T. Oliver Kopian has been creating Creatures of Delight of all types for as long as he can remember.
As a teenager, at Halloween he would turn his parents’ suburban New York home into what NEWSDAY dubbed “The House That Ate The Suburbs”(October 31, 1985). Working in his parent’s suburban basement in hopes of a career in movie effects, T. Oliver Kopian had large ambitions, and a very small budget. He spent his free time sculpting creatures and masks from clay, and making plaster molds to practice his craft.
With a love of all things otherworldly, Kopian set out each year to decorate his yard with creatures big and small for what became a Halloween spectacular. Making large creatures out of the materials they use in the movies can be quite expensive, so he would fake it, using chicken wire, papier mache and fabric for bodies between latex molded hands, feet and faces.
A rainy Halloween weekend found some of the creatures’ bodies melting like the Wicked Witch of the West, while the molded pieces stayed unharmed. This lead to the practice of coating the papier mache pieces with a quick coat of latex as weather-proofing.
When a neighbor who had a gift company fell in love with the pieces and saw marketability in them, if only they were soft and squishy all over, the standard papier mache mixture in between the molded pieces was replaced with a liquid latex and fiber, and the rest was history. For quality control and to speed up the process the creatures start out as sculptures which are molded in plaster. A latex papier mache mixture is then laid into the molds. When dry they are stuffed, sealed and sponge painted, airbrushed, then hand-painted.
Patenting the “Rubber Plush”® material he created, Kopian went on to develop toys for people as diverse as Universal Studios and Walt Disney World, the Washington National Cathedral and the Salvador Dali Museum.
Kopian developed his own line “Creatures of Delight”, which has been extensively licensed, and was developed into a Saturday morning cartoon in the mid 90’s. During this time his work could be found on such things as pajamas, lunch boxes and even in Kellogg’s Rice Krispies throughout Europe.
Currently the line runs the gamut from toys, dolls and puppets to backpacks, messenger and laptop bags, as well as whimsical decorative items and soft sculpture – all made in house.
With hundreds of designs ranging from clouds and suns to dinosaurs, dragons and monsters; as well as animals fish and birds Creatures of Delight appeals to a wide range of fans. Creatures can be found in funky galleries, toy stores, clothing boutiques and more across the country.
Creatures also makes appearances at a number of retail art shows and comic conventions across the country. The studio has also worked with various museums on both interactive displays with creatures and hands on workshops in which people have the opportunity to make their own unique creature.