You can never go wrong when you combine art and toys. Especially when you’re producing custom action figures.
For today’s PopLurker Artist Spotlight, we’re hanging out with Matt Lutton, a great artist with an awesome eye for pop culture delights, but also a very cool person who should be followed on social media and in real life. Followed. Everywhere. *Lurker smile*
Let’s hit it!
Would you please introduce yourself for PopLurker readers? What is your name, where do you live, and what sort of art do you produce?
My name is Matthew Wyatt Lutton. I live in Costa Mesa, California and I make Custom Action figures and Props.
What are some of your favorite things? Like, anything, really. Tell us about yourself!
I love all kinds of geekery and pop culture. Batman is by far my favorite because…He’s Batman! I love coffee as some people love alcohol. Generally anything that makes life more enjoyable or makes you think. I am drawn towards the more violent and horror aspects of pop culture more than anything, mainly because I feel safe in it. Fictional horror is enjoyable where real horror is just horror.
How has the public/the fandom received your work? Are people typically nice about what they see or do they nit-pick?
The public has been great and very open with my art. They are generally very appreciative even asking how I create some things and where they can purchase a piece. There will always be those who nit-pick but they are missing the point. There’s no such thing as “perfect art”. As long as something brings you joy and isn’t hurting anybody (at least without their consent), that’s what should matter about art. Even Wilson Fisk can enjoy a blank canvas.
When did you know that a lifetime of art was in your inevitable future? Is this a hobby or a career? How do you make time for the things that you love?
I had always loved toys. They brought me great joy as a child. I could hold my heroes in my hands and conquer the world with the villians. As I got older the toys matured into art, film, novels, poetry and statues. I loved statues but unfortunately my wallet and my home did not share my passion, so toys were like statues I could afford and then with the rise of companies like McFarlane and Neca the quality is almost better than statues and these you can pose and display however you want. I started seeing characters that I would love to buy, but they would never be made.
So I started to make my own and found out that there was a huge community dedicated to the same art. I have been doing it ever since. I like to think of making customs as a profitable hobby. I never make something just to make money off of it. I make things that I like or gifts that I know my friends would like. I usually list my items at a price that if it sells, awesome I made a profit and can fund another custom now, and if it does not sell I have a great piece I get to enjoy. I work usually 40-50 hours a week so it is tough to keep on the projects as much as I would like, but the nice thing is you can paint while watching your favorite show or taking a hot bath. If you love something you make time for it, just like a person.
Why custom action figures of all things? What challenges go into this that may not be expected?
I can’t draw. I wish I could but some of my favorite things to see are crossover images (two different characters, from different universes, colliding). If you walk into any comic shop you will hear the age old debate, “Who could beat who in a fight?” I couldn’t draw the battles I imagined in my head, however, I could do that with action figures. If I wanted to see the Punisher fight a predator I could do that. If I wanted Batman to have a fight with Captain America I could do that. The Multiverse of toys was now open to me and I wanted to share that with people.
If you want Batman in a Mortal Kombat Ninja Suit I want to make that happen for you because it sounds awesome! The challenges are mainly finding the right parts for a project. This can become costly. I need the hands of this figure for this custom but I have to buy the entire figure just for the hands. This is where casting of parts comes in handy (no pun intended) but those are the cost troubles with the hobby. The worst is when you have an idea in your head and no matter what you do it is just not forming in your hands the way you imagined.
When did you decide to make the leap into Pop Culture art? What was the show or movie that really inspired that for you?
I had been making customs for myself and started to see how much they were fetching on Ebay. There were some that were selling close to 800 dollars. I wanted to propose to my now wife and decided to start selling some to make money for a ring. I made a decent amount, enough to buy a real ring, and I had so much fun doing it. I wouldn’t say there was one show or movie that did it but all of them that did it. If I liked the new look of a character, I wanted a custom of it. If I saw a new movie with a completely brand new character I liked, I wanted a custom of it. Fan films, especially something like “Batman: Dead End”, inspired me greatly to try to take liberties with costumes and crossovers.
What would you say are your biggest fandoms? The ones you enjoy most or consider yourself part of?
I love comics. All of them. I think comics are a very under appreciated form of literature and art. Some of the most beautiful stories and quotes are from comic books. I am a HUGE Batman fan. I love everything about him and strive to be more like him every day. Minus the PTSD and paranoid tendencies. Horror movies and literature are also huge fandoms of mine. Anything Clive Barker has done is amazing to me. That man has crossed into so many mediums of pop culture and they all are something different and enjoyable.
I really enjoy things that are grotesque and push the envelope. I don’t like shocking for shocking’s sake, but if it stops me in my tracks I think it is interesting. A great example of this is “Crossed” by Garth Ennis. A terrifying take on the zombie culture, it is definitely not for everyone, but that’s what is great about Fandoms, if you don’t like one come on over we have another for you to try!
What are some fandoms or hobbies that your own fans wouldn’t expect? Something that never makes an appearance in your art?
Ha, get ready. I love Gilmore Girls. My wife and her best friend would watch it when I got home from work and it became a love of mine as well. I also enjoy Will and Grace. The acting in that is spot on. I enjoy history a great deal. I have never made a Gilmore Girls custom but email me if your interested. Haha.
Where do you currently sell your pieces? Are you in the convention scene? How far do you travel to build your platform?
I generally sell on Ebay and through Facebook. I am always at any conventions I can attend but rarely self promote, which I guess I should start doing. I would travel as far as needed if someone was interested in my work.
Is there anything new in the pipeline for you? Do you have any upcoming projects or secrets you want to share with us here at PopLurker?
I’m always working on new projects. I just finished my first horror short story book that will be available soon. My biggest one is a project I started called ” Capes for Causes”. My Facebook followers would send me a real life hero with their story such as Suzanne Cobb, who fought and kicked breast cancer’s ass. I would then share her story and paint a custom character of her choosing, such as Batman, in the colors of Breast Cancer Awareness and donate all the proceeds to that cause. I’m really excited about that.
I want to do something fun and beneficial with my art as well as honoring “REAL” heroes. A nice little tip or secret to impress your kids is to keep the twisty ties that come in toy packages. Thread them over one another, paint white and you have just made a custom Spiderman web. Congrats, you’re a customizer and an awesome parent.
Do you have any social media or an online store? How can our readers find you and your awesome work? Plug yourself, your projects, and give me all your links
My ebay user name is Mattlutton (creative, I know). I also take commissions and show my work on Facebook, you can find me at Matt Lutton and Oh My GoodNess customs and reviews.