GR: Did you grow up with Army Men?
Jim A: Yeah I grew up with army men. As a kid I set them all up then I’d get rocks and destroy the battlefield. The ones the dog chewed up were the injured soldiers.
GR: Explain how you came up with the idea of skateboarders in the Classic Army Men style?
Jim A: I saw what was already out there & I thought how cool it would be to make them based off of the old school toy soldiers that I grew up with. Keep them simple & cheap, but they had to look cool & realistic. I saw other things out there and they were sort of corny. They didn’t look realistic – the characters had mohawks & the moves looked awkward.
GR: Are you a sculptor and or skateboarder? Are the original sculpts that tiny?
Jim A: I am a graphic designer & an old school skateboarder, my son AJ he skates all the time. He helped me design the final designs & got me up to date on the moves that they should be doing. Hence I named ‘em after my son AJ – AJ’s Original Toy Boarders. The original sculpts are just a tad larger than the final product – this way you can get a little more detailed.
GR: Was this easy to get done from your idea to complete product?
Jim A: No it wasn’t easy. I wasn’t familiar with the process of making moulds , but I had a friend teach me the process. Also we wanted to get each skater to balance on his board so that they would stand upright. There was always some tweaking involved so that we could maintain the style –yet keep them balanced.
GR: How did you pick their poses out of an almost an infinite amount of things that a skater does!
Jim A: We originally had more designs for the first series. We found out that some were not possible with a 2 part mould. Also like mentioned before we wanted them all to be able to pose upright on their board so kick flips and certain moves just weren’t gonna work.
GR: Are the boarders any particular rider?
Jim A: No, no boarder in particular, just based off of my son & his friends that skate. We wanted them to have style so we based their clothing off of what kids are wearing today. Within the skateboard culture there are all sorts of styles so we wanted to cover a wide range.
GR: What’s next?
Jim A: Series II Skate is DONE & in the Mould Process as we speak !! We are really stoked on this series –in it there is a Girl, we had lots of demands for a girl skater. Also we put a filmer in there – you know the friend that is following behind the rider with the death lens.
Series 1 Snowboard is currently being designed & after that we will design series 1 surf. We plan on having all of these by the end of the year. We also have some more ideas –but you will have to stay tuned for those ones.
Here’s a very well-done working transformer model built by Japanese engineer Kenji Ishida (Twitter him @BRLab). LEGO schmego. A tip of the hat to filmmaker/multimedia journalist Katsuyuki Ueno of Yokkaichi, Mie, Japan.
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James Jean’s new product line including jewelry and more is now on his new OVM site. While his art soars in prices, this is a way to attain something at a lower price point. James answers a few questions for us about OVM. http://www.ovmlove.com/
GR: What is Ovum in relation to your art?
JJ: It’s a way for me to make tangible objects out of the motifs and in my work that can be worn and collected in a way that’s more accessible than a singular piece of artwork. I’m obsessed with quality, so the jewelry, like my books and graphic work, is designed down to the smallest detail.
GR: What kind of products are you seeking to make and what will we see in the future?
JJ: We have four major series of jewelry coming out this next year, along with sculptural multiples. OVM will also be publishing my iPad sketchbook app . . . so in that sense, OVM represents the arm of my production that’s aimed at a larger audience, while my paintings and drawings will remain cloistered in my studio until my next show.
GR: Tell me about the creation of jewelry and what your intentions are with it’s design?
JJ: The jewelry is inspired by forms in nature, much like my work – I think what makes the pieces unique are the silhouettes and shapes. I draw each piece and revise the molds very carefully, so that resulting forms seem as if they are plucked from my paintings or drawings. The constraints of designing something to be worn is a new challenge for me, so I have a Japanese design partner who helps me come up with elegant solutions for each piece.
60 types? Wow, this is nuts. We just got them in stock minutes ago! Excuse the joyful low res iPhone 3GS photos. Uglydoll Lucky Uckys ($4.99)
Cookie Dream Babo from Yoyamart. Two sides both open eye and X’d out. ($23)
Cookie Dream Babo from SDCC. Yes resurrected. It’s two sides so you get both faces. ($23)