Mike Marinello aka ‘Blurble‘ is a self described 1980’s child, and the day-glo-hyper-colour-gross aesthetic of the latter part of that decade shines through in all his art.
‘Blurble’s most well known creation(s), Sparrow and his companion Foxtrot, are an allegory for the father-son dynamic, an ode to adventure and a visual stoke of pop-art joy. So far they exist not only as 2D creations, but also as a 3d resin work via the recently released Sparrow resin.
As an artist ‘Blurble’ is a well respected and in-demand. He is also a well regarded collaborator having worked with ‘Radioactive Uppercut‘, ‘Bad Teeth Comics‘, ‘Ministry of Kongz‘, ‘DuBose Art‘, ‘Tru Tek‘ and many many more.
(Picture below of the ‘Sparrow’ resin – designed and painted by ‘Blurble’, produced by ‘DuBose Art’)
With an appearance at Designer Con 2013 around the corner in November, and many new projects in the works, now is the perfect time to get schooled on Mike Marinello AKA ‘Blurble’ by reading the interview below…
Basics/Getting to Know
Name + D.O.B?
Mike aka Blurble..I am an 80s child.
(Picture below of ‘Blurble’ on the art hustle)
City, State n Country you’re Repping?
Blazing furnace of Hell aka Arizona in the USA.
Describe a memory from three stages of yr life ….basically trying to piece together Blurble’s pivotal moments. Concerts, art, action-figures, women, school, college, Halloween… ANYTHING man.
* age 10 – pre pubes:
Sega, Nintendo, riding bikes, hanging out in the streets with friends, ninja turtles, punk, making flip books of monsters tearing heads off.
* age 15 – pube rage:
Still making flip books but now with more monsters ripping heads off and fighting, beastieboys, girls, Nintendo, Graffiti, Drugs, Drug Overdose at 17.
* age 20 – acceptance of pubes:
Found God, Started getting my life on track, still making art. Met my awesome wife at 20 got married at 22 and life has been moving since.
(Picture below of a young ‘Blurble’ painting eggs for Easter)
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” Psalm 23:4
I love music! My top 5 bands: Beastie Boys, David Crowder, LinkinPark, Bon Iver, Blink 182.
Favorite TV show(s)?
Survivor, Breaking Bad and Adventure time.
Favorite sport(s) + teams?
I love watching skateboarding. But too many favorite skaters to name…
…ok top 2: Rodney Mullen and Christian Hosoi.
(Picture below of the Gusto From Space figures by ‘Blurble’ x ‘Tru Tek‘)
Planes, trains and automobiles…Christmas vacation and any John Hughes film.
Favorite books and comics?
Book: Under the overpass.
Comic: Creed by Trent Kaniuga
Mothra and Frankenruge.
Specifics on Art
Do you consider what you are making to be ‘art’, ‘design’, re-hashed crap?
I would consider all three. I love creating art.
I love designing and I believe all of the ideas come from some sort of inspiration.
(Picture below of some sketch cards by ‘Blurble’)
When and why did you first start making ‘art’ (toys, drawings, paintings, anything)?
I have been doing art since I was a kid.
Over the years I was always into toys and wanted to one day be a toy designer or cartoon artist.
Why + when did you decide to go in on the art hustle?
I got into making art because its fun and haven’t stopped. I honestly can’t remember when it started.
Any formal art training? Or pivotal moment/influence?
Junior High art class and the “how to draw monsters” book I use to rent all the time from the library as a kid.
Make art that’s fun for everyone.
(Picture below of an in-flight sketch by ‘Blurble’)
Favorite ‘other’ artist(s)?
Worst aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?
It will have to be the negativity from some who just have nothing better to say but spew hatred.
Best aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?
Meeting so many cool and positive people!
‘Blurble’ Art Questions
Describe the method of making a ‘Blurble’ piece? (dot point all o.k.)
– your resin sculptural work?
I sketch a ton..so it starts from a rough sketch and progresses from there to sculpting.
– your custom work?
I love certain color combos and think how I would like them on certain vinyl toys. Then I try and make it happen.
(Picture below of a Grody vinyl, customed by ‘Blurble’)
– your 2D work (drawings etc)?
My art is influenced by everything around me. So if there is something during the day that has stuck in my mind it will eventually come out in my drawings…
…from there it may progress into a toy design or a painting or just stay in my sketch book.
What was it like being a part of the ‘Bad Teeth Comics’ Zine? And how did you and Glenn Manders of ‘Bad Teeth’ hook-up?
(Picture below of some ‘Blurble’ art, as featured in the ‘Bad Teeth Comics’ zine)
Glenn hit me up because he had seen some of my art I think on instagram.
Glenn is an amazing artist and was a cool guy to work with! I was honored to be able to participate.
‘Blurble’ General Questions
You have an amazing family – you, your wife Melissa, and your three children: Seth, Sydney and Ember, what impact do they have on your art?
(Picture below of the ‘Blurble’ spawn)
They impact everything. My family is my life blood.
Melissa is my other half and My kids are my favorite critics and they love toys…so it always gives me an excuse to run to the toy store and check out all the cool new toys.
What are your thoughts on the current status of the art-toy ‘scene’, and why?
I think we are in a digital age and I wonder if I would even be having an interview if social media sites didn’t exists. I think it’s awesome.
So many amazing artists out there and thanks to the interwebs I get to see their art.
(Picture below of some Gusto resins, by ‘Blurble’)
What are your thoughts of the toy forum scene as a way for fans and artists to communicate? Is it a real ‘community’ or just a virtual locker-room shit talk? I ask as we are both members of Skullbrain…
I have met some amazing people on the forum and I tend to use the forums to read about new toys coming out.
I would say that meeting some of the sb members in person changes the whole perception of the forum in a good way.
Your ‘Sparrow’ figure is also the star of his own comic, ‘Sparrow and Foxtrot’…
– please describe the world and narrative of ‘Sparrow and Foxtrot’ for those playing at home…
To fully understand the reason I created Sparrow starts with my Son.
He was born with severe disabilities. He may never walk, talk and he is legally blind, def and has seizures.
I am so thankful he is in my life! He has showed me the true meaning of living everyday.
The adventures that Sparrow and foxtrot go on is the adventures I imagine Seth and I going on.
-what was the process involved in producing the Sparrow resin figure? I know it was digitally sculpted by ‘Era Sculpture’…
(Picture below of the Sparrow digital sculpt, by ‘Blurble’ and ‘Era Sculpture’)
I had been drawing Sparrow for over a year and I started talking with Josh from Era. Him and I worked well together and the process of creating sparrow was natural.
After the figure was 3d printed I sent it to Jonathan from Duboseart. He then helped me making him more available to the masses with his amazing resin production.
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?
It kind of reminds me how street art started to change from just being something you saw in the streets to now being shown in galleries.
Its even neat to see some of the street artist now making toys. The one big thing I love about “kaiju” vinyl is the fact that its painted by hand..each piece is airbrushed by the artist.
It’s like each piece is its own unique piece of art.
Favorite toy/figure? (I’ll allow self promotion)
This is a tough one..I love so many different toys.
I collect Convex, Dokuro King and anything that catches my eye.
What does your wife/girl/woman/family make of the whole perpetual adolescence/Peter-Pan/man-child aspect of toy art + toy collecting?
(Picture below of ‘Blurble’ and his loving wife Melissa on their wedding day)
She has been with me for over 9years and since we first met I was into vinyl toys.
So its nothing new for her and she doesn’t mind it.
What are your thoughts on the current rise of mass-production in the resin-art world, and the move away from hand made pieces? The 2012 Designer Con Suck-con figures as an example…
I think some of it is cool. Resin to me is still the underground movement. Mostly anyone can go out and buy resin at an art store and start swapping parts on toys then make them copies with resin.
But it still is weird to me to see some of it selling for lots of money.
How did you and Tanin from ‘Ministry of Kongz’ hook-up for your upcoming Yakonimonz collab to be released at D-Con 2013?
(Picture below of a Yakonimonz by ‘M.O.K’ customed by ‘Blurble’)
He hit me up and asked if I would be down to paint the toys. It sounded like fun.
Your ‘Sludgy’ resin from your Swamp Kids line is a great mini figure…
– what is Sludgy’s back-storey?
(Picture below of the Sludgy resin figure, by ‘Blurble’ x ‘DuBose Art’)
He is one of the many kids who hang out in the swamp.
He is part of a series I have been working on called Swamp Kids. There will be more to come.
– what was the process involved in producing Sludgy? – from initial idea, rough sketches, to 3D figure…
(Drawing below of Sludgy, by ‘Blurble’)
It started off as a sketch. Then I sculpted him and sent him to duboseart and he was put into production.
The process seems quick but it took several months to get to each phase.
What was it like taking part in the Kickstarter campaign for the ‘Radioactive Uppercut’ 8-Ball figure? The one-off you painted is amazing…
(Picture below of a ‘Blurble’ custom 8-Ball figure by ‘Radioactive Uppercut’)
Thanks! It was super fun and the piece is killer with tons of details.
I think anyone who did not preorder a vinyl piece will be kicking himself or herself once they see it in person.
What are your thoughts on the rise of crowd-funding in the art world?
I think there are some good projects on those sites.
Then there are some that don’t strike me as something that needs to be funded.
Any collaborations on the horizon?
Lots of stuff in the pipeline…weird luke..duboseart…and a few others I would like to keep as a surprise.
Any major projects you want to hype man?
Just finished a colab with Chris aka Schnebbs, New sculpt soon, new vinyl toy, lots of releases and I will be at Dcon so I hope to meet a ton of people.