Art Whore

ArtTalk – ‘Killer Bootlegs’ + Peter Goral (Killer Strikes Back: The 2nd ArtTalk)

Killer Bootlegs - Cream Logo

Peter Goral is the ADD infused brain behind well established brand ‘Killer Bootlegs‘. ArtWhore last spoke with Peter in late 2012 for Art Whore’s very first Art Talk.

Since then, Peter + ‘Killer Bootlegs’ have released one of the most well received art figures of 2013, The Phantom Starkiller. Stepped the bootleg game up to new hights with the release of his plexicard-backed figures. Collaborated with artists such as Tyler Ham of ‘Ham Fx’, Mike Kirchoff AKA ‘The Mark Ultra’ and Gary Buder AKA ‘2BitHack’,  and multiple other artistic triumphs.

(Picture below of a plexicard-backed Phantom Starkiller figure)

Killer - Plastic Card Back 002

So get re-aquainted with Peter and ‘Killer Bootlegs’ in the interview below…

Your New Work

The current plastic card-backs you are producing for your figures are cutting edge, make the figures pop and always incorporate great art, or effects…

– how do you make the plastic card-backs, including assembly and the process of printing to them?

 Thanks Josh. I know you’re keen on the plexicard figures. They start out as an 8 x 10,  1/8” thick, single pane of plexiglass. Once the art is applied, holes are drilled into the corners on a drill press, and screws hold it all together.
 I’ve done quite a lot of them at this point, and I think each and everyone has turned out dope. A lot of people have said that it is their, “new favorite piece”, the “highlight of their collection”, and so on and so forth. So, that’s pretty cool. I like hearing that type of stuff. 
 I’ve collaborated with screen printers Jarrod Hennis of Pirate Ninja Print Shop, Friend Prices’ Don Picton, and a long time friend of mine and ill as fuck graffiti writer Stukone.

(Picture below of a Plexicard-backed Frankenfett by ‘Killer Bootlegs’)

Killer Bootlegs - Frankenfett Plexiglass

– why did you decide to use plastic?

 I guess the reason I chose to go with the plexiglass for a cardback was, I thought I could get away with putting it in a gallery and it wouldn’t just look like a regular carded action figure.
 I wanted it to look like a piece of art, and it seemed that was the response I got with the first set that I made for the Clutter Magazine InAction Figure Gallery back in January.
 Don’t you own one of those bad boys? Haha. I love doing them and don’t expect me to stop producing them anytime soon. I’ve got a couple in the works that are fucking ridiculous.

You ‘Ewoking Dead’ piece is brilliant – flocked, moveable arms, and amazing paint. What was the inspiration behind it, and the process involved in producing it?

(Picture below of an Ewoking Dead figure by ‘Killer Bootlegs’)

Killer Bootlegs - Ewoking Dead

 The Ewoking Dead figure was inspired by a painting by artist Austin Madison. I can’t remember when I first saw the image, but it stuck with me.
 I used a vintage Teboo figure from ROTJ. I took it apart at the seam, cut a hole in the chest, inserted a skeletal ribcage that I had laying around, and sculpted it into place. I always thought that the original Kenner Ewoks would’ve been 10x cooler if they were flocked. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands and do it my god damned self.
 You know, that’s really what all this bootlegging shit is all about to me, making the toys/figures the way I want to see them made. Anyways, I tried to make him look like a fucking blood thirsty crazy little furball. I think I achieved the look I was going for.
 It is one of my favorite figures that I’ve created. I like him so much, that I’ve decided to do a new sculpt and release a carded 2 pack for NYCC. The original figure will also be included.

Lately, you have been incorporating colored clear resin in your work – producing figures that resemble stained glass. How do you achieve the color dye to the resin, and the color bleed?

(Picture below of some ‘Killer Bootlegs’ Creature figures, painted to resemble stained glass)

Killer Bootlegs - Creature

 I actually airbrush the figures. I start out with a clear or light base color figure. Monster Kolor makes these transparent resin dyes and airbrush paints, those are what I generally use.
 Jon Dubose just hooked it up with a nice selection of his Homebrew Paints. They also have some really nice transparent colors.
 I took the concept of the clear colored figures with all the fades from the Japanese vinyl/sofubi scene. Mark Nagata of Maxtoy Co. was and still is a huge inspiration. I hadn’t seen anybody do it in the resin scene, so I did it. I can’t officially say that I was the first to do it or any shit like that, but I hadn’t seen or heard of anyone doing it before me.

Recently, you have also been adding movement to your pieces. What do you use to connect and allow movement in the resin parts?

 I’ve used pegs and magnets. The Frankenfett 2.0 and Ewoking Dead figure utilized a 1/8” peg on the arm, going into a 9/32” hole in the torso of the figure. It provided some movement, but the magnets are fucking tits. I used them on the Deluxe Rankin Bass Gollum that Tyler Ham and I worked on together. I was very pleased with the way they worked and the range of motion and ease of movement is dope.
 I also recreated a fully functional telescoping lightsaber for the Phantom Starkiller figure. That was basically a shot in the dark on whether it was going to work or not. The mold was perfect and worked every time. I was really proud of that feature. I think that was another first for the resin bootleg scene, a moving part that small. I’m a mother fucking innovator, Jack!  LOL.
 Anyways, I’m working on a magnetic series of figures that will have different parts that will be able to be swapped out for other parts to create your own characters and shit. A hand painted base figure will be available sometime around Christmas, with corresponding hand painted interchangeable parts coming out on a monthly basis thereafter.

You have recently been collaborating more and more with other artists, such as ‘HamFX’, ‘2BitHack’, ‘Goodleg Toys’, ‘Tru:Tek’ and ‘TheMarkUltra’… Dear god! How do collaborations alter your artistic practice?

 Yeah, I get around… I just try and stay busy for the most part. I have really bad ADD and if I’m not working on something, I might be outside staring at a tree all day or some shit.
 How does collaborating alter my artistic practice? I don’t know if it really does or not, I just flip whatever is sent to me in a way that makes me happy.
 Sometimes when I see something that someone else has put out, I see it painted or reworked somehow by myself in my head. If it looks doper in my head, more times than not, I will ask, “hey, let me paint that, or hey let me fuck with that.”  Generally the answer is yes, so I end up doing a lot of collabs.

What was the process involved in producing and collaborating on…

– the ‘HamFX’ x ‘Killer Bootlegs’ Gollum?

(Picture below of the ‘HamFX‘ x ‘Killer Bootlegs’ Gollum figure)

HamFX x Killer - Golum

 The Rankin Bass Gollum figure was sculpted by my good friend, and all around awesome artist, Tyler Ham. He sent it me for production, it was around January if I remember. But, anyways I molded it, cast it, and painted it. Those figures turned out really dope, and if any of you reading this haven’t seen or held one of these figures, DO IT!
 I’d like to do more non-action figure related releases in the future. Tyler and I constantly bounce ideas around on what to do next. So, stay tuned.

– ‘The Mark Ultra’ x ‘Killer Bootlegs’ Dave?

(Picture below of ‘The Mark Ultra‘ x ‘Killer Bootlegs’ Dave figure)

Mark Ultra x Killer - Dave 002

 The ‘Dave” figure started out by Mike, (The Mark Ultra) sending me a box of figures, rejects, and bum castings. I just broke off the legs that he had on the original figure he had sent, sanded it smooth, and added some Bossk arms and legs. Only 2 were made this way, I think.. Tyler Ham has one and one resides at Clutter Magazine.
 Awhile later, Mike, (The Mark Ultra) actually sent me his original kitbashed piece that he used for his figure for me to mold and cast. I’ve since made my own mold and have made some seriously ill one-offs and small run editions of “Dave”.

– the ‘2BitHack’ x ‘Broken Pigeon‘ x ‘Killer Bootlegs’ Pigeon Killer?

(Picture below of the ‘2BitHack‘ x ‘Broken Pigeon‘ x ‘Killer Bootlegs’ Pigeon Killer figure)

2BitHack x Killer - Pigeon Killer

 This figure was really a blast to work on. “The 2-bit Pigeon Killer” has parts from Brody Kreps (Broken Pigeon) and Gary Buder (2-Bit HACK). They both sent me some random castings to work with, and after me fucking around for awhile, this monstrosity of a bootleg was born. I airbrushed and hand painted all the details with Monster Kolor.
 The figure turned out really dope. I was happy with the results. I think A$$hole, from the Galactic Jerkbag Forum scored this guy.

– the ‘Goodleg Toys’ x ‘Killer Bootlegs’ DieBia$e?

(Picture below of the ‘Goodleg Toys‘ x ‘Killer Bootlegs’ DieBia$e figure)

Goodleg x Killer - unknown

 My collab with Goodleg Toys was just me repainting some of their WOTU figures. I think I asked Luke if I could paint one or something. A few weeks later, a box from Berlin shows up full of these lightly blue tinted figures. I painted 4 of them and they turned out really cool.
 I enjoyed working on a different scale for a change. Painting a huge chunk of resin is a lot easier than the tiny figures I’m used to.

– the ‘Tru:Tek’ x ‘Killer Bootlegs’ Joba the Hurt?

(Picture below of the ‘Tru:Tek‘ x ‘Killer Bootlegs’ Joba the Hurt figure)

Killer Bootlegs x Tru Tek - Joba The Hurt

 Tru:Tek and I have been buddies for a very long time. He was the first person to ever write a feature on my work. It was like 2-3 years ago, before Man-E-Toys was the staple that it is today in the Designer Toy blogging scene. I think Niell asked if I wanted to participate, and I said, “yes”. Simple as that.
 My contribution to the H.U.S.T.L.E. line was a small scale kitbash. I took a M.U.S.T.L.E figure, a Jobba the Hutt Fighter Pod, a S.L.U.G. Zombie figure, and if I’m not mistaken, a part from a G.I. Joe figures’ scuba tank. I cut all the appropriate parts to the correct size and shape to fit the scale of a M.U.S.T.L.E figure, sclupted, glued it all together, and shipped it over to the U.K. for production.
 Those Hundreds of Ugly Scraped Together Losers really have been everywhere, and I’m still stoked to have been part of such an awesome ensemble of participating artists.

Your Rockford Art Deli ‘Toys Are Us’ Show

Why did you decide to host an art-toy show?

(Picture below of the flyer for the 2013 Rockford Art Deli ‘Toys Are Us’ show)

Toys Are Us show flyer 2013

 I really didn’t decide to host an art show, I was asked by the owners of the gallery to do a solo show. At the time, I was still working a full-time job, being a father of 2, and trying to keep up with the demand of my fans for more bootlegs. It just wasn’t the right time to do a solo show. Maybe in a few years, when the body of my work is larger. I’ve made/sold literally 1000’s of figures at this point, but hardly own any of my own work. I have a few figures here and there. I’d have to stop operations, and fully focus on creating shit for a few months if I were to have a solo show. Someday.
 Anyways, so I basically just put it out there to the owners of the gallery that I know, like everyone in the designer toy scene and I could put together a fucking awesome show with some of the best in the industry. They were sold on the idea, and I started planning.

How do you know all the artists involved?

 I guess I know a majority of the artists involved through social media sites and email correspondence. I met a few of them at the Clutter Magazine show in Beacon, NY.  But, mainly through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
 The Designer Toy community is really a really tight knit group of dudes/dudettes that are all striving for the same goal. To be seen. So, everyone was more than happy to contribute something. It was an awesome show with a vast diversity ranging in all types of mediums. I was pleased with the way it turned out.

What was a highlight of the show?

 The highlight of the show, in my opinion was the fact that it was very successful with a majority of the stuff selling. That’s always a good thing, right?

What was a low-point with the show?

 The low-point of the show was the fact that I didn’t handle everything myself. That’s really my only regret.

Stand out piece of the show, and why – in your opinion?

 Man, there were soooo many fucking dope pieces! You’re asking me to pick one? Jesus Christ, Josh! Great, now I’m going to look like an asshole. Mine? Does that work? Haha. I’m just fucking around.
 I really liked Dead Hand Toys “Nex’ figure. If had to give a reason why, it would have to be that it was a kind of, “out of the box” thing for Brian to make. If you’ve seen any of Dead Hand Toys’ work, you’d know what I mean. He makes awesome resin figures, but not in an action figure form generally. I bought the “mixed-parts” version and love it.

(Picture below of the ‘Dead Hand Toys‘ Nex figure)

Dead Hand Toys - Nex figure

General Questions

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 Galactic Jerkbags, the Sucklord fan site…

(Picture below of Peter Goral repping a  ‘Galactic Jerkbags’ t-shirt whilst playing proud dad)

Peter in GJ T + holding his nephew

 The toy forum is cool. I only belong to one, Galactic Jerkbags.
 It’s funny, because I’d always get texts and emails being like, “Dude, they are talking all types of shit about you over there on that Galactic Jerkbags site.” So, naturally I had to take a look and see what all the fuss was about. Little did I know, that there were only a couple haters and a shitload of guys who had been buying my work since day one. I think there was even one guy who said that he had found out about me and that turned him on to the Sucklord. Small world, huh?
  I’m pretty sure it was your ass who started the Killer Bootlegs thread on the forum, right? Thanks dude. It’s funny when there are more posts and views on my thread than some of the topics about the guy who’s fan club the forum is even about.
 I rarely post on the forum, but frequent it occasionally. All the guys are solid dudes. It was nice to have the opportunity to meet Analog101, Irishmofo, A$$hole, and Stonecutter Jeff at SDCC.

How does it feel to be nominated for 2 ‘Clutter’ Designer Toy Awards – ‘Break Through Artist’ and ‘Best Resin’ for 2013?

 It felt good to have been nominated in 2 categories this year. It’d feel even better to make the short-list, or maybe even win someday. Thanks to whomever nominated me or voted.
 Next-year. Phantom Starkiller – Best Resin. Let’s GO

What are your thoughts on ‘The Sucklord’, and his role in the art-toy scene? (I ask as he is kinda the ‘ur’ toy-bootlegger and as you had him contribute to your recent ‘Toys Are Us’ show)

(Picture below of Peter Goral with fellow artists The Sucklord to the right, and David Healey on the left)

David HEaley + Peter + Sucklord

 The Sucklord’s work has been an inspiration. I’ve know about his work for I’d say about 7-8 years. For those that don’t know, I have a “Boba Fettish.” I have a fucking huge Boba Fett collection. Like every figure.
  I somehow stumbled onto The Sucklord and his work doing Google searches or some shit about Boba Fett figures. I really can’t remember when, but I know it’s been a long time. My wife bought me a Sucklord 600 vinyl figure in 2007 for Christmas. I loved it.
 I hate to say it, but without The Sucklord, I don’t know if anyone of us would be making these little fucking things out of resin. I know there are going to be assholes who disagree, but if you make action figures out of resin, you have been inspired by the work of Morgan Phillips.
 I get emails every so often from a lot of the new guys in the bootleg resin scene accrediting me as their inspiration to get off their dead asses and make something. Well, I have to say that The Sucklord was mine. It was around 2009 when I had seriously considered making my own figures, and started kitbashing 3.75 action figures. I had started looking into casting them in resin and mass producing them, but never really got around to it. 2011. The Sucklord says it’s the last year for his bootlegs line. I decide to give it a shot.
 My first figure was “Art-Too”, and was a direct rip-off of SL’s “Spray2-V2”. I never thought that anyone would by my stuff, let alone that my work would be on all corners of the globe. Those figures sat around for awhile, and eventually all sold. I saw one actually pop up on not to long ago. I should buy it back for myself, as the mold is shot and I’ll never make another one.
 Back to the topic, and enough about me. Morgan is kind of a mentor of sorts and we chat frequently. It was his words in Beacon, NY that really solidified in my mind that I was actually doing something worth while and that I was making something that my peers respected when he congratulated me on my success. I owe a lot to him, even though he is an asshole.

SDCC 2013

What was the highlight of SDCC for you?

 The whole experience was a highlight. I wish my fucking cell phone worked and wasn’t dead the whole trip. But, other than that, it was an awesome trip. I’d like to thank Dov and Sarah Jo (DKE) for having me, Brody Kreps (Broken Pigeon) for showing me a hell of a time, Gary Buder (2-bit HACK) for chillin, and everyone that copped a Phantom figure.  
 I’ll be back next year. SDCC 2014 protect ya neck!

What was the lowpoint?

 Low point? Ummmm…. Not getting to spend more time with my buddy Tyler Ham. He was working the Factory Entertainment booth all weekend and had other work obligations to attend to. That, and the whole cell phone shit were the only low-points. FUCK YOU U.S. CELLULAR!

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…

 Man, that’s something that I’m not too hip on. I think that if it were put out there that, “hey, this was made in China, and is only the “concept” of the artist attached to it”, I think a lot of folks would feel deceived. It kind of defeats the purpose of the whole scene.
 The resin scene has always had more of a D.I.Y. vibe and gave artists the opportunity to mass produce their own stuff at home in the basement, garage, or what have you. You didn’t need to have a factory produce your concept, you didn’t need a minimum order, you didn’t have to have a fuckload of money, or shit like that. You could for a fairly unsubstantial amount of money start molding and casting shit yourself.
 I like knowing that it was through someone’s ingenuity and skill that a piece was created, not by some dude punching a time clock. You can bet your sweet ass that everything I sell is 100% handmade and is as close to factory produced as it comes. I pride myself in having perfect casts. I never got the whole, “bubbles are cool, man” vibe. It doesn’t give it character, it doesn’t add charm, it looks like shit, STEP YA GAME UP!

Your contribution to SDCC, The Phantom Starkiller is a damn well put together bootleg! AND it sold out at SDCC…

(Picture below of The Phantom Starkiller by ‘Killer Bootlegs’, released in conjunction with ‘DKE’)

Killer Bootlegs - DKE Phantom Starkiller

– What was the inspiration behind the figure?

 I really don’t have a profound answer for this question, but I’ll try.. I had a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. Oh, wait that’s Martin Luther King Jr! Nevermind that.
 The figure looked cool. Who in the fuck doesn’t like a light-sword wielding skeleton from outer space?

– Who provided the amazing card-back artwork?

 Luke Yates did the art for the Phantom Starkiller. He works at Vans and just recently moved to Seattle with his wife and dog. We’ve traded my Killer Bootleg figures for Vans shoes and gear for the last year or so, and in the process became friends. He is a very talented artist and our styles blend well together.
  The whole color scheme for the SDCC exclusive Phantom figure was dictated by his artwork. I can’t wait to see some of our current projects done, finished, and on the shelves of fans all around the world.

The Future

Any collaborations on the horizon?

 I don’t know? Do I? Maybe? I just painted up some of Broken Pigeon’s “Death Vader” figures.
 The Sucklord and I are always tossing ideas around. Something will eventually come of that, I’d hope. I have one of Guumon’s Diagomi vinyl figures that I’ve been working on. I’m going to be casting some Marijuana medallions for Nasty Neil (Wasted Talent) and painting them. Chris Cannon (Kaboom Toys) and I have been discussing doing a mini figure line.
 I guess I have a lot of stuff going on. Fuck, Marijuana affects the memory. Haha. I’m going to shut up and let there be some mystery to what I have going on.

(Picture below of the ‘Broken Pidgeon’ Death Vader figure, as painted by Peter Goral)

Killer Bootlegs x Broken Pidgeon - Death Vader

Any major projects you want to hype man?

 NYCC, Tenacious Toys X Killer Bootlegs Ewoking Dead carded 2 pack.
 Dcon, Galactic Jerkbags X Killer Bootlegs Galactic Jerkbag Gylos figure.
 Plus, I have a shitload of kitbashes that are ready for molding. So, expect some new figures to start rolling out.
 Fuck it. I’m going to make this easy.. Follow, like, friend request, whatever you kids reading this do and check out what I’m doing. They’re the fucking best resin bootleg action figures around. Bet.
 Wheatstraw’s Killer Bootlegs, we on a swarm!


Bloodied Hands

  1. Dylbacca

    I’ve been a Killer Bootlegs fan for awhile now, Peter will tell ya. After a good year plus of email correspondence we had a pretty hilarious first personal introduction at Sucklords studio at nycc. Peter is a stand up dude with great casting skills, mad creativity and a love for his art. Since this article, his Ewoking Dead project has elevated him to a serious limelight, which i say he deserves. His new projects that feature Alfred Hitchcock and Kenny Powers look unbelieveably awesome. If you dont know Killer Bootlegs youve been under a rock, but check him out now, MF is def rising to the top.

  2. luddite_shutter

    Peter is KILLING it Dylbacca! And the world is watching…

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