Spotlight On: Custom Vinylmation Artist Kevin Graham

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When Rhode Island artist Kevin Graham emailed us his 9″ Patch custom, we were very impressed. When we looked over his website and resume, we were blown away.

Destination Vinylmation: You have had a great career creating some work that our readers may be familiar with. Tell us a little about what you do.
Kevin Graham: I own my own Graphic Design/Web Design company. Usually during the day I do work for my main company and in the evenings and weekends I freelance doing work for Lucasfilm/Star Wars, Topps, Upper Deck, and many other companies. I am most known for my Star Wars artwork. I have a series of Star Wars licensed artwork you can currently find on Zazzle.com and at your local Old Navy and oldnavy.com. Topps has several Star Wars trading card sets they come out with each year. Star Wars Galaxy 7 is the most recent. I did 9 paintings that are in the current set that can Only be found in retail stores like Target. I have been a huge fan of Disney animation so I created 9 hand drawn animation cel paintings.

The cards are printed on clear plastic. Topps also gives us blank cards for us to draw whatever we want on them and then they are randomly inserted into packs of cards.

I did 50 cards for the Hobby packs found Only in hobby stores. They also had the actors of Star Wars sign the blank cards and then we draw them.

I also raise two kids and have a second one on the way in about a week.

DV: You obviously have a love of Star Wars, can you share some of your favorite Star Wars related work with us.
KG: It’s hard for me to really pick a favorite piece of mine. The amazing thing is since 2006 when I started doing sketch cards for Topps, etc. I have drawn over 10,000 sketch cards. I cant even remember most of them. Star Wars related I’d have to say I really liked the base card I did for Topps Star Wars Galaxy 6 last year. The reason why is I drew 6 Stormtroopers and one has his helmet off, its me.

Actually all the Stormtroopers are me as I own my own Stormtrooper costume but was cool to be able to have myself as a Star Wars character on an official Star Wars card. Another piece I really like is the limited Star Wars print I did for Star Wars Celebration 5 in Orlando last year. I was one of only 50 artist selected to be part of the event. The print was limited to 250. The original artwork for both is now owned by Lucasfilm.

My favorite non Star Wars art piece I love is the Winnie the Pooh mural I did in my babies room recently.

DV: Let’s talk Vinylmation. As a Star Wars fan, what are your thoughts on Series One that was released last year? Do you own any of these figures?
KG: To be honest I was expecting them to be better. No offense to the artist or Disney but of all the good artists out there, Including Star Wars artists (Wink, Wink) they could have been done much better. I actually looked into doing Star Wars Vinylmations way before they came out. I tried contacting the people in charge of licensing for Disney/Star Wars but they only use official Disney artists. To bad. I do have the entire set except Obi-Won ghost which I don’t think I’ll ever get. My favorite of the set would be the Stormtrooper :) I did a 9″ Stormtrooper before the set came out, It was done as a gift for someone.

DV: Have you seen the concept art yet for the couple of known figures for Series Two yet? What are you thoughts on the designs?
KG: I did see a few. I am pretty happy with them. I really like the Disney characters dressed as Star Wars people. Since I am both a huge Star Wars fan and Disney I like the mashups. I have been working on several of my own Star Wars /Disney vinylmations. One being Minnie as Slave Leia.

I wasn’t sure if Disney will attempt one so I figured I would. I hope to have it completed soon.

DV: Series Two is based on A New Hope. Do you have any speculation as to the rest of the character line up?
KG: Unfortunately I don’t get to follow all the chatter online as I am always drawing almost 24 hours a day but I hope the series continues to get better. There is so much you can do with the technology/printing they have available I don’t see why they don’t just go nuts with detail, accessories, etc. Maybe Darth Maul with actual horns or sabers that actually light up, etc.

You have all the technology and some of the best artists around, go nuts :) I know I would and do.

DV: Your patch custom is great. I really like all the shading detail. Why did you choose Patch?
KG: I was originally looking for artwork to draw for my upcoming baby and found a cute picture of Patch. The odd thing was I actually started my Patch before the Furry Friends came out. Apparently the Disney artist used the same image as reference as me to do the artwork. I think mine is more detailed, I just don’t have the bent paws :) Which if I had time I would make custom ones for 9″ figures.

I also thought it would be cute to add a dog bowl with his name on it. He was a blast to work on. I enjoyed it so much I did another Dalmatian right after it.

DV: What was the hardest part about creating Patch?
KG: I know a lot of people hate the new molds and I agree for the most part as I love the nose being there and buttons. The thing is when you are actually drawing and painting on them the nose becomes a problem. Especially when drawing peoples lips on the nose area. You may have seen other people who have done customs put lips on the nose and it looks like they had botox injections :) Its rather hard to get around this unless you can work the design a little to correct for this issue. In this case it would be great to have a new 9″ mold without the nose there. For doing Vinylmations of people anyways. The nose can also create odd shadows that mess with the design.

DV: Do you have anymore figures planned?
KG: I have a ton of Vinylmations planned and some new Disney and Star Wars Canvas paintings . I currently have about 6 Vinylmation commissions in the works. I have to multi task or I go nuts and don’t feel I am doing enough to keep busy. When Vinylmations first came out I started doing custom figures with the 3″ Vinylmations since the 9″ were so expensive. That was until the odd colored 9″ ones started to go on sale. All you need is white primer and your good to go. I love doing work for charities. Before Vinylmations came out I did other custom figures, Stormtrooper helmets, etc. for Make-A-Wish, etc. to help children and others. I am currently working on a Vinylmation for Autism Awareness Light It Up Blue event for April 2nd, its world autism awareness day. The Vinylmation will be sold to help children with autism. Ill have more details soon. I have a lot of cool Vinylmations in the works or completed but I can’t show them all yet because they are gifts for people. I recently just finished a 9″ Vinylmation of Pooh and Tigger to give to my wife when our baby is born in a week or so.

I will add his name and birth date on the balloons.

DV: Where can people go to view your work?
KG: You can see my work at www.kevingrahamart.com or ask to be my friend on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Grahamart ) which usually is updated way more than my regular site. Unfortunately I havent had time to make a Fan page for myself on Facebook. Commissions are always welcome on Vinylmations, canvas, etc. I appreciate every one’s interest in my work. I also plan to start doing Live video cast showing me working on Vinylmations and other art related projects. I will be showing different techniques etc to help others interested in doing Vinylmations. Ill have that info posted on my website and facebook.

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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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