With sculptures that look like something from an ominous Jim Henson movie and illustrations inspired by the creatures of author H.P. Lovecraft, artist Gino Ybarra remains surprisingly humble despite his seemingly endless talent.
His enthusiasm is matched by his perfectionism, which can sometimes work against him.
“There’s a lot of heartache at first, because you just want to quit and it’s frustrating,” Ybarra admitted. “There’s been times when I get a sculpture, and I’m almost half way through, and I hate the way it’s coming out. I’ve spent hours on it, but I just smash it in my hands.
“But once you get over those hurdles, it becomes really relaxing and you just zone out.”
While being a full-time artist inevitably has its challenges, Ybarra has come away with an altogether grateful disposition.
“It sucks when you’re hustling and you’re trying to do your thing and someone asks, ‘When are you going to find a real job?’” Ybarra said. “It screws with you a little bit, but when you have someone who understands that you are putting your time and your effort and trying to make a living off of it, that helps a lot.”
Ybarra has done speculative and conceptual work for Rick Lazzarini, who heads The Character Shop, the company behind creations in “Snakes on a Plane” and “Nightmare on Elm Street V.” Ybarra’s projects included spec work for the latest “Ghostbusters” movie and a collaborative conceptual project on a robot for a Best Buy commercial.
Most recently, Ybarra has teamed up with artist and girlfriend Michelle Delgado to start Ghost Fox Toys. The company will release high-end vinyl figures along with more affordable art pieces.
They plan to have a few themed exhibits this year, including one based on video games and another on pigeons.
“The objective with that one is to show people that pigeons are actually awesome,” Ybarra said. “People always want to screw with them and they call them rats, but we want to get rid of the stigma and show how beautiful they are. They come in all kinds of cool colors.”
Ybarra illustrated this month’s Coloring Corner, themed after the Chinese New Year, on page 4. To see more of his work, visit facebook.com/GreatPumpkinToad, ghostfoxinc.bigcartel.com and redbubble.com/people/pumpkintoad.