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Jan 30, 2015

Where Are They Now??? Interview With J. Neth

Main image_intro_NethCreatures

Ohio based designer J. Neth created and self-produced some of the most beautiful and unique art toys —the Neth Creatures. The creatures received enthusiastic praise and continue to be highly sought after by toy and fine art collectors alike.

J. Neth debuted the creatures at San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) back in 2005 as a series of nine 5” tall interchangeable art figures. The Neth Creatures had an organic and fluid design with a clear plastic shell housing; inside contained beautifully and meticulously hand-painted art within.

Over the course of the next two years, the creatures also saw releases in plush (Knit Neths), limited edition fine art prints, and an edition of resin figures in 2007.

In 2008, J. Neth and his creatures quietly vanished, leaving many collectors including myself mystified by their disappearance. This year, 2015, marks the 10 year anniversary of the Neth Creatures, so I reached out to Rivet Gallery to help put me in touch with J. Neth, to find out: Where did J. Neth go and what is he doing now??


Hi, J. Neth. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions.

It’s been 10 years since the Neth Creatures released, and many collectors have been wondering where you went. Can you tell us where and what have you been up to during the past 7+ years?

Hey Gary, thanks for tracking me down. I can’t believe it’s been 10 years! Developing the figures and especially doing the San Diego Comic Cons for 3 years were both such incredible experiences. Neth Creatures was always such a deep personal project for me and I loved meeting so many amazing people that helped support it. After we sold out of the Series 1 figures, the process of creating new figures became more time consuming than the art. I was really burned out trying to take on all the manufacturing and distribution; I hope I haven’t disappointed anybody with my time away. I’m currently working for a fashion retail company and I feel very fortunate to have a job that allows me to travel and work with cool creative people. Most of my free time is spent in my small art studio in the woods. It’s a nice break from the distractions of a fast paced corporate life. I’m still working on new art and I hope to show things soon. I don’t think you can ever turn off the creative process and I have spent the past several years collecting inspiration, growing, and learning.

It’s an incredible feat to design and produce your own toy line. Can you share the good and the bad of your experiences?

That’s a tricky question… and I’m not even sure where to begin. Nothing came easy, but that’s what made it so incredibly rewarding. Fail, learn, and try again. I had spent a couple years developing the concept and story with the hopes of having an urban vinyl store help with the manufacturing. I went to the NYC Toy Fair in 2004 and was rejected by every designer toy company. I like to put this in with the “bad” experience side of things. Being driven to try something different certainly helped me to push forward and realize I would just need to do it on my own. It was liberating and scary all at the same time. The trips to Hong Kong were really amazing and the manufactures were so patient with me. I was constantly pushing the quality of the figures. I spent a week at one point in Mainland China just working with the small team helping to hand paint and assemble each figure. I had over 100 emails just about the flocked blow molded plastic inserts to protect the figure in the packaging. Thinking back now, I probably cared way too much about the little stuff but at that time, it was all so important. The "good” for me was definitely the experiences of Comic Con. I was beyond stressed but so excited to share the journey with everyone. Just thinking about everything again is a bit overwhelming and I’m certainly thankful for all the help I had along the way.

There were rumors circulating of a Series Two planned for the creatures. Was there any truth to the rumors, and if so, may I ask what happened with that series?

Series two was in the works for a while but it became very challenging for me with increasing costs, quality control, and manufacturing limitations. I do think series 2 will happen but just in a different way than I had originally intended. Everything has evolved a little and I’ll be very anxious to share…

A lot has changed in designer toys. Have you been staying in touch with the designer toy scene at all?

I haven’t really followed too much of the designer toys. Fowler, Biskup, and Jurevicius were a few of the guys I loved back in the day. I have checked in from time to time. I really enjoy the unique and special art figures and cool customs. It’s unreal how many amazing artists there are now; it’s great to see that.


Do you have any plans to revisit or celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the Neth Creatures? They debuted at San Diego Comic Con in 2005 and you attended the following two years but haven’t been back. Do you think you would ever return as an exhibitor there or any other convention?

Back in August, I applied for a booth at SDCC 2015 and I’m still on the waiting list. Evidently, it's even harder and more expensive to get a table now. Not sure what’s going to happen with SDCC, but I would love to show some new work this year for the 10-year anniversary of Neth Creatures. If SDCC doesn’t work out, I might do a small show?

Can you share what you have been creating these days?

I’m not really one to share a lot until I’m ready, but I have attached a few random pics and doodles from our studio. I’ve been really inspired with textures, nature, Folk, and Native American art. I’m really enjoying the creative process and I feel like I’m getting back to the things that I always loved. It has been great fun having a studio and getting lost in the art again.

Thanks for your time, J. Neth. I know many collectors will be very excited to hear from you and we hope to see you at SDCC this summer.


Posted by Gary Ham @ 10:30 AM in Gary Pulse | Permalink  | Comments (2) |


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If he's looking for space at a convention, I may be able to help him out at DesignerCon. That's where most vinyl collectors gather these days.

Neth you rock! So miss the old Resaurus days of pouring resin with you back in the lab. Best of luck with all you do!

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