DrilOne, best known for his vinyl customs, is a New York-raised designer currently living in San Francisco. While he has yet to mass-produce his own original designs, his one-of-a-kind customs still gain a lot of attention from the vinyl toy community. His one-offs and limited edition pieces have been seen in gallery shows alongside other well-respected artists in the movement and have been sought after by collectors. Not only does he contribute to the growing customizing community by sharing his own talent, he also works to bring artists together to share their craft. DrilOne is very active in promoting custom gallery shows and has even put together some of his own. His latest endeavor is the Humans Beware Custom Art Show, a collection of IWG customs by artists from all over the globe.

“Would you really complain if Martha Stewart owned your custom?”

Format: How did you get into customizing vinyl toys?
DrilOne: A friend got me into Dunnys and the Kidrobot message board, so I saw the Motorbots retrospect from 2005 and I was like, ‘I need to do that.’ And I did.

Format: What makes you want to stay so active in the custom toy community?
DrilOne: For the love of customizing and for all the great people.

Format: A lot of the bigger names in the custom community are also street artists. Why do you think a lot of street artists gravitate towards this medium?
DrilOne: Street artists that did Dunnys in Series 1 and Ewok and Cycle in Series 2 drew me into the vinyl world. I think that, at least for me, I loved drawing on anything, so I was not stuck to just the canvas.


Format: You mentioned that you were trying out new methods such as making resin casts. What other mediums would you want to learn and what would you want to do with them?
DrilOne: I have tried a ton of different mediums, and I think casting will be the next level. I would love to have my own figure to customize.

Format: What are your thoughts on Martha Stewart and Rosie O’Donnell’s latest craze of collecting customized toys?
DrilOne: I have mixed feelings about this. As a collector of vinyl toys, it will taint the scene, but as a customizer I think it can bring in more collectors. Would you really complain if Martha Stewart owned your custom? This is another push for Kidrobot to move away from the underground and into every store possible.

Format: Do you think that bringing toy customizing to the mainstream will affect the movement at all?
DrilOne: It has been stepping its feet in the mainstream for a while now. It will just become another art form like graffiti has. Legal graffiti is accepted in the mainstream. Hasbro/Mattel last year followed Kidrobot’s footsteps and made blank versions of some of their toys like the Mighty Muggs, they also had shows. The world is just blending into one similar idea.

“It made people nervous—including myself—but looking at the work, I think I succeeded.”

Format: If you could design your own platform toy for other artists to manipulate, what would it be?
DrilOne: A jellyfish or robot. Maybe both. Robots have been overdone, but to do it differently will be a challenge.

Format: Would you ever consider mass-producing your designs, or would you rather keep them one-of-a-kind?
DrilOne: I would love to have my stuff mass-produced; it is free advertising. But I will always do one-of-a-kinds.

Format: You have over 70 artists listed on your roster for the Humans Beware Show. What are some challenges you have encountered when putting together a big show like this?
DrilOne: People following directions. People flaking out, which pisses me off, because there are 80 plus artists I had to turn down. Time, as well, because I also have a 9-5 job and a family, but the rewards are greater.


Format: You made your Humans Beware Show an open call for anyone interested to submit. As a result, you have an eclectic collection of different styles and skill sets. Why did you want to make this more inclusive rather than contacting only the better-known artists?
DrilOne: I contacted only a handful of artists. Most came to me. A lot of people have tons of respect for Patrick Ma of Rocketworld. That would explain why a handful of Kaiju artist would customize western vinyl and you do not see that often. I also tried to get people who have never done vinyl pieces. I like diversity and seeing visions from around the spectrum. The show also has seven countries represented. It is a big show, which raises the bar. It made people nervous—including myself—but looking at the work, I think I succeeded.

Format: What kind of dynamic do you think this will bring to the show?
DrilOne: The show feedback is huge; I am hearing from people that they are seeing good coverage of it. Patrick also had ads run in the San Francisco Guardian and there will be three film crews filming the show. I put 110% into this Humans Beware and it shows.

More Info: www.drils.com.


Kim Sison

Latest posts by Kim Sison (see all)

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>