Aurora took a chance in the grand tradtion of the American dream. The company had been known for making model kits of planes, ships, cars, ect. Today it is lovingly known for that risky monster venture. As a kid I loved those kits even more then I hated the Lemon-scented non-toxic glue that my parents bought to put them together. To this day that lemony smell still makes me think of model glue that didn’t work! I recall launching my creature of the black lagoon across the kitchen as it began to droop after an application of the lemon menace.
The monsters began to disappear off the shelves after Nabisco took over Aurora and ruined the fun.
I still continued to build models and to draw, paint, and play with clay. I jumped into competitive model building of historic WWII fighter planes, and at 16 I was winning best of show at the masters (pro) level… much to my surprise. In fairness, the old timers had full time jobs so I had a distinct advantage…. free time!
1980s. I met a fellow model maker named Wade at a local hoppy shop. We had many common interests including WWII airplaines, punk rock, new wave and monster films. We would hang out building things and it occurred to us that military miniatures never depict war’s most common byproduct - Death! So I began sketching a series of “Tattered Heroes”. These were to be miniature war casualties to be made “cottage industry” style, but the project was iced. I had an opportunity to play varsity soccer for San Diego state so off I went. In San Diego I met Mike Good at an IPMS meeting and the meeting was an eye-opener. Mike is an excellent model maker and sculptor and I credit him with giving me the encouragement to try my hand at fine miniature sculpture. I returned to AZ and Wade and I continued our model making sessions. I dug through my belongings, my closet full of past mementos which included a shark in formaldehyde, a section of a Lockheed super constellation that crashed near my house, and my old Famous Monsters magazines!
At that moment my attention shifted to figure sculpture. I started sculptures of things that I thought would never be made available. A shady sci-fi peddler caught on to me and began taking the models to California and sold out every time.
In 1989 soccer called again but this time it was a pro team start up in Santa Barbara called Real Santa Barbara in the WSL. Once again I packed up and left. At age 24 it was my last chance to play at a high level. The league folded soon after and I moved to Los Angeles to do sculpture full time. I was surprised to find that my models, the garage kits, found their way into the collections of celebrities and top Hollywood talent.
My interests in old film, art film and avant garde were put into clay and soon thanks to word of mouth and magazines like the defunct toy and model, model builders ect. Orders came pouring in so fast I was overwhelmed. Amazing figure modeler magazine came into being and further modeler came thanks to them. This continued for many years until 1998 when focus shifted to other works (see automata).
In hindsight the garage kit phenomenon was something special. Without it, action figures as we now know them, cold cast statues, and low brow “art toys” would not exist. We were told by the masses, no companies would be interested. So we did a noble thing… we ignored the masses! This tradition is something I will continue until my death… these sculptures are for those with a passion for fine work, not fine packaging or marketing.