Twenty Questions: Erick Scarecrow (ESC Toy)
While I haven't actually totaled it, I'd have to believe that Erick Scarecrow and ESC-Toy have amassed the most yearly awards from Plastic and Plush. That's due to the longevity of the artist and company in the designer toy fold, as well as producing toys in vinyl, resin and plush.
I recently got a chance to fire off some questions to Erick...which you can read below.
P&P: I know a lot of people believe that Erick Scarecrow and ESC-Toy are synonymous. Do you work on everything from figure design to box art to production, or are there other folks at ESC-Toy?
Erick: I handle majority of the design at ESC. Although I don't sculpt but I do all of the 2D design work, art direction and background stories added to the figures are my work. Scarlet Beretta handles a lot of the photography and manages certain figure projects by giving notes and so on. I basically have the final say on pantone selections and stuff like that. No one really objects to my color sense here so that's pretty cool.
P&P: Can you explain some of the differences (advantages and disadvantages) between producing a vinyl toy and a resin toy?
Erick: Pros to working with resin is you have a faster turn around time versus working with vinyl. There's a major difference in pricing too. Resin figures can be produced within a week or two depending on quantity of course. Vinyl figures take at least 4-6 months if you're opening up a new mold. Cons would be resin can't take a shelf dive whereas maybe a vinyl figure could. They're both interesting mediums to work with.
P&P: We've seen a number of artists transitioning to resin. What are your thoughts on the growing resin collectible movement?
Erick: This transition to resin was essential in order for this industry to continue to evolve. Think about it and I make the following statement respectfully; let's say if resin wasn't around and every artist that didn't have the means to produce their own vinyl collectibles had to stand before another vinyl toy company that has the means. They would be at the mercy of that company waiting to receive either an approval or rejection. I've been there and I did the rounds pushing my work and if I stopped at "no" ESC wouldn't be in your collection.
Resin has given many artists creative freedom. There are so many great artists/companies using resin gracefully such as Argonauts Resin and Circus Posterus. There's a next gen of artists that are carving their names as we speak. Resin allows artists to literally cast in their garages and basements with make shift materials. Vinyl is a great platform but very costly when compared to resin. There are certain projects that I work on where I choose to use vinyl instead of resin.
I love working with vinyl and resin but there's something more personal about a run of 30 handmade figures vs 3,000 factory made figs. I also consider resin more of a fine art platform and I'm not alone on this. Trust me, if artists such as Michaelango and Da Vinci had access to two part resin during the renaissance you would've seen limited edition figures commissioned by the church. Those figures would've been worth millions. If the Vatican commissioned me to do some figures for them I would rock it 😛
P&P: ESC-Toy also released a number of great plush toys. Mousey Micci won our 2007 Plush of the Year! Do you have any plans to release any plush toys in the near future?
Erick: Plush is my first love in terms of toy development. Its the medium I first started designing back 2002. I can't believe I've been designing collectibles for 10 years now! I've been considering some new plush projects for some time but I may release something new for 2012. Possibly a project with Crow Crow Bear.
P&P: The Uncharted franchise is one of my personal favorites. So I've been looking forward to seeing the main character - Drake - take vinyl form. How does the process differ when you're producing a licensed character instead of your own creations?
Erick: This process is very different because I must get the approval of several key people that are involved with the franchise from departments. Whereas if its an original concept from ESC, I have the final say along with my staff's suggestions which is very critical. I must admit that working with Sony and Naughty Dog that ESC and myself have been very lucky. Although this project took some time to get off the ground, there were some great people behind the scenes involved that helped this collaboration. Without them it wouldn't have happened. Sony x ESC have other things lined up.
P&P: The animated videos that ESC-Toy produces are great. Do you have any thoughts on creating short films based on the characters?
Erick: Thank you. I love having the ESC characters animated. Aeon Production is the house that did the animation whereas we handled the storyboard and art direction. I used to design storyboards in high school for animation so this is something I've been having my sights on for a long time. Now with ESC I feel that I do is getting much bigger than what I set out to do. I promise you in the future you will see parts of ESC grow into various forms entertainment. There are a few things in talks that I'm excited about.
P&P: What sort of releases will collectors see from ESC-Toy over the next few months? Any teasers?
Erick: In January I will have the new OSK Bloody Dizign by Monster Kolor and myself, Turtum Micci Wave 2, Little Spiker and possibly custom painted GOLD Uncharted Drakes. I will be working with a new group called Frombie. There's also a very special release called Chap-Lynn that I'm worked on for Tomenosuke. There will be more news soon.
P&P: So why did you choose the nom de plume Erick Scarecrow?
Erick: This was a name I chose back in high school. I literally looked like a scarecrow because I was so skinny and I had a lot of hair. The other meaning of the name is that I feel that I'm a Scarecrow that has to protect my crops which could represent many things for me; art, dreams, family, anything dear to me. It's a very special to me.
P&P: You've created so many different characters and toys. If you had to choose one piece that exemplifies an "Erick Scarecrow" work, which would it be and why?
Erick: I can't choose one piece because all the characters make up my world as a whole. Even though some of them look like they're from different lands or worlds. It's like choosing your favorite kid from a very large family. Your other kids will get jealous and begin to plot 😉
P&P: What artist(s) have inspired your artwork?
Erick: Masashi Kishimoto, George Gately, Peyo, John K. Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefled, Shigeru Miyamoto, Marc Silvestri, Walt Disney and Osamu Tezuka. There a few more but these are the ones that come to mind immediately.
P&P: You've teamed up with a number of artists and companies in the toy/art world. Is there one artist, who you haven't worked with yet, that you would really like to?
Erick: I would've like to team up with Walt Disney and Osamu Tezuka.
P&P: Since there are folks around the globe collecting your toys...do you collect anything in particular?
Erick: I would like to keep that private.
P&P: Where do you see ESC-Toy five years from now?
Erick: Continuing to grow our collector base and reaching new audiences. Exploring new opportunites with other companies and breaking ground with entertainment.
P&P: If you weren't producing toys for a living, what would be your dream career?
Erick: I don't know. Art is something that I am. Despite my darkest days, a pencil always became my light.
P&P: What would you tell someone whose dream it is to produce toys for a living?
Erick: Balance is key. It can't be business 24/7. Enjoy time with your family. This is something I'm still learning. No one is perfect but find positive people to hang around and learn from and avoid anyone that is negative. Producing figures is very hard as any other business that requires marketing, management, etc. Never do anything for the money. Where you find what you love to do the money will come.
And now...Five Random Questions:
P&P: What was the first CD you bought?
Erick: Oh my God. The first CD I ever purchased and I still own is Redman "Whut Thee Album?"
P&P: Coffee or Tea?
Erick: I love them both but coffee is a real eye opener and something welcoming to smell in the morning.
P&P: What's the last book you read?
Erick: The Power of Myth:Conversation with Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers.
P&P: Tell us your favorite sports team?
Erick: This may come to be a surprise but I'm not into sports. Although I dream I was pitching 170 mph balls. Go figure.
P&P: What was your favorite cartoon as a child?
Erick: There's a few of them but if I must pick one its classic Tom & Jerry. They way they used to beat each other up was hilarious.