We’ve had the thrill of developing some awesome loot with amazing pop culture artists recently, and this month our COLOSSAL theme delivers an especially rad crossover between Loot Crate and Loot Wear… and it’s too cute.
Chances are if you’re active on social media you’ve seen the distinctive, colorful pint-sized designs of 100% Soft quite a bit; born Truck Torrence, he’s a prolific artist and designer who has most recently gotten wide exposure through social collaborations featuring Marvel and Star Wars. His beautifully detailed scene portraits capturing moments from films ranging from Big Trouble in Little China to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off have made him a favorite staple of the celebrated Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles. According to his bio, his influences are “pizza, napping, coffee, the movie Hausu, his kitty Admiral Whiskers, and 2Pac” – but we dug up some more information in a recent chat, which you can read below! And if you want a sneak peek at the 100% Soft items in our COLOSSAL theme, you can scroll past the spoiler space below the interview!
What is your artistic background and did you have any formal training?
I come from an artistically inclined family and I’ve been drawing my whole life. My parents were really good about exposing me to a lot of different types of pop culture, whether it was movies, art, books or whatever. My mom is an artist and when I was a child, I used to beg her to draw my favorite superheroes for me so I could watch how she’d do it and then I’d mimic her movements and try to draw my own Spideys and Batmans. That’s how I learned the basics.
I actually don’t have any “formal” training per se, but when I was a teenager, I got an internship at a software company that made graphic apps. The people I worked with there all helped train me on the apps that I’d eventually be using every day like Photoshop and Illustrator. That’s how I learned the fundamentals, but everything else has been a lot of trial and error!
Where did your inspiration for your distinctive chibi-style designs come from? Are there any particular influences you admired?
My main inspirations were basically Sanrio and Playmobil. Sanrio for the cuteness, and Playmobil for the static and stationary poses of taking all of these normal people doing average things and putting a smile on them. There’s something oddly satisfying for me when taking an every day object or person and distilling them down to their most recognizable shapes and features. When I started mixing that sensibility with pop culture, I got a huge kick out of it and just wanted to do more and more and explore what other things could look like if I stripped them down to their basics.
What are your current fandoms? A favorite film/tv show/comic that sticks with you?
I’m a Twin Peaks fan for life, and loved watching The Return last year. I’d draw Twin Peaks characters all day if I could.
You have paid homage to so many pop culture characters from so many genres. Are there any that were especially challenging to depict in a “cute” fashion?
I’ve done a ton of work based on the Xenomorphs from Alien, who are basically the ugliest looking creatures you can imagine, but that’s part of the fun about my style is that I have to constructively look at something that is super detailed and definitely “not cute” and find a way to translate it into something that is obviously reflective of the subject, but makes you want to smile too! Now I can draw Xenos all day and they look pretty huggable.
This month we’re featuring your Jurassic Park designs; which is your favorite Jurassic Park movie and moment?
Definitely the first Jurassic Park and definitely anything with Jeff Goldblum. He’s just far and away the best character in the movie. There’s a clip of Ian Malcolm laughing in the helicopter that’s been looped for 10 hours that my friend and I used to send back and forth to each other, and I once let it run for at least four hours because I got distracted while working and forgot to turn it off. It was like taking aural Goldblum ayahuasca and I’ve basically been reborn.
Can you tell us a little about the design process behind your item?
I’ve seen the original Jurassic Park a zillion times, so it was pretty easy for me to isolate what I wanted to capture from the movie for sure: open shirted Goldblum, Alan Grant laying on the Triceratops, Nedry’s “ah ah ah” magic word, the jeep, and of course, the “one big pile of s**t.” There’s so much instantly recognizable and fun iconography from JP that it’s a dream to pick from any of them. Once I decided on what I wanted to tackle, I then drew all the characters and arranged them in some fun poses and pared it all down into a fun pattern that I hope represents what I find so fun about the movie.
In recent years, your designs have been adapted by both Marvel and Lucasfilm into Twitter emojis for their film releases. How does it feel seeing your little faces so extensively across social media?
It’s amazing. I grew up reading Marvel Comics and watching Star Wars obsessively. I made friends with other weirdos in high school because I knew who Ponda Baba was, so that stuff is a big part of who I am and has informed how I grew as an artist. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a Marvel Comics penciler or work at ILM and do effects for Star Wars, so to be able to actually be a small part of those things is a really cool feeling and I’m very grateful.
Tell us one fun or quirky thing about yourself!
When I’m not doing commercial work or my normal art, sometimes I like to take songs and slow them down 50% and make some fun videos that I can zone out to.
Do you have any words of inspiration for other artists looking to go into your field?
Make stuff! Put it out there! That was my biggest hurdle: never actually showing anyone my art and just dreaming about the work I wanted to do instead of trying to actually do it.
– Follow 100% Soft on Instagram!
Before we get to the amazing pictures of the June COLOSSAL themed Loot Crate and Loot Wear items, make sure you’re ready to grab yours before April 19th at 9pm PST!
We’re proud to reveal the incredible designs made just for us by 100% Soft!
SPOILER WARNING: If you don’t want a spoiler yet, scroll no further!
Ready? Okay…. presenting, the Jurassic Park t-shirt (available this month in Loot Crate) and Jurassic Park loungewear pants available from Loot Wearables!