Interview with Alex Solis from Oddworx

In our Makers section we are introducing you to the awesome people behind innovative products. Our guest this week is Alex Solis the creator of Oddworx.

Please tell us a little about your background and what you are doing.

My name is Alex Solis. I was born in Mexico and raised in the Midwest. I’ve been in love with art ever since I drew my very own stick figure ninja turtle. Initially I wanted to just push my work as Alex Solis, but the name was taken by a horse jockey haha. This actually gave me an opportunity to think further and make my brand a little less personal and business focused. My shop is called Oddworx  and it’s 100% my work at the moment.

I design all kinds of things and products that I feel my art will fit in. I don’t focus on trying to create a specific type of product but rather see it as different mediums and ways for people to get a small piece of my work at a reasonable price.

“As our world changes I think art does as well and artists need to step outside of just the art gallery mindset. “

What inspired you to create your brand Oddworx?

I have always been doing art ever since I can remember. The brand started organically. It was a place where my work would live. Even though I do sell at other places, Oddworx will always have the most exclusive, personal and independent projects.
I actually never thought I would make a living from just doing art, but that didn’t stop me from creating.

Making friends and family laugh or feel something by looking at my work gave me the courage to try and expand to a bigger audience.

I did a few art galleries at a younger age, all originals, but no one was really buying my work. I got the “too expensive” comment a lot and also very few people were going to the shows. I really wanted to focus more on sharing my work, so I felt like having a brand would be a way to grow and share my art, and at the same time I get the support to continue to do so.

What goes into developing new artwork?

A lot of my brand products actually start as jokes, or just random illustrations I relate to in one way or another, almost like storytelling. I share my illustrations on the internet, and usually if I feel one of them will work well as a specific product I work towards creating it.

I try to not to think too much about a product driven brand, but let the art naturally grow into products. When I see something fit as a product I create it. A lot of my work doesn’t get turned into anything. I would say about 1 out of 20 pieces does.

The developing time really depends on the complexity of the illustrations. A lot of times the concepts are strong enough that it doesn’t need a crazy illustration to tell the story, but rather something simple and effective. Some of my 30 minute illustrations are 100 times more popular than some of my month long projects.

Getting the art made into an actual product, 3d modeling, working with a company, shipping, etc are the most time consuming parts. I would say my life consists of 10% drawing 90% everything else!

What have been some of the biggest challenges?

Doing some of the jobs I didn’t expect when I started, like quality checks, working with international companies, shipping and fulfilling, but when you’re doing all these tedious tasks for your own brand and work its a lot less painful.

A good decision I made was to focus on my own work full-time. I wished I would’ve done that earlier. I made the mistake of putting too much hope and work into someone else’s dream.

With each product I make I learn something new. I still fail so so much haha but it’s a learning experience and I can see tons of growth with my own work, brand and art.

“Remember that everyone fails, but how you take those fails is what will push you to the next level or knock you down. “

What has been your greatest achievement so far?

To focus full-time on my own work and being able to share my work with such a big audience. It’s crazy to see the people that support my work from celebrities to people I realize live a few minutes away from me!

I want to start sharing a lot more of the process. I think people who see all that will appreciate the final products more.  I think a major problem I overcame was being able to work with international companies and sorta letting others take lead in the decisions to make the products better.

Some of my favorite achievements : Featured on billboards all over South America for a project I did with Fiat, winning the International illustrator award in Brazil, and I got to do a Ted Talk recently.

What are your goals for the future?

I want to expand Oddworx in the future to hopefully not just be a home for my art but possibly curate and help other artists. I’m however still far from that since I want to establish Oddworx more and grow it to be a recognizable quality brand. I don’t only want to grow my own art, but help others along the way. Also, bigger and better products in the future!

I will achieve these goals by continually working on expanding my brand and pushing my work, and slowly turning Oddworx into not just a shop for my work, but a recognizable brand in the future.

What advice do you have for someone who is just getting started with their own project?

Invest in your art and don’t depend on someone or wait for someone to do so.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, keep making art!
Inspirations can be found anywhere; from a social media post, to my dog farting and snoring at night…

“Don’t think and wait too much, the best time to get started is NOW. “

One mistake I see others doing is putting all of their time into one piece, and sorta giving up if it doesn’t do well. Keep making art! Do stuff that makes you happy.

Which resources, tools, insights have been the most helpful to you?

Products: Photoshop, Wacom, Paper and Pencil!

The best device I’ve got is, if you love art, don’t focus too much on how to make a profit, instead focus on cultivating your craft.

Some notable celebrities that have recently supported my work : NPH, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Shawn Marion, Steve Gnuyen, Adam Goldberg and Trinidad James

Who is you favorite artist and why?

Currently James Jean. His work has been growing so much but has never lost quality!

What’s the most favorite art piece you’ve ever created and why?

Probably my first independent designer toy from circle of life, a small 4in figure of a shark eating a seal!

Where can we learn more about you and Oddworx?