Confessions of a Customizer
Plaseebo Custom is a shop dedicated to creating unique, one of a kind collectable figures and designing original figures for limited soft vinyl production. We pestered lead designer Bob Conge to fill us in on what separates Plaseebo from the rest of the run-of-the-mill customizers.
Could you tell me a little more about your firm and how did you guys get together?
Plassebo is a spin off of Conge design and illustration. A little over a year ago, I asked two artist/designer friends, Bill Hand and John Kastner, whose work I admire, if they wanted to join me in Plaseebo. We all live within 100 miles of one another and enjoy each others work, as well as working on projects together.
I have been a compulsive collector of various model kits and Japanese vinyl for years and knew of a few talented builder/painters in the area who also work with us. When I met Bill he was making fantastic super detailed tiny creatures (less than 2″ high) in polymer clay and I thought he would be a natural to design and sculpt for larger vinyl figures. While John’s work has been mostly in the area of painting, I believe his hyper-inventive creative vision lends itself to sculptural expression as designer vinyl.
How are you different from every other artist turned toy customizer?
Number one, we think it takes more than just a cool paint job to make a custom–why not make the form of the figure unique as well? So we always alter existing figures. If working with a Munny, for instance, switch out the head, sculpt a tail, shoot holes in it, or just build from scratch. Second, we like our figures edgy, quirky, punkish, darkish, more like Franz Kafka than Walt Disney. You see a lot of “cute” figures being done and I want our work to be deeper, heavier, hit ya in the gut rather than all sweetness. Third, I am working on producing a series of limited edition (60 pieces) vinyl production figures based on our original custom designs. We hope to have our first edition available here and in Japan this October or November.
Tell me about the other art on your site besides custom toys?
We offer limited edition archival digital prints of some of our flat art on the Plaseebo site as well. Bill Hand has a series of spreads taken from his from his incredible Sketch Books (a la Da Vinci on steroids). John Kastners print editions are from his ongoing painting series, Weeblax-uzzl, which he refers to as “very Kroonic images for the visually intelligent” and while Johns work appears light and colorful on the surface, the undertow of the concept never fails to pull the viewer into the depths of John’s subconscious–always oddly unsettling. My print edition offerings at the moment are based on color pencil idea sketches for custom figure designs.