First and foremost congratulations being nominated for the 2015 Designer Toy Awards and taking time out to speak to the toy chronicle. We would have made an up roar if you didn’t Get into the final nominations. We sincerely hope you guys win as all the hard work and pristine work you’ve done for many years.
So being a family collective, blessing our eyes with bright colours and Dolly Oblong Kawaii fun-filled characters, who does what and how do you guys work around your day jobs?
We usually start with a simple sketch drawn on some coffee stained napkin. Next step is to decide what to actually do with the character design. Does it fit a vinyl custom or would it work better as a plush, paper toy, screen printed poster or sticker? Depending on the material one of us works out the initial sketch and by sending it back and forth to one another we end up selecting colours, simplifying the look, fine-tuning the shape and appearance, before finalizing the design. One of us is a master at sewing, we also have an Illustrator / airbrushed ninja and an idea factory / photographer. Working around the day job, just means less sleep and no social life. But hey it’s worth it, really.
The last few years you have made many customs, but which one is the one that was hard to let go or standout the most?
The one that was the hardest to let go was the Dairobo-Z DX custom we made for the 1st DTA show. It was the work of which we were and are the most proud of. The only way to get over it is to make a bigger and better Dunny custom!
You certainly caught the attention from Kidrobot, any plans in the pipeline for a production Dunny?
If you say no we will boycott Kidrobot! HA
Not yet, but who knows some time in the future. We would be completely over the moon of course. Keeping our fingers crossed..
You’ve established your brand from plush to resin toys to customs and paper toys, which one is the most enjoyable to work with?
Hmmmm that’s a tricky question. It really depends on the character but overall we prefer working in 3D over 2D. There’s just something special about having your own character in resin, vinyl or plush in hand. It brings them to life. Between those 3 it’s impossible to choose. I mean it’s like choosing between sushi, a hamburger or cheesy fries. See, it’s impossible.
We love your Baldwin character, how did you come up with cheeky looking character?
Thanks! Baldwin started as a hand knitted bunny. It was actually the 3rd character we ever created together. We thought it would be fun if it had a bit of an embarrassed expression. So what’s the most embarrassing thing for a bunny, surely that must be walking around nekkid wearing nothing more than a fig leaf?
On the subject of Baldwin, as you work with the fabulous Muffin man sculpts, any more projects in the future?
Yes for sure. Muffinmansculpts is a genius in helping us translate our designs into resin so we will definitely collaborate to add more brothers and sisters to the family of Baldwins, Billy Brains, Noodles and Luckies. Probably for ToyCon 2016.
Our inspiration mostly comes from stuff we grew up with. It was a diet of the most awesome toys (Mighty Max, Voltron, Toxic Crusaders and more) and watching way too much Cartoon Network (Dexter’s Laboratory and Powerpuff Girls). We can still do a mean Dexter and Dee Dee impression. Currently we are slightly obsessed with the kick-ass kaiju die-casts by Arklon made in the 70s. They are very colourful and are completely interchangeable, so you can create the craziest monsters.
You’re taking part in your second clutter gallery DTA Dunny show what’s it like being in such a show?
Extremely stoked to be in the 2nd DTA Dunny show. It’ll be our first 20” custom, so a challenge as well! We were very much honored to be in the 1st show with so many well-known great artists. The buzz around the show was amazing and we had a lot of positive response to Dairobo-Z DX. It was was a huge boost to keep doing what we do.
Do you have any tips for customisers getting into the game?
Keep working hard and never release anything you are not 100% happy with. If you’re not satisfied with the end result, start again. Otherwise that tiny flaw that no-one else but you notices will forever haunt you..
We love your work as well as your photography skills, we wish every artist would take time taking photos of their work, do you have a hobby for photography?
Thanks Andy! Means a lot coming from a photo sensei like yourself. Photographing toys is definitely one of the most fun parts of the whole process. It’s the only chance we get to play with them before they fly to some far away corner on the other side of the planet. It’s also a cheeky way to show bits of our own toy collection. Other than toys, we seldomly take pictures. They are the easiest subject to photograph and alway stand perfectly still.
Can you walk us through your work space, and what are some of your favorite things about your space.
Our studio space is actually an attic with windows on all sides making it a very light workspace. There are desks on each wall, one is used for sewing, one for airbrushing and sculpting and the last one is for photographing. What we like most about the work space is the fact that it’s a big bright place. What we like least is the mess we create and having to clean up that mess once we finish a project..
I’m a foodie what’s your one food you cannot like without?
Hey we’re foodies too! The food we can’t live without is my mom’s Semur Ayam. It’s a classic Indonesian chicken and potato dish and my mom’s is the best in the world. Period.
Any plans to release a sofubi toy?
No concrete ones just yet. Creating our own sofubi line is definitely one of our big dreams. Especially since it’s also the stuff we like to collect. So sofubi producers please get in touch, we’d love to work with you!
Dolly Oblong has been all at the Toycon UK’s will you be at Toycon 2016? Started planning yet?
Yes we love ToyCon UK, the guys behind ToyCon, our fellow booth owners and the always amazing crowd. So yes do count us in for ToyCon 2016. As always we will be bringing loads of new stuff. There’s still a long way to go, but keep an eye out for teasers at the beginning of next year.
If theirs on artist or a company you would love to work with, who would it be?
Devilrobots. We love their clean and recognizable characters. Also their bright colour scheme would perfectly match ours don’t you think? 🙂
Your work is always so clean especially your line work, do you free hand or stencil?
Thank you! Free hand, a tiny brush, no breathing and a whole lot of patience. Try it yourself, it works!
What’s the one equipment you couldn’t do without?
A mechanical pencil. It all starts with a sketch..
Some quick-fire questions
Favorite color? Yellow
If you could meet any person (dead or alive) who would it be ?
Money is no object – what do you do first ?
Donate some to the Toy Chronicle
What is the one book or film you think everyone should see ?
Totoro, if it doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, you don’t have a heart…
You could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be ?
Keep all your toys nice and pristine
so you can sell them for big bucks still admire them when you are old.
Thank you so much again for taking time out from your schedule and talking to TTC we wish you all the best and bring that DTA to Europe! see you at Toycon 2016.
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(all photos and info are lifted from Dolly Oblong media sites)