Alex Solis – A Multi-Talented Toy Designer
It’s a Kidrobot Christmas holiday tradition to release special 3-inch Holiday Dunnys by artists that we love and adore. And this year, we’re releasing two 3-inch Chunky Holiday Dunnys by Alex Solis. Before they drop tomorrow (November 15th), we had a little chat with Alex to talk about his art, his inspirations, and yet another upcoming collaboration with Kidrobot and himself.
KR: Judging by your bio, your website, and the sheer amount of art you have available on your website, you’ve pretty much been an artist since you were born. What is your earliest memory of creating art?
AS: My earliest memory creating art was me creating endless drawings of the TMNT. I grew up in a very humble family and in a way it sorta replaced me not having many toys, I became addicted to art without even knowing it so, at one point I stopped asking my parents for toys and instead I would ask for blank paper.
KR: You live and work on your art in Wisconsin. What is the artistic landscape like in Wisconsin? Is it livelier than one might imagine?
AS: Where I live there isn’t much going on with art, and even though Milwaukee’s art scene is slowly growing, there isn’t too much, but we are also a short drive away from Chicago where the art scene is a lot bigger. Nowadays we are lucky to have the internet, where it doesn’t really matter as much, since people are exposed to even international artists.
KR: Did you go to school for art? Or for graphic design and web development? Or are these things that came naturally to you and you’re self-taught?
AS: I went to school for Graphic Design and web development. I sorta steered that way because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to make a living with my art alone. I felt like graphic design was the next best thing, since I really wanted to make art and design my career one way or another, even though I have always continued to create my own personal artwork. All that I have learned has helped me tons now and I apply it to my own products and work, so it essentially came full circle.
KR: On your website, there’s a lot of art to choose from – books, stickers, prints, toys you’ve designed – but do you have a favorite type of project? If you could do only one, would it be create books, design toys, create limited prints – what?
AS: I love trying new products. They become a challenge and are a new way to present my artwork, but making toys has been by far the best experience, because holding a physical toy of you own art is an amazing feeling! And I have been trying to make toys a priority with the stuff I create.
KR: Are you a collector yourself? If so, what’s your favorite piece in your collection?
AS: I am! Currently one of my favorite pieces is a figure from James Jean I have in my collection named “Washizu.”
KR: What do you do to get yourself into a creative state of mind and what’s your creation process like?
AS: I hit a lot of creative slumps, but I think continuing to push regardless of if I’m in a super creative state of mind or not has been a big push for me. But I make it a priority to try and do art for a few hours a day every day, and it keeps me sane.
KR: You’ve got a few political statements sprinkled throughout your creations. Would you consider yourself a political artist? Or is it simply a matter of politics being inescapable these days?
AS: I wouldn’t consider myself a political artist, more so I feel like my art is just a way for me to communicate and express myself. Politics and stuff that happens around me affect me so it naturally steers my work in the direction of how I feel as well. My work just has a better flow when I’m creating stuff not only for the sake of creating but also with what moves me and affects me.
KR: If you weren’t designing toys, what would you be doing?
AS: Designing toys is just one of the things I do. I’m currently working on branding materials for some big companies, murals, apparel, my own products, art shows etc. I try to stay very busy, I have big goals and I feel like sometimes I don’t have enough time so maybe that’s why I try to keep very busy and stay as productive as possible.
KR: How were you first introduced to Kidrobot?
AS: I’ve known Kidrobot for a very long time, being a fan of designer toys it’s impossible not to, but I met Frank (Kozik) in Singapore at a convention where I debuted my first designer figure with mightyJaxx and was apart of a designer toy panel. I also met a few of the guys from Kidrobot at other conventions and even spoke about a possible project a few years back, and since then I’ve created a ton more, and finally was able to connect with Kidrobot on a project! So I’m very excited to finally be working with the company!
KR: Right now you have two projects in development with Kidrobot. There are the Holiday Dunny pieces and then the global warming pieces. What was your inspiration behind the Dunnys? And we can guess what the inspiration behind the global warming piece, but what else would you like our audience to know about that in-the-works project?
AS: The Holiday Dunny is essentially a mix of The Famous Chunkies series I’ve been working on for a while and The infamous Dunny from Kidrobot with a holiday twist. The global warming piece was something I created to get people talking about global warming, people always make fun of how can a drawing change anything, but I think it is the very indirect start to big changes, getting people to talk about it, or making someone feel something with a concept like that is the goal, and you never know who will see it or who will be moved by it, to continue spreading awareness and push for change for the better. This one being a toy makes it even a stronger piece, since it will hopefully start some conversations about the subject!
Alex Solis’ life long passion is art, even when he takes a day off, he is still doodling.Realizing at a young age that the stereotype of the starving artist might actually impede his ability to pay the bills, Solis decided to focus on Design and Web development. Learning code and design helped him with his art in order to add a more visual and concept driven look to everything he creates. This has lead him to push his art to a new level which has allowed him to travel the world with his art, and share his story through public speaking gigs. Alex currently resides in Wisconsin where he works full time on his own brand Oddworx. When he’s not working on art, he spends most of his time with family.