As Clutter Gallery prepares to host Grizzly Workshop for her first Solo show, Ecoplasm, we took this opportunity to her a few questions to get to know what makes her tick!
Who is Grizzly Workshop?
Hi, I’m Zlil. I have the nickname Grizzly, which is short for Grizzly Workshop. I’m a designer and toy artist, and I have been making art my whole life. I studied industrial design, worked in studios, and did character design for toy companies. My first toy convention as a vendor was in 2019, and I have been working on my Haunted Forest collection on and off since then. Only in the past two years have I become a part of the amazing designer toy community and got to know many talented artists and wonderful toy collectors. I took part in several wonderful shows at Clutter Gallery. The first time they reached out, I totally thought it was an IG scam since it was too good to be true, and I have no idea how it happened. Their offer turned out to be the most adventurous turn in my art journey so far, and I learned so much about the toy collectors’ world.
Who/What are your biggest influences?
As for artists I admire and collect, who influence my art the most, there are several. First is my talented partner in crime, Gingerskull. I knew and loved his art before I ever met him; Xhanthi, with her beautiful, fantastic art style and incredible craftsmanship in doll making; Miss Mindy, with her whimsical and expressive style that has a glimpse of old-school animation magic; Amanda Louise Spayd, with her wonderful spooky cute creatures, use of unexpected mixed media, and eclectic trinkets that bring her little misfits to life; Mab Graves, who inspired me to create female monsters and Halloween-themed characters; Vanessa Ramirez, with her sweet and funny monsters and unique handcrafted and beautifully painted textures; Kathie Olivas’ surreal and badass female characters – the most grungy and perfect style with unexpected color schemes; and finally, James Jean’s beautiful mix of traditional figurative painting with iconic clean design and immaculate storytelling that creates a whole inner world.
Tell us something special about the upcoming exhibition with us.
The new toy collection is inspired by vintage Halloween esthetics and autumn golden orange colors, just in time for the spooky season. This is my first-ever solo show. There are several new Haunted Forest characters that have never been seen before. You are all invited to the Devil’s Ball!
What are a few of your favorite tools/materials?
I have so many favorites, but the weirdest and most useful is the spiral Riffler. I like to mix techniques and tools, both old and new, 3D design, and traditional sculpting by hand. Depending on the tools, I can be highly accurate in some parts and expressive in others. Sometimes you need to create your own tools; mold making, for example, is an art form in itself. My molds are always getting more complex and ridiculous-looking with alien tentacles popping out, but they work!
How did you find out about designer toys?
I don’t remember the exact moment, but I remember looking at designer toy books as a teenage art school student and knowing this was my language.
What advice do you have for an aspiring artist?
Try everything that interests you and see what sticks, explore materials, be respectful and curious, know the history of art and artists before you put your art out there, don’t be afraid to reach out to the artists you admire if you have a chance, and wear your freaking respirator!
For those not familiar with your work, how would you describe your style?
Spooky, nature-inspired, whimsical, and haunting.