Get the scoop behind the artist and exclusive release of The Rejects – Dark Mischief edition art figures before they hit Kidrobot.com. We sat down with the artist behind the creation, Kasey Tararuj AKA One-Eyed Girl (@kctararuj) for an interview to give the Kidrobot community some background before the release. Read about this customizer turned sculptor & toy designer from her own words in this Q & A style interview and then go order the Kidrobot exclusive Dark Mischief edition of The Rejects and the Rejects Pin Set at 10am MT on April 24th only at Kidrobot.com.
KR: What is your first memory of playing with, or looking at a toy, and what was the toy?
KT: First memory ever? My puff! (the Puffalump pink cow) Does that count? It was my favorite toy of all time. He lived with me my whole life, through college and now is in a display box in my bedroom because I’m crazy.
KR: Where did you grow up? How has that place influenced your art and development as an artist?
KT: I grew up in central NJ. It was/is nice to live in close distance to Philly and NYC and be able to check out art shows of some major artists I like in person. Being close to Philly was especially helpful when I first started trying to really get my art out there, as I was able to go to shows I was a part of and chat with people and make some good connections.
KR: For those out there who are unfamiliar with your work, can you give us a quick bio?
KT: I jump around from silly animals, favorite foods, made-up creatures, and animated inanimate objects to create a little world of unique characters, each with their own individual personalities. Emotions range from happy to grumpy to cute to zoned out… and some just look plain drunk.
KR: Are you an art toy collector yourself? If so, what’s your favorite piece in your collection? Can you share a picture of your collection?
KT: I am! I’m obsessed with collecting art and I have shelves all over my house filled with a million pieces. I have a lot of favorites but my absolute favorites are 3 pieces by Vanessa Ramirez, Fabians Finest Freaks, and Jennifer Sloan.
Here are other images of my collection, but that’s not nearly all of it!
KR: Are there other artists that have inspired you?
KT: It’s hard to name any specifics because they all do. This is why I surround myself with so much art in my home and I follow many artists online. Sounds super cheesy but surrounding myself in creativity makes me want to create even more.
KR: What do you do to get yourself into a creative state of mind and what’s your creation process like?
KT: I usually come up with a character or theme and just jump into it and start sculpting. I use photo references if needed, but otherwise pretty much just go at it blindly and hope for the best. And I do that while watching an unnatural amount of tv and movies. Currently I’m binging Boy Meets World while sculpting some pop tarts!
KR: How do you describe your art style? There seem to be a signature style to your custom toys and characters. Where did that develop from?
KT: Cartoony, silly, cute, I think. Many, many years ago I used to do little paintings of characters with the same big goofy bug eyes. 2D paintings used to be my main focus, but I eventually gave it a try in 3D and fell in love with it.
KR: What from your life and the world around you inspires your art and your journey?
KT: I’ve been paralyzed and in a wheelchair for almost 20 years and I spent so much of that time creating all this weird, emotional art to help deal with it. I got to a point where that got old and making these silly characters was way more therapeutic than trying to put my feelings into a painting. So now I make my little guys to make myself laugh or smile and hope that it does the same for others.
KR: Where did your artist identity “One-Eyed Girl” come from?
KT: I have a 2D character (much different style than my toys) that was a main focus of mine years ago of a distorted girl with one eye… called one-eyed girl. So clever, I know. When I started doing conventions and building a social media presence, I got tired of everyone thinking I was a dude (for whatever reason?!), not to mention my last name is crazy difficult, spelled Tararuj but pronounced “ta-dah-duh-way.” So when I was trying to come up with a name, One-Eyed Girl just made sense. At the time I was still making a lot of my girls. I don’t much anymore but I still love them and plan to make more whenever possible!
KR: Before this project, you were familiar with Kidrobot through the world of customizing, correct? What were your first memories of the brand or our platforms and how have those platforms helped you to become a successful customizer and artist?
KT: Yes! WIthout Munnys, I don’t know if i ever would have been making toys. A friend of mine introduced me to Kidrobot a lifetime ago and I was instantly hooked. I entered all of the MunnyMunth contests back in the day and won for a bunch of my pieces which was insanely exciting. It just made me want to make more and as Kidrobot came out with the other Munnyworlds (Rooz, Kracka, etc) I had more shapes to play with. Customizing all those toys helped me develop my characters. Eventually I was confident enough to start creating original sculpts which opened up way more possibilities for new characters.
KR: Do you have any favorite Kidrobot pieces? If so which ones?
KT: The Scary Girl City Folk/Swamp Folk series and Damon Soule Life inVentsville series. I have most of them, only missing a few chases i think!
KR: Can you share some photos of your favorite One-Eyed Girl customs, pieces, characters with us?
KT: I get attached to a lot of my pieces as I’m making them, so I have a new favorite like every other day. But these are a few of my favorites! My Sugar Shake Social will probably always be one of my top favorites. It was so fun to make and I ended up making a blueberry and chocolate version later on, plus a dozen different mini 3” versions. Hungry Harold. Sir Slitherlong. Mr. and Mrs. Nutterjelly. Mateo Morphosis. Arach-Ned (despite my HORRIBLE fear of spiders.) Frankenstein. Summer Treats. Also included the first batch of Choco Chums, where my first original peanut butter cup was born, eventually leading to the birth of the Rejects!
KR: What is the inspiration/story behind The Rejects?
KT: The Rejects are a couple of renegades who escaped the big chocolate factory. They were not worthy of being sold, so rather than be melted down to chocolate mush, they ran and ran until they broke free!
KR: What advice would you give to new artists who want to get into the world of customizing?
KT: The obvious answer, practice of course. Follow artists you like that inspire you. Don’t be afraid to ask those artists for tips. In my experience, everyone is very supportive of each other in this community and always willing to help or just chat.
KR: Is there anything else you want the Kidrobot collectors to know?
KT: I love cotton candy, horror movies, video games, board games and dinosaurs.
In collaboration with Martian Toys and artist One-Eyed Girl, Kidrobot is excited to introduce The Rejects Art Figure Set – Dark Mischief Edition (Limited edition of 300 pieces world-wide) and the Rejects Pin Set. Set your alarms! These both drop at 10am MT on April 24th only at Kidrobot.com.