11/29/10

Inside the Customizer's Studio: eclipseGRAFX


Today kicks off our fourth interview session in the 'Inside the Customizer's Studio' series. Today we'll be talking with Victor Fernandez (AKA eclipseGRAFX). Since becoming involved with the minifig customization community Victor has always caught my eye, both as a unique and skilled customizer and as someone in the community that was making a serious go at building his own custom brand. I knew when I started this series, that Victor was someone I wanted to have the privilege to interview.

The interview itself was conducted via correspondence, around the time Victor was ramping up for relaunching his store with Imagination Customs. We'll be talking about this most recent venture later in the week, but today we kick off the interview discussing how Victor emerged from his 'Dark Age' and became involved with the customization community.

Did you have a 'dark age'? If so, how long did it last and when did it end? What was the inspiration for you to get back into LEGO?

"I don't know if my 'dark ages' can be technically that. I believe that in order to have a dark age you need to have had been into LEGO at some point in your life. I grew up in a low income family of six total siblings and a single mom working her butt off to make ends meet. The only place I played with LEGO was in school and I only have a recollection of doing so in the 3rd grade. Other then that I never really played with LEGO until last year.

In September 2009 my wife and I renewed our vows and made our way to Disney World with our son. The last day there we went to Downtown Disney and found this awesome (and not so little) shop full of kids and excitement - The LEGO store. Well my son wanted me to buy some stuff for him and as I walked back and fourth determining what the best items would be for him. We bought a few sets (City) and I helped him build them in the hotel room. But since that day I started looking online for more LEGO at good prices.

My son and I had a couple of Star Wars sets that we bought before this trip, but it was during this trip that my eyes were really opened to LEGO. Wanting to make stop-motion videos made me buy parts versus sets and broke me out of the collectors mode quickly. I started building newbish sets and MOCs and at the CABG I was helped by 'troopa D' to get better at MOC-ing.

I think I came back into LEGO because I liked the ability to create. I am a creative person by nature, a graphic designer who loves colors and to problem solve. LEGO just seemed to be perfect for me since it has both colors and plenty of problem solving."
 

How did you get started with the minifig customization community?  

"I first discovered minifig customization on eBay. I remember seeing clones of different qualities and styles. I saw a lot of stuff I knew I could do better as a graphic designer, and other stuff that left me wondering "how do you do that". Having my 3 year old (at the time) on my lap as we browsed through the web he asked me, "can you do that?". As a father you never want to lose that super hero spot light, so I did what any computer savvy person would do - I Googled it. 

I then found myself on YouTube looking at not only custom clones but stop motion videos and then my son says, "WOOOOOW, daddy can we do that?" I thought it should be simple. I knew the basics of animation I just needed to learn more about how to do it with minifigs. As we kept doing our research I realized I knew very little about the Clone Wars and the characters. I started doing more research on that and found myself at the Clone Army Builder's Guild (thecabg.net). This forum was dedicated to Clone Wars and clone characters so I thought it would be the best place to learn about the different characters. Little did I know that this forum would open up my eyes to sooooo much. It is where I learned about Flickr, BrickLink and best of all water slide decals.

CABG member 'Chaotic Good01' posted a detailed 'How to apply water slide decal' tutorial on the forum that started my journey into customization. His attention to detail on decals matched my own which allowed me to quickly respect his talents even more. From there on out I just kept trying to see what the rest of the customization community was doing in order to learn from them."

Join us tomorrow when we continue the conversation and talk to Victor about his inspiration and involvement with the Clone Army Builder's Guild.

2 comments:

  1. This guy is a great customizor. Just funny that if he didn't go to the Lego store, he may not be customizing.

    -Omi

    ReplyDelete
  2. What an awesome life/LEGO story so far. :) I'm looking forward to the rest of his interview.

    ReplyDelete