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Do custom action figures count as art?

MintConditionMintCondition Registered User new member
edited February 2008 in Artist's Corner
I think they do. With the amount of time and preparation that go into them as well as the sheer imagination, I say customizing action figures is an art.

Here are some of mine.

I have a custom movie Silver Surfer.

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All I did was take the head off of a Marvel Legends Xavier and paint it silver and put it on the body. Then I used the body from that same figure to make a super poseable movie Xavier:

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I had to do tons of dremmeling to get his head to fit on the peg though.

And I also made a custom movie Doc Ock. I took some bendy tentacles from another Doc Ock figure and put them on the Tentacle Attack Doc Ock (because the Tentacle Attack Doc Ock has a better sculpt).


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Again I do consider this an art. Some may not agree, but I think art is anything that you put a lot of time, detail, and passion into and create something worthwhile.

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MintCondition on

Posts

  • anableanable North TexasRegistered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I have to give you props for not taking these pictures on your bed sheets. It looks like you're pretty passionate about it, so that's cool. Not my thing but it looks like you did a pretty good job. I like the DOF on the last shot.

    anable on
  • srsizzysrsizzy Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I'm confused. What did you do besides take apart pieces from various action figures and reattach them to other ones? I'm not seeing the whole "custom" here, it's like taking the head off of one barbie, putting it on another, and then maybe painting the lips a different color. Your explinations aren't very enlightening as to whether or not it is more than this.

    srsizzy on
    BRO LET ME GET REAL WITH YOU AND SAY THAT MY FINGERS ARE PREPPED AND HOT LIKE THE SURFACE OF THE SUN TO BRING RADICAL BEATS SO SMOOTH THE SHIT WILL BE MEDICINAL-GRADE TRIPNASTY MAKING ALL BRAINWAVES ROLL ON THE SURFACE OF A BALLS-FEISTY NEURAL RAINBOW CRACKA-LACKIN' YOUR PERCEPTION OF THE HERE-NOW SPACE-TIME SITUATION THAT ALL OF LIFE BE JAMMED UP IN THROUGH THE UNIVERSAL FLOW BEATS
  • in_absentiain_absentia Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    In a way, I have to agree with srsizzy. I remember some of the people who would post their table top models and I was always in awe of how they took normal house hold things and transformed them into amazing scenic settings. Then the models that they bought would always be intricately painted and, to an extent, customized.

    I'd say you're off to a start with that sort of thing, but this seems more like playing with paper dolls then creating your own custom models.

    I would, however, like to see your attempts at making something out of your own parts you've made/crafted/painted.

    in_absentia on
  • NakedZerglingNakedZergling A more apocalyptic post apocalypse Portland OregonRegistered User regular
    edited February 2008
    THIS IS CUSTOM TOYS BRO.....

    http://www.jinsaotomesdangeroustoys.com/

    NakedZergling on
  • MintConditionMintCondition Registered User new member
    edited February 2008
    I would, however, like to see your attempts at making something out of your own parts you've made/crafted/painted.


    Haha...you're funny. Yeah I don't really have the resources or um, probably talent to be able to mold my own stuff, but almost nobody does that. If you go to http://figurerealm.com/Home.php you'll see that switching out parts and painting is part of the process.

    On the Silver Surfer custom I just painted the Xavier head and had to boil it a bit to get it soft enough to go onto the peg.

    On the Xavier custom I had a problem. See, the Xavier body has a peg in the neck for the head to go, but the movie Xavier head has no hole for the peg. Instead the head and neck are connected with a kind of plug in the bottom to go into the body.

    So I first had to cut the plug off and take a dremmel and sand it down A LOT, then drill a hole into his head and fit it on the peg.

    On the Doc Ock, I had to first remove his coat (which, if you look at the tentacles, you can guess was not so easy) then I had to cut the tentacles off at the body, take the tentacles from another Doc Ock (ones that are wire bendy) and make holes in the back of the first Doc Ock for the tentacles to fit in, then put the coat back on.

    I also drilled tiny holes in the sides of his head for sunglasses with pegs to go into.

    MintCondition on
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  • GrifterGrifter BermudaModerator mod
    edited February 2008
    So really you're just mix matching different marvel action figures. Seems kind of like faux art to me. You're not really creating anything.

    Grifter on
  • altmannaltmann Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I disagree, I think it's art if you want it to be. To say that he's not really creating is sort of dickish. Is a DJ not creating when he remixes a song? I guess hendrix's version of All Along The Watchtower is just bunk right?

    To each their own though. Agree to Disagree.

    altmann on
    Imperator of the Gigahorse Jockeys.

    "Oh what a day, what a LOVELY DAY!"

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  • MintConditionMintCondition Registered User new member
    edited February 2008
    Grifter wrote: »
    So really you're just mix matching different marvel action figures. Seems kind of like faux art to me. You're not really creating anything.

    Yeah, and the painting and the dremmeling...

    MintCondition on
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  • multimoogmultimoog Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Okay, so it's art. But it's not 'good art'. It's like that guy last week who was pasting different Half-Life 2 character parts together. It's not really doing anything. It's all just mix-and-match, with a small amount of effort.

    If you're bring out a custom figure worth critiquing, you should be doing something like taking the Silver Surfer figure and making it into a Deadpool custom. That would be impressive. I used to do Warhammer 40K custom stuff, where I'd take an old Happy Meal toy car, chop it up, glue shit on it and repaint it so it was a fucking badass Ork vehicle. Make something new, man.

    multimoog on
  • multimoogmultimoog Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    THIS IS CUSTOM TOYS BRO.....

    http://www.jinsaotomesdangeroustoys.com/

    Holy shit, the fact that he made a custom Galvatron that transforms makes him a hero.

    multimoog on
  • PeterAndCompanyPeterAndCompany Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Mint's work here is art, albeit entry-level artwork. The couple sites that have been linked in the other comments are proof enough of how deep the figure customization field can go for someone who is both handy with a dremmel and an actual sculptor. To call this guy out on not actually producing artwork at this point is like telling a kid who just drew his first sketch of Batman to give it up.

    Honestly, Mint, what you're doing here is a good initial start to the field, but if your passion about this art form is as true as you say it is, you'll FIND the resources to learn how to model and sculpt your own figures. Mix-and-matching parts is only one small part to the overall whole, and as long as you only focus on that, you'll never have a complete package to show to anyone.

    My recommendation would be to start simple with sculpting. Go to a local craft store and pick up a $10 box of Super Sculpey. The stuff is a flesh-tone clay that never dries out until you bake it, and it's great for maquette sculpting because it holds its shape really well and is very soft -- as far as clays go -- so it'll be easy on your hands. Use it to practice elementary sculpting of body shapes, and as long as you don't bake it you can use it as your practice clay again and again. Also look up some online tutorials, or go all the way and pick up a book or two. Once you get the hang of it you can upgrade to a type of clay that air-dries and can bond to plastic, which can be used in conjunction with your modified figures to create something completely new, rather than just swapping the tentacles on two otherwise identical Doc Oc figures.

    Give it a try. If you don't like it, at least you can say you tried something new.

    PeterAndCompany on
  • GrifterGrifter BermudaModerator mod
    edited February 2008
    Grifter wrote: »
    So really you're just mix matching different marvel action figures. Seems kind of like faux art to me. You're not really creating anything.

    Yeah, and the painting and the dremmeling...

    You used a Dremel tool so that you could mix match a piece of an action figure. And the only painting I see is the equivalent of dipping the action figure in a bucket. I can appreciate that this could be an art form and what I saw in that other link was quite impressive. By all means, keep at it if you enjoy it. But you're going to need to get a bit more creative if you want people to actually pay attention.

    Grifter on
  • NakedZerglingNakedZergling A more apocalyptic post apocalypse Portland OregonRegistered User regular
    edited February 2008
    go look at the thread i posted..that is amazing and it has tips and guides..GO THERE!!!!

    NakedZergling on
  • zombie0047zombie0047 Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    i use to love doing this but it was mostly just me sanding down and painting existing action figures. then i would make new clothes out of masking tape and those stretchy gloves little kids have. i would try to make a character i had thought in my head.

    zombie0047 on
  • MolotovCockatooMolotovCockatoo Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    The amount of effort it takes to create something is absolutely not the determining factor of whether it is art, good or bad, sorry. Marcel Duchamp would like a word with all of you who say that.

    Anyway, I think they're pretty cool, MintCondition.

    MolotovCockatoo on
    Killjoy wrote: »
    No jeez Orik why do you assume the worst about people?

    Because he moderates an internet forum

    http://lexiconmegatherium.tumblr.com/
  • in_absentiain_absentia Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Haha...you're funny. Yeah I don't really have the resources or um, probably talent to be able to mold my own stuff, but almost nobody does that.

    I think you missed my point. I don't want you to mold your own models. I'm talking about using household items to make truly custom models. Even something as simple as gluing plastic shavings on to somebody to make armor would be sufficient.

    I'll try to post a link to examples of what I really ment.

    in_absentia on
  • multimoogmultimoog Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Marcel Duchamp would like a word with all of you who say that.

    I think there's a tiny bit of a distinction between one of the most famous examples of the Dadaist movement and swapping the head on a Silver Surfer figure, especially if it's not intended as a statement. Of anything beyond, you know, "lookit here, I switchd'ed up some haids!"

    Outsider art notwithstanding, I guess. But if that's the case, it's brilliant!

    multimoog on
  • zero_onezero_one Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    i think art is probably more about creating something origional that is some sort of expression of yourself. This doesn't really seem to be either.

    This more seems to be more "I'm so proud of myself for making a cool action figure!". Which, yeah it's kind of cool to take stuff apart and re-assemble it in the kind of amateurish way that you do, but it's not art.

    zero_one on
  • FantasyrogueFantasyrogue Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Is this gonna be some discussion on what is and isn't art? Because those are kind of pointless. I don't consider some of the stuff I've seen at modern art museums to be "art" but apparantly the critics do, so who am I to argue.

    That said, you'd probably get a lot more positive comments if you customized the figures more. Like the person in the link posted. Turn a figure into a completely different figure. Perhaps a figure that you think is cool but doesn't have an awesome action figure or something like that. If I was more into action figures, this'd seem like a cool hobby to me. :D

    Fantasyrogue on
  • zero_onezero_one Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    well tha dood asked if it was art so as wanky as it is do discuss it.....HE STARTED IT! *slams door plays rock music*

    but yeah, what she said.

    zero_one on
  • MolotovCockatooMolotovCockatoo Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    multimoog wrote: »
    Marcel Duchamp would like a word with all of you who say that.

    I think there's a tiny bit of a distinction between one of the most famous examples of the Dadaist movement and swapping the head on a Silver Surfer figure, especially if it's not intended as a statement. Of anything beyond, you know, "lookit here, I switchd'ed up some haids!"

    Outsider art notwithstanding, I guess. But if that's the case, it's brilliant!

    Heh, I wasn't making a direct comparison between Mint's figures and Duchamps work, I was merely making the point that if we're going to have a discussion about what is and isn't art, the notion that an artist has to spend exhaustive labor or even any effort whatsoever in order to make something become 'art', that notion was abolished more than 80 years ago.

    So of course the discussion of art is (almost) entirely subjective, but I think it would be good if we could raise the level of discourse to the modern day perception and general opinion. Either that or we're going to have to go make a Salon de Refuses or a Viennese Secession or something so Mint and I can advance the artform and leave you dinosaurs to the mists of obscurity, m i rite boys? Who's with me? :P

    MolotovCockatoo on
    Killjoy wrote: »
    No jeez Orik why do you assume the worst about people?

    Because he moderates an internet forum

    http://lexiconmegatherium.tumblr.com/
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