It is my pleasure to introduce our next featured artist of the Undead Bazaar, Philip Hynes. Phil should be familiar to many of our readers. We featured Phil in last year's bazaar, he is an active member of our facebook community, and has provided many of us with amazing sculptures of zombies. As many know, Phil is the talent behind the custom busts and magnets that we offer in our zombie toy store. For those asking "what customs", allow me to elaborate. You provide a few pictures of yourself along with a description of how you would like your zombified form to look. Within a few weeks, you will be the lucky owner of an undead version of yourself! If this sounds sounds too good to be true for a zombie fan, read a bit further and I'll tell you how you can win one for free!
Phil realized he could make money from his talents from the feedback he would receive from work colleagues. After making some caricatures for friends, he offered a custom wedding cake topper on Ebay. "I don't make a great deal of money, but it pays for the materials which is great. The best part by far is meeting new people and maybe my work making someone's day. That's the biggest motivating factor."
So, what are Phil's favorite things to sculpt? "Zombies, of course! They're brill, lots of fun to be had making them, and a broader colour palette. What's not to like? I'm a geek at heart and anything Sci-fi or Horror related will get my juices flowing. I don't mind making straight forward busts and Wedding Cake Toppers, but mix in a Zombie theme and you've got yourself a new best friend. Beyond what I've said above, it's thrilling when you see the likeness of a subject emerge from the blob of clay."
The first zombie sculpture to spawn from Phil's hands was a 30mm Zombie Surfer made for Hasslefree Miniatures. Still available on their website, the surfer is a figure he would like to do again. "He's a figure I would like to revisit and make into a larger scale statue type, but that'll have to wait." Future zombie sculpts came about with a collaboration with fellow artist, Martin Whitmore. Together, they created the Dead Ringers.
Phil is also a contributing artist for Zombies & Toys. You guessed it; The custom zombie busts and zombie magnets we offer are all hand-made by Phil. I asked Phil to explain his process from start to finish.
“Once I get photographs and a brief from the customer, which hopefully includes as much detail as possible to prevent any ambiguity, I'll plan the sculpt on graph paper to help keep the figure to scale. I then make a wire armature and bulk it up with clay to get the basic form, then it's baked hard.
Adding more clay, I then start to sculpt the detail, head first then clothes and arms. This is where good, clear photographs are essential. Once I've finished I seek the approval of the client, then bake. Once baked, I prime and paint with good quality acrylic paint, then varnish and move onto the next project.”
Are any particular materials your favorite or do you have any brand loyalty?
“I've tried lots of products and I guess they all have their various strengths. Just now I mix two parts Sculpey with one part Sculpey Firm. I like to call this Sculpey Just Right, not too soft and and a good colour to see the detail clearly. Citadel Colour acrylic paints work well, but I am coming over to Vallejo Game Colour, which has a longer working time, so it's easier to blend colours.”
What was your first introduction to zombies?
“My initial thoughts was the Thriller video, but on reflection it was probably An American Werewolf in London and the dead friend who keeps turning up in different states of decomposition, not a classic Zombie, but a classic Horror movie character.”
Do you have a favorite zombie?
"I guess the bicycle girl from the Walking Dead. I don't think the bicycle was in the TV series, but she's the first Zombie Rick meets. Amazing effects and she conveyed the horror as well as the tragedy perfectly." (editor's note: The "Bicycle Zombie", played by Melissa Cowan, was kind enough to give us some signed photos that we will be giving away soon!)
If bitten, would you want left alone to change or would you rather be shot?
"Left to change I guess. I'd like to think I would also have the presence of mind and opportunity to get into a giant Chicken costume or something, to provide some comic relief during the Zombie Apocalypse."
How can readers find you and keep up to date?
"I have a blog, which I keep up to date with my work, Facebook and of course Zombies and Toys. I also have an Etsy page that I hope to fill with some cool stuff, I'm planning to have it stocked for Christmas."
Are zombies your favorite monster? Why or why not?
"Zombies are just terrifying. Not only are they relentless, decomposing and practically very hard to kill. They stir up primal fears of disease, cannibalism and simply being outnumbered. Their is no reasoning with them and they're all united with only one objective - eating your brains! One aspect of the Zombie theme is everyone must have considered what they would do to survive, where to go etc, which is an element you don't get with other horror villains."
Now for the essentials. You can find Phil and see progress of his latest works (which could be your's) by visiting his blog. You can email Phil with any questions or just to tell him what a kick-ass job he does at email@example.com. You can purchase your likeness as a zombie head magnet for a mere $25 by visiting this link at our Zombie Toy Store. You can also purchase your likeness as a zombie bust for $80 by visiting this link at our Zombie Toy Store. You can here what Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes (yes, Jay and Silent Bob) have to say about our custom-sculpting service by visiting our Sound Cloud page. And, finally, Phil is giving you the chance to win a free custom zombie magnet to help us celebrate our second annual Undead Bazaar by emailing your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org.