Discover this PoO's interview for the release of Droopy Mouse on Artoyz
Pop culture on the one hand, Toys on the other. The recipe is simple, inventive
Artoyz: Hello PoOL. What a pleasure to be able to do this interview! Could you give us the outline of your career?
PoOL: Arf I don't really know where to start ... I have always liked drawing since my childhood, I was also attracted by logos, shapes, colors or even my toys and their joints. My mom painted as an amateur too so it was familiar to draw at home. I grew up during the 80s and 90s with the golden age of mattel, kenner toys ... and the whole world of cartoons from the "Club Dorothée", "les minikeums" ... I remember that I was drawing large bloody fight scenes with very simplified characters, stick style with castles, archer, guys with swords etc ... It was a good way to develop my imagination I guess because I didn't play a lot with my miniatures, I found them beautiful and I wanted them to admire them. Then in the 90s there is of course a movement which emerge in France and particularly in the Parisian suburbs: Hip Hop! First for my part with the music then I got interested in graffiti and it made me crazy! It was a real eye-opener for me, I only drew for graffiti now ... it was so exciting ... spent nights walking through towns and roads looking for the best spots with friends ... very good time! But music was also a big part of my life. When it was time to choose what to study after "le BAC", I fall between two stools between drawings or music. During my teenage years, music was more important and I saw more opportunities, so I decided to go, to master sound techniques to become a craftsman, a sound engineer. It was also during this time that I discovered many artists and artistic movements. During my graduate studies, I hardly drew anymore, music used up all my time. But when I was done, I started drawing again and digitally. It was so much easier and fun, almost like a revolution in my drawings. And then afterwards, sharing it all on Instagram brought me opportunities and then cementing it all. Today I try to combine my time between my work as a sound engineer - part of my night - and design during the day in my living room, which is also my workshop.
Artoyz: You create in 2D - with your illustrations - as well as in 3D with your toys. When did you decide to take the plunge and do them yourself?
PoOL: I started collecting toys (and shoes lol) when I first started working, mostly toys from my childhood that I didn't have due to budget (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles , Ghostbusters, He-man, Gi-joe ...). Toys are an essential part of my life, it's a positive nostalgia that reminds me of my childhood's good times. Then in the 2010s I discovered Art toys (also through you), I started to acquire some pieces when it started to emerge here. Much later, in 2017, I said to myself: "Why not give it a try?" It is not really the ideas that are lacking but the sculpture scared me a little as well as the molding which I knew absolutely nothing about. So I bought clay, Fimo and other Sculpey and my adventures began. I created the basic shape for my "Greedy chicken" and then worked it with tools I had in my possession. I quickly familiarized myself with the various modeling and molding techniques! It's a fold to take but, like everything else, it was an exciting learning process. And here I am with resin reproductions of my very first figurine. I then created a Bigcartel to put them on sale without really believing it too much, it was really just to see it like that, without any ambition ... When I sold my very first toy, it was such a sensation , that totally motivated me. I remember he was a collector from Singapore. I didn't believe my eyes that on the other side of the world, someone had taken an interest in my modest work. More recently and taking advantage of the time that confinement gave us I started 3d modeling on Zbrush. It was a real challenge but I recommend it to all designers, it opens up perspectives and I think it is essential to know and master the different manufacturing techniques. Making toys is like a dream come true, the child that I was could not imagine that. It's crazy, I'm so proud of this!
Artoyz: Pop culture seems to be your biggest inspiration, but which are the others sources that help create your style?
PoOL: I am indeed mainly inspired by the films, cartoons of my childhood. But also by contemporary artists, fashion, my wife, my dog ... and my figurines also inspire me a lot, sometimes I look at them, I play a little with them ... it relaxes me and gives me ideas.
Artoyz: We're also here to celebrate your collaboration with Mighty Jaxx and the release of the figurine on Artoyz. What a beautiful Droopy Mouse! Can you tell us the story behind this collaboration?
PoOL: Yeah, I'm so proud of this collaboration with Mighty Jaxx. I must admit that I am first and foremost a fan of Mighty Jaxx toys. It had been a few years since I was a buyer in particular of collabs with OKEH, Alex Solis, Jason Freeny or Clogtwo. One day I took my pen and sent them an email with some drawings that I could see in vinyl toy ... just to see, not believing it for a second. 3 weeks later, I received a response from the big boss telling me that they were interested in my creations and especially the Droopy Mouse. I was like a kid !!! So we worked on the 3d design together and a figurine was finally born!
Artoyz: Between illustration, toys but also graffiti, you really are a multidisciplinary artist. What do you think of gateways and collaborations that are multiplying between the different artistic disciplines?
PoOL: I think it's fashionable to have a bit of everything. And that artists seek to multiply the media on which they can express themselves. We can also see it in fashion, more particularly with sneakers where collabs are legion. Brands call on artists to make their products more unique and attractive to the public. Conversely, I sometimes work with street artists who call on me to transform their work into 3d to make figurines.
Artoyz: Instagram is a kind of limitless gallery where many artists exhibit their work. How did this democratize the work of Toys Designers and create a new spotlight outside of collectors circles?
PoOL: I hope it's not just a fad. It is true that one can now find Bearbricks or Companions in people who are not at all interested in figurines. And it's true that the visibility that social networks have allowed has contributed enormously to popularizing all of this. When you see beautiful interiors, villas, with some beautiful toys on the shelves, it makes people want and gives them ideas to decorate their living rooms. Today they are "Déco Pop" objects, a work of art; and just like sneakers, there is a hype, people are speculating and some toys are going up in value. It also allows people to have a work of art from an artist that they enjoy or discover without investing thousands of dollars. Art toys is therefore very popular and is not reserved for an elite like perhaps art ... There is also an addictive side and we can quickly go to the collection. I speak knowingly but unfortunately I no longer have room in my apartment which has forced me to slow down my purchases.
Artoyz: What are your upcoming projects?
PoOL: I have a lot of ongoing and upcoming projects for 2021, also a few partnerships but I can't talk about it yet because nothing is certain yet. I hope 2021 will be more auspicious than 2020 because with the Covid-19, a lot of projects have been postponed, delayed and I also had a few projects canceled due to licensing issues, the bane of pop artists. I would also like to self-produce my own vinyl toys, later, if I can find the cash because making them by myself (in my living room) in resin is a long process, which limits me to very small editions, 10 to 30 pieces ... and it's frustrating ... and I love vinyl toys too much :)
Artoyz: Any last words?
PoOL: Just a big thank you to you for participating in making this movement known in France which is unfortunately still very little known. And can't wait to see my figurine on your shelves!
Droopy Mouse avalaible here !