20 Questions with Andy Bergholtz
You can say a lot of things about sculptor Andy Bergholtz, but the one thing that I will forever credit him with is that he is the only sculptor to accurately capture the likeness of Harrison Ford for an action figure/sculpture. Many other have tried and failed. And that is exactly why Sideshow Collectibles employees him as one of their primary portraiture sculptors. In just four years of sculpting Andy has already built an impressive body of work. You can see more of his incredible portraits at the the official Sideshow Collectibles site. But his body of work didn't begin there. Andy has also sculpted for McFarlane and Diamond Select toys to name a few.
I first met Andy last year at San Diego Comic Con when he participated in my sculpting discussion panel "Under the Knife" but his reputation had proceeded him as several other sculptors I know had been poitning out his work to me for some time. If all goes well he'll be back on the panel this year- stay tuned for more details. But for now we fire the "mighty twenty" at Andy.
1. What is your current title?
2. How would you describe your job?
Awesome. :) Sometimes I feel like Tom Hanks in “Big”, only better… Not only do I get to play with toys as part of my living, but I get to create them as well. I admit that the “kid in a candy shop” feeling hasn’t worn off of me yet, I’m still just ecstatic to be able to do this for a living. Basically, I’m a geek.
3. Where is your current base of operations?
I currently work out of a studio in my home in St. Louis, Missouri. But the company I work for (Sideshow Collectibles) is based in Westlake Village, CA.
4. How long have you worked in this industry?
About 8 years, although only half of that time has been as a sculptor (the first 4 years I was a 2D designer).
5. How did you get into this field?
In the late 1990’s I got a job as an illustrator designing products for a toy company called Trendmasters. It was a great environment, and we put out some decent stuff (we did the toys for Godzilla, ID4, Iron Giant, etc), but the company wasn’t run very wisely and eventually went down the tube. Anyway, while I was working there I began to play around with sculpture in my spare time… Some of my colleagues suggested I try to do it professionally, so I started sending portfolios out. McFarlane was my first ‘bite’, I think I did 3 freelance gigs for them before I started branching out to other companies. In 2001 I quit my day job to work full-time as a sculptor and I haven’t looked back.
6. How many figures/toys have you helped to create/design/produce/market?
Wow, I’m not really sure... If I include my 2D design work I’d say a couple hundred at least. Sculpturally speaking I’d say half that, maybe less.
7. Of those figures/toys, what was your favorite?
The ¼ scale Bela Lugosi “Dracula” figure for Sideshow. Not only am I a huge fan of the character, but that piece also represents a significant chapter in my career as the beginning of my relationship with Sideshow.
8. What would you say is the hardest part of your job?
Honestly, it would have to be working at home. In some ways it’s a dream situation, but it also takes a huge amount of discipline which took me a long time to get used to. Much harder than working in an office.
9. What is your least favorite part/thing to sculpt?
Hair. Hair is, simply put, a pain in the ass! I’ve become confident with my technique in this area but it’s still one of the most tedious things to work on (to get it right, that is). I’ve learned almost everything I know about hair from studying Jon Matthews’ work… He does the BEST hair in the biz, hands down.
10. What is your sculpting material of choice?
It depends on the piece… I usually alternate between wax, Castilene, and sometimes Super Sculpey.
11. What would you sculpt if you had unlimited time, resources and budget?
Now that is a question! There are millions of things… I’d love to sculpt something classical, maybe Baroque-type figure studies… I’m very inspired by the Renaissance classics like Michelangelo and Bernini. Of course, I could spend my whole life sculpting the Incredible Hulk and be totally happy as well. :)
12. What is your favorite toy/figure/line from ANOTHER company?
I love DC Direct’s stuff… Plan B has also been a fav lately.
13. If you could pick any toy/figure from early in your career to re-do what would it be?
All of them! I could pick apart every piece I’ve done if I had the time. I guess if I had to choose just one I’d say the Ultimate Iron Man bust for Diamond. That thing looks atrocious.
BONUS QUESTION: What’s the silliest statement/suggestion you’ve ever heard or made in a meeting?
Farting farm animals. Seriously. I designed an entire line of little plush farm animals that made farting noises when you squeeze them. They never got produced, but damn they were cute.
14. What is your favorite toy from childhood?
GI Joes rocked my world when I was a kid.
15. What is the worst job you ever had (pre-toy industry)?
Sponge-bathing the bearded fat-lady in a traveling Carnival. Ok seriously, I really haven’t had any jobs that were very bad, I guess I’m lucky.
16. What is your proudest achievement to date?
My 2 beautiful kids, Lucy and Andy II.
17. What did you want to be when you grew up?
Don’t you mean “when I grow up”? I’m still torn between a Marine Biologist or a Ninja.
19. What one word would you use to describe yourself?
20. Would you rather hang out with a guy named "Chuck" or a guy named "Stu?"
That depends... Which one of them buys the drinks?
Thanks for participating Andy. If the stars align properly you can meet Andy this year at Comic Con International.