Art Whore

Art Talk – Zac of ‘Selfish Little’

Selfish Little - Square Logo

Zac of ‘Selfish Little’ is an American multidisciplinary artist who has gained global attention thanks to his pop art and sculptural work.

(Picture below of the Mr Canker resin by ‘Selfish Little’)

Selfish Little - Mr Canker 001

Zac joined the resin scene recently thanks to discovering the work of Art Whore Approved artist, Mike Marinello of ‘Blurble‘, an initial discovery that promptly led to a collaborative figure called Muckster.

Since then, Zac has continued to collaborate extensively with ‘Blurble’ (with Zac telling us they have a sofubi figure in the works) and importantly branch out into his own, self directed creations.

With lots in the works, now is the perfect time to get to know Zac, by reading the Art Talk interview, below…

Basics/Getting to Know 

Name + D.O.B?

Zac
1/30/83

City, State n Country you’re From?

Canton, Ohio USA

(A picture of Zac below)

Processed with VSCOcam with s1 preset

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

* age 10 – beginnings:

My Father was a college football coach throughout most of my childhood… Our family would move every two years or so when a better coaching position would become available for him. It was similar to being an army-brat… Only with less guns and more steroids.
Most of my fondest memories were from when I lived in Florida with my Grandparents. I spent most of my time there as a youngster watching VHS tapes of The Monster Squad and My Pet Monster that my Grandfather dubbed from rentals for me. I would literally watch those two fucking movies daily.
A lot of time well spent tracing characters from The Toxic Crusaders coloring-books, shooting videos with my Grandfather’s camcorder, playing StarTropics, and sneaking my Mother’s fashion magazines to draw boobs on all the models.

(Picture below of Zac as a child)

IMG_20150503_151936

* age 15 – getting serious:

Around this time my family had settled in Canton Ohio.

My obsession with the “weird” or “grotesque” was heightened when I was introduced in middle school to Brian Pulido’s “Evil Ernie” comic book series. I guess I was a few years younger than 15 at the time, and even though I was interested in monsters and gross shit at an earlier age… I had never seen artwork that was so over-the-top crazy and violent before. Everything that I once thought may be “taboo” or “offensive”… now all seemed ridiculously tame.
It was also around this time that my love for cinema flourished. I starting working at a Borders bookstore when I was 17 years old… this was back when stores had the balls to stock obscure horror and cult movie titles.
I was still drawing and painting back then as well, but never had any intention of making money on any of my work.

* age 20 – adult mode:

I spent 10 years working at Borders trying to figure out what the hell I was going do with myself. I knew that I wasn’t content with my situation…. And I knew I had to make a jump.
I signed up for film school in Orlando Florida and said goodbye to everything that I had known for the majority of my life.
Nearing the end of school, I met an amazing girl who was willing to put up with my shit enough to leave everything and move to Los Angeles with me.
In LA, I worked as an in-house editor at a production company and did a lot of graphic design work as well. That city is no joke… and I got burnt out way too quickly doing other people’s work and making their projects happen. Although there were certain aspects of the city that I adored… I decided to come back to the good ‘ol OH and build something myself.
I’m still drawing boobs on fashion magazine models too.

(Picture below of some art by Zac)

Selfish Little - Art 001

Personal motto?

Never dry off your face with the same towel that you just used to dry off your ass.

Favorite band(s)?

At the moment, it’s been a whole lot of Autistic Youth, Defect Defect, Canadian Rifle, and The Observers.

Favorite TV show(s)?

Growing up I was all about Eerie Indiana. It’s amazing how well that show still holds up today.
Watching TV depends on my mood and if I have my attention span in check. I don’t normally enjoy Adult Swim, but I love anything written by John Lee and Vernon Chatman (Xavier Renegade Angel, The Heart She Holler). In my opinion, they are two of the most brilliantly written shows I’ve ever seen. The wordplay alone is nothing short of genius.

Favorite sport(s) + teams?

The Gasburg Virginia Transvaginal-Mesh Awareness men’s handball team

Favorite movie(s)?

This is probably the toughest question in the interview for me to answer. How about some of my favorite filmmakers instead?
  • Abel Ferrera
  • Werner Rainer Fassbinder
  • Gaspar Noe
  • Giuseppe Andrews
  • Alejandro Jodorowsky
  • John Cassavetes
I’d talk a goddamn ear off your head if you asked me this in person.

Favorite books and comics?

Favorite book of all time has to be ‘Les Chants de Maldoror’ by “Comte de Lautréamont” or Isidore Ducasse.
As far as comics go… I’m too impatient to buy single issues and have to wait for the next one… so I tend to buy trades if I’m interested in something. I love the work of Suehiro Maruo, so anything he releases is a must read. I also loved Grant Morrison’s ‘The Filth.’

Art Questions

Why the name ‘Selfish Little’?

The name came from a lot of drunken late-night debauchery when I was living in Orlando Florida during film school. I would record my ex-roommate’s inebriated rants about his girlfriend… From what I remember, it came from one of those nights.

Favorite other artist(s)?

Worst aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?

Fending off the constant barrage of supermodels and having so much money that you don’t know what to do with it.

(Picture below of Zac’s self described “workspace”)

myworkspace

Best aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?

It took me a long time to be comfortable and confident enough to throw my work out there… so even if just one person enjoys my stuff, it makes it all worthwhile.
Seeing someone post a picture of my figures or artwork is the best thing ever.

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

I’m not entirely sure about this one because “art” is extremely subjective. I’d say my work is a mixture of the three. I consider it “art” because I know first-hand what goes in to creating it, but to a lot of people… they’re just  “toys” or “doodles.” A lot of times, it’s hard to disagree with them.

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

I’ve been drawing ever since I can remember… But I had never touched clay or worked with resin until about a year ago.
When I moved back to Ohio from Los Angeles, I was burnt out and needed a break from film and editing video. I hadn’t intended ever selling “art toys” and even though I don’t collect vinyl or “sofubi” or whatever the fuck you call it… I quickly fell in love with this weird little community of artists.
The amount of talent within this bubble of artists is incredible.

(Picture below of one of Zac’s very early resin works)

oneofmyfirsttimesusingresin

What did you draw and make as a pre-teen child?

The same shit that I draw and make now, except my stuff was a lot better back then … Monsters, creatures, slime, deformations, growths, lumps, etc.

What did you draw and make as a teen?

I took a much-needed break from my “pre-teen art” and instead, I decided to use this time to smoke way too much pot, watch one too many movies, get shit-hammered in parking-lots, and make a lot more well thought out decisions.

Any pivotal artistic moment/influence?

* the swamp bubbles n pops, a rustle is heard… *

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

I honestly can’t imagine doing anything else. I don’t know anything else… I really have no other skills outside of creating nonsense. Whether that nonsense is with a camera, a pen and paper, or clay and resin.

Describe the method of making a ‘Selfish Little’ work? (dot point all o.k.)

* your resin sculptures?

For sculpting a character … I never have an idea or plan before I start. I just roll a ball of clay around for a while and see what happens, leaving the nervous breakdowns and agita for later. I try not to over think things at first because it takes the surprise or enjoyment out of the process and it becomes more technical and mathematic.
Molding and casting is really just a lot of trial and error, miscasts, spilled resin and wasted money. However, it’s all worth it when you get that one cast that comes out great.
The resin-art community is extremely collaborative and helpful. People like Mike (Blurble) and Garrett (Blockheads Toys) have helped me along the way by answering my stupid questions.

(Pictures below of the process of producing the Muckster figure – a collaboration between ‘Selfish Little’ + ‘Blurble’)

Selfish Little x Blurble - Muckster Sketch to Resin

Selfish Little x Blurble - Muckster 002

* your drawings and paintings?

It’s the same process as with the sculpting.
I sometimes wish I were a bit more technical with the way I go about conceptualizing (planning out a blueprint or testing color schemes) so that my final product is perfectly how I envisioned it.

(Pictures below of Zac building up some art)

Selfish Little - Sketch to Final Drawing 001

Selfish Little - Sketch to Final Drawing 002

Selfish Little - Sketch to Final Drawing 003

* your digital work?

My digital work really started while living in Los Angeles. I was asked to create pitch material and proof-of-concept artwork for a production company that I worked for. The job was so fast paced that I had to quickly teach myself Photoshop and Illustrator. Which led to having the opportunity to design official movie posters and being able to shoot and edit pitch teasers that all eventually ended up at the Cannes Film Festival.
I had messed around casually with these programs in the past, but never did anything serious with them until my time in LA.
As for the process of my digital work… It’s more about practicing and getting a feel for whatever program I’m using. I rarely start a personal project using Photoshop…. But I’ll fuck with some Corel Painter all day if someone reading this can toss me over a serial number! 😉

You have released many resin works so far under the ‘Selfish Little Productions’ label – What are the character’s back-narratives and bios for…

(i) ‘The Muckster’?

The Muckster was my first collaboration with Mike (Blurble). He’s an amazing concept artist and really quick to come up with a creature design.
I just sculpted based off a sketch he threw my way.
The figure is definitely part of the drippy world that Mike has created. I remember telling Mike that I pictured The Muckster walking down a city sidewalk in the rain. A few months earlier, his girlfriend broke up him and he just recently lost his job. The Muckster is the epitome of the downtrodden ordinary man…er… blob.
Who knows, Mike and I may work on making him a new girlfriend Muckstress someday.

(ii) ‘Mr Canker’?

I was still new to sculpting when I started working on Mr. Canker.
I was just jacking around with the idea of sculpting a character that had a similar esthetic as someone from the movie “Street Trash.” Mr. Canker went through so many transformations before I finally settled on a final look.
This was also my first go at arm articulation using magnets, which was just something that I wanted to see if I could pull off for the hell of it.

(Pictures below of the Mr. Canker figure)

Selfish Little - Canker Art

Selfish Little - Canker 001

(iii) ‘The Amnion Sequence’?

The Amnion Sequence was my first attempt at working on a standard size figure.
This guy was a pain in my fucking ass! I had no clue what I was doing when I started him and I jumped the gun on molding and casting him. I still have a box full of shoddy miscast prototypes because I was too eager to start making them. I think I threw a few of the botched prototypes in with orders as freebies, so whoever got one with their Mr. Canker… now you know what the hell it is.
The concept behind The Amnion Sequence came from watching one of those sad ASPCA abused animal commercials. When one of those commercials comes on, I would normally mumble “oh goddamnit” and immediately change the channel. For whatever reason, I decided to face my fear and watch the entire commercial beginning to end. Then I sculpted an alien.

(Picture below of the Amnion Sequence figure from Selfish Little)

earlyamnionsculpt

Selfish Little - Amnion Sequence 001

Please go into detail regarding your friendship and collaborative work with Mike Marinello ‘Blurble One’?

I remember seeing Mike’s work and immediately relating to his work, especially his “Gusto” character. I don’t collect toys, but I had to order some of his work. He had posted a picture of a translucent neon red version of Gusto on his Instagram and I quickly made an offer to purchase it. We started talking via e-mail shortly after and I began sending him early pictures of my sculpture and resin work.
Mike was fucking awesome and extremely supportive and helpful during my process of learning. As I started getting the hang of things, Mike sent me a sketch of the character that would eventually become the Muckster, asking me if I’d be interested in sculpting it.
Since then, we’ve been collaborating on other projects and helping each other out with our own personal endeavors as well.
I can’t say enough good things about the guy! He’s not only a great artist and designer, he’s also an amazing father and husband… working non-stop at his craft as well as taking care of a family. I probably wouldn’t have continued doing this if it wasn’t for Mike taking me under his wing and giving me the words of encouragement I needed to push forward.

(Picture below of the Gusto resin by ‘Blurble’ – Zac’s gateway drug into the designer toy scene)

Blurble - Gusto

Thoughts on the rise of the resin art scene?

I think it’s fucking great! I mean… I wouldn’t buy my shit, so I’m glad there are collectors who enjoy the stuff I make.
I also enjoy reading the arguments on a specific message board about vinyl vs. resin… although those arguments are few and far between nowadays and people who use resin are a lot more accepted in the “toyart” community.

Odds n Ends

What role did toys play in your childhood?

I had three large garbage bags… all filled to the brim with Monster In My Pocket… nuff said.

Who was your 1st crush and why?

Melody from the show “Hey Dude” because damnit, she looked great in khaki shorts!

(Picture below of the Fleshapoid figure by Selfish Little)

Selfish Little - Fleshapods 002

earlyfleshapoidsculpt

Selfish Little - unknown 001

Does sex change everything?

It only changes things when it’s not consensual.

Have you ever tried psychedelics of any sort? And what was the experience like?

I haven’t, but I’m not opposed to psychedelics at all; I just don’t think I’d handle them well.
I remember a friend in LA invited me to an Ayahuasca party. After telling me all of the great things about it, she almost had me convinced that I should join. I remember after she described the process, she casually mentioned to me the “purging” of  “evil-spirits.” I thought to myself, “Oh… well… yeah, that seems okay.” Then… she told me that this “purging” was actually a possible side-effect from the drug that causes grown men and women to puke and shit themselves, all while sitting around in a fucking circle together.
Needless to say… I stayed home that night.

(Pictures below of some art by Zac)

Selfish Little - Art 002

Selfish Little - Art 003

Drugs – waste of time or gateway to the universe?

Smack it, snort it up, burn it, kill it, fuck it… whatever floats your boat… but don’t come up to me inebriated and try to have a conversation if I’m sober.

The Future

Any collaborations on the horizon?

Mike and I recently collaborated on a 12inch sculpt tentatively named “Themroc.” Based on an amazing design by Mike that he asked me to do the sculpting for.
We’re hoping to get it produced into vinyl soon. The thing is a fucking beast, so keep an eye out for that.
There are a few other projects Mike and I have been bouncing ideas back and forth on as well including a line of mini-figures.

(Picture below of a so far unreleased sculpt by Zac )

Selfish Little - sculpt 001

Any major projects you want to hype man?

Got a new resin figure that’s in its second wave of release called The Fleshapoids. So far, they’ve sold great and people seem to dig them.
Also was asked to contribute to July’s Clutter Gallery art show… so I’ve been knee deep in paint preparing for that.
Keep an eye peeled for the collaborations with Mike (Blurble One) as well.
Do the Instagram (@selfishlittle) thing for updates or just check out selfishlittle.storenvy.com.

(Teaser pic of a possible upcoming collaboration between ‘Selfish Little’ and ‘Blurble’)

Selfish Little x Blurble - teaser sculpt

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