B2botWorkshop – The Art of Joel Duncan
Words by Joel Duncan
My name is Joel Duncan and I live in Toronto, Ontario Canada, in my basement apartment (#B2) with my Schnoodle, Mr. Black, and my French Canadian girlfriend, Josée. My work consists of creating my own spin on costumes and toys. I’m an avid basketball player and own a 1982 DeLorean.
I grew up in Orillia, a small town about an hour north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I’m the youngest of 3 boys and came of age in the '80s and '90s in the era of Transformers, Ghostbusters, GI-Joe, He-man, and Star Wars. As I got older, Lego was introduced in the mix and that’s when my creative process really started to take shape. I loved using my imagination and making my own creations from scratch, brick by brick.
Later on, in high school, I honed my technical skills through drawing and painting, and at that time I really loved doing realism and portraiture. Later, I was accepted into the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, where I majored in Industrial Design. I was challenged to solve design problems in mediums new to me like metal fabrication, miniature model making, and furniture design. Since Halloween was a big part of my life, I was always interested in costume design. I could make all my dreams come true by becoming my childhood heroes. When I told my girlfriend I wanted to be a Ghostbuster, she really didn’t think that was possible, so I took it as a challenge and designed my own Proton Pack mostly out of garbage and found parts. For me, it’s all about the details. I became the Ghostbuster I’ve always wanted, complete with night vision goggles and a can of shaving cream acting as Marshmallow guts.
After I graduated, I started designing my own toys out of Sculpey clay and painting them with the style of aesthetic I enjoyed, making them look weathered and distressed, and giving them a unique character. I later started re-painting my own toys I had laying around the house. I would redesign the look and feel of toys to match the world I had created for them in my mind. This concept really took off so I started selling my work on Etsy and eBay.
My influences are Ralph McQuarrie (Star Wars), Ashley Wood (Artist/Painter), John Z. DeLorean (Engineer/Designer).