February 3, 2023

Juce Gace, aka Julien, has been making a name for himself with his mischievous figures since he was spotted by toy manufacturer Mighty Jaxx when he first made pins and patches for street fun. For his standout piece, An awakening in the forest, the Paris-based creative rediscovers the youth icon Pinocchio with what he calls “the folly of adulthood,” a theme that continues to play out in his subsequent works. Despite establishing a signature style of brutality for his figures, he continues to juggle visual arts with his passion for screenwriting, which he had begun to pursue before he dabbled in toy design.

In celebration of the holiday season with HBX, Juce Gace has launched a new edition of his Groot-inspired collectible, I am wood – Gold edition. HBX Journal caught up with the multi-talented creator who opened up about the beginning of his toy design journey, his creative process, and the significance of reinterpreting childhood characters.

An excerpt from the interview can be read below:

How did you get into your craft of producing collectibles?

I’ve always loved toys as far back as I can remember, but I wasn’t into that area at all! During my studies in literature and screenwriting, I always continued to draw for fun and made pins, stickers, clothes, prints, etc. to stick on the street. Then a toy company found me and suggested I make my first art toy! The childhood dream came true [laughing].

How does the toy making process go from design to execution?

After discussing it with many other artists, I’ve found that we all have a different process! I always start with technical drawings or 3D sculpting when I already have a precise idea of ​​the design in my head. Then the whole process is to get the piece as close to my original vision as possible. Then comes the work with my manufacturer to get all the molds, colors and finishes perfect. I think there is some time left to design the box and certificate before the art toy is ready to be announced and shipped!

Is there a figure or work that you are most proud of?

It is difficult to answer this question. I’m always super proud of the last piece I put out [laughing], so I’d say I Am Wood (Golden Edition)! I pay a lot of attention to detail, so I usually work on a piece for at least 7-8 months before it gets into the hands of the collector. With such a time frame, you are bound to love what you are doing or you will get bored, impatient or discouraged!

Read the interview in its entirety on HBX.

For more interviews, Van Ness Wu discusses how xVESSEL made its way into footwear.

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