Six months ago iHorror spoke to Florida mask maker Rick Styczynski about his success creating 13X Studios, and now upon the one year anniversary of his business he has no regrets since day one. We caught up with him to evaluate all of the ups and downs since the creations of 13X, but as you will read, there haven’t been many downs. This Florida boy knows exactly what he wants from the horror world, and he is slowly carving out a niche for himself mask by mask.
- Since your first couple of conventions what doors have been opened to you from 13X Studios?
When starting 13X back in November, I truly wanted this to be a hobby. I love Halloween and I figured it would be a cool on the side gig to make masks all year, and in return make a few bucks. One year later and I have an exclusive deal with Kevin Smith, Halloween Mega Store deal, I’ve been in talks with Hulk Hogan, created the Spitting Blood Podcast, have more than a dozen conventions under my belt, and created the Camp Blood Horror Celebration. It went from a hobby to a part time gig, and now to a full time job! It has been an unbelievable ride!
- What have been some of your most memorable experiences that 13X Studios has given you the opportunity to experience?
I think getting the deal with Kevin Smith has been the coolest thing so far. Also getting to bring Jeremy Palko from The Walking Dead onto the podcast, Spitting Blood. I think what makes me happy the most with this whole experience has just been just dealing with my customers and hearing their love for Halloween. I made a mask for a little boy a month ago, and he was so excited to get it that he YouTubed everything. I actually had tears of joy. It was very cool. So many people have told me that I have inspired them. That also means the world to me. Camp Blood has also been pretty awesome too. I had this idea for a horror convention and 3 months later it was a reality, and based upon its success we already have 4 more lined up for 2018!
- Your Kevin Smith Silent Bob mask is now in his comic book store in Red Bank, NJ. How did this amazing feat happen?
Arthur Lopez of Fresno, California was searching through Spooky Empire picture back in April and he saw my Silent Bob mask. He then tweeted to Kevin Smith and 48 hours later I received an exclusive deal from Silent Bob and Jay’s Secret Stash. My first run of masks sold out very quickly. The next shipment I sent them was three times as large as the initial order to keep up with demand. These guys have been very good to me, and being a huge Kevin fan anyway, it has been a hell of a ride. I got to hang out with Jay Mewes last month at MegaCon Tampa following the creation of my Jay mask. Kevin has exclusive rights to my “white hat Silent Bob mask” so I am always creating other styles for fans of his work to buy at my conventions. The thing that really gets to me though, Kevin truly is the nicest guy ever. He is one in a million in the film industry. Truly.
Silent Bob mask turned into a hockey jersey; collaboration between Jeff Quigley (creator of Smith’s crests) and mask maker Rick Styczynski .
- Is your house a constant state of Halloween and horror?
A few months back I rented out a small storage unit in my apartment that turned into my studio. Unfortunately, it’s so hot as hell in there and not really conducive for drying the masks, so I just use it for storage now. Now 13X has moved into the apartment! The wife loves this. (not really) But she understands it’s what it is. Masks usually are everywhere, however when we have friends over, we keep it perfect, however usually friends want to see all my new styles. Sorry Dawn. I love you 😉 I have stopped scaring her though. She[s so used to it that it’s lost its appeal. I’ll jump out at her and she’s just like ‘Fuck you asshole’ and walks away.
- What has been your most popular mask?
Jason styles have always been and always will be my best sellers. I’m starting to really think outside the box though. My brain is coming up with some awesome ideas. There are lots of mask makers out there who truly do amazing work. My thing is trying to make a fun mask at a very reasonable price. Let’s face it, not many can afford $80 per mask. So I try to give people fun options, good quality work, and awesome customer service at an affordable price. What’s funny is people always ask me “What’s your best seller?” Honestly, they all sell. I have over 200 styles and ever since day one I haven’t been stuck with a single one.
- Your art can be so versatile, are you planning on attending non horror events to vend?
I have pretty much dedicated myself to MegaCon, and it has been truly good to me. However, yeah, I plan on picking up some more horror conventions next year. In February 2018 I’m doing Mad Monster Charlotte, which will be my first non-Florida event. I’m going to mostly focus on cons like these, but have a few pop culture ones here and there which will only grow my business. Even if they’re not successful from a selling point, which they are, I also have a blast at these conventions meeting new people and hanging out with other likeminded fans!
- Has there been a mask idea you wanted to do but just couldn’t make work on a mask?
I always have struggled with the Jason X mask. The cast is different than the others, so I backed away, however I started making Jason X Frostbite masks. They are so much fun to make. Lots of work but a spectacular pay off. Leatherface has always been an issue as well. I always try, and they just don’t turn out right.
- You always do charity work for Give Kids the World through 13X Studios, why this charity?
Since I was young I loved doing charity events. I did a charity basketball tournament in New York 20 years ago for Sarah Anne Wood, a little girl who was missing. We raised close to $3000. I guess that was my wake up call. Give Kids the World is pretty much in my back yard here in Florida, so for the last 10 years I have done everything from poker tournaments to football pools to raise money for them. It feels good to do something good. That place is insane though, it’s like a mini Disney World! What they do for the kids is just beyond words. Check them out at GKTW.org!
- What is your ultimate goal for 13X Studios?
The ultimate goal for 13X Studios is to add lots more items to my business and just do a billion cons. I’d be very happy living rest of my life doing this. However, I’m not quite ready for that yet. I just started adding more non Florida cons to my schedule and will be slowly reaching out geographically. I have only been in business for a year now and have accomplished so much! I can’t wait to see where 13X Studios will be 2 years from now, and what we further accomplish. Movie making has also always been in my blood, so I’m sure I’ll be getting involved with a film in the future too. Lastly, as Poker has been a big part of my life, don’t be surprised to see 13X Poker. lol
- You created your first event called Camp Blood Celebration at Gods & Monsters in Orlando, FL this past October 13th. What inspired you to create this event? Do you plan to grow this event based on its success?
I went to Gods & Monsters comic book shop a few months ago as friends with the owner Todd, and I told him my idea as I wanted to bring this event to his place. I think within seven seconds it was a done deal. We had 20 dealers, movies, a themed Friday the 13th drink menu, fire dancing, a cosplay contest, horror trivia, a raffle benefiting Give Kids the World Raffle, and so much more! It was everything I wanted to accomplish, and I did! Piper Minear of iHorror was my right hand man and she helped through some difficult issues we had. She will also be coordinating the February Camp Blood event and we have an additional two more events for 2018! We are going to build this brand and definitely roll with it.
- Can customers request a custom mask?
I am making custom masks for customers daily. I’m pretty much straight up with if I can do what a customer asks or not. Feel free to check out my website www.13Xstudios.com and also check out my facebook, instagram amd twitter just by searching 13XStudios. One thing you get from me as an artist is I love horror, and I’m very passionate about every mask I make. They all have a story and I would love to make one for you. Feel free to message me any time.