Over the past week, we have been running a series of special interviews with the designers of the Masters of the Universe statues by Pop Culture Shock Collectibles. In part one of our exclusive interview series we chatted with Jerry Macaluso, owner of Pop Culture Shock Collectibles. In part two, we spoke with designer Emiliano Santalucia. Today we had the chance to chat with designer Eamon O’Donoghue about his work on the Masters of the Universe statue lines.
1. How did you get started working for Pop Culture Shock Collectibles?
Well I was already doing statue packaging artwork and design for Arh Studios on their Frazetta licence so as soon I heard PCS had MOTU, I showed them my work and pretty much straight away was working on a project for them. Some statue design work came later on once Jerry had seen my illustration work. I was and am mostly a second pair of eyes on some statues that were already well designed, which involved making tweaks here and there with some additional creative suggestions.
2. How many statues have you helped to create/design/produce/market for Pop Culture Shock?
The key word there is ‘helped’. More often than not, the design is already close to being done as was the case with the mixed media He-Man and Battle Cat whose initial design was created by the mighty Dave Wilkins. I worked on the base and I just pushed the pose a bit further. However, I had a bigger hand in some of the Filmation stuff, namely Beast Man, Teela, Sorceress and Man-At-Arms whereby I demonstrated poses (me standing in the kitchen) over skype to Emiliano Santalucia. It was not pretty sight let me tell you, especially for the Sorceress! The poses needed to be iconic and familiar but to make for a good statue. Man-At-Arms had a good pose already reminiscent of the cartoon intro but needed something extra for the base so I suggested a pile of busted hover robots. We couldn’t just have Beast Man just standing there growling and he didn’t use the whip that often so again, something extra was needed but it had to be very familiar yet new. It’s very fluid between artists.
3. You created a beautiful art print that was included with the limited edition He-man and Battle Cat statue set. Can you tell us a little bit about the creation of this painting?
Thanks, I am so pleased that folks like it. This was one of the biggest full-on illustration jobs I have had for the MOTU brand. I had done a lot of DVD covers and promotional materials for the MOTU brand but nothing like art for art sake like this. This was something specifically to hang on the wall so it had to be good. I wanted this to be a painting and one that had that old skool 80’s fantasy art feel of say Boris Vallejo or Ken Kelly. MOTU is very much a child of that era of fantasy art (70’s and 80’s pulp fantasy) so it just makes sense to me to go that route. It was my intention to try for that retro feeling without it looking dated. I hope I achieved that.
4. Logistically, how does the PCSC team work together when creating a MOTU statue?
It is a team effort conceptually but the sculptor plays the biggest role. Some of us will hand in some sketches and then elements, combos of element or sometimes the full sketch is sculpted in 3D on the computer. PCS already have a great team so someone like me is only called in when they, or in the case of MOTU and Emiliano need more suggestions…which is very rare indeed.
5. What are the tools you use most often to develop your designs?
Oh just pencil on paper really. Though lately I draw mostly in Manga Studio. It’s great for statue and action figure design as you can easily edit and transfer elements etc.
6. What aspects of being a freelance designer do you enjoy the most?
Being your own boss and on a good day, choosing what projects you wish to take on and what to say no to as it may simply bore you. That is an exceptionally good day though. The very of best of times are of course when I get to work on anything MOTU related. :)
7. Is there much crossover between the different design teams?
Emiliano and I in particular pretty much run most stuff past each other especially for MOTU as we are mad fans which folks well know. Sometimes I will be sent a design from some one else entirely and I work from that to develop the idea further like say Vega and Batman.
8. What is the most challenging project that you have undertaken so far that you can openly discuss?
If you mean for PCS then it would be the He-Man and Battle Cat painting. I don’t get to paint in that particular style that often so it was somewhat daunting. The statue it is based of is so good, I really wanted to do the sculptor’s work justice and it not just be a carbon copy of a statue. Previous to that was the She-Ra standee I did for Mattel as it was going be life sized and be displayed at San Diego Comic Con so needed to be as tightly rendered as possible. Basically anything MOTU is pretty challenging as whatever I am drawing needs to please the fans first and foremost but also please the fan in me and I am very particular in how my favourite characters and environments are depicted.
9. Are the majority of your colleagues at PCSC like you in that they were He-Man fans before working on the statue lines?
Well I know Jerry is a major MOTU fan and I can only assume most of the other folks there are too as they do such a good job. PCS have made the most high end MOTU product on the market yet with their mixed media He-Man and Battle Cat 1:4 scale statue and you will see the lavish attention heaped on that thing could only come from a deep love of the brand.
10. Do you have a favourite character from MOTU that you would like to see made as a statue?
Fisto. Definitely Fisto! I think a statue of that panel from the mini comic Masks of Power where he is punching Trap Jaw would be sweet. Or even the cover of that Mini Comic as a statue…. Or a line of mini statues based on some of the best mini comic covers OR….ya see what happens?? LOL. I think King Grayskull would be cool too.
11. Can you reveal what you are working on now?
There is some packaging artwork to be done very soon like the He-Man life sized bust, Robocop and Lord of Darkness.
Many thanks to Eamon for taking the time to answer our questions. You can check out more of his design work at www.eamonart.com