Back in 2012, after 12 years of producing over 160 unique statues I was exhausted.
As I’ve stated before, I don’t have an office with employees. I am my sole employee and everything else is either done by me or freelanced out. I don’t sculpt so that was never done by me. When we started back in 2001 I even did the paint masters for our products. Eventually, I was able to pass that job along to those way more qualified. I design, art direct, do package design, negotiate contracts, do books, pay royalties and clean the toilets. To be honest, it’s the only way that Electric Tiki could have ever existed. Ask anyone in this industry how hard it is to turn a buck…it’s tough. The only way to make big money in the statue business is to do statues of Boba Fett, Spider-Man, Batman, etc. Electric Tiki wasn’t created for those characters, it was created for Mighty Mouse, Underdog, Al Bundy, Jeannie, Richie Rich etc. We did score a Disney license and they were ever so gracious. What did I do? I chose to do Darkwing Duck and Super Goof over Mickey and Minnie. Why not give a little love to those characters who would otherwise never see the light of day. When you do these types of characters you realize you’re gonna sell not a few thousand, but a few hundred. You have to offer the best sculptors and painters less than what they're worth and still expect them to give the best they have to give. I was pretty lucky in that regard. So, in 2010 I was offered work back in my original field of animation. I went back to Disney and worked full time on their last two hand drawn features, "Princess and the Frog" and "Winnie the Pooh". This was also when Electric Tiki was in full production. This was when I decided to pull back on the licensing for a bit and take a break. The last licensed piece we released was Kimberly from Don Bluth's "Space Ace" in our "Animated Ladies" line. I got an opportunity in 2012 to work with Warner Bros. on the second season of "The Looney Tunes Show" and also some "Tom and Jerry" DTV features. It was the perfect time to take a break and “reflect”, will there be a future for Electric Tiki?
(As a side note, it was around this time that DC Comics started licensing their characters to outside companies and we were offered a license. I had two unique and fun ideas…one was a cartoony tribute to the women of the DC Universe (concepts are on our FB group), the other was an idea that I couldn’t believe no one had ever done. It was as simple as the nose on your face and it would have been awesome. But alas, my great friend and confidant Ruben Procopio had expressed need for a break as well so we didn’t push forward).
Back to Electric Tiki. After a while I decided it was silly to take the position that Electric Tiki was done. It didn’t have to be. I decided to take step back.... and call on the "Tiki" Gods when I had a need to scratch a certain itch. Dean Yeagle’s Mandy was one of those itches. The reason I decided to go forward with the new Mandy statue is A) we had the design already in place, B) there was really no licensing headache involved as our relationship with Dean had always been handshake C) I thought why not quarter scale D) I thought Chuck Williams and Mireya Romo and E) quarter scale naked Mandy on an animal print pillow(selfishly for my new Tiki lounge of course)...Done Deal! With this new philosophy of only doing product when the inspiration hit me it became more doable. The new Mandy will be followed by something I never thought we would do. By popular demand we will be creating a second edition of our "Fred Moore girl" statue. The sculpt will be identical to the first, but instead of flavors (Vanilla, Licorice and Cinnamon) we will honor the seasons, Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, plus hopefully a special tribute to America! Beyond that I have a few ideas that may or may not come to fruition.
I am currently working in animation with Warner Bros. on a new Bugs Bunny show called "Wabbit" that will premiere on Cartoon Network’s Boomerang relaunch this October! In the mean time I am humbled by the support over the years and hope to get a few things done here and there...for you AND me.