From customs, to vinyl, to plush, Erick Scarecrow has received an endless amount of praise for his creative aesthetic. Not only does he design them, but he also owns his own toy company, ESC-Toy LTD. Under ESC-Toys, Erick has released many of his own creations, but also aids in the production of many other toys from artists such as KaNO and Neptoon Studios.
He is also an enthusiast for customizing toys and has contributed by adding his own platform design to the DIY toy market. The Soopa Coin-up is his throwback to the arcade era of the 80s and early 90s. His most recent toy release is the Muraida vinyl figure, which showcases his love for Asian art and the classic monster films of the culture. Today, Erick Scarecrow still continues to make toys and build up his empire, one new design at a time.
â€œAfter school I was alone for the most part and watched a load of cartoons before I did my homework. It was like sweets before salt.â€
Format: Congratulations on the three-year anniversary of ESC-Toy LTD! What are some trials and tribulations that you have had to deal with being an independent toy designer?
Erick Scarecrow: Thank you very much. In the beginning, a lot of the trials have been putting my ideas out there. I’ve tried several toy companies in the past and it was either they didn’t give me the time of day or they didn’t understand my concepts and direction. Professionally you can’t take these things personally because it’s a business but as an artist the rejections would hit me hard. I used think it was my designs that didn’t work. Even though I knew and felt my ideas were different. Things are much better for me now and I’m thankful for that.
Format: Are you a big toy collector yourself? What is your all-time favorite toy and why?Â
Erick Scarecrow: Yes I am, but I’ve been running out of space. My favorite toy line is definitely Masters of the Universe. I’m very excited about their re-launch. I’ve already made a list of the characters I want but I haven’t gotten to purchasing them yet because I’ve working hard to meet deadlines.
Format: Your work appears to be influenced by the 80s. Is this time period significant to you in any way?Â
Erick Scarecrow: Yes, it is influenced by the 80s. It’s a very significant time period for me because it’s where my creativity grew. A good mix of the cartoons, comics, video games and toys that were available did it for me. I spent a lot of time submerged in it. Plus, I had a lot of time to think and imagine. Now that I am older, I see how all that was essential. What I thought was boring was the time I used to mentallyÂ exerciseÂ my creativity. Both of my parents had jobs and worked different shifts. One in the day and the other at night.Â Â After school I was alone for the most part and watched a load of cartoons before I did my homework.Â It was like sweets before salt.Â
Format: You also showcase a lot of Asian inspired designs in your work. What attracts you most to this culture?Â
Erick Scarecrow: I love Asian culture. There are so many aspects to it that attracts me. TheÂ art, design, music,Â philosophy,Â animation, films down to the food. Even the food is pretty to look at.
Format: Your Soopa Coin-up Bros is one of the most uniquely designed platform toys. What inspired you to create this? Were you an arcade rat growing up?Â
Erick Scarecrow: The Soopa is basically me making my own games on an extremely low budget. It was always been a secret passion to develop games. So many elements are involved for a game: story, art, music, gameplay, etc.Â As far as being an arcade rat, I still am. I’ve been searching for a Street Fighter 4 cabinet for a while but I haven’t found one yet in Queens, NYC. I might as well wait for the home console version and snag one of those arcade joysticks and challenge online. I’m pretty mean with Ryu, Ken, and Guile, so watch out!
Format: There seem to be a lot of bootlegged versions of your toy designs out there. How do you deal with bootlegs?Â
Erick Scarecrow: I deal with it by having a cool head and a very good lawyer. It’s the ultimate form of flattery.Â
Format: You’ve produced other artists’ designs under your company. What is your criteria when selecting a project to stand behind?
Erick Scarecrow: The project needs to be fun. I’ve come across some that didn’t interest me at all. I’m honest about it.Â
Format: Is your process of designing a plush different from designing a vinyl toy?Â
Erick Scarecrow: No, it’s not different at all. I still lay down 2D pencils and trace them in ink or vectorize them digitally. I do 99% of the coloring in Adobe. Plush is definitely faster in terms of production and less of a headache compared to vinyl/resin.
Format: Plush figures have an association with females and children. How do you plan to change this and make plush figures an ageless and genderless craze?
Erick Scarecrow: Plush is such a huge platform. I don’t need to change anything because the market is constantly changing by itself. I just have fun with it. Â
Format: What inspired your Muraida figure? Are you happy with the response it has been getting?
Erick Scarecrow: I’m very happy with the response. For Muraida I wanted to design a villain for the Ultra Dizign character that was released first from the Old Skool Kaiju series. I wanted a real nasty muck monster like the ones from the old Godzilla movies, but I wanted to make it my own. I used to watch theseÂ filmsÂ as a kid and they used to both fascinate me and scare me.Â
Format: What is the future of ESC Toys? Any other projects you want to venture into?Â
Erick Scarecrow: The future of ESC will be very interesting! So many things going on now and even more slated as we enter 2009. One of the current projects that I am excited about continuing is my Shinsetsu collection which is a series of limited edition customs I created. I’m very happy about this one because it’s been so well received.