TOYSREVIL: Your advancement in the toy-realms has been nothing short of a lighting flash! Oodles of customs and production toys with Toy2R, all within a span of .. how many years has it been, actually? How did you actually start? And what made you stay so far?
LUNABEE: Yeh I'm surprised at how quick everything took off :) My very first custom that I sold was in April 2009 so its nearly 2 years since I started. My friend Cris had been bugging me for ages to give customizing a try as at the time I was solely a freelance illustrator and he thought my style would translate well onto vinyl so he gave me a quick lesson and thats how it all began. The support I get from the toy community is just overwhelming and combined with the fact that I love painting and creating these characters and their stories its not at all hard to keep at it. I can honestly say if everyone hadn't been so friendly and supportive I would never of continued and moved forward like I have. Naturally, the Toy2R Production toys were a total dream come true, the thought of more production pieces is certainly a motivator.
TOYSREVIL: Who is Sarah Miskelly? What does she do, and who is Lunabee to her? And what makes Lunabee so special? (Actually, who comes first?)
LUNABEE: Well Lunabee deprives me of sleep and a social life most of the time, I feel guilty when I'm not working so it's very hard for me not to work. I like to go to bed at the end of the day, look over at my desk and see a finished custom or a custom that is mid-creation, that makes me smile. I have tried to separate the two 'personas' to an extent for instance when i'm being promoted in shows /blogs I am often referred to as "Sarah Miskelly" which i don't like, i like to be called Lunabee when it's concerning my toy art. Naturally the 2 are intertwined, my personality and imagination always express themselves in my toys.
I think Lunabee is special (in the toy world) because i think the Lunabee 'style' is quite distinctive. I had already developed a particular illustrative style before I started with the toy customizing so it just sort of slid over from there. I'd like to think people like and recognize my customs for the detailing, character design and colour palettes as they are the most important elements to me.
TOYSREVIL: And indeed your palate is one of the more recognizable aspects of your style, along with your visual imaginary, IMHO. That said, your customs are always very distinctive. What is your concept of creation, and how do you approach any 3D-work? And can you share with us your execution of concepts? And how long on average does one custom take? (From a small 3" Dunny to the largest custom figure you have attempted).
LUNABEE: I have sketchbooks filled with drawings, I ALWAYS draw out a custom before I paint it, the few times I haven't done this have ended in what i would call a 'generic' custom with no real direction and i hate that. Any custom I start, or even finish, that I feel hasn't been considered enough goes straight into an acetone bath and is started again. I don't put any work out there that I don't feel is good enough.
LUNABEE: My 3" Dunnies take around 3-5 hours depending on the detail, my recent monster dunny series had a lot of time invested on it particularly for Dr Frankenstein. My biggest custom to date was my Knucklebear, definitely a labor of love! It took around 6 days with painting 5-7 hours a day. When I finished it I was so proud I had managed it! I've attached a few photos from my sketchbook, I have never showed any of my sketches off so this is a first. I draw quickly and scribbly with a fineliner as i usually just get an idea in my head and want to get it down on paper as soon as possible.
TOYSREVIL: And we are grateful to see them! Thanks! Who are your design / creation heroes/heroines? Who stirs you up and excites you? Do they influence you as well? What are you influenced by? What makes you tick?
LUNABEE: I have many, 64 Colors being one - their work just makes me smile and makes me think wow, I have to keep pushing to reach that kind of excellence. I am lucky enough to own a painting and several custom toys by them and they are just stunning. Cris Rose, as well as being a very close friend of mine, is someone who constantly inspires me with his motivation - he will mention an idea he has then within a week he'e either completed or half way to making it! There are a tonne of artists out there whose work I greatly admire, Caia Koopman, Jeremiah Ketner, Amy Sol, Audrey Kawasaki, Chiho Aoshima to name a few. I think my work is influenced by many things including greek mythology, childhood memories, nature, animals, old horror films.. the list is pretty endless.
['Nakoda' Dunny Custom from Lunabee x Cris Rose / circa 2010]
TOYSREVIL: I like all the mentions of your inspirations, and can somewhat see them (mostly) in your customs and descriptions thus far ~ Kudos! Now from 3D to a straighter plain - We've seen very, very little of your 2D-artwork as Lunabee, Is that deliberate? Why is that?
LUNABEE: This is an excellent question actually. Because I work as a freelance illustrator as well as a painter, all of my work I do for my illustrating side of my job is 2D (www.miskellaneous.co.uk is my website) so working on the 3D toys is a lovely change from that. However all the work I create as an illustrator is digitally created, so last year I started keeping a sketch book of painted characters. (I've attached a few) it's all quite raw but it's something I am working on. I would love to start selling paintings alongside my toys so watch this space. :)
[Earlier Illustrations & Paintings by Lunabee]
TOYSREVIL: Yay! That's so cool! And congrats to your recent show at Dragatomi! Is this your first show? Egging to do a solo show? What would be your dream lineup, so a solo show to represent works from yourself?
LUNABEE: This is my first major show yes and to showcase alongside 2 such talented ladies (Julie West and Sneaky Raccoon) was awesome. With regards a solo show, it is certainly something I want to do in the future but maybe I need to get a couple more 2-man 3-man shows under my belt first! When I finally get the chance to do a solo show I want to be able to showcase toys and paintings.
[Custom Koibitos from "Girl's Night Out"]
TOYSREVIL: If I were to ask you what is your single, most absolute favouritest custom toy have done to date, which custom would that be, and why?
LUNABEE: That's a tough one....I think it would have to be my Medusa custom for the Dragatomi show. I adore Erick Scarecrow's sculpts and Medusa is my favorite character in greek mythology so it was a bit of a dream to paint her. Any custom that requires super-fine details and combines beauty with monster is a winner for me.
TOYSREVIL: I think you may be one of the very small handful of female artists I have had the honor to interview. No doubt this industry is very male-dominated ~ Is that a good or bad thing? Can girls shine?
LUNABEE: You know, I really don't think it has made any difference - I think talent is talent regardless of gender. It certainly hasn't caused any problems for me - both male and female artists shine just as brightly in my eyes.
TOYSREVIL: With 1,337 Followers on Twitter, is there anything you'd want to tweet, but for the 140 character-limit? (And seems you are more active on Twitter than Facebook).
LUNABEE: I think twitter for me is a good thing, I tend to waffle on and lose my point half way through sentences when chatting to people so being forced to fit it into 140 characters makes me say what I actually need to say. I find Facebook is more for personal networking, most of my schoolfriends/ family are on there, then I got loads of requests from people in the toy scene so i thought well why not, maybe they will be interested in what i get up to outside of painting toys (not that i have much time for anything else!)
[Commissioned Custom PAWS]
TOYSREVIL: If you were to have a resolution for 2011, what would that be? Could you share it with us?
LUNABEE: I do have a resolution, well 2 actually. One is personal, I started running in 2010 to help improve the health of my lungs after suffering with pulmonary embolisims in 2009, so its my goal to keep running and improve as much as I can. I have charity runs in May and July booked which will keep me motivated. On a work level I would like to work on my 2D painting work and get some canvases up for sale on my store. To get another production toy would be awesome too in particular a Dunny, my fingers are crossed! :)
[Custom Dunny by Lunabee - gifted to me while I was lying in hospital bed with Stroke]
TOYSREVIL: You KNOW I have my fingers crossed for you! (Moreso "Health" and yes, "Toys" too :p) What should the world look out for Lunabee in 2011? And in the coming future? And why the nick "Lunabee?
LUNABEE: Well the Lunabee name was formed from a nickname i already had and the fact I am quite nocturnal, I paint a lot at night but nightbee wasn't quite as pretty as lunabee :) When I came up with the name it just felt like it fit perfectly.
2011 is set to be rather exciting with another Skelanimal Qee on the way and a very exciting release on my store in April which is something I have never done before, details soon! I have also started playing around with sculpey so you can expect a few sculpted toys in the very near future popping up in my shop. I have been working harder than ever this year and will continue to do so throughout 2011, I feel very fortunate to be doing a job I love so much.
- Website/Webstore @ http://www.lunabee.co.uk
- Blog @ http://lunabeeart.blogspot.com
- Twitter @Lunabee_art