For this installment of artist’s spotlight I interviewed: @sucklord
1. How did the name “Sucklord” come about?
“It wasn’t to get matches on dating apps, I’ll tell you that. It attracts and repels equally, so It’s very much an extension of my personality. The name SUCKADELIC came first, which is what I called my “Company” when I first started producing works. First thing I ever dropped with that name was a Bootleg Mixtape cassette in 1996 called STAR WARS BREAKBEATS. I had what I thought was a clever idea mixing hip hop breaks with Star Wars Samples and dialog, but it was impossible to license. (I actually tried). I wasn’t willing to let it go when Lucasfilm rejected it, so I put it out DIY style. I didn’t really know shit about making records and I didn’t have great equipment, so it was clear from the onset that the quality of the product was gonna suffer. Instead of killing myself trying to cover that up or striving for an unattainable level of perfection, I just leaned into it. By lowering the bar and building the shittyness into the aesthetic, I gave myself permission to release imperfect products. I’ll called it SUCKADELIC just because my LSD riddled brain thought that would be funny. It was like, More than Sucking; Transformational sucking.
I had taken to going out in public to promote the album in a Hip Hopified Boba Fett outfit with a boombox to blast the beats. I went to Star Wars Conventions and Comicon in this gear, and that look became sort of the Mascot of Suckadelic. Over time it would evolve from just a gimmick to a repository for my alter ego as it got further away from Boba Fett and started to become it’s own thing. I did this little schtick over the whole release time of the Star Wars Special editions and Prequels. (about 8 years) There was a nascent Toymaking practice going on in addition to the music I was selling, and I was very eager to develop that. I was working as a contractor for Hasbro at the time, and making the rounds in the burgeoning Designer Toy scene that was coming up in NEW YORK. I was hanging out at 360 Toy Group and Recon and rubbing elbows with Bathing Ape, Toy Tokyo, and much later on Kidrobot. I was working every angle to get a foot in the door with any of these companies and kept coming up empty. I started getting a little bitter about it and started looking to Supervillainy as an alternative to getting toys made. It became clear that no one was going to give me a deal so I just made something myself. I was just as bad at making toys as I was at making records, and I was still broke, so the result was just as shitty. My first figure was just a Count Dooku figure with a Jango Fett helmet on it. I made a crappy mold out of stolen materials from Hasbro and ran a bunch of resin casts out of it til it fell apart. Then I painted them silver but the can of paint ran out before I could finish them. So only one side had paint on it. I did the package on a xerox machine and spilled paint all over them, just to emphasize how fly-By-Night the process was. It was a truly Suckadelic exercise which was infused with all my jealousy and bitterness at having to resort to such desperate tactics to make my figure. Therefore I named it THE SUCKLORD 66, which to me described a person whose own lack of ability and influence doesn’t match with his over inflated sense of high self regard. I then changed the Hip Hop Boba Fett mascot costume to look more like the toy. That’s when Real Life Sucklord was born. He proved to be so much more interesting that my actual self, so I submerged my real identity into him and found great success in life as a result, so much so that I get resentful when people call me by my original name. ”
2. What made you want to make bootleg toys as your chosen art form?
“I believe I might have accidentally answered that in the previous long winded diatribe. But as stated, it was forced on me by an unjust system that failed to support my mediocre talents and unjustified megalomania. If I wanted to make toys, it was to do it with whatever limited resources I had or not do it at all, so I went with what I had. I was also ripping off other toys, mostly Star Wars, because I didn’t have any original ideas of my own.
Also I was pissed off and wanted to shit all over everything and everyone. Calling this practice “Bootlegging” just added an extra veneer of illegitimacy to a product that was already dubious. I wanted people buying this work to feel like they were doing something wrong and breaking the law. I also wanted to flaunt how shamelessly I was getting away with doing crime. Finally, by selling something as a bootleg, I didn’t have to guarantee quality, which had worked for me in the past. To further drive the point home, I adopted the slogan “YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE FOR BUYING THIS” to affix to all my packaging. It was the first time I actually mad any money and I could finally move out of my Mother’s house. Maybe there is Justice in the Universe after all…”
3. Can you talk a little about the process of how you create your art?
“No, I’m gonna talk a lot because I’m in quarantine and I have a plenty of time. (Plus it’s not Art. I asked) So here’s how it works. My landlord will call and ask where the last three months of rent are. I will then arouse myself from my drunken stupor and reach deep up my ass for some moronic idea that gave me a chuckle when I was in a weed fueled delirium, and I go with that.
Then I get a used action figure in the 3 and 3/4” inch scale and cut a few pieces off of it. Then I find several other figures and chop some stuff off of them. Then I add some pegs to the arms and head so I can glue them onto the body later in the process. After that I get some Magic Sculpt and make the dick bigger; Set it aside.
Next I make a few boxes out of lego that the pieces will fit in with enough space around them. This will serve as the container silicone that becomes a mold. I add little stems to the top of all the parts; head, arms, body and the glue the other end of the peg to the side of the lego box so they “float” in the center. After that I mix some expensive liquid silicone with a catalyst and pour it in the boxes over the parts. These then go in an air compressor for 6 hours to squeeze out any air bubbles. After the six hours the silicone hardens into a solid. The lego boxes get broken down and an exacto knife is used to carefully cut a seam in the resulting block of silicone to remove the model inside. This is the mold. Then colors are selected and mixed into 2 part liquid casting resin which is blended and poured into the molds, which also go in the air compressor to crush bubbles. One hour later they come out, and it happens again and again until I want to kill myself or the mold wears out. (about 50 shots). After all of this there is a big basket of pieces that get cleaned with and edge scraper to get rid of the excess resin (called “flashing” in the biz.) Then they are further cleaned with 2 passes of coarse and fine sandpaper. Next holes are drilled into the places where the head and arms peg in. Then everything gets washed in the sink and left to dry. Finally they all get glued together and painted. For the package I go online and steal images from google to make into an elaborate photoshop collage. 2 files are eventually created for the front and back of the package which go to the printer. The front gets spray glued to a big sheet of chipboard and the each one is hand cut with a box cutter into individual pieces. Then the back image gets glued to it and the excess is trimmed off. Lastly the figure is put under a blister bubble which is taped to the backing card. Then the items are ready to SELL.
At least that’s how I used to do it until I realized that I could just take a regular toy, do nothing to it, slap it on a one-sided card and call it done, and people will spend the same amount on it that they would on one of the ones I killed myself to make. What the two processes have in common is the repurposed action figure. Sometimes the figure inspires me and needs an idea. Other times I have an idea that is in need of a figure. On occasion it happens simultaneously.”
4. What are your top five bootleg toys you created and why?
1) “The SUCKLORD 66 because it was the first one I made and it gave me my whole life.”
2) “GAY EMPIRE cuz it put me on the map in the “Designer Toy World” and still pays my bills 15 years later”
3) IMPORTANT ART CRITIC Jerry Saltz Figure cuz it got me attention in the “Real Art World” while at the same time insulting it.
4) APRIL O’NEIL 10 INCH MUTANT NINJA TURTLES figure cuz it got me in the door of the Porno Industry
5) JERK of ART THE WORLD WORST ARTIST cuz it succinctly depicts what an abject fraud I am ”
5. What where you favorite toys growing up and why?
STAR WARS, MICRONAUTS, PLAYMOBIL, ADVENTURE PEOPLE, LITTLE PEOPLE, GI JOE, HE-MAN, LEGO. These are all still my favorite toys. I love the color, quality, simplicity, economy, design. I go back to them now because they can be applied to my adult ideas. These things can be infused with whatever meaning you ascribe to them.
6. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?
“Nothing live cuz I’m holed up hiding from the Pandemic.
I’m using the time to edit TOY LORDS of CHINATOWN Episode 5. This is a series of Low Rent Sci-Fi movies that depict a “Slightly Fictionalized” version of my life as a New York Toymaking Supervillain. The last one came out in 2015, so it’s been cooking for a long time. When the world starts again I will be also making much bigger versions of my best shit. I want to put out music again too. And make porno.”
If you like to know more information or on purchasing these amazing bootleg toys. The following contact information is below:
Until next time!!