Welcome to the table.
I had a chance to sit down with Aaron Kusik from GrimStylesArt to talk about custom dice and artistic inspiration.
Anton Kromoff: Hello Aaron and thank you so much for taking some time to talk to me about your craft. Your online store GrimStylesArt offers stickers, dice, pins, and more. Can you tell us a little bit about the person behind the product?
Aaron Kusik: Sure! I consider myself primarily a resin artist, who just loves to create with anything I can get my hands on. I spend a lot of my time doing the art and even more, time imaging other things to create. In my spare time, I volunteer my time at local LGBTQIA+ organizations such as our town’s local pride events and local college student organizations.
I also enjoy cooking and trying new foods whenever I get the chance. And lastly, playing DnD! The games I play are primarily homebrew, just so I can inject as much chaos and fun into each session as possible, and I like to think that same chaos shows in my art and dice.
Anton: Now, you also operate a Patreon where supporters can subscribe for grab-bags, first looks, crochet dice bags, and even custom dice coupons. Have you found that an online store itself brings in more clients or the Patreon?
Aaron: It’s kinda a toss-up! My Patreon only discord gets to see all my new work first plus they get to see works in progress that sometimes never make it to my main social media platforms. We discuss ideas for new dice, upcoming projects, and ideas I’ve had.
While my website brings in people that might not want to chat about all that stuff and just appreciate the finished project as a new jewel for their hoard. That said, I know the names of everyone who has purchased from me and I take notice when they return to the site to pick up something new, and I greatly appreciate my website’s frequent visitors and my patrons who love to talk shop with me.
Anton: Now, do you crochet those die bags yourself?
Aaron: My partner actually makes those! They will usually look at dice I’ve made in and will match a color scheme to them, and will sometimes make a special bag for a commissioner set of dice to match their character. Working together on projects like that is how we like to spend time together.
Anton: I Love that! Are you a full-time artist or do you also engage in other pursuits?
Aaron: As of now I’m a full-time artist! I used to be a licensed optician, but now I focus my time on art and helping other artists when I can! The Kickstarter I did featured pins made by 10 other small artists so I could help them get their art out into the world and make it into a physical item! I wanted to spend more time doing things like that.
Anton: The custom dice on your site are nothing short of works of art. The occult bundle has what appears to be a crimson gemstone style D20 that seems as much a prop as it does an item of play. I’ve been rolling and collecting dice for over 20 years and it is easily one of the most beautiful dice sets I have seen. What inspires you to create such visually astounding pieces of work?
Aaron: So there’s a lot of backstories there! So one of the artists I work with is a 3d modeler called RevelBroker, and they designed that gemstone die as a d12 and it also has the 12 star signs on it as well. I’ve always wanted strange or weird dice and it started with me making a d20 that uses the elder furthark runes instead of numbers and from there, its got more crazy.
I have a d8 that twisted around and technically only have 5 sides, 2 flat and 3 concave. I have a d26. Its shape only allows it to land on 18 of those sides that are numbered 2-19 so it never rolls any crits. The bundles on my site are never the same and an opportunity to get a small batch of curated items, and check back every two weeks or so to see new bundles and new weird dice!
Anton: What does a typical custom dice process look like for you? Is there a questionnaire? A checklist to fill out or is there a more in-depth consultation?
Aaron: I usually start by asking a few questions such as :
· What’s the timeline for this project? · Is it for you or are we creating a gift? · What is your desired budget for this project? (So I’m not offering things that would be out of the realm of what someone is looking for?) · Do you have any photos, descriptions, or mood boards of your dice (be they characters themed or simply a vibe they want to achieve)
A lot of these questions get answered in the original email or Instagram message (those are the best ways to contact me) so I usually will continue by giving a few ideas that I have for the project and from there it’s a very involved and personal process.
Anton: Do you prefer being given a lot of direction or more vague ideas and then being allowed to create as you go?
Aaron: I love both, I just love being able to create something that can be someone’s crown jewel of their collection. Sometimes they need guidance, sometimes they know exactly what they want and I just have to will it into existence for them. Both are equal in my eyes and I’m here to facilitate that journey to a beautiful work of art.
Anton: Thank you so very very much for your time. Would you mind telling our readers where they can keep up with you and the wonders you are creating?
Aaron: I’m primarily GrimStylesArt on Instagram, my website is GrimStylesArt.com and you can see my Instagram feed on it if you don’t have an Instagram. I also post on TikTok at GrimStylesArt. And of course, if you wanna support me making more crazy stuff and wanna see it first in GrimStylesArt on Patreon!