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When did you first start customizing toiz?

My mom tells me that I’ve been making my own toys since I was a child. We had to make do with what we had, so we learned to use our imaginations to the fullest. I remember as a child, teaching myself to sew by hand, so I could make my own dolls. My grandma would give me pieces of fabric she couldn’t use from clothing she made us. Once I got the hang of it, I loved sewing & making my own plush dolls! My mom might still have a plush clown doll I made out of left over fabric. We made toys out of everything: shells, rocks, material, broken dolls. We utilized whatever we could find! I used to take my Barbie dolls, mix & match to make my own characters.


On a professional level, my obsession with customizing toys began back in 2009 when I was invited by Lucasfilm to participate in their “Empire Muggs Back: Art for a Mighty Good Cause” project. I was one of many artist, comic book creators, toy designers, and celebrities invited to transform a blank Mighty Mugg into a one-of-a-kind Star Wars figure that was auctioned to benefit the Make a Wish Foundation. This was the first time I created a vinyl toy! I was very excited and up for the challenge. I love thinking outside the box, crossing genres, and creating what has not been done before! I created Steve Sansweet – the perfect muse! I fell in love with creating vinyl toys as I was working on this project. Working 3-dimensionally is a different way of approaching, seeing & creating art and I love it! I was hooked.

What materials do you use? What’s your favorite technique?

Every toy I create is unique in some way, so the type of materials I use varies, depending on what I am creating! I’ve used primer, Holbein liquid acrylic color, glow in the dark paint, varnish, glue, fabric, leather, sequins, wire, nuts, bolts, jewelry, gems, yarn, rubber, patina, metal, keys, fimo, sculpey, fake flowers, glitter, Styrofoam, plastic, found objects, crystallized gems and a variety of beads glass beads, silver beads, plastic beads, wood beads, skull beads…I LOVE working with all kinds of beads!!! I’ve been obsessed with using glow in the dark paint for over the last couple of years, but I have to admit that applying beadwork is definitely my favorite technique!


You’ve done a lot of Star Wars customs, is this your favorite theme?

I’ve been creating Star Wars art for various projects, gallery shows & commissions over the years. I LOVE Star Wars, so of course I love creating Star Wars customs! But honestly my favorite theme to create is people! I LOVE customizing my interpretation of people, especially famous people, using vinyl toys! I’ve created Stan Lee (My Stan Lee custom vinyl doll is featured in Morgan Spurlocks book “Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope on page 89 with Stan Lee), Conan O’Brien & The Flaming C (Both are featured in “COCO MOCA” The Museum Of Conan Art on Team Coco’s website), Charlie Sheen, Whoopi Goldberg, Comedian Donnell Rawlings & many more!

You’re super busy with other projects, how do you manage your time?

Like everything else in life, the more you do something, the more it becomes second nature. Juggling many projects at a time, has been a part of who I am since I was a child & has become easier over the years. I prioritize, stay focused, organize my time carefully, I write EVERYTHING down, including my goals, map out my strategies, which helps me see how to put my plans into action.


What’s next for you as far as making 3D art?

I’m going to keep pumping out as much new work as I can! I’m continuing to work on commissions for clients, and I’m really excited about working with Bean Pot Toiz on the “Vinyl Thoughts” show! I’ve got some other events in the works, announcements coming soon. I would love to design toys for Kidrobot, or Hasbro, but my ultimate goal is to have a line of toys featuring my original characters!


Any advice for new toy customizers?

Be your unique self! Experiment, be bold, be brave, believe and follow your heart! Create because you can, create every day and have fun doing what you love. When you do what you love and truly love what you do, your passion will shine through your being all that you create.

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Contact Grego@beanpottoiz.com