Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Eddie Wires is Still My Personal Jesus

And most of the people who read this blog have NO idea who I am even talking about.

Well, a few years ago I worked for a company called Palisades Toys. Worked with Eddie for the first time there I think. I don't think I knew him in the ReSaurus days. Anyway, this is a guy who paints stuff for different companies in the Toy/Collectible Bidness like nobody else. His work is just outstanding.

If you feel like checking out his website, which he seriously needs to update, feel free to go to his website and marvel at all things Eddie.

If that doesn't float your boat, maybe this will. An old Palisades interview I did with him from back in the day. For one of our web features called The Daily Bit.

Why the sudden nostalgia for Eddie? We sort of re-connected this past year by working on MVP Collection stuff together, and it re-invigorated our relationship. So now we keep in better touch. The problem? Once we get on the phone with each other we're like two high school chicks...we talk for hours.

So we try to limit it.

Anyway, we got sucked into one of those marathons recently, and it got me thinking about the old days with Eddie and all the different projects we did together. So I dug this up...

Monday, November 17th, 2003
Inside the Painters Studio…


Note from Ken: I was gonna write up an introductory paragraph or two on Eddie, but in typical Wires fashion he saved me a ton of work by doing it himself. See, that is what makes me love Eddie…in every way he makes my job easy. After sending him whatever to be worked on, the truth is I forget about it, because I know that what he sends back is gonna be awesome. Always has been. The guy is simply that good.

So instead of me babbling on, let’s hear about Eddie in his own words…

I’ve been in the toy industry for 5 years and it’s been a long strange trip to get here.

Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to be in the comic industry/ media entertainment industry. Some of my earliest memories are of lying on the floor with big stack of comics and reading them, or going to the movies with my family. Through High school and college (I wanted to be a teacher, but I hated sitting in class) that looked like the route I might pursue, but I got sucked into the bar and nightclub business as a profession. It is so hard to walk away from a job where you bring home hundreds of dollars in cash every night.

So on a professional level I only did illustration locally (in Atlanta, GA) and video and film production in my spare time. It just got to be soul destroying because if it was a big production a lot of studios brought in their own people anyway, and if it was local, you had 500 people fighting over the same nickel. And as far as actually sitting and drawing, I could never get myself to sit for any length of time, which is also a huge irony now.

My wife had a great job that transferred us all around the country for about 4 years, so I was constantly having to get new bar jobs every couple of months. With her working during the day, and me working at night, I delved back into my old hobby of building models (figures, tanks, planes, etc).

Being the incredibly lucky guy that I am, all of my chips just fell into the right slots once we reached Southern California. Now if I could just get that luck to transcend when I pick my lottery tickets.

Seriously though, I still have many days where I can’t believe I am doing what I am doing for a living. I still get excited every time FedEx comes to my door. If you were to tell me six years ago that this is where I would be at now, I would have told you to shut up and poured you another drink. It is unbelievable and amazing all at the same time.”

And now, on to the questions…

How in the name of all that is holy do you do the bulk amount of work that you do?
I am an insomniac work-aholic with an addictive tendency

Rumor has it that you collect 12-inch figures. What's the crown jewel of that collection? What item do you wish you had in the vaults but have as yet been unable to get?
The crown Jewel is Marvel Studios Punisher. He is one of my favorite comic characters, and I love the 12” military genre, and he lends himself perfectly to it. I actually have few of them all decked out in different gear and weapons. Plus I worked on him, so it makes it just that much sweeter.

As far as who is not in the collection, Toys McCoy Indiana Jones. I remember when he came out and I saw him in San Diego for like, $250 and I passed because I thought he was way marked up. I was sure I could find one cheaper. Then I actually found out about the whole limited run thing and now wish I had access to a time machine. There is one in a collectible shop a few blocks from my house, but the owner wants $1,000.00 for it. It’s been there for 3 years, and although I could write it off as R&D, I just can’t justify spending that much on a toy. That and my wife would kill me.

It's interesting that a guy who paints figures for a living would gravitate towards 12-inch figures, since the strength of a good 12-inch has so little do with paint. What draws you to them?
I think it is just the way the format lends itself to detailing and accuracy. The weapons have springs and working slides, and all of the pouches open, etc. I have this all-encompassing passion for world history, mainly dealing with the subject of war, and I think that helps feed my obsession. And to see all of the advancements of modern warfare technology reproduced in little pieces of 1/6 scale plastic makes it all that more enticing.

How did you get your start in this biz?
I am extremely lucky. I have a little bit of ability, but I keep ending up in the right place at the right time, and talking to the right people. There have been many people that I have met in this business from the beginning that really keep me inspired to keep doing the best I can on every project.

What single item captured the subtlety you provide with your brushes in the final product? Which one dropped the ball the hardest?
I think a lot of the (your) Muppet stuff shows the amount of layers of paint put into the prototypes.
The Lord of the Rings (from Toy Biz) has really hit the ground running. The level of detail they kept in the Fellowship assortments was amazing, but it is like night and day compared to the Return of the King assortments.

I can’t really remember any specifics on bad product. A lot of it was with smaller companies in the beginning of my career that had to cut tons of corners just to get the product to market. Unfortunately, paint apps are the first things to get cut.

Let's hear about your work...tell us some of the cooler items that you worked on that we might not know about.
The stuff I’ve worked on that is cool has come out in stores. Some of the coolest stuff that hasn’t mostly belongs to Lord of the Rings, and contractually, I can’t talk about it. There was a Resident Evil model kit from Toy Biz that got cancelled, but for the most part it is all out there, or in some stage of production.

I heard that you don't use an airbrush very often. How are you able to maintain such a smooth and non-brushy look without it?
It has taken me a few years to find a paint I like. I’ve done so much experimenting with paints and brushes, etc. But, I work with the stuff I like up to 16 hours a day sometimes, so I am starting to get the feel for all of its properties and what it can do. I try just to use the airbrush only for shading and highlights, but lately, I have found that if it is a big area, I can actually spray my favorite product. But that’s more for saving time than anything else.

Who would win in a fight, Minnie Mouse or Minnie Driver?
It would depend on who got their bikini top torn off first.

What final product that you did not work on blows your mind when it comes to paint application?
A lot of the McFarlane Sports Picks blow my mind. I can’t get over how real some of them look. If I were into sports I would definitely be collecting that line. I also like the new trend in the high-end 12” market where they are adding weathering to the gear and uniforms in the final product. It saves me not having to do it. The stuff Sideshow puts out is amazing. I mean, I could go on and on about how much nice stuff there is out there, and I think a lot of companies are using that approach to keep the paint applications in. It makes for a much nicer finished product.

What is your favorite How-To Book?
I actually have two: “How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way” and “How to Talk Dirty and Influence People”

You and I share an intense like of movie music and we both use it often for inspiration while working. What is it about that kind of music that makes it so prominent in the studio?
I think it relegates us to fond memories. Movies and music evoke great emotions, and I think when our subconscious is satisfied and happy reliving the scenes from these movies, our conscious mind has an easier time concentrating on the task at hand. I find that I am very productive when I have epic soundtrack scores playing in the CD player (LotR, Conan, Gladiator, etc), and I think it is because we enjoy those movies so much, our subconscious can’t help but smile.

What is your favorite breakfast food?
Quaker OH’s.

You are, for one day, put in charge of the factory production line responsible for painting mass-produced figures. What do you tell them in order to try to get them to do a better job overall on mass-produced items?
Work faster to make me more money or I’ll seriously, I guess it would be something like, “More wipes. Drybrush, drybrush, drybrush. Money is no object here.”

What is the best model kit you have every painted?
I did a halfway decent Damaged T2 a few years ago. It was one of my first portfolio pieces before I was a working professional. I don’t have the piece anymore, but I use it on my website, which desperately needs an update, on the under construction pages. I actually bought a Soryamma Amazon Kit that I am just dying to get cracking on.

What is your favorite word?
Okay. Or some derivative of “Yes”.

What is your least favorite word?

What turns you on?
My wife

What turns you off?
The Internet. All of the angry people with all of the anonymous venom spitting and flaming and product bashing. Just because you’re entitled to your opinion doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone wants to hear it. And 99% of these people with nothing better to do wouldn’t say 2 words if they were faced with the same topic in a face-to-face setting. The Internet is a breeding ground for the false courage of the crazy brave. And nobody is creative in their critiquing. It’s always “that sucks” or “I would...” or “why didn’t...”

What sound do you love?
My Lesbian Cat suckling herself in the middle of the night. It’s crazy.

What sound do you hate?
Same as above.

What is your favorite curse word?
I’m sure it is the F-word or some derivative thereof, but just to keep it interesting I will say “Cockamamie”

What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Professional DVD watcher. Here’s some DVDs. Watch them. Here’s a check.

What profession would you not like to participate in?
I was a pursuant of the custodial arts when I was younger, so I guess I would not really like to go back into that profession again.

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
“Well, clerical error or not, if your name is in the book, you can come in.”

Cool huh? Damn how time flies. Eddie lives in Georgia now. At the time of this writing he was hip deep in Marvel Legends Toy Biz stuff and living in LA. Now he is in Georgia working on other kinds of products.

But he still loves Zombies.

And that, in the end, is the most important thing.

Enjoy these pics that Eddie sent in with that old Daily Bit and then I’m outta here.

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