Black Friday is so mainstream, but what if you experience the irrepressible urge to go shopping with the rest of America? Worry not — Con Artist Collective has just what you’re looking for: Stormtroopers with beefed-up codpieces!
At Con Artist Gallery’s new show, “Action Figures: Objectified,” you can shop for aluminum-foil animals by Dean Millien or a toy version of one of Wizard Skull’s hacked animation cels, showing a swoll Ronald McDonald with French-fry pubes.
Also selling his work will be anti-establishment pop artist Sucklord, aka Morgan Phillips, who lived with his mother until age 36 and gained notoriety for his Suckadelic toys as well as a 2011 stint as a competitor on Bravo’s Work of Art. Look for his popular pink gay Stormtrooper figure with a “beefed-up codpiece.”
We asked Sucklord why he decided to grace the Con Artist Collective show with his presence. “The reason why I’m doing it is so that I can poach all of their customers off them and expand my role to purchasers, and hopefully increase my revenues through encroachment,” he said. “That’s the main reason why I’m fucking with them. To make more money and make friends, of course.”
One of Sucklord’s featured pieces is a figure with the head of the villain Trap Jaw from He-Man holding a Playmobil camera. The packaging is what makes it interesting: an enlarged photo of Terry Richardson looms in the background and reaches for the figure. “I just sort of leave it to the viewer to figure it out,” said Sucklord of the not-so-subtle social commentary on the photographer’s predatory reputation. “There’s maybe something going on.”
Sucklord is known for bringing hardly clothed Asian women along with him to Designer Cons. “I just roll like that. It’s not a gimmick, it’s real life. I’m surrounded by supervillains, and a lot of them are good-looking women,” he said. “Anybody that rolls with me and supports my case gets something off the table, for sure.” This graciousness extends to unpaid apprentices.
Weird Luke (aka Luke Reich) met Sucklord at Comic Con. Since he needed to fulfill a high school mentorship requirement, he shot him an email. This was Sucklord’s reply: “Welcome to the world of dope-smoking, toy-making, and super-villainy.” As Weird Luke’s mentor, Sucklord taught the high schooler everything from making the mold and castings to marketing the products.
Nowadays, the 21-year-old is a full-time toy maker (on the side, he plays in the “nuke and roll” band Gowanus Mutant Kommandos). But Reich isn’t going by Weird Luke anymore. “I feel like once you meet me, it kind of goes without saying,” said the tatted-up toymaker, who often wears a studded and patched black leather jacket with voluminous pants and leather boots with metal shin guards (and an occasional mohawk).
Unlike his mentor, Reich intends for his figures to be played with. “What I’m really trying to do is just make action figures, I’m not so interested in the art side of it,” said Reich. “It’s my favorite kind of thing when a kid or a child will buy them.” One of his favorite memories was when a little girl and her dad stopped at his booth at a street fair. “She was going nuts over the toys,” said Reich. The father bought his daughter a half-mutant, half-werewolf figure. The next weekend, the father returned to Reich’s booth and reported that his daughter went home and played with the figure nonstop along with her He-Man toys. “I was just so stoked,” said Reich. “It’s one of the best stories I’ve had of appreciation for the figures I make.”
If you absolutely cannot wait until black Friday to ogle some figures, Con Artist has a private preview of the work on Wednesday from seven until 11 p.m. RSVP here with the code CONART.
“Action Figures: Objectified” at Con Artist Collective & Gallery, 119 Ludlow Street, Lower East Side