Spotlight On: Custom Vinylmation Artist Ryan Marella

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While at the D23 Expo in August, I was mesmerized by all the upcoming Disney Vinylmation on display. But M.C.’s attention was caught by many of the non-Disney created figures at the show. One custom artist in particular had some unforgettable pieces on display. Ryan Marella is a custom artist from California and you are in for a treat with today’s spotlight.

Destination Vinylmation: What got you into the art world?

Ryan: Art, I guess, runs in my family. My dad has an artistic talent and so does my twin brother. I was always amazed at the different aspects of art… so many possibilities, and so many awesome artists. I suppose what really inspired me was reading comic books. The art work is just amazing. Artists like Jim Lee, Rob Lifield, Todd Mcfarlaine and so many more.

DV: Have you ever taken an art class?

Ryan: I did try to take as many art classes in High school as I could. I took some in college but never really could focus on one type of art.

DV: Do you collect the Vinylmation created by Disney artists?

Ryan: I do collect Vinylmations with my two other brothers. I find it a lot easier to share a collection. The Disney artists do an amazing job.

DV: What’s your favorite figure?

Ryan: I like the urban 1 three eyed monster, it was alot of fun trying to find some one to trade for it.

DV: How long have you been creating custom Vinylmation?

DV: I never even thought I would be painting Vinylmation. A friend asked me to make him one during a trip to Walt Disney World in January 2011. My first custom was very rough, but the more I painted the more I got better at it. It’s fun creating different characters, you never know what you’re capable of unless you try. I have now created over 130 customs.

DV: Wow! Can you pick a favorite?

Ryan: My favorite would have to be Captain Jack Sparrow.

DV: How did you come up with the idea of the Manny Pacquiao piece?

Ryan: Manny Pacquiao is Awesome and I watch all his fights, so one day after the Pacquaio/Mosley fight I decided to make a Vinylmation of him. He had to be on a 9″.

DV: How much work went into creating Manny?

Ryan: Creating MP took a lot of work. I first had to research all his pics from the last fight. I had to find different angles of MP to get  the right detail. Then I sketched his face on the vinyl. During the time I create any vinyl, I try to watch videos about them. It helps with the creative process. Finally painting and clear coating it, that took some time.

DV: What is your favorite aspect of it?

When I finally finished, I was very happy at the end result. I guess my favorite aspect of it is MP’s facial expression, I think it shows his personality really well.

DV: How about the hardest part?

Ryan: The hardest part is the face, getting the right expression takes some work.

DV: Where can people go to find out more about your customs and even purchase one from you?

Ryan: I do have a website, www.ryactiv.sketchlab7.com. And, if you trade Vinylmation, I do trade at Downtown Disney outside D-Street Anaheim.

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About the author

Nick LoCicero

Nick LoCicero has almost 20 years experience in the media industry. He has worked on numerous Disney related media projects, most know at WDWNT for WDW News Tonight. He has been visiting Walt Disney World since 1982. After moving to Orlando in the late 90's he became a passholder, developed a fascination with the history of the vacation kingdom and has spent way too much money on park merchandise.

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  • Awesome interview! Comics in the 90’s were just amazing and a great source of inspiration. The MP vinyl is def an original. Great work!

  • Met this guy today outside of D Street! His work is really amazing, he does high quality stuff! If you ever get a chance to see his work, check it out. Personally a huge fan of the types of customs he does (comic culture, Pacquiao, etc.), but even those who are unfamiliar with those things should be amazed by his work! Really cool guy. He trades regular vinyls as well.

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