These last few years i have gotten into the seedy, degenerate world of bootleg/custom/self-made-action-figures-as-art. “WTF?” I hear you say… Well… BASICALLY dudes collage,create and/or custom one off pop-art-sculptures/action figures. Simple to do, BUT damn hard to do well.
‘Forces Of Dorkness’ and their owner-operator Scott Kinnebrew are new-guns in this field, and are already making waves in the scene. Probably caus’ Mr. Kinnebrew is an all round pop-art machine, plying his trade through one-off art sculprures, screen-prints, graphic-design and custom toys.
(picture below of a March 2013 custom ‘Bad Buddha’ by Scott/’F.O.D’)
Get to know ‘Forces Of Dorkness’ and Mr. Scott Kinnebrew in the interview below…
Basics/Getting to Know
Name + D.O.B?
Scott Jackson Kinnebrew 1/4/1974
City, State n Country you’re Repping?
Austin, TX; USA
(Photo below of Mr. ‘Forces Of Dorkness’ himself, Scott Kinnebrew)
Describe a memory from three stages of yr life ….basically trying to piece together Mr. S. Kinnebrew’s pivotal moments. Concerts, art, action-figures, women, school, college… ANYTHING man.
* age 10 – pre pubes:
Less than a week into 1984 I turned 10, and it turned out to be one of the biggest pop culture years of my life. As I think about it 84 may have been that tipping year for me. I had to see “Ghostbusters”, “Gremlins”, “Breakin’”, and “Neverending Story” in the theater. On my white plastic GE briefcase turntable was “Purple Rain”, “Born in the USA”, Van Halen’s “1984”, and “Footloose”, and I had to watch The “A-Team” and “Knight Rider” both which started that year and both of which I had the lunchbox for.
* age 15 – pube rage:
15 may have been the hardest year of my life from a growth standpoint. I was in love. I wanted to be 16 so bad. I thought being cool was the most important thing in life. I started working that year, but mainly because I had reasons that I needed money. I was going out a lot, and Dallas had clubs for “teens’. I think this one factor caused a lot of us to grow up really fast. This was also the first year I was in a real band had what I thought were real friends and started doing non-kid things.
* age 20 – acceptance of pubes:
Emotionally 20 was a fucking rollercoaster. It started with me getting kicked out of college, then moving back to Dallas and then in with my band mates from 15, trying hard to do something with that. Moving back home with my parents after we were robbed by a junkie, planned the great band move to Austin, TX so we could be rock stars, my best friend and band mate killed himself, and me moving to Austin by myself. I also started working in the nightclub scene, was Trent Resnor’s personal bodyguard, pissed of Marilyn Manson, made some new friends, found out who Frank Kozik was, tried designing gig posters, and learned a shitload about life and the fact that nothing is forever.
(Picture below of a ‘Spawn’ custom by Scott/’F.O.D’)
Slayer, Pink Floyd, Barry White, Mastodon, 311, Kiss, Dio, Cannibal Corpse, Aphex Twin, Boston, Orbital, Slipknot, Herb Alpert…
Favorite TV show(s)?
Breaking Bad, Land of the Lost, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Metalocalypse, Family Guy, Little House on the Prairie, Game of Thrones, Adventure Time, Gravity Fallas.
(Picture below of a Scott/’F.O.D’ custom figure)
Not really into sports but I’ll pay attention to the Texas Rangers if they are on TV, and I enjoy hockey but there is no specific team I follow.
Episodes 4-6, The Last Temptation of Christ, Akira, Labyrinth, Fantasia, Flash Gordon, Pulp Fiction, Buckaroo Banzai, The Last Dragon, Heavy Metal, …
Specifics on Art
Do you consider what you are making to be ‘art’, ‘design’, re-hashed crap?
I consider it my creative outlet; I let others say what it is. For the most part the response has been really positive.
(Picture below of a custom B-Bot by Scott/’F.O.D’)
When did you first start making ‘art’ (drawings, paintings, anything)?
I’ve tried as far back as I can remember. My mom still has a plate that I made in preschool, which I would have made at 3 or 4. So that was probably one of my first saved pieces. Growing up there was always a city wide art competition that was put on by the schools in Texas and I did pretty well a couple of times. Other than that I just tried to draw cartoons like the Smurfs and Garfield, video game characters like Qbert and The warriors from Joust, and everything in Mad Magazine. It was my New York Times growing up.
Why + when did you decide to go in on the art hustle full time?
I wouldn’t consider what I do hustle or fulltime. I make things because I have to. I need a creative hobby. Maybe it’s the Capricorn in me but in my free time I would rather create than play some game. Some people play poker, or bowl, or play golf, I create. For 20 years I made music, and that was my outlet. I designed and made posters and merch for my own bands and also for shows I used to put on. That turned into doing other bands and other events, but I really hated being told what to do artistically so I stopped doing it for other bands. I had a marketing job that I had a hard time doing because of “direction.” It also taught me to do something that isn’t directly creative but has a creative aspect to it. I fell out of love with music after being let down by those I was making it with and art took its place. My first art show was October of 2012, and my first that didn’t have 50 other artists in it as well was in March of 2011 during SXSW. If there had to be a “day 1” that was it. Funny thing is there were no toys at all during that time. That came a few weeks later when I started working on Kid Robot products and I ended up winning the “James Brown Award” in the 2011 MunnyWorld contest.
It’s the play on words. I used to do security and my nickname during that time was “Satan” so it’s a personal jab at that, and I’m a big dork, not a nerd, but a dork. There’s a very definite line between the two. I couldn’t even hang in a trivia contest or “nerd” game show. I don’t wear costumes, mainly because outside of the Rancor handler or Jabba the Hutt there aren’t many characters from SW I could be. But then again I do have the lower left half of my arm covered in Star Wars tattoos. I love people that really get into it, it’s just not my thing.
(Picture below of Scott/’F.O.Ds’ Black Metal Pirate custom)
I don’t have one so maybe this is when I come up with it…”Dorkness Falls”, “Fear the Dorkness”, “Don’t be afraid of the Dork”, I guess I don’t have one.
Favorite medium to make art outta – I notice that you make custom toys, sculptures, prints, and paintings…dear god!?
(Picture below of a Scott/’F.O.D’ poster done for D-Con in 2012)
I just did my first screen print, it was for a show in Austin where we all had to do themed music pieces that were 12.5” x 12.5” and they had to only be $25. The rule was we couldn’t actually name the band or musician in the piece. It was a cool challenge, and I was really happy with my piece. It was based on the band “Mastodon” from Atlanta, GA in the US. Oddly, I got an email about 2 weeks ago that the Drummers wife bought one when she was playing a show in the gallery there during SXSW. I don’t do my own screen printing though; I don’t have the room or the time. As far as favorite, I love the resin process…but custom toys are my real passion.
Favorite ‘other’ artist?
That’s a tough one, Dave McDowell and Chet Zar are my favorite painters, Tim Gore is the reason I try to airbrush, Adam Pratt’s miniature work amazes me, and Rsin’s toy customizations are pure inspiration.
Worst aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?
The haters. It’s funny though, they are a gauge. I remember my first real one…and a year later I’ve actually got 3 pieces in a show he’s putting on.
Best aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?
The unity. I’ve made some great friends doing this and for the most part we all help each other. I love seeing people I know succeed. It makes me feel good. But on the flip side I hate seeing them suffer. This is a very moody industry and it doesn’t always pay people’s bills.
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 think it’s a more accessible form of art, it’s much easier to pick up a $200 piece or even a $1000 piece if it’s a one of a kind custom toy. People were and still pay that for fine art prints printed by someone else, and the original is hanging in a museum somewhere. That just doesn’t make sense to me. Even with resin pieces it was made and poured and packaged by me, you are buying a piece that is me from start to finish even if there are 50 others that one and the other 49 are all one of a kind, be it the color or finish or splatter work or airbrushing I do to it.
‘Forces of Dorkness’ Art Questions
Are all the works by ‘Forces of Dorkness’ made by yourself? If you use collaborators; whom and in what capacity?
As of now it’s all me. JFury and I are doing a sculpt and swap of 7” munnys, and Jason Chalker and I are doing a blind box series of 3” dunnys of the same concept (we each sculpt 5 then swap and I paint his and he paints mine) that we haven’t even announced yet. The official info on that should be coming out soon.
(Picture below of a Scott/’F.O.D’ custom sculpture)
Describe the method of making a ‘Forces of Dorkness’ piece?
Honestly it’s all just random thoughts. I travel a lot with my day job, so sitting in airports and on planes gives me a lot of time to think of really random shit. Most of my resin ideas are just that. I’ve had some really good ideas, hell I’ve had some great ideas, but I don’t write anything down as far as ideas go, so out of probably 20 great ideas I only remember one when I get back to the studio. I tried planning for a while and I just wasn’t happy with what I was coming up with, freestyle is how I create, toys and I are in a perfect place, the moment I take it in my hand is when the creation begins.
You do LOTS of commissions – Worst commission + best commission you have worked on, and the details behind it?
Actually I hardly do any commissions. I won’t lie, when I hear guys talking about “sorry folks, as of now I’ve got a 6 month waiting period,” I wish I could say that. I get lots of “make this” or “make that” suggestions, but at the end of the day if it isn’t something someone is paying for it’s more than likely something I’ll forget about because it wasn’t my idea. I’ve not had a bad commission yet but maybe that’s because I can count them on one hand.
Do you use digital technology in your work at all? If so how, and what has it added to your practice?
I’ve been using computers for art since 92. I remember taking my first Photoshop class in Austin when I moved here in 94. I’ll sketch ideas on paper but for print work or large paintings I’ll always take those sketches into the digital realm and go from there. Most of my recent print work has been completely digital from beginning to end.
People in the toy scene LOVE yr ‘BuddhaFett’ resin – have to ask, are you religious at all?
(Picture below of some of the many colourways of Scott/’F.O.Ds’ BuddhaFett sculpture)
I guess that easy answer is no. Religion and I have an understanding. It had its chance but unfortunately I saw the “why do bad things happen to good people” too many times. People I loved got shit on over and over, and I lost too many people that mattered to me. I get the need to hold onto something, that feeling that there is something else. Something after this try, something to wake up to. I’m good with this turn. I’ve accomplished a lot, but I’m not done yet and there is still a whole list of things I want to do.
Lots of your toys are inspired by computer games – do you just pillage any aspect of popular culture with designs you like, or are you a serious gamer?
I’m an old school gamer. The first game I flipped was Space Invaders, Galaga is one of my favorites, but I’m down with the new school stuff too. Most of my gaming growing up was on my Apple IIe though. Ultima, Kings Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, The Bard’s Tale, stuff like that. I don’t know if I pillage, most of it is a tribute. I’m weird with games, there’s no rhyme or reason to what I play. It’s all about the mood I’m in.
You had an art-show at ‘Kidrobot’ New York back in 2012 – the ‘Art Wars’ show with yourself and Jason Chalker. What are your thoughts on ‘KidRobot’s’ position and role in the toy-art scene? They seem to be a very polarizing company…
(Picture below of a custom Kidrobot ‘Munny’ for the ‘Art Wars’ show back in 2012)
I think they are important, and it was one of the greatest learning experiences of my life. Though the show didn’t come out exactly like I had hoped (mainly because of scheduling changes, and getting screwed by NYCC making the first nights hours later), it did mean having my stuff up the night of the 10 yr KR party at KRNY. Seeing people I admire checking out my stuff was amazing.
The scent of change is heavy in the scene right now. A lot of lifestyle branding is being attempted, a gamble that any company has to make if they want to take that next step. The problem though is the collector scene is changing too. People want 10s and 100s of pieces but the big companies are releasing in the 1000s and 10000s, and for a movement that has already jumped the shark, I understand now why the sites like PLNDR, and Fab are selling discounted toys that didn’t sell out in the retail stores. It’s a win win for the customizers as long as you’re willing to wait to but certain releases.
You made a great custom figure of Morgan ‘The Sucklord’ Phillips called the ‘Chup Lord’. What are your thoughts on Morgan/’The Sucklord’; and his role in the toy-art scene?
(Photo below of Scott/’F.O.Ds’ Chup Lord piece)
I had just done my first big toy show the month before I saw him on TV. I was like “holy shit, that’s exactly what I want to do”, and by exactly what I want to do I mean make stuff that’s fun and not give a fuck what anyone thinks about it. At the end of the day everything I make is for me, if I don’t like it who else will. That way also if it doesn’t sell, I don’t mind having it stare at me in the studio.
We were in a show together in NY back in April of 2012, that’s the show I dropped this piece at. It was actually a collab between Halo Seraphim from Shonuff Studios in Dallas and I. I also had made a jar full of “Dumny Pops” which were a resculpt of his Dumny’s head which I cast in resin, mounted on a lollipop stick and I splatter painted all of them. We talked for a bit at the show, he questioned why I sculpted my idea and didn’t just bootleg, and also why I didn’t just sell my stuff from my own store. I didn’t really have answers, but it made me think a lot, but that was really it. I tried saying hi at Designer Con last fall but he just keeps blowing up, and who really remembers everyone that tells them they are badass…so he just kept walking on. I get it, when you’ve got a whole section of a trade show floor you’re big time. It’s cool seeing it, it makes me keep pushing what I do. He’s our scene’s Elvis, the suits, the shades, the swagger, hence the custom. Except instead of the glasses he needed the luchadore mask. Artistic license, it’s something I tend to use when I can.
You have a t-shirt in the works with ‘Outsmart Originals’ and have one out on ‘RedBubble’ – are you going to push this into a full line of t’s or other clothing, or just keep doing the occasional drop?
(Picture below of Scott/’F.O.Ds’ OutSmart T)
Actually we’ve done the drop at OutSmart. Kevin is a badass and I’m really thankful for the opportunity. I’ve had 4 shirts at redbubble total, but I think all but one have been pulled because of licensing complaints. RedBubble was a great parody and tribute outlet. I got some dope stickers there that you can’t get anymore, I also got my first “cease and desist” from LucasFilm because of RedBubble so that’s pretty cool.
(Picture below of one of Scott/’F.O.Ds’ RedBubble t’s)
Clothes on the whole aren’t really something I’m into doing. There are guys and gals doing much cooler stuff than I could ever hope to do. Now if I could do some shoes or some New Era hats I’d be down with that. Nike…I’m talking to you. I’ve done one offs and stuff (hats too) but I’d love to see someone walking down the street in a production piece of mine.
Any collaborations on the horizon?
Collabs, not specifically. I’ve got friends in the scene that I’ve talked to about doing some stuff, but when you’ve got a 6-12 month commission list there’s no reason to collab with anyone. I have a couple of show ideas that I’ve bounced off some people but there’s the rest of the equation that we don’t get past. The where, the when, the how. With this said though, I’m always down for collabs, so I suggest if someone wants to work with me to just reach out, because it won’t happen the other way. I always feel when I bring it up that I’m bothering them, so it’s not really something I think about anymore.
Any major projects you want to hype man?
Well announced the same day as I did this interview, “The Passion of the Wookie” is dropping on the 14th of April. It’s going to be released through 4 different websites. Each with its own colorway or color combos based on that sites theme colors. There will be at least one more in this series with a possible final piece based on if my sculpting skills will allow for it to happen or not.
(Picture below of one colourway of Scott/’F.O.Ds’ Passion of the Wookie piece)
Other than those resin releases…on the 11th of April the Vinyl Thoughts Nation Blind box set is released, which I have 6 pieces in. I’ve got 2 shows in May, one in June, and then it’s the drive towards Designer Con which will see a bunch of different release through a bunch of different groups, but I’ve got to stay quiet on those for now.
As far as Dcon goes what I can tell you is this year I’m teaming up with two of my favorite female artists MaloApril and Tasha Zimich. Between the three of us our booth should be pretty sick. Check out both of their stuff, it’s really sick stuff.