In his two-room art studio in Chinatown, The Sucklord toils away in his toy factory, making handcrafted action figures in the non-air conditioned swelter of a summer afternoon. Best known as one of the most memorably eccentric contestants on the 2011 season of the Bravo show “Work of Art,” he’s still at it, shipping his Suckadelic creations to fans across the country. He’ll be selling a limited edition Darth Vader Godfather action figure at the LoMan Art Festival this weekend. Get them while they’re hot, because with a video series and an upcoming podcast, The Sucklord aspires to create an empire and hightail it to L.A.
The Sucklord, aka Morgan Phillips, makes small batches of action figures, most of them blending his love for Star Wars with his other diverse passions and various targets of criticism. One room of his studio is more relaxed, with a couch and his work, most of it sealed in plastic packaging, hanging from the walls. The other side is all business; on one table dozens of freshly made tiny, robe-clad pigs are carefully laid out in rows. Some of his smallest rubber figures, smaller than your thumb, are commissioned out to a manufacturer, but he makes most of them by hand, pouring the plastic into molds himself. “The molds, I realized, don’t always come out that good.” He says he went with it, naming his company Suckadelic, Inc., and letting his customers “know upfront, ‘don’t expect too much from this.'”
Raised in the West Village, he loves Chinatown but grapples with the encroaching gentrification. “The early- to mid-’90’s in New York was the best,” he said. “It was this weird middle ground where the LES was cleared out of the drug gangs but it was still that patchwork of bodegas and cool stores.” In his web series Toy Lords of Chinatown, set in an alternate reality where all landlords are supervillains, he tries to shoot his scenes against the backdrop of soon-to-disappear landmarks and relics of the past, like the Doyers Street underground mall in Chinatown and the projects on Avenue D. “I like to sneak in all that extra New York shit,” he said.
His ultimate goal is to move to L.A. and build a career for himself behind the camera, but for now next project is the Suck Hour, a Podcast that combines his interest in Star Wars, art, sex and drugs. He said his time on Work of Art taught him that “without a constant media presence I’m not making the most of my abilities.” The first hour of the show will be more or less PG, where he’ll talk with his regularly occurring cast of friends about street art, Star Wars, “stuff like that,” and the second half will be the more explicit “sex hour.” They’ve only recorded an unreleased pilot so far, but already he’s already come up with a pretty convincing formula. “It’s going to be formatted similarly to the Howard Stern show, with me and my cohorts sitting in a room,” he said. Each friend represents a topic of discussion, from the ex-girlfriend (the “sexy one”) to a chef to a toy nerd. He hopes to launch the series later this month.
The LoMan Art Festival, presented by the L.I.S.A. Project, August 5-9 (LES).