What got you started into customizing?
I used to take Joe's apart back in the 80's, mainly putting together or repairing figure that I destroyed with BB's or fire and whatever destructive force I could inflict on them. Those were just swapping of parts. As for painting, it kind of evolved from doing model cars and applying that to figures. Making ones that looked like something Hasbro would actually put out and having a figure that no one else in the world had.
Evilface's Fourth Circle of Hell has been an inspiration to many customizers since you started it way back in the day. How did the whole online presentation of your customs and others come about?
I sent a few pics of my customs to YoJoe.com way back and kinda didn't like being lumped in with other customizers. I may come off as stuck up, but I'm a pretty confident person and felt my work surpassed quite a few of those that were posted there. So I just made up my own page with my own customs. Then later a few more very talented folks like Zarana-X and Livevil made the cut to be up on my page and quite a few folks were turned away so I could keep the quality throughout. I need to update it and weed it a bit, but my time and energy are in different areas now.
Since there were maybe a handful of people doing GI Joe customs when you started was there a competitiveness between all of you or did you not even realize there were others?
I don't we competed against each other, everyone just made figures and showed them off. I think Thomas Wheeler was the first of the mass customizers and he put out quite a few awesome examples. As I said above, my goal was to make figures that look like something Hasbro would have done. Nice, simple without going overboard with too much detail, which to me kinda ruins the feel of the 80's RAH figures.
Is there one work of yours or someone else's that you feel empitimizes the essence of what a GI Joe custom is?
On the opposite end of the spectrum you coined the term LBC or "Lazy Bastard Custom" to mean a figure with little to no paint, does it surprise you to know that phrase is still in use today?
Well, first off I didn't coin the phrase, I just put it out on the web. Zarana-X did. He would snail mail me pics of his customs and have descriptions written down. And on one of them he had scribbled out "kind of a lazy bastard custom." I loved the flow of the words and it described exactly what they are. I do get a kick out of seeing it on not just Joe boards, but other toy boards and 1/6 figure boards as well.
What would you say the biggest change to customizing community has been since you started?
Probably the attention to detail. A lot of the customizers today have far surpassed what I've done. I think mainly because a lot of folks were young back then and they just got more talented with experience.
If you could give one piece of advice to a beginning customizer, what would it be?
Just have fun. Don't get down on yourself, just keep doing.
Your artistic talent obviously pulled you in a different direction leaving Joes behind, can you tell us a little bit about what you're into now?
I've started my own vinyl graphic business www.fourthcircledesigns.com doing designs for cars, signs, banners ect. I've even used it to cut cobra decals and made some custom decals for a Cobra Checkpoint. Most of my money goes into my SS Camaro and for collecting, I've moved on to 1/6th scale collecting stuff mainly from Sideshow Collectibles and Hot Toys. Star Wars, Terminator, Universal Monsters, Friday the 13th. I've even started customizing them working on a Mad Max (duh!) Conan the Barbarian and Punisher.
If you were stranded on a deserted island with plenty of food and water what two GI Joe figures and one vehicle would want with you?
84 Firefly 84 Zartan and the 85 Awe Striker.
Is there anything you feel I've left out or think people would like to know about you?
No matter how good you are, just keep in the back of your mind that Evilface is still better than you.