Art Whore

Art Talk – Aaron Moreno aka stncl.07 of ‘Retroband’

Retroband - logo

Aaron Moreno established his brand ‘Retroband‘ for one reason – to make the toys he wished he had when growing up. An example of artistic DIY fandom that would be close to many a pop culturalists heart.

What sets Aaron and ‘Retroband’ apart from other players in the scene is perfect execution in all aspects: figure design, figure creation, art work, card-backs, and packaging; all done with Aaron’s almost OCD eye to detail. This commitment to perfection has caught the eyes of fans worldwide, leading to ‘Retroband’ figures selling out within a day or two of release, and garnering major acclaim.

(Picture below of the Father figure by ‘Retroband’)

Retroband - Father

With an upcoming gallery show at ‘Gallery 1988‘ on October 19th coming up in collaboration with Alex Pardee, and new projects in the works; now is the time to get schooled on Aaron Moreno aka stncl.07 of ‘Retroband’ via the interview below…

Basics/Getting to Know

Name + D.O.B?

 Aaron Moreno aka stncl.07 aka Retroband.

City, State n Country you’re Repping?

 San Antonio, TX USA

(Picture below of Aaron Moreno of ‘Retroband’)

Retroband - Aaron

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

* age 10 – pre pubes:

 Garbage Pail Kids and horror movie lover.

* age 15 – pube rage:

 Running from cops. Introduced to punk.

* age 20 – acceptance of pubes:

 At college studying art.

Personal motto/quote?

 ¡Querer es poder!

Favorite band(s)?

 at the drive-in

Favorite TV show(s)?

 Tales from the Darkside

Favorite sport(s) + teams?

 San Antonio Spurs, Atlanta Braves, Detroit Lions

(Picture below of the Jordy figure by ‘Retroband’)

Retroband - Jordy

Favorite movie(s)?

 Dawn of the Dead 1978, Lost Boys and Lost in Translation.

Favorite books and comics?

 EC Comics Tales from the Crypt.

Favorite monsters?

 All things zombie

Specifics on Art

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

 Design married Art but is having an affair with Bootleg.

(Picture below of the Jordy variant figure by ‘Retroband’)

Retroband - Jordy variant

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

 I’ve always had a strong passion for art.
 Retroband was a side project and a break from painting. It’s been extremely fun and satisfying.
 It’s a habit that I don’t think I’ll ever kick.

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

 I don’t really see it as a hustle.
 This is what I was born to do. Create, it just makes sense in my mind.

Any formal art training? Or pivotal moment/influence?

 College and graffiti.

Company motto?

 Making toys I wish they had growing up.

Favorite ‘other’ artist(s)?

 Charlie Isoe, Jack Davis, Herakut, Low Bros, Conor Harrington, Joram Roukes, I can go on and on.

Worst aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?

 The Politics.

Best aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?

 The amazing people and places you meet and see along the way.

‘Retroband’ Art Questions

Describe the method of making a ‘Retroband’ piece? (dot point all o.k.)

  • choose a character or characters
  • sculpt with cx5
  • mold
  • cast
  • paint and assemble

(Pictures below showing the artistic process of a Retroband figure – this one called Pigcop and as yet unreleased)

Retroband - early stage of figure 000

Retroband - kit bashing

Retroband - early stage of figure 002 - pig cop

Who does all the amazing art for the ‘Retroband’ releases?

 Two gentleman. Gabriel Hernandez aka Safari and Cody Schibi

How do you get your art manufactured?

– the toys themselves

 I sculpt the parts needed and mold and cast them myself in resin.

– the card-backs

 Once I receive the art I print and assemble the cards myself.

– the bubbles (including the perfectly sized bubbles you use for the accessories)

 They usually fall off a back of a truck 😉
 Nothing is outsourced. Only the art for the card backs. I like to showcase artists that I’m a fan of.

(Picture below of the Sticker Series No.1: Killer Army by ‘Retroband’)

Retroband - Slime Time sticker pack 001

Your ‘Slime Time’ sticker packs are brilliantly creepy… Why did you decide to release hand painted art stickers?

 As a youngin I always had slaps (stickers) with me. As I got into graff I started painting my own with my name or crew.
 I’ve always painted stickers. So I decided to do some for Retroband.

Why the decision to include accessories with your figures – such as the cake + head with ‘Father’, the shotgun with ‘Jordy’ variant and the bucket with the regular ‘Jordy’?

(Close-up picture below of the shotgun accessory that comes with the Jordy variant figure by ‘Retroband’)

Retroband - Jordy (variant) shotgun accessory

 Why not?! Every toy needs a accessory. That’s what I had as a child growing up.
 It just completes the figure.

Your figures include articulation, a rarity in art toys. How do you make your articulated figures?

 Aren’t they supposed to? Old fashion way, ball joint.

‘Retroband’ General Questions

What are your thoughts on ‘The Sucklord’? – I ask as he is the UR toy-bootlegger…

 Much respect. Can’t knock on the guy who started it all.

What are your thoughts on Peter + ‘Killer Bootlegs’– I ask as he has promptly gone from a newbie in the scene back in early 2012, to a major presence today…

 Love his color combos.

(Pictures below of the Creep figure by ‘Retroband’)

Retroband - Creep

Retroband - Creep card-back

What are your thoughts on the current status of the art-toy ‘scene’, and why?

 I’m not really in the “art-toy” circle.
 I’m just doing me. I like it that way.

Toy Questions

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?

 I wouldn’t know? Lol probably both.

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

 Retroband 🙂
 Toys from 80’s and 90’s are by far the best toys I’ve ever had.

What does your wife/girl/woman/family make of the whole perpetual adolescence/Peter-Pan/man-child aspect of toy art + toy collecting?

 110% support and my toughest critics. Brutal.

(Picture below of some uncut ‘Retroband’ card-backs)

Retroband - card backs

The Future

Any collaborations on the horizon?

 Alex Pardee!!! So excited to work with him. Such an amazing artist and person. Totally honored. October 19th at Gallery 1988:East Los Angeles,CA.

Any major projects you want to hype man?

 No not really. I’m pretty minimal. But I would like to give a HUGE THANK YOU to all my fans and supporters!!!
 You guys rock and I can’t thank you enough for making Retroband what it is.


Retroband - boxes for shipping

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