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Check out Wesley Allard and Chris Hillseth’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Wesley Allard and Chris Hillseth.

Wesley and Chris, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
CH: I grew up in a large, artistic family. I have three sisters, one brother, and my Mom and Dad, with all of us being artists in our way. So there was always a lot of creative activities going on in the house. At the same time, I think cartoons and toys were a great enjoyment and pacifier for me when I was younger. I can remember sitting in front of the TV smashing toys together and reenacting battle scenes from Transformers and other cartoons. If I wasn’t doing that, then I was probably re-watching The Rocketeer for the 400th time.

As I got older, I moved on to collecting comics and drawing anything I could. That wasn’t quite enough, though. I would also build and paint models and could even be found customizing my toys. If I wasn’t at home doing that, I was probably playing DnD or video games with my friends. I failed a lot of classes and skipped class projects as I preferred to sit and draw or build something. Not much has changed since then.

As I went to college and got into more professional work, I was exposed to incredibly different industries that each left a distinct mark on my personality and tastes. I’ve been a silk screening tech, an art department PA on film sets, a sculptor’s apprentice for Christopher Slatoff and a field operative for Nils Grevilious’ detective service. Some of those jobs I really loved but I’ve always had this pull to create.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked in the toy industry for both large and small companies, but starting my own business with Wes has been the most emotionally satisfying.

WA: For me, I think everything starts with all the reading that I did at a young age. I always had like stories and art, but my parents believed that reading was critical to our ability to learn and survive in this world. They believed that if we could read, we could teach ourselves anything, and strove to instill a love of reading in all of their children. They didn’t really care what we read, just so long as we were doing it and enjoying it. With that push, I found myself reading everything I could get my hands on. From Greek Mythology to comic books, and everything in between.

It was a good thing too because I didn’t grow up in the most wholesome of neighborhoods. Gangs were fairly prevalent and I was mostly just a scared little kid who didn’t want any trouble. Fortunately, the bullies left me alone because I would let them copy my homework and draw pictures for them that they would then claim as their own.

I was also pretty fortunate to be around a number of artistic family members and friends that contributed to the foundations of my taste. I can remember watching my Uncle sketch pictures of Skeletons and Frazetta style barbarians in wide eyed wonder. I’d flip through my cousin’s Heavy Metal records and comic collections, just getting sucked into the cover art for hours and even staying up late when I slept over at my friend’s house so I could watch old episodes of Star Trek and the Twilight Zone. Those interest turned into a full blown obsession when I started actively collecting comics, figures, and art books in my early teens.

I would eventually go to school for Creative Writing, but never really liked what I had written. So I took a break from writing and just decided to live for a while. After collecting a wealth of unique life experiences, I picked up my pen again and that part of my brain hasn’t stopped ever since.

Chris and I met years and years ago through Judo. All those movies and comic books made me desperate to learn martial arts, and Judo ended up being the one that spoke to me the most. It didn’t take long for us to figure out that we shared a vast array of influences along with a similar dream of making comics, figures and other types of art. From there a partnership was born when I told him about Luchador and he told me about Ragnar.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
CH: My art consists of traditional and digital sculpting, line art, as well as traditional and digital painting. With these different styles of art, I create toys, figures, statues and other pieces of work. I always loved playing with toys and I think it can be a medium that encapsulates all styles of art, which in turn can create a tangible experience for the senses to enjoy.

What I enjoy the most is being able to draw something, take that drawing and sculpt it. From that sculpt I can mold it, cast it, and eventually paint the piece. Honestly, just spending time in my shop and creating things is one of the things I love and enjoy most. The Message? Do the work, make friends and celebrate everyone’s creativity while perfecting your own craft.

Some of my inspirations are Frank Frazetta, Luc Besson, Conan the Barbarian, Whitney Houston (In specific, I want a Dance With Somebody), Garth Algar, Simon Lee (Spider Zero), Agent Orange, Katsuhiro Otomo, Winston Wolf and al pastor tacos with green salsa and radishes.

WA: Last Bastion Studios as a whole is an art-house and 3D production studio with over a decade worth of experience in the collectibles industry. We specialize in making in comics, figures, prints and other collectibles, and also help other artists and toy makers bring their designs and artwork to life. That experience and our creativity have allowed us to tell our own stories and bring them to life through comics, figures, stickers, prints and pins.

Our two main properties are Ragnar and Luchador. Ragnar is an all ages fantasy comedy with He-Man and Godzilla influences while Luchador is more of a super powered crime saga with Daredevil and Pro Wrestling influences.

Ragnar is a baby Terror Turtle Kaiju who accidentally gets bonded with the Gauntlet of Power, a Mega-Man style cannon that was created to destroy kaijus. As he gets older, Ragnar meets and befriends a wild cast of characters as he unwittingly gets drawn into the battle to save the land from the evil Skeleking.

Luchador is about a 20 something kid who discovers he is super strong, super fast and nearly indestructible whenever he wears a mask. Setting out to do good, he quickly gets sucked into a mafia turf war and his whole world is turned upside down.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
We’re constantly on the road doing comic and figure conventions. Some are local, some are not. The best way to find out where we are is to follow us on social media and to check our website. We stay fairly active with updates on our latest projects and our whereabouts. You’ll also find links to our online store and can pick up a fairly wide variety of Ragnar and Luchador items there.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Wes Allard and Chris Hillseth

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