With the wild success of Funko‘s Pop! Vinyl Figure arose the Pop! Vinyl custom artist. These artists create “customs” using existing Pop!s which they mold over and re-paint. We at Entertainment Earth had the pleasure of interviewing one such artist– the talented Jared Breslow of Joker’s Wild Customs. You can view the interview below, and don’t forget to check out Joker’s Wild Customs on Facebook and Instagram!
1. What is your artistic background?
Ever since I was little, I’ve been doing some kind of art, whether it was drawing, painting, sculpting, etc. I am a graphic designer/artist and photographer. Aside from making customs using Funko products, I also incorporate my custom pieces (and production pieces) into photographs, making little scenes to mirror the movie/TV show that they come from.
2. What is the process of taking a Pop! Vinyl and “making it your own”?
I always like to see what characters Funko has not made yet and go from there. I like starting from scratch, so I’ll always strip it down and primer the entire thing, even if it doesn’t need a repaint on certain parts, to ensure the paint appears uniform. I like to mix different versions of a certain character and combine them into one piece, thereby creating my own variation. With customs, I feel as if sometimes the smallest details can make the biggest impact, so I really try to pay as much attention to the paint job as I do to the accessories.
3. What inspired you to begin making custom Pop! Vinyls?
Lack of certain characters at the time and fellow customizer, Dan Stevens from Dragonfly Designs, sold me a custom he did about three years ago and I was amazed by the detail and overall quality of it, including the custom box. From there, I said to myself, I’d like to try doing this. Dan let me pick his brain a little bit, he gave me a few pointers and helped me whenever I had a question. I also noticed, at the time, there were not a lot of different variations of characters or secondary characters for that matter, so I wanted to fill in the gaps where pieces were not made.
4. What makes your customs unique?
I think what makes them unique is that for 95% of the customs I’ve made, there was only one made of them. For the most part, I don’t like making multiples of customs, unless it is a widely collected character that people are constantly asking me about. I like my customers to feel that the one they have is special because there are no others like it out there. I also pay attention to detail and even if it’s the slightest thing like the color of the belt buckle or how his boots are a tad lighter than his pants, I want to make sure it’s as accurate as possible to what everyone knows.
5. Are you a Pop! collector? If so, what types of Pop!s do you collect?
Yes, I am a huge Pop! collector. I collect all different lines, Horror, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Movies, Star Wars, Marvel and DC. My favorite being DC, because I am a huge collector of all things Joker, so the Batman line is a must.
6. Which Pop! is your favorite custom creation?
My favorite custom creation is hands down my Dr. Alan Grant from Jurassic Park. Jurassic Park was one of my favorite movies and I was bummed that Funko had never done anything with that line, so I had to make it myself. I think I spent about a week painting him, making sure the shades and details lined up perfectly with the movie stills. Believe it or not, he is the only custom I have ever made that I kept for myself, though I do get about 5-6 emails a week asking how much he is.
7. What has changed since you first began making custom Pop!s?
I have only been doing customs for about 2.5 years, but a lot has changed. When I first started, there wasn’t a lot of Pop!s to choose from when it came to mixing and matching hair, body styles, accessories, etc., [and] now there is an endless supply. I remember making a custom for a customer where I had to match his hair style and I spent days trying to find a figure that had something similar, with no luck. I ended up sculpting something, but now there are so many to choose from, that if you cannot find something, you’re not looking hard enough.
I also think the amount of people doing customs has skyrocketed, especially with the popularity of Funko products. When I started I think I knew of like 4-5 people who were making them, now there are dozens.
8. How do you decide which custom project you’ll take on next?
It’s hard to say. Sometimes I’ll watch a show and get immediately inspired to make a character, or I’ll get a request from someone asking me for something that I’ve been wanting to attempt for a while, and it’s the little push I needed. If I randomly see something that triggers an idea, I’ll just go from there.
9. What’s been the reaction of fans to your custom pieces?
I started doing customs just for fun and to make pieces that they didn’t have yet, never really thinking I was doing anything special. So, when I get an email or a PM from someone, telling me how much they love something I did or how happy they are with a piece I made for them or even of them, it makes me feel good. It’s very humbling to see something that I handmade as part of their collection.
10. What is your relationship with geek and pop culture?
A lifelong one! My mom always tells the story that when I was two, I kept asking for a “lifesaver.” She told me I was too little for candy, though she quickly realized I was asking for a “lightsaber.” I’m covered in Batman villain tattoos, I still have all my toys from when I was little, my home and work offices both look like toy stores and I’m currently wearing a Joker T-shirt. I think that about sums it up.
Which custom Pop! below is your favorite? What do you think Joker’s Wild Customs should cover next? Let us know in the comments below!
Don’t forget to submit your fan creations to [email protected] for a chance to have your work featured here!