Art Whore

Art Talk – Tim Stephson + ‘Ultimate Skull and Cobra’

 

Ultimate Skull and Cobra - LOGO

Mr. Tim Stephson is one-third of fast-rising art-group, ‘Ultimate Skull and Cobra’ (consisting of ArtWhore Mr. Scott Kinnebrew AKA ‘Forces of Dorkness’ and Ray Bazan AKA ‘ToyxCreep’ AKA ‘Death By Toys’). Tim is an acomplished painter and artisrt himself. Recently Tim and  ‘Ultimate Skull and Cobra’ have entered the toy-art world, already releasing their Devastator resin and others to much acclaim.

(Picture below of Tim Stephson in front of a mural rendition of his and ‘Ultimate Skull and Cobra’s’ creation, Devastator)

Tim Stephson and wall art

So get to know Tim Stephson, and ‘Ultimate Skull and Cobra’ in the interview below…

Basics/Getting to Know

Name + D.O.B?

 TimStephson Feb 3 1985.

City, State n Country you’re Repping?

 Austin Texas USA.

Describe a memory from three stages of yr life… basically trying to piece together Mr. Stephson’s pivotal moments. Concerts, art, action ­figures, women, school, college… ANYTHING man.

* age 10 – pre pubes:

 Grew up in the ghetto. Fell in love with hip hop. Lost my virginity to a black girl named Betina when I was 10. This was especially crazy because I grew up witha alcoholic, racist, exmarine, outlaw biker father who forbid me to associate with any one or anything that had to do with black culture. I even had to dress in tight jeans and old biker shirts. Those shit sounds cool now and I would cut somebody to have those old shirts haha but back then all I wanted was baggy everything and as much nike and starter as I could stash from my pops.

* age 15 – pube rage:

 Outlaw biker life caught up to my Dad when I was 14. He was drunk and laid his harley down on the interstate and went through a sign. I was the only person that was available to identify the body. My Mom was a wreck and Im the oldest son so there wasnt an alternative. They cant touch the body until you sign off on it.

* age 20 – acceptance of pubes:

 After leaving the morgue in 99 I was in and out of jail and on probabtion from 14­ – 18. Mostly fighting and doing hoodrat things. After paying my dues I toured ina couple bands for a few yearst hen from 2007­ 2009 I served in the Army.

(Picture below of the final sculpt for the upcoming ‘Ultimate Skull and Cobra’ Grim Creeper vinyl)

Tim Stephson - Kreeper Vinyl Sculpt by Scott Wetterschneider

Personalmotto/quote?

 Fuck Bitches Get Money.

Favoriteband(s)?

 Aesop Rock, Notorious B.I.G, ABACABB, BlackSabbath, DieAntwoord, TameImpala.

FavoriteTVshow(s)

 Right now like right now now Iwould have to say Orange Is The New Black and Dexter but I think Game of Thrones has the “crown” for best show ever.

Favoritesport(s)+teams?

 Team USA competing in the ancient Malaysian extremes port Sepak Takraw of course pff.

Favoritemovie(s)?

 FACT: Anchorman is the greatest movie ever made.
 FACT: If you dont agree I will punch you square in the babymaker.

Favorite books and comics?

 Pillars of the Earth, Another Roadside Attraction, Beholda Palehorse.

Specifics on Art

Do you consider what you are making to be ‘art’, ‘design’, re­-hashed crap?

I would claim the first two but I usually stand against the third.
I dont respect or agknowledge bootlegs.

When and why did you first start making ‘art’ (drawings, paintings, sculpture, anything)?

 I have been in trouble my whole life haha most of the time this results in a lot of time alone. I’ve been an artist and musician since I can remember. I grew up around bikers.  Although they are usually huge pieces of shit. They respect and encourage art and music. So it was always a way to get positive attention.

(Picture below of Tim’s card in the Renolab ‘Fucked Up Kids’ card series – censored image)

Tim Stephson - Renolab - Fucked Up Kids - Card

Why + when did you decide to go in on the art hustle?

 The fact that people are buying my art still blows my mind. I feel lucky and thankful for every person that buys my stuff. Funny story I have tried to sell my art with little to no luck before instagram. After Instagram I can now call myself a working artist. It really is as simple as that. Thank God for Instagram. It changed my life.

Any formal art training? Or pivotal moment/influence?

(Picture below of a painting by Tim)

Tim Stephson - painting 003

 I was always an art class nerd through school. I took everything I learned very serious. I went to college for a very brief period for B&W photography. I was also mentored by Alex and Aubrey Trufant. Those dudes have been a huge influence on my art. Lets not forget Instagram. I learned most of what I know about toys from Instagram and the awesome toy fam on there.

Why the name ‘Ultimate Skull and Cobra?

 Its a secret password that allows entrance through a hidden passage-way.

Company motto?

 “we’re cumming for you”

Favorite‘other’ artist(s)?

 I love a lot o fold timers like Frank Frazetta but Skinner is my favorite modern artist.

Worst aspect of the contemporary art­ hustle?

 All the total douchebags that drip from every crack and crevice of the scene. I dont know who they all think they are fooling but it isnt me. Fuck them all. So many amature level artists considered pros.

Best aspect of the contemporary art­ hustle?

 Knowing that a piece of me is all over the world. Watching… Waiting to come to life and do my bidding.

Toy+ArtToyQuestions

Is the rise of ‘art’ toys an indication of the changing nature of ‘art’? OR just a bunch of nerds with too much $$$ and time?

 Both. The nature of art is determined by who has the most money. In our day and age so called “nerds” are amung the highest paid people in the world haha.

Favorite toy/figure? (I’ll allow self promotion)

(Picture below of a 1-off Roid Randy figure by Ultiamte Skull and Cobra, with paint and customs by Scott Kinnebrew)

Ultimate Skull and Cobra - Roid Randy - PAINTED by Scott Kinnebrew

 I really do believe that Ultimate Skull And Cobra puts out the dopest resin toys. As for Vinyl, Anything Paul Kaiju or Mutant Vinyl Hardcore puts out blows my mind. Pollen Kaiser is my current favorite toy specifically. I also LOVE 3A.

What does your wife/girl/woman/family make of the whole perpetual adolescence/Peter­Pan/man­child aspect of toy art + toy collecting?

 It’s a love hate relationship. I think her biggest problem is how my projects take over the house haha.

I know that your company, ‘Ultimate Skull and Cobra’ includes yourself , Scott Kinnebrew, and Mr. Ray Bazan….

– What role sdo you each play in the company?

 USAC consists of Ray Scott Kinnebrew and myself. Its relatively new so were still working out how every one works best. Basically we all work together to get each project done as effeciently as possible the duties have been split a variety of ways.

(Picture below of the Ultimate Skull and Cobra gang – L2R: Ray, Scott + Tim)

Tim Stephson, Scott Kinnebrew + Ray Bazan

– How did the three of you decide to team­ up?

 I’ve known Ray for about five years. I worked with him at Trufant Bros Tattoo. He’s actually the one whointroduced me to designer toys. He and I and the Trufant bros are one big disfunctional family haha. I met Scott at Dcon last year and we realized we both live in the same town and like to chill the same way so we hit it of immediatly. He’s a super talented dude.

Your Devastator figure is epic!

(Picture below of the Devastator resin)

Devastator fig

– What was the inspiration behind the figure?

 Thanks! I wanted to make a toy that was bigger and more points of articulation than any other designer resin piece. The design came from one of  my characters I paint.

– What was the process involved in producing the figure – from initial sketches, through to sculpting, to final resin production?

 Well it came from a painting I made with no intention of it being a toy. It took months of sculpting in castilene and after making 9 molds it ended up being 46 different pieces that had to be cast for just one Devastator. It’s articulated with magnetic wrists and peg and socket shoulders on all four arms.

– Any desire to release it in vinyl form?

It’s impossible to do The Devastator in Vinyl due to its shape and structure. In this case resin is the superior material.

(Picture below of one of the moulds used to produce the Devastator)

 Devastator Mould

You are currently working on a new figure – The Grim Creeper, which will be funded via Kickstarter.

– What was the inspiration behind the figure?

 The Grim Creeper is a year long digital rework of my very first resin toy. Iwanted to create a sea creature from space. That’s what happened. I have a long stoner story about there existence but I’ll save that for the back of the card-stock haha.

– Why the decision to use Kickstarter?

 If I had 5 grand I would just pay for it but I’m an Artist remember? Kickstarter is truly my only hope of bringing the Grim Creeper to the vinyl world.

Your ‘RoidRandy’ resin figure was released through the ‘Clutter:ToyMafia’ series.

(Picture below of Roid Randy by Ultimate Skull and Cobra)

Toy Mafia + Roid Randy pic

– What are your thoughts on Clutter’s role in the toy­ art/art­ toy scene – they are a much loved company?

 That’s a heated question. I have never been screwed over worse in the toy scene.
 They commsioned me to sculpt a toy for the event then flopped the event blew me off and skipped payment. After fighting with them to send the toys back, they finally sent the remaining 8 toys back BROKEN and claimed they were not responsible for them getting broken on the way back. I asked them for the cost of 2 so that I could fix the rest of them and try to at least clear cost. They keep bull-shitting. After they decided to stop arguing like little schoolyard bitches. They (she) asked for a paypal invoice. After a week with no response; I hit her up and she asked for a pdf invoice. This was weeks ago I sent the pdf.
 Fuck Clutter Magazine! They are a few dumb-ass vultures that shake hands and kiss babies.

– What was the inspiration behind the figure?

 We have a miniture version we call “Randy” This is Randy on Roids. The definition of Randy is “sexually aroused or excited” so that’s where the name comes from.

– Is their a reason so much of your art includes mammaries?

(Picture below of the ‘Ultimate Skull and Cobra’ Skullgasm figure)

Skullgasm fig

 Haha is there a reason so much art does not include mammaries?
 Don’t lie to yourself, we all love boobs. You can’t tell me you havn’t pulled down barbie’s shirth oping for nips. They call THAT anatomically correct?I don’t think so.This is for Ken! haha

Tim Stephson Art Questions

Describe the method of making a typical Stephson/‘Ultimate Skull and Cobra’ piece? (dot point all o.k.)

– your sculptural work?

  • First I kick on the jams.
  • then I get super duper stoned on some quality dank.
  • I microwave castilene while dancing in the kitchen to jams The dance depends on the type of music. Sometimes I get caught up in the mirrror and have to re-heat the castilene.
  • Finally I’ll get into the maquette and rough it all out.
  • Once that’s done I smear red lipstick from 1979 all over my mouth.
  • I take a little W.I.P. photo for my ig family while totally naked in the lipstick.
  • After getting moral support from the comments I put all my clothes on and wash my face.
  • I then detail every thing and make it as perfect as I can for some-reason pictures help to determine that. Once i can’t find anything wrong with it, I cast it.

– Your psychedelic and hyperdetailed paintings + drawings?

(Picture below of a painting by Tim)

Tim Stephson - painting

 Same process as before except with paint instead of castilene.

Are all your works made by yourself? If you use collaborators; whom and in what capacity?

Yes. So far no real collabs other than dudes painting my resin.

Do you use digital technology in your work at all? If so how, and what has it added to your practice?

 I paid a digital sculptor to resculpt the Grim Creeper. It took about a year to get it where I wanted it. I can’t say that I will do that again. Perfect symmetry isn’t worth the cost.

Does your self­ directed work all exist in its own ‘universe’? (Yes; I am basically asking if you see your characters all interacting in your head.) IF so, what do they get up to?

 Yes and I’m glad you asked. You worded it perfectly. They are all a part of the Ultimate Skull And Cobra Universe! We are actually working on resin action figures now and that’s where the story will start.

(Picture below of the Precursor resin articulated figure, by Ultimate Skull and Cobra)

Ultimate Skull and Cobra - Precursor Resin

The Future

Any collaborations on the horizon?

 Nothing other than what Scott, Ray and I have planned.

Any major projects you want to hype man?

 The Grim Creeper is the center of my world right now. It’s all I can think about. It’s going to be a super dope toy. It will stadnd 8’ tall with 5 points of articulation.
 We’re also sculpting 10 point articulating 4” action figure series for the Ultimate Skull And Cobra Universe. As well as a projecct were calling Bong Buddies.

Links

Ultimate Skull and Cobra - LOGO No. 2

N.B – Art Whore contacted ‘Clutter‘ to hear their side of the Roid Randy + Toy Mafia tale; on July25th 2013, via email (the day the interview was recieved). But was met with no response…

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