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June 21, 2005

{     Interview : Nathan Jurevicius     }    

Nathan Jurevicius (most known for his Scary Girl comic and figures) has achieved global sucess and cult status in the world of illustration, animation and toy design. His toys are sought after, there is a tv series moving into production and yet he remains a really down-to-earth guy. Nathan resides in Melbourne, Victoria where he is constantly drawing lots and lots of pictures. Amidst all this productivity Nathan took time out to chat with Crown Dozen...

Jay: First of all you are widely recognized for your Scary Girl line, for our uninformed readers can you give us the backround story on Scary Girl?
Nathan: In 2002 I was approached by a Hong Kong based firm 'Flying Cat' to collaborate on creating designer toys and products. This relationship brought about the Scarygirl brand that I had been developing as an online concept. Since that time she has now grown into an internationally recognized group of characters and has been optioned by production house'Passion Pictures' (famous for it's Coldplay, R.E.M., and Gorillaz animated music clips) for a feature length film and game. The basic story involves a young girl, abandoned late at night and soon discovered by a giant, intelligent octopus named Blister. As time progresses Scarygirl is given clues that she has a mysterious past and this is pressed further when a travelling oracle known as Bunniguru arrives on the scene. Eventually we see the 3 main characters head off to a large and dangerous city in search of answers.

So how did you stumble into your profession? Did you always know you wanted to do something in the creative arts field?
My father is an artist as is his brother, my brother and my three cousins. I have a feeling that it was something that was always there though I probably made a conscious choice to pursue an artistic career when I was 14.

What advice could you give to someone thinking of jumping into the illustration/rare toy market?
First I would say build up a strong body of work and really promote it online. The toy market is slightly different but to me it all comes down to great characters that have heart, by this I mean a backstory that explains the universe and gives people some sort of reason to collect a series of characters.

Who are some artists who have influenced your style?
Miro is the big one, I also love Gaudi, Picasso, Jim Flora, Bosch, Dr Seuss and many others...

What sorts of tools or programs (if any) do you use for your artwork?
Everything is first hand drawn in pencil or pen on paper. For digital work I scan the original art into Illustrator and then work the final stages in photoshop. I use a Mac for all my stuff.

This is totally off the subject, but what music are you listening to?
I'm more of a talk back radio man but I was listening to an old Morrissey CD last night which was really beautiful.

People generally go nuts for certain items that are exclusive or hard to find (at least I know I do), what was the last thing you went nuts over?
Actually, it was nuts! (chocolate coated brazil). I did go nuts over the latest PSP but currently it's too hard to get (but if Sony is willing to send me one...)

Do you know which item (specifically) of yours people generally go nuts over?
When we first released the original Scarygirl people really got into it but it was Bunniguru (the 3rd large figure) that people went nuts for. We have discovered the same reaction with the 6th figure (Treedweller) and have almost sold out of all of them.

So since you are a toy designer yourself - you must be a toy collector (...or a collector of something) - what kinds of stuff do you collect?
I have 3 kids so I collect alot of toys for them - Lego mainly. The designer stuff I have is pretty limited (all of it is given to me). I have a nice collection of James Jarvis figures, a few Pete Fowler toys, a KAWS figure, a Biskup toy and a stack of minifigures from various artists. Recently I've been collecting original art and signed prints - including a lovely pencil sketch from Kozyndan and a silkscreen from Gary Baseman.

Do you ever find yourself playing with your own toys?
I'm an arranger. I like to position them in odd ways - some holding other toys, some balancing on top of each other.

With so many artists out there getting into these rare toy lines, where do you see things heading?
Some lines will go more mainstream and head into mass markets as the property grows and becomes more popular, other lines will go further into the rare factor, successfully crossing into the fine art/museum category and I think there's going to be a bunch (maybe a large percent) that will stay at the one-off kind of stuff and will continue to feed the designer vinyl market.

Could you see these creative art based toys being sold at retail toy chains one day or do you think that would make them lose their appeal?
Already we see them being sold at small retail chain stores - obviously this has not hit the big chains yet but I think we will see a crossover down the line. I think these lines need to be careful how they want to market and sustain their appeal - possibly keeping a foot in both camps will help.

Are there any artists out there whom would you like to collaborate with in the near future?
I've had the opportunity to work with some great people already but I've always liked the idea of maybe doing something with Nara, Murakami or especially Miyazaki (Studio Ghibli). It would be fun to collaborate with Tim Burton on a project too.

Any last words for the Crown Dozen readers? A piece of your mind...
Um... stay up late and drink lots of green tea!

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Love here

Posted by: woohyuk-m at December 5, 2006 5:08 AM


Posted by: JAZMINE at August 20, 2007 8:22 PM

very creative!!! i luv it!!!......

Posted by: redge at October 6, 2007 2:45 PM

i was browsing through the toy gallery and the first one i stumbled upon was the Peleda, which means 'owl' in lithuanian. so i went on to research the creator :) well done!

Posted by: lithuanian at May 1, 2009 4:11 PM
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