Even if you’re only a casual action figure collector, chances are you’ve heard of Jean St. Jean – and you’ve almost certainly seen (and probably own) his work. His career has spanned many companies and toy lines, among them Diamond Select’s Stargate, Battlestar Galactica, The Munsters and Universal Monsters, and Marvel Select toy lines; Mezco’s mega-scale Thundercats figures; and DC Collectible’s World of Warcraft. He’s also an all-around cool guy. –PG
Jean St. Jean
Real Name: Jean St. Jean
Specialty: Sculptor / Musician
Base of Operations: Northern New Jersey
History: Jean St. Jean is a musician turned sculptor, who began his career in a small upstate NY toy sculpting studio doing mostly preschool toys and dolls. Five years later he joined McFarlane where he spent almost 7 years helping them develop their hyper realistic style, the last 4 years as Sculpting Supervisor. In 2004, he left McFarlane to start his own company, Jean St. Jean Studios offering sculpting, painting and prototyping services working on such licenses as Diamonds Select’s Stargate SG-1, SG Atlantis and Battlestar Galactica lines, Mezco’s Cinema of Fear, DC Direct’s World of Warcraft and Ame-Comi and Amoktime’s Killer Klowns and Day of the Dead lines. His current projects have been the Lion-o and Mumm-Ra for Mezco’s Mega scale Thundercats line, the Munsters 7” Select line and various Universal monsters for DST including the Metaluna Mutant and Phantom of the Opera as well as contributions to the Marvel Select figure series. He has sculpted more than 30 mini-busts for DC Direct including Heroes of the DCU, Blackest Night and various movie properties.
Poe Ghostal: The new Marvel Select Venom looks fantastic. What was the process for sculpting this figure? What was your inspiration for the sculpt, and how do you approach Marvel Select sculpting in general? For example, do you tend to skew toward the work of a particular artist, or do you try to create a blend of elements, or come up with your own design?
Jean St. Jean: As with all of my DST projects they usually evolve out of extended conversations with Chuck Terceira (DSTChuck on his Art Asylum blog). In the case of Venom, he’s been requested for so long we wanted to do something special and get slightly outside of the usual MS formula and create a Venom with multiple custom options rather than one version with a base. As with all of the Select projects I’ve done, I picked up a bunch of the collected story lines and graphic novels and re- familiarized my self with his history to find what I thought were the coolest incarnations of the Eddie Brock Venom. First of I wanted a totally badass terrifying Venom with tons of teeth and a nasty tongue and a transforming Eddie Brock. So the “Lethal Protector “ storyline inspired me for those two heads and a huge pair of nasty claws. Then there’s been a lot of requests for the crazy multi-armed multi-headed version from the “Madness” story line, and I came up with a pretty interesting way to create that Venom. Last but not least I wanted to do an old school Todd McFarlane Venom with a big grin! The trick was all these permutations had to work on the same body; all the heads are interchangeable and there are multiple hand options.
In terms of Marvel Select in general I try to find the best elements of the character, such as the Marvel Select comic version Hawkeye (Disney exclusive DST Avengers), Nightcrawler, or Anti-Venom. Diamond expects me to bring my interpretation and vibe to the Marvel line, so I essentially get to do exactly what think should be done with the sculpt and paint work. They are the one company that actually utilizes me as an art director/ project manager and sculptor, so I particularly value my years of collaboration with them.