Interview with Oliver Liu (Queen Studios' Co-Founder and Art Director)
July 30 to August 2 was the 19th China Joy in Shanghai, China. China Joy is the biggest Digital Interactive Entertainment Exhibition in Asia and was successfully held at the Shanghai New International Expo Center. The exhibition hall covers an area of 140,000 square meters. With more than 300 enterprises, and a celebration of new collectables the exhibition went off without a hitch.
QUEEN STUDIOS' BOOTH
Queen Studios is one of the leading pop culture collectable companies globally. At China Joy 2021 the studio brought fans more than 30 statues and busts, including some of your favourite Marvel and DC characters. Such as: Iron Man, Spider-Man, Batman, Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Joker, Darkseid and Steppenwolf. For the event, Queen Studios displayed these collectables in a series of stages which festival goers experienced as they walked around the booth. This coupled with some award-winning digital game interactions and some excellent cosplaying made the experience one to remember.
CLOSER TO THE SCENE
Queen Studios founder Oliver Liu summed up the China Joy 2021 collection in a few words, he said “In addition to our classic works, which we've already released. We exhibited some new statues from the Dark Knight Trilogy, which included a 1/1 life-size Joker statue, as well as a 1/3 and 1/6 Joker Police Uniform statue. From DC, we also brought a 1:4 Darkseid statue, a 1/4 Museum Line Batman and Superman statue. For Marvel, the newest collectible is the 1/4 Iron Man MARK 50 statue. Altogether we have 7 new products for our fans to enjoy." He then answered a few questions in retrospect after the festival.
Which QS blockbuster collectibles were your favourite at China Joy this year?
We brought a lot of The Dark Knight Joker Statues in different scales and mixed media to this year’s China Joy. I must mention the 1/1 life-size Joker statue. From the face painting, clothing, poker cards to the dollar bills on the base, every detail is created by us, and it is awesome. This is the result of our patience and dedication to the franchise and the art. We also brought a 1/3 and a 1/6 scale Joker Police Uniform statue.
Queen Studios' works are renowned amongst collectors. What do you think is the main reason for this?
I think the main reason can be summarized in three points. First, the copyright advantage. We are the first company in the world to sign a contract with Disney and Warner to make hyper-realistic 1/1 silicone statues and busts. In 2018, Warner Brothers' Shanghai office was established and we are one of the first in China to sign a partnership agreement with these guys. At present, Queen Studios has been authorized by well-known IPs such as the previously mentioned, Fox and Hasbro.
The second point is our imaginative work. Each collectible is carefully designed and crafted by our team. We consider every step of the R&D and production process, thoroughly discussing each stage before the final steps are taken.
Thirdly, all of our collectibles are limited edition and retain the exclusivity. And we hand sign all of our certificates to give a personal touch. We think this point, alongside my other two points is why our fan base is supportive and eager to see what we will release.
What are the advantages of collectables from Queen Studios compared with the other collectable brands?
It a mixture of things. Our commitment to creating life-like products, our engagement with our fan base and our dual-track parallel development strategy, together create an environment that allow us to amazing products and subsequently receive more renowned IPs. What we value is the quality of the products. Seeking quality but not quantity is our attitude.
How do you control the artistic positioning and craftsmanship of Queen Studios products to present a perfect piece?
As a member of the Queen Studios team, and as Queen Studios' Art and R&D Director, I have always held the belief that I would rather postpone the release of the work to guarantee quality. We hope to present collectors with something that is everlasting, something that is awe-inspiring and worth collecting.
It's mainly because our team are responsible for their work. To complete the project at hand, the give it their all. Teamwork is also another factor. These are big projects that cannot be completed by a single person.
So far, which is your favourite work? Why?
I have answered this question in an interview before. In fact, as one of the main researcher and developers of most of our collection. From the concept design, sculpting it into 3D, then printing and remodelling, colouring until we create the product. The whole process is the same as watching your child grow up. Last time I answered, I said our Joaquin Joker and this time, my answer is still the same. It’s not because our new product is inferior to the Joaquin Phoenix Joker, but because Joker is such a complex character to me personally. At the same time, because of the saying “If you’re not crazy, you’re not alive”, it’s like a milestone. You must devote yourself to the career you love and strive to be the best.
Where do you see Queen Studios' position in an already established domestic and international market?
The Art Toy Collectible market is well established in the USA and Europe. But in Asia, the scene first seems to have appeared in Hong Kong and Japan in the 1990s. In my opinion, the collectibles are also a kind of culture, a kind of pop culture. Trends may come and go with the passage of time, but cultures last. For our company, we can't hold the mentality of comparison, but we should think about improving ourselves. We need to think about how to embed culture in our work and try to find a way to make this culture stand the test of time. We still have a lot to learn and a lot to create. We always put ourselves in a starting position, to remind us we have a lot more to do and urge us to keep moving forward.
What are the unique features of Queen Studios in copyright development?
Everyone who joins our team will have a field of interest. Whether it's movies or comics, every collection of ideas can provide inspiration and creative sparks. It's because of our hobbies that we try to get involved in different aspects of the culture, such as Marvel, DC, Hasbro, Universal Studios, Japanese Manga, Chinese Comics... Every attempt at different collectable brings us different kind of growth, subsequently allowing for bigger IPs.
What new product development plans are there in the future?
I don't know if you still remember the bust of Loki that Marvel authorized us to exhibit at the Shanghai Comic Exhibition in October 2018. It caused quite a stir online at the time. Now, 3 years later, we are going to launch another Loki bust. Although the inspiration for the bust of Loki this time is still the first Avengers, the shape is completely different from the previous one.
What do you most want to say to your fans?
I’m grateful to the fans who have always believed in, and supported Queen Studios. From the establishment of Queen Studios in 2018 to present, we are still in a beginner in this industry. I know that we still have a lot to learn and improve, and I also know that there is still a long way to go. However, even if we stumble, your support will keep us going.
"Thanks! Queen Studios will continue to work hard!" - Oliver Liu
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Post by Zana Wang & Luke Wainhouse
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