Artist Interview with Clippinubs

Clippinubs AKA Julio Aponte is a Brooklyn-based artist and gunpla builder. He has been a prominent creative force in my life for the past four years. When he’s not creating digital art then he’s busting out solid scale models.

When he’s doing neither he’s working on a unique hobby podcast with a whole gaggle of other scale modelers.

I was fortunate enough to be able to interview him over streamyard so enjoy this article and a link to the mainly unedited video interview!

Q: How do you think growing up in an urban area influenced your art?

A: I like to think that being in such a culturally rich city has definitely exposed me to a lot of cool art. It has influenced my model-making.

Q: How does your heritage influence your work?

A: I hadn’t thought about that… I don’t know? My mom kept cultural to the traditions but it was only like ya know the man ones like Christmas. Stuff like that. Like a Hispanic catholic would do. Me learning later on about my culture has definitely helped to make me feel like I was doing something with my life.

Q: Tell me about your favorite medium?

A: Probably like digital art is my favorite medium because you can get a lot done compared to traditional. There’s something about doing it on a computer that’s fantastic. More control, less control. It’s pretty good. I am a digital artist by trade.

2021 O.M.C. submission

Q: (In relation to the last question) Do you favor digital art over gunpla?

A: Yeah, see digital art is my career. (gesturing to the gunpla on his desk) This is my hobby.

Q: What tools are crucial to you?

A: Oh man, uh, probably like the normal shit. A good pair of nippers, hobby knife, glass file, and ceramic scrapper, that’s just for pure out-of-the-box building. Custom stuff is like a jeweler saw, a bunch of glues, a bunch of epoxies, scribing jigs whatnot. Depends on the build.

Q:(In relation to the last question) What about your art, like digital or traditional?

A: Traditionally, I like pencil and paper, there’s nothing like it honestly. Digitally I like photoshop, illustrator, and some 3D model programs like blender or Zbrush.

Q: Where do you find inspiration?

A: Everywhere, honestly. If something is not inspiring you then you really shouldn’t be fucking with it. If you’re enjoying something or another then you’re being influenced. It’s seeping into your creative juices. Say something like Ridley Scott. You’ll watch it and say “this is really fucking cool” and be making something. “Oh, this kinda looks like that”. It has nothing to do with your model making. Subconscious influence. 

O>M>C. 2020 submission

Q: What does your artwork represent? Are there themes or messages?

A: My artwork represents a doodoo in a toilet (To which I reply shut up stupid). I don’t know, I think it like gives a good basis for who I am. I really like to customize anything even if it’s like my desk. I’ll throw stickers on it or I’ll throw an accessory like a cup holder. I do enjoy customizing everything I own. It does represent me as a custom-type guy.

(In regards to the theme portion) In more digital since it’s a real photo of something. When you’re making like gunpla you’re trying to represent a powerful robot. When I’m doing something custom I’m trying to tell a story instead of it being an image you see.

Q: How do you think art is important to society?

A: I feel like without art in our world it’d be a much darker place. Art gives you something to relate to. It can give you something to be shocked or bewildered by. It really runs the gambit of what art can say to a person. I feel without it there wouldn’t be a lot of good happy feelings for anyone because everything is art in one form or another. 

Q: What motivates you to create? What burns you out?

A: When I first started building stuff that was more like doing something more productive in the sense that I wasn’t just sitting and pressing buttons. I like digital art but all you’re doing is sitting and pressing buttons, ya know? It gave me another medium to do stuff like “oh you can do crazy shit with this”

(In regards to burnout) Recently, doing too much. I spent years making and making after a while I just want to fuck around for a while.

Wing Zero bust

Q: How do you define success as an artist?

A: To me, a successful artist is inspiring others. If you can create that spark of joy in someone else, it has nothing to do with what you made, that’s a successful piece.

Q: How do you develop your art skills?

A: Pratice, pratice, and practice. 

Q: Do you have a network of other artists, and how do they support you? 

A: They give me positive reinforcement and they inspire me daily. That’s all the support I need, ya know?

Q: Do you have tips for other artists looking to connect with their local art scene?

A: Social media has it’s drawbacks. One of the better parts of it is the community on it. Whether people love you or hate you you’re just going to have to deal with it. You know try to talk to more artists who are into the stuff you are into. 

Q: Which art trends inspire your work?

A: I  don’t know if I follow any trends. I do keep up build-offs and competitions that happen yearly but I make what I want. I don’t follow a style.

Q:  Is there a specific environment or material that’s crucial to your work?

A: I gotta be comfortable one way or another. If every step I’m doing I’m uncomfortable in then I’m not going to make good stuff. Gotta be comfortable in your surrounding to flex that muscle.

Q:  Who are your biggest artistic influences?

A: Overall influences, a lot of people from O.M.C. are really inspiring, really fantastic stuff. All my friends are great inspirations. Real powerful influences throughout my life have been classical painters Dali, Rembrandt, and definitely Van Gogh, the big names.

Q:  (In connection to the previous question) What about video game creators?

A: Oh my god, that’s a whole other one like Misaki, Kojima, and recently Guirellmo del toro. I’ve been sucking in a lot of his creativity!

Q:  What do you listen to when working?

A: Seinfield is on loop or I’ll watch the Office.

Q:  When people view your art, what do you want them to experience or feel?

A: When someone views a scale model I made I want them to be like “wow, did he really make this? Impossible!”. When I make regular art I want people to say “That’s really nice!”, or tell me how it makes them feel like “oh this is creepy!”.

Q:  How do you deal with the rejection of your art? 

A: If someone gives you valid criticism then they want you to do better.

Q: How do you think you would handle a gallery rejecting you?

A: Take it somewhere else. If I’m really trying to get somewhere one gallery saying no isn’t going to stop me from getting it hung up somewhere. If they say no just keep moving. I’m not going to take t too personally. 

Q: What advice do you have for young artists?

A: Never stop stopping. Don’t let anything get in the way of wanting to make something. No one can take that from you. 

Buy the cheap shit because you’ll learn with it. Don’t worry about how much you spend on tools because they’re always worth it. If you could buy a kit or tool, buy the tool. 

Watch the interview video here:

Find Julio at these handles:





What do you think? Drop a comment below and let me know, I’d love to hear it.

Have a snowy Monday everyone!


3 thoughts on “Artist Interview with Clippinubs

  1. Julio, your questions were well thought out and provided valuable insight into Clippinubs’ art and creative process. Your interview was a great representation of the importance of storytelling through art and the role of cultural heritage in shaping an artist’s perspective.

    Keep up the good work. Your dedication to exploring and sharing the work of talented artists is appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s