Keith Lapinig: I’ve actually never painted before Vinylmation. I’m a computer graphics person, so I deal more with video editing, animation, and graphic design. I think my background in vector art actually came in handy since I became obsessed with mathematically-accurate smooth curves in my paint jobs. Sorry, that sounds really nerdy of me.
DV: Don’t worry, at Disney, Nerds Rock! So, what turned you on to working with Vinylmation?
Keith: I first heard about Vinylmation when I was a Cast Member at the World of Disney NYC. In a gallery meeting, only the name of it was brought up since it was still in development, but I immediately knew what to expect since my friend had been obsessed with the KidRobot vinyl toys. He actually tried to get me into collecting those, but I told him I will only collect vinyls if Disney starts making their own since I have to keep to the theme of my bedroom. Sure enough… it happened, and I have been collecting and creating since the first day of Vinylmation in 2008.
Keith: The body is pretty much just a solid paint job, but the head consists of a custom plastic window, alien toys, and a claw model I made myself using PVC, clay, and aluminum. The final result isn’t actually how I originally planned it. I had planned on making the PRIZE chute to be a working door with another alien toy inside. I also wanted the back hatch to be another working door where a mini-Woody and Buzz could be found. I have grown a lot as an artist since then and actually implemented those techniques in some of my customs over time.
Keith: Yes! However, those are the only pieces of the custom that I did not create myself. I thank the Disney Theme Parks for making and selling the Bucket of Aliens!
Keith: My Kingdom Hearts Vinylmation is definitely one of my favorite customs I have made. It came out exactly how I imagined it, and that is very rare for me. This was another big “first” experiment for me since I decided to use oil paints for the planets. I didn’t know what to expect nor did I really know what I was doing. I also decided to add a caved space to the Vinylmation with the keyhole in the back.
Keith: Practice is essential. I actually have a couple of early customs that I no longer have up on my site because they’re just embarrassing. Ha. I definitely don’t think I’m the best artist out there and I continue working on my craft because I love learning new techniques and aspire for that artistic growth. Although I am now embarrassed of some of my early work, I know I wouldn’t be the artist that I am today without taking those beginning steps.
DV: What is the biggest challenge in creating a custom Vinylmation?
Keith: I think the biggest challenge for me is solidifying an idea. I don’t like wasting my time with customs that other people might make. For example, a character Vinylmation. I will always try to come up with a unique approach at translating a fresh design to the Vinylmation platform. While I have made many character Vinylmations in the past due to commissions, I prefer making fun designs that one wouldn’t normally think of when looking at a Vinylmation.
Keith: The internet can be your best friend. For every single one of my designs that break the mold in a unique way, I thought of the idea first. I didn’t know how I would do it, but I knew I wanted to do it. Once I had my extremely far fetched idea, I Googled various ways I could accomplish exactly what I wanted. Sure enough, I found a technique that allowed me to do so without breaking the bank (completely)! Just like Walt said – If you can dream it, you can do it!
DV: Where can people go to view and purchase your work?
Keith: My official website is www.mametchi.com. I’m actually going to have a Facebook page soon. Keep an eye out for that! As far as customs for purchase, I do have a waiting list going on right now, but I am open for commissions.