PopLurker Artist Spotlight: Black Tusk Workshop

Art is not limited simply to illustrations or drawings (though of course, I’m a big fan of those too!) It can take shape as costume or movie props as well! And when I met Tyler and Brandon and discovered their mind blowing Star Wars inspired props, I knew I had to feature them and showcase the incredible work they do!

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 Brandon Owens.

I am Tyler Webster, Brandon’s Hetero life mate. We are from Northern Kentucky. We produce film props and costumes under our companies name of Black Tusk Workshop.

What are some of your favorite things? Like, anything, really. Tell us about yourself!

Brandon: Web Development is what I do when I am not in the shop. I host a few of my own sites as well as Black Tusk’s portfolio. Some of my personal work covers my creation of my Star Wars costumes.

Tyler: Books, Like physical books, that and the smell of leather. I am a bit weird when it comes to smell. Brandon is always giving me crap because how much i like the smell of motor oil and bondo.

How has the public/the fandom received your work? Are people typically nice about what they see or do they nit-pick?

Brandon: The general public is always very amazed and love our work. Star Wars costumes to random props, it always seems to go well.

Tyler: Yeah! Most people have been really open to our work. I’ve had some nit picking on a project i have been working on. But for the most part, people are really blown away bu what we do.

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?

Brandon: When I realized I could replicate one of the most complex costumes in Star Wars I knew I could do a lot. When I partnered up with Tyler, we came to realize we can make anything. Right now it is a hobby with income, but hopefully one day it can become a career.

Tyler: I wasn’t always a artsy kid. I went to art school when I was 10 and quit. I didn’t do anything artsy till I was 19, when I tried to make a costume for Halloween. Eight years later, here I am. When I talk to people about us, it is always the same thing. I taught myself the hard way. Doing hard edge model making, Plastic and glue. B (Brandon) is a wizard with a 3D printer. If we can’t figure it out, it probably can’t be built.

When did you decide to make the leap into Pop Culture art? What was the show or movie that really inspired that for you?

Brandon: Star Wars. Looking at anything we make, it should be obvious. I got into this because I wanted a Boba Fett. I had to learn everything, and along the way I found Tyler who was also learning everything to make a Mandalorian (though he was further along than I was).

Tyler: Same, Star Wars was a big one. When I was a kid, it was the only movie I would watch. When I got old enough to try my hand at a costume, I did. Found I was ok at it and just kept doing it. Met B on the internet, had him come over and we started just making everything we could. We saw it on TV or a movie. We got to work on making it.

What are some of the specific challenges you face with your medium? You’re making wearable helmets and prop gear, so do you have any amusing stories about a prop gone wrong or anything?

Brandon: Sizing is my most difficult issue. I’ve printed many parts of a Storm Trooper costume and by trial and error found that most things are too small for me by default.

Tyler: (laughing) Yeah. I’ve messed up alooooooooot. B is right, sizing is huge! And it is such a complex issue too, because of how say a head is shaped. It isn’t the same for you and I. Something too tight on my nose, may be loose on yours, but you may not get it past your cheek bones.

For amusing stories? I found how the hard way that solvents, do not like plastic. I melted an entire sword once. Because I didn’t know of the chemical reaction. Also, got my head stuck in a helmet once…

What would you say are your biggest fandoms? The ones you enjoy most or consider yourself part of?

Brandon: Star Wars and/or the 501st Legion. My entire life pretty much revolves around what is going in in Star Wars, Legion events, and ways to better my Boba Fett.

Tyler: Star Wars also. It’s the most common I’d say. But it just influenced me so much, it’s what I started on when making. It’s what we still make the most of. I just can’t get enough of it, I’ll probably go watch Solo after this!

What are some fandoms or hobbies that your own fans wouldn’t expect? Something that never makes an appearance in your art?

Brandon: Back To The Future is a franchise I love but haven’t made props for (yet). Pokémon being another. I have plans though.

Tyler: I love me some World of Warcraft, Batman being another love of mine. I don’t get to make a lot of that stuff. But we have some stuff we are hoping to get out soon. A project long in planning/left in a closet and forgotten is from WoW.

Where do you currently sell your pieces? Are you in the convention scene? How far do you travel to build your platform?

Brandon: We currently sell through Facebook and word of mouth. We hope to get a hold in the convention scene soon and when we do, probably will get any con within a 200 mile radius we can.

Tyler: Yeah, Facebook, Etsy, word of mouth. Those are our main channels right now. Once we get at a con. Which we hope is soon, we will go to any one that will take us.

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?

Brandon: I’m working on some new Boba Fett rangefinder electronics, and some upgrades to my wireless servo kits I currently sell. As for Black Tusk projects, many helmets. Many, many helmets.

Tyler: Right now? Lord… Helmet like B said. I am sculpting and molding a version of the ARC trooper helmet from The Clone Wars cartoon. But I am making look as if it came from the film. So this involves a bit of change to the design and mixing and matching.  I am also making DoomHammer from WoW. Because with the attitude B gives me. I need something to hit him with.

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!

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