Here’s the Interview
Your work is deeply rooted in ancient cultures such as Aztec and Mayan — does Ozomathli come from one specific culture or is it a mix? How do you approach the balance between cultural accuracy and compelling toy design ?
Ozomahtli literally means “Monkey” in Nahuatl the language of the Aztec people. My work generally reflects the Aztec culture, but I’m definitely influenced by the Mayan as well. I try to make art that will spread knowledge, and also inspire other people, in much the same way as my canvas work.
Ozomathli makes its own way with a seated pose. Did you make this choice to convey the sense of regality ? Was he seated from the jump — throughout the design process ?
Yes as you can see in the original design he has always been sitting. I think the crown gives him a lot of regality, and also puts fear in any potential enemies. I wanted to put him in an original pose that was natural for a monkey.
While you’ve done several platform toys (FLCL Canti, Kaniza, and Dunny), this will be your first original vinyl figure. Making that jump is a considerable challenge — did you consider resin as an alternative to relying on a company to do vinyl ?
I’m very excited to finally have my first original vinyl piece come out. It’s been a long time coming. I’ve had deals with a lot of companies that fell through the cracks, for various reasons over the last 4 years or so. No I never considered resin for this design, but am looking into doing some short run resins in the near future, so keep an eye out.
[We'd like to congratulate Jesse on Ozomahtli and thank him for slogging through the interview in the wee hours of the morning!]