Truly, Filipino talent can never be denied. Wherever you turn, there will always be a kababayan of ours making waves in any scene they choose–whether music, movies, and yes, art toys- the ones that get sold out in a snap. The toy equivalent of the sneakers we regularly fiend for.
Meet Carlo Cacho AKA iamwetworks, a Singapore-based Filipino artist generating hype from his signature art toys. Also dabbling in sneaker-related creations, the guy just keeps releasing heat releases that are sending everyone into a collecting frenzy; not to mention collaborations and commissions all over the place!
Just a word of warning: after this interview, you may already be on the hunt for a Wetworks art toy!
First off, how did you start off with art in general? Were you one of those kids in Highschool who doodled in notebooks and won countless art contests? Please share how you got the art bug.
Yes on the doodled boyband cover notebooks haha! But yes I started doing art way back in elementary days, I joined a bunch of art contests and I remember most of the participants are seniors and I’m the small unassuming kid in the room. in college, I took a Bachelors’s degree in Fine Arts major in Industrial Design at UST and I also participated in some of the painting contests like the Shell National Arts Competition in the ’90s.
How about Wetworks? Can you give us a history lesson on how you came up with the art toy brand?
– Ok so I’m a huge fan of Whilce Portacio and of course one of his iconic comic books I collect back in the 90s is “Wetworks”. I was just so amazed and inspired by the whole art and story arc it instilled this amazing concept in my head, and I think it’s one of those WTF moments that you decide “I wanna be just like that when I grow up”. Fast forward to 2009 that’s when I started joining toy forums doing customs and modded figures using the moniker “Wetworks”.
Among your works, what is that significant piece that you can say cemented your existence in the art toy scene?
I think it’s the Hellboy piece I did for this Hellboy anniversary show in the States back in 2014 where someone took a picture of Mike Mignola smiling at my small creation. I started getting more commission requests after that.
Please share with us your design process. How do you go about a new project or a commission?
I came from a creative agency background so getting commissions are like project briefs from clients, it came easy for me actually because of that, but nowadays I have more design freedom, I mostly work on some stuff first then I show it to the client if they want it that’s great! and move on if they don’t.
Can you share with us the backstory behind your latest opus, the AP-2K? We heard that it’s inspired by a certain sneaker? Please give us a deep dive!
I met this amazing artist in this hypebeast themed convention back in 2019, his name is “Shak” aka The Terror Troopers and he is one of the bosses of this street art collective group called “DPLMT”. So I saw this small artwork called AP-2K hanging at their booth and asked him if he wants to do a collab, AP-2K is one of his original sneakerheads-themed characters and inspired by the Nike Presto.
My team made the prototype and I produced the figure with the help of Kickstarter. Basically, I’m just the guy who helped make it into a toy reality.
Being there in Singapore, can you cite how the art toy scene there compares to the Philippines.
To be honest, I’ve been away far too long I’m not really updated with the art scene in the Phillippines but I must say that both places are thriving.
We know you love sneakers, please do drop your top 5 pairs, do they also have a huge hand in your designs and concepts?
I love anything sneakers and I’m an on and off collector, and yes they play a huge part in some of my designs in fact, I have this character called “Deadstock” inspired by the whole sneakerhead movement. My top pairs would be:
Nike Presto Off-White
Nike Air Jordan 1 Off-White “UNC”
Nike Air Jordan 1 low Travis Scott
Nike SB Dunk “Ben & Jerrys”
Nike Air Force One low Off-White “Volt”
So there, thank you so much! Your message to our readers and also where can they get ahold of your pieces?
Thank you so much for all the good folks who are with us from day one and still keep on supporting us. I’m lucky to have a very supportive partner and for all the aspiring toy designers, keep working on your passion one day at a time. Please do check my Instagram: iamwetworks! Cheers!
Speaking of products made from passion and hardwork, here’s an official look at the Project 7 to 1 and SNK ATK WFH Collection.