Mr. Kevin Herdeman is an artist from Maryland, USA producing paintings on glass, glass sculptures and his signature ‘Melt Monsters’ – plastic sculptural monsters, that incorporate Kevin’s melted-solids look.
Kevin may have been out of the scene for a while due to the birth of his second child, but he has recently returned to the art-hustle to much acclaim.
(Picture below of Kevin Herdeman)
So get schooled on Kevin Herdeman the man, his art and importantly his ‘Melt Monsters’ via the interview below…
Basics/Getting to Know
Name + D.O.B?
Kevin Herdeman, 1981
City, State n Country you’re Repping?
Millersville MD, USA
(Picture below of a ‘Melt Monster’)
Describe a memory from three stages of yr life ….basically trying to piece together Mr. Herdeman’s pivotal moments. Concerts, art, action-figures, women, school, college, Halloween… ANYTHING man.
* age 10 – pre pubes:
Watching ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and ‘Mother’s Day’ everyday over the summer…
* age 15 – pube rage:
Playing in a HXC band with my best friends, not caring about much else…
* age 20 – acceptance of pubes:
Haulin’ ass, getting’ paid…
Make it work
This is a hard one to answer because there’s a ton; but at the moment I’m listening to a lot of ‘Toadies’, ‘Torche’, ‘Mariachi El Bronx’, Tom Waits and ‘Converge’.
Favorite TV show(s)?
‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ and ‘Star Trek OS’
Favorite sport(s) + teams?
Haha, no thanks dude.
(Picture below of a trapped-in-glass ‘Melt Monster’)
Another hard one to answer but I can always watch ‘Shaun of the Dead’, ‘Return of the Living Dead’, ‘M.I.B’ 1, 2 and 3 and ‘Galaxy Quest’.
I’ve drawn a blank but basically any sci-fi from the 50’s-70’s and almost all zombie movies…
Favorite books and comics?
I really wish I would read (more) books. I’m not a huge comic book fan
All Universal Monsters, I dig robots. Garamon, Baltan, Pestar…
Specifics on Art
Do you consider what you are making to be ‘art’, ‘design’, re-hashed crap?
I guess its all art in a way but re-hashed crap describes it best.
(Picture below of a trapped-in-a-frame ‘Melt Monster’)
When and why did you first start making ‘art’ (toys, drawings, paintings, anything)?
I first started painting on glass in about 2000 off and on.
In about 2006-ish I really got my style down and from about 2007-11 I painted a lot and had a ton of shows and sold lots of paintings but also got a little burnt out so I haven’t painted much lately but I guess that’s when the MeltMonsters kicked in.
I’d say late 2011 is when I got my melt style down but was really strong in 2012 when I made “a MeltMonster a day” for the entire year and most of 2013 I made numbered runs of toys and did collabs with a few people/painters.
Why + when did you decide to go in on the art hustle?
Maybe 2007-ish… That’s when I started having art show and selling art.
I like making stuff but I want others to enjoy it/want it on their walls or toy shelves.
Any formal art training? Or pivotal moment/influence?
I feel art “training/school” is a waste/lame. Remember its all about style.
John waters said it best “technique is just failed style”. Trial and error is my influence.
(Picture below of an ice-cream ‘Melt Monster’)
Favorite ‘other’ artist(s)?
Basil Gogos has always been one of my favorite painters. Matt Ritchie – @Rat136 on IG – blows me away with his work.
Toy world wise Luke Rook is one of my favs. ‘Retroband’ is making some great stuff as well as ‘Doubleparlour’.
Todd Robertson is another that blows me away with his work, his paint apps are nuts and his customizations are crazy. Dude has a hell of a style.
Worst aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?
Dickheads. People who complain too much or talk a bunch of shit for no reason.
Best aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?
Making friends and collaborating. Well, making cash is nice too.
Kevin Herdeman Art Questions
Describe the method of making a Kevin Herdeman piece? (dot point all o.k.)
– your resin sculptural work such as the ‘Melt Monsters’?
I strategically melt soft plastic to lay the way I want. I have a system and it works…
– your works on glass?
(Picture below of one of Kevin’s works on glass – this a tribute to ‘Grody Shogun‘)
Basically I spray-paint a frame and background at the same time so there are seamless/appear to be one piece.
I then do all my outlines in enamel on the top side of the glass and then on the reverse side is where I use various materials as “paint” .
Why the decision to focus on the melted-solids look with your pieces?
It actually all started because I wanted to make a Hedorah looking figure and then through trial and error I was melting plastic and making my MeltMonsters.
I like having a style that can be noticed as mine.
People seem to dig the MeltMonsters so I keep at it.
‘Topheroy‘ and I have done the most collabs together and it’s been great. He makes my melts look like something way more special than they are.
‘Blurble‘ is fun to work with too; I dig what he has done with my melts.
‘D-lux‘ is another that has been a blast to work with. I love the runs we have done.
Kevin Herdeman General Questions
What are your thoughts on the current status of the art-toy ‘scene’, and why?
It seems to be strong still.
There’s a lot of people making toys and painting toys and customizing toys and buying toys and selling toys. Shit’s good.
I know you play drums in ‘Ethics Committee’ and ‘One Rep Max’ – what do you get out of music that you don’t get outta fine art?
(Picture below of Kevin’s view from the drum-stool)
It’s all the same. Music is just fun because I can hit the drums hard and playing shows is always a good time.
Its all for fun and creating something that people dig.
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’m thinking it’s a bunch of nerds with too much cash.
Honestly though, I think we all liked toys as kids and now we have “grown up” and still dig them.
A lot of time and money is put into making toys so it’s usually worth the higher price tags.
Favorite toy/figure? (I’ll allow self promotion)
By far the Grody Shogun line. Zagorans are next in line.
I love my blank M1-GO collection too.
(Picture below of some of Kevin’s collection)
What does your wife/girl/woman/family make of the whole perpetual adolescence/Peter-Pan/man-child aspect of toy art + toy collecting?
The wife is a-ok with it. We both know it’s geeky, so it works. She enjoys me making toys too.
It pays some bills and buys things for our little girls so it’s win-win. I’m sort of out of the loop a little bit. I like what I like and dislike what I don’t like.
Any collaborations on the horizon?
I have a box of MeltMonsters on the way to Mecha Virus (Todd Robertson) that I’m very excited about.
Toph and I will be doing some more and I’m sure so will Dlux and I.
I sent a box of GrodyMelts to Luke a while back; maybe those will see the light of day soon.
There are some other dudes out there that id like to work with so well see what happens.
(Picture below of a Star Wars themed ‘Melt Monster’)
Any major projects you want to hype man?
Not that I can think of. I have a bunch of “chernobylies” and “spaceskullmelts” in the works that I’m excited about. Those are some of my favorite figures I make.
Like I said, I’ve been a little out of the loop but I’m getting back at making more melts.