This is our first, of hopefully many, guest posts by readers and friends of our blog. Enjoy.
“I am an artist who creates because it is a part of my being” ~Denise Vasquez
Being an artist is all I’ve ever known. I’ve been an artist for as long as I can remember. My Mother always made sure that dance, music, art, and the theatre were in our lives. Being raised by a strong, independent, woman, who happened to be an artist, had a big influence on me, from a very early age. I began singing as soon as I could talk, dancing as soon as I could walk, drawing from the time I could hold a pencil, and writing songs and poetry as soon as I could form a sentence! All I’ve ever wanted to do is create, and all I ever wanted to be was who I am, an artist!
During my teens, I discovered it didn’t matter which medium I used, whether it be dancing, singing, writing, drawing, painting, playing the violin or guitar. Having a number of mediums on my palette meant more opportunities to do what I loved the most, create!
"Life is my canvas, experience is my palette, my creative heart, soul and imagination are my tools" ~Denise Vasquez
My obsession with customizing toys began back in 2009 when I was invited by Lucasfilm to participate in their “Empire Muggs Back: Art For A Mighty Good Cause” project. I was one of the many artists, comic Book creators, toy designers, and celebrities invited to transform a blank Mighty Mugg into a one of a kind Star Wars figure that was auctioned to benefit The Make A Wish Foundation. This was the first time I created a vinyl toy, I was VERY excited & up for the challenge! I LOVE thinking outside of the box, I LOVE crossing genres, and I LOVE creating what has NOT been done before! With all that being said, I created a Steve Sansweet Mighty Mugg. For those that don’t know Steve, he is an amazing person, who has inspired me beyond words, who also happens to be known around the world as the Ambassador of Star Wars. He was the perfect muse for my creation! I fell in love with creating vinyl toys as I was working on this project! Working 3 dimensionally is a different way of approaching, seeing & creating art and I LOVED it…I was HOOKED! You can read all about the making of my Steve Sansweet Mighty Mugg in my blog here http://denisevasquez.blogspot.com/2009/07/empire-muggs-back-art-for-mighty-good.html
As soon as I was finished with this project, I wanted to create more vinyl toys. I got on my iMac computer, went on the internet and did a Google search to learn where I could get my hands on some blank vinyl toys. I ended up going to “Kidrobot” and purchased a few of their DIY blank “Munny” vinyl toys. I became obsessed! I LOVE how the Munny’s came with a variety of surprise accessories which only added to my obsession with customizing vinyl toys!
I continued experimenting & making custom vinyl dolls for myself until I was invited to participate in another GREAT project! DKE Toys/Adfunture invited me to participate in their “Custom Yoka Show” for DesignerCon 2009. I was sent a blank vinyl Yoka and given the opportunity to not only participate in another amazing project, with some amazing artists, but I had the freedom to create whatever I wanted! I LOVE having the opportunity to create whatever character I want, in whatever genre I want! As I’m all about Peace & Love…my signature is “PeAcE LoVe aRt & sOuL”…I wanted to incorporate who I am into my art! I made a list of ideas, and for every reason, I decided to go with the Love theme! I don’t know what propelled me to use glow in the dark paint, but I’m so glad I did! That began my obsession with incorporating Glow in the dark paint into everything I created! For the Yoka tour, I created my Glow in the dark “GLOWING LOVE” yoka. To read about my process, visit my blog here http://denisevasquez.blogspot.com/2009/11/designercon-2009-dke-toys-my-custom.html
Creating my “Stan Lee POW” custom vinyl munny for San Diego Comic Con 2010 put me on another level personally as a custom vinyl toy designer. As I was going to be in “Artists Alley” for San Diego Comic Con, I wanted to create a vinyl toy that would be a show stopper at my table. I thought about where I was going, and thought about what comic con meant to me & the first thing that popped into my mind was Stan Lee! I had to create Stan Lee…he is my favorite super hero & in my opinion Stan Lee is Comic Con! I had a few days to create my Stan Lee vinyl toy, so I didn’t have time to ponder on my idea. I trusted myself, believed in my idea went for it! The response to my Stan Lee vinyl Munny during San Diego Comic Con 2010 was BEYOND incredible! I was truly living my dreams as an artist! Morgan Spurlocks’ team LOVED it when they saw it! They took photos of it, had me sign a release & it’s now FEATURED on page 89 in Morgan Spurlocks’s Book “Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope”. Everyone kept telling me I had to show it to Stan Lee & that was my ultimate goal for the convention! I took a chance, went for it & when he saw it, he totally flipped! He asked me “Where did you get this? Where can I get one?” I laughed and said “I made it”. He freaked even more & I was totally geeking out inside, Stan Lee was freaking out over my art! “He said wait you made this? This is fantastic, this is incredible” Then he asked me “What do you want to do with it?” I said “I haven’t decided yet”…He said “Great answer! Give the girl our card & take hers” He signed my doll handed it back to me told me he’d be in touch & within a month I received an invitation to meet with Stan Lee at his office in Beverly Hills! Stan Lee is now the proud owner of that vinyl doll, but I made another one for me which he signed for me & he had me sign the one that he has! Since then, I was invited to be a guest blogger on Stan Lee’s websites and my Stan Lee doll is currently the profile for Stan Lee’s myspace page http://www.myspace.com/stanleemyspace
(*0*) This is all truly BEYOND a dream come true for me!
Since them I’ve had many commissions by fans, friends, celebrities and more to create custom vinyl dolls for special events or as personal gifts.
As an artist, I’m always looking for opportunities! One day while I was browsing the internet, I landed on Conan O’Briens’ Tumblr page and saw he was looking for Fan Art. I LOVE Conan, so I decided to create a Conan O’Brien vinyl munny. I submitted an image of my final piece and it ended up being featured on Team Coco’s website in COCO MOCA The Museum of Conan Art http://teamcoco.com/moca/gallery/mixed-media/6211/conan-o-brien-his-horny-teddy, as well as being featured in “Music Connection Magazine”! When I got word that they were looking for fan art for “The Flaming C” I created a GLOW IN THE DARK “Flaming C” vinyl doll which also ended up in COCO MOCA The Museum of Conan Art http://teamcoco.com/moca/gallery/flaming-c/13269/glow-in-the-dark-flaming-c-vinyl-doll
I’m headed to the Conan O’brien show on Sept 7th with my Two vinyl dolls in hand, so we’ll see what happens with that!
I was invited to participate in “Art From A Galaxy Far Far Away” with my man Randy Martinez http://www.randymartinez.net at Hold Up Art Gallery.
For this show I brought to life my latest concept GLOW IN THE DARK Star Wars Dia De Los Muertos custom vinyl figures & a Dark Vader mask.
As I mentioned earlier, I LOVE thinking outside the box when creating art & I always enjoy crossing genres and bringing them together! I created art that represented my love for latin culture & my love for Star Wars!
Over 1,000 people showed up at the gallery for our opening reception including Paparazzi, fans, friends, artists, 501st Legion, press, celebrities and we’ve been receiving press all around the world! The response to our show has been INCREDIBLE!!! By popular demand we are having a closing reception for
“Art From A Galaxy Far Far Away”
Sept 10th 7-11pm
We are VERY excited about the response & all of the press our show is receiving all around the world!
Here are SOME of the articles & videos circulating around the globe about “Art From A Galaxy Far Far Away”…
GIRL GAMER http://www.girlgamer.com/zine/article/1469/
EDGE ON THE NET http://www.edgeonthenet.com/index.php?id=123832
THE DAILY TROJAN http://dailytrojan.com/2011/08/24/the-empire-strikes-back-with-modern-art/#comment-29646
GEEK WITH CURVES http://geekfemme.blogspot.com/2011/08/art-from-galaxy-far-far-away.html#comment-form
THE GEEK CARTEL http://geek-cartel.blogspot.com/2011_08_01_archive.html
Join us on Sept 10th 7-11pm and help us close out our show with a bang!
All of the art is available to purchase by phone or at the gallery
*The Vader Mask will be available by phone or at the gallery in a silent auction.
The show runs thru September 15th
Visit http://www.holdupart.com/ for more information
To connect with artist Denise Vasquez visit:
Official Website http://www.denisevasquez.com