Infrared, Centennial, Soul Assassin, Metallon, Red Gore Assault, HyperStrike, P77, … These are just a few of PhuEk!‘s utterly collectible custom toys. Phu! is one of Singapore’s top customizers whose vinyls have been showcased in various international exhibitions in Europe, US, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan. His work was also featured in the Dot Dot Dash book, and last May, he launched his own toy line at an exhibition in Jakarta. I caught up with him to find out what makes him tick.
Please tell us a little bit about how you were put together, if there are any parts missing, and how did you become a customizer?
I’ve always liked doing anything 3-D. I enjoy putting things of different elements together to form a composition. So when a friend passed me a blank vinyl about two years ago, that was when my custom business started.
Do you still keep a day job?
Yes I do. Customizing is a passion; my day job is a responsibility.
What materials do you work with?
Anything that I can lay my hands on really. Scrap materials, of course.
How has your style changed over the past few years?
It definitely has. As I create, I learn. I discover new things along the way and I grab any possible opportunity to re-discover my capabilities.
Of all your customs, which one are you most proud of?
My original toy, the P77.
Do you have a favorite custom or do you love them all equally and for different reasons?
Equally for different reasons because every piece has its own story to tell, personal or otherwise.
You also do a fair bit of commissioned work. How does that work? Do the people who commission work from you leave everything in your hands?
Clients refer to my website for my portfolio. If they like what I do or think that I can do something they like, they’ll get in touch. There are two types of clients. Either they leave everything to me or they have ideas or concepts that they want me to adhere to. Either way has worked well for me thus far.
How would you describe the customs scene in Singapore?
Actually, the local scene is still very passive.
How did you get noticed overseas?
By posting my customs on international vinyl toy websites.
Can you tell us what you are currently working on?
I am currently in the process of painting my original toys before shipping them out to the buyers.
How do you kick back and relax when you are not working? Do you play with your toys?
Nothing like that, no. I prefer to spend quantity and quality time with my wife and family.
Do you have anything upcoming that you would like to share with us?
Do you like what you see? There is more of that on Phu!’s site. Oh, and don’t forget to check out his bad-ass customized kicks at the same time!