5 Questions with Scott Savage

5 Questions with Scott Savage

Preferred Medium(s):

Resin and polymer clay, silicone and resin, wood, acrylic paint, any found or discarded materials

Years active:

As a sculptor: 4years, as a graphic designer: 15years

Tell us a bit about yourself & what motivated you to enter the creative field?

I’ve always been involved in the arts and in particular interest in lowbrow culture. After completing a degree in Design and Art History I taught Design at Otago University for about 10 years. Teaching was a great opportunity to do research and write on everything within the lowbrow art world from street art to comics, tattooing to designer toys. I dip in and out of these various interests but Designer toys have been a mainstay since I first came across them around 2001. I’d always been in toys; Transformers, Gi Joe, TMNT, WWF, Lego but these were something different. These were toys designed by artists I followed, in limited edition, for display rather than play and mostly geared to an adult audience. I started to get quite heavily into collecting them, spending all my disposable income on figures, which caught me, staying up late for online auctions and releases. It was getting a bit out of control.

Around 2011 I moved on from my teaching job to start my own graphic design business. With being self-employed my income dropped severely and wasn’t able to spend as much on toys as I’d liked. I really wanted to make my own toys but only dabbled in it to this point, but was always doing extensive research on whose is involved, the making process, materials and really understanding how the designer toy industry works.

Designer toys have never really been a big thing in New Zealand, as far as I know there has only been one shop in Wellington, which closed down a few years ago. But I wanted to get into it and do it anyway. In 2012, I went to Los Angles to one of the bigger arts conventions called Designercon, and Chicago and San Francisco to check out some of the more known toy stores. The trip was a turning point and motivation for me to snap out of it and just go for it and do my own thing.

I started to turn my toy buying towards buying materials for making. At the beginning of 2014 I committed full steam to working towards selling my own. I signed up to be a vendor at Designercon later that year. During the year I made a range of toys and had a blast showing and selling at DCon. The Tiny Gallery project also came to fruition during this time, which my wife Colleen and I also took to DCon and later in 2015 transformed to a full show in Auckland.

I participated in Chromacon in 2015 and have been making my own line of toys since. In late 2015 I moved to Auckland and starting working at Yoobee School of Design in 2016 teaching Advanced Digital Media.

What can people look forward to seeing and experiencing at your booth at Chromacon 2017?

I’ve been working on a new line of toys can “Nonimials” which i’m really pleased with as they have been a real creative breakthrough for me. I’ve also got some other original sculpts based on the same character which are really fun and well as soon taxidermy style reproductions as well as soon other surprises.

balloon catus

Balloon Catus and Plump Catus figures

How did you develop your creative voice/personal style and what inspires you to begin a project/work?

It took a while. My work is very concept driven and if I don’t have a good starting point especially one which has wit I find really hard to become invested in it. I have an ongoing list on my phone with probably 200+ ideas jotted but very few of them amount to anything. I did the 100 days project recent to draw up a lot of these ideas if anything to get them out of my system and see if anything actually had potential.

From the 100 I drew only one of them has loosely translated to made toys. What it did for me though was trigger a series of new better ideas which I have followed through with. My style develops from iteration, doing a lot, resolving few. I tend to start very detail focused but as I work through an idea I try to simplify it as much as possible. Although I am very aware of what everyone else is doing I tend to try and not let this consume me and be too influenced by others otherwise, it doesn’t feel special. I tend to be driven a lot by observation and wordplay.

What future development(s) in your creative field are you most excited about?

It would be dope if the designer toy market to really take hold in NZ. It’s always been a slow burn here. Now only crappy Funko Pop toys seem to come into this country which people like but not everyone is into poor quality Superhero / TV or movie toys. As a maker it’s really hard to get hold of materials locally too and at a reasonable price. People always say, why don’t you 3D print your works which is logical but for me takes away from the tactile making process which is why I do it and what I enjoy the most.

1000 days sketch

Contact sheet of my 100days project – everyday I sketched a new toy concept

Any shout outs you’d like to give for any fellow Chromacon Exhibitors you love?

Not really, there is something at Chromacon for everyone and I don’t want to miss anyone out. But anyway Sophie Watson, Alexander Brown, Toby Morris, Podgypanda, Malangeo, Ema Frost, Pincinc, Yoii, Rebecca ter Borg, Toni Gill, T-Wei and everyone else…

Find more of Scott’s work here: