/or regret not doing, in 2008?

END: No regrets for 2008. I consider it all a learning phase and take the good and the bad.

TOYSREVIL: And what have you gained from the experiences you've had in 2008?

END: Not to wait and worry and just go for it - let the creative juices flow. I learned that if something doesn't work the first time to try again with a different approach and never give up.

TOYSREVIL: Cheers for your time and trouble Eric! And as the year closes (and fast!) - any wishes for friends and words of wisdom for alla them naysayers out there?

END: I just hope everyone out there including friends (and family) has a safe and happy Holiday Season and get a running start on the creative front for next year. As for the naysayers, we can't make everybody happy but we can sure try.

Comments

three said…
great interview. great pieces.
whizrocksthemic said…
very impressive stuff. thanks for sharing.

KM

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