iHorror: Out of all of the avenues you could have taken to get into the horror vendor scene, how did you choose to customize Jason masks?
Rick Styczynski: After Halloween this year, I cosplayed Jason a few times and someone wrote me on Instagram and asked to buy my outfit. I said yes. As I was going to the Post Office to ship the package, a light bulb went off in head. That’s when 13X Studios was born! I got some masks and played around and I guess I just went with it. I pretty much just did Jason masks, after few months I started other creations.
iHorror: Have you always been artistic?
RS: Growing up in Troy, New York I was always a jock. Baseball and basketball were my sports, so I never got involved in any artsy stuff. However this one time at Band Camp….Just kidding….I have an aunt that is artist, so I think that’s where all this came from.
iHorror: When did your obsession with horror begin?
RS: I always was fascinated with horror. I always was fascinated with masks. Every year I would help my family decorate and it always made me happy. My father used to have this Frankenstein type mask that would always freak me out…We are still trying to find it as it’s somewhere in my sisters basement, but still no luck….
iHorror: What are some of the more memorable experiences at conventions you’ve had while selling your art?
RS: I have done two conventions so far. Spooky Empire and MegaCon Orlando. They were both amazing experiences. I have been going to Spooky for 8 years now, so to be part of the convention is really cool. I still will say this hands down; Spooky Empire is the best convention on the planet! The atmosphere is so chill, and everyone just has a great time. Also, the parties at Spooky are legendary….This year they are also crossing over with “Spooky Day at the Parks” September 22 and 23 at Coronado Springs in Disney. I will be selling exclusive masks for that event, they will be Disney Villain inspired!
iHorror: What doors has 13x Studios opened up for you?
RS: I got off to a pretty fast start in November getting my name out there and making moves. Then the unthinkable happened. Some random guy sent a picture of my Kevin Smith Silent Bob Mask to Babble on the Hollywood Babbleon Podcast with Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman. They talked about the mask and Kevin loved it. A few days later I received a call from Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash and a deal was made.
They have exclusive rights to my Dirty Hat Silent Bob mask. Memorial Day they were listed online and in their Secret Stash store in New Jersey. That was a dream come true as Kevin Smith inspired not just myself but many of us after he did Clerks. Now to be part of something so special…And everyone there is so nice, it’s beyond words.
Back to the guy who sent picture. His name was Arthur Lopez and he’s from Fresno, California. That’s all the info I had as Ralph Garman said his name…I tried and tried to find him to thank him but I didn’t have any luck. Then finally I got this Facebook message from him. It made me so happy, and we’re now friends! Im actually making a mask for him this week. Without him sending that picture, who knows if Kevin would have ever seen my creation.
Another special event I’m so happy to be part of is Hearts of Reality in Celebration, Florida. I am making an exclusive Tiki Mask that all of the reality stars of “Survivor” will sign. The mask will then be part of the Hearts of Reality Auction on Ebay. The money will benefit GIVE KIDS THE WORLD which is the number one charity I deal with. Helping these kids is the greatest feeling you can have.
iHorror: Which mask is your favorite?
RS: My favorite mask is the Jason part 7 mask. I’m a big fan of Kane Hodder, and I had the privilege to get to know him this past Spooky Empire and pick his brain with some of his thoughts about the masks. I made him a mask of his favorite band “Twiztid,”
I love making celebrity masks. I made Alice Cooper a mask and he fell in love with it. It’s so rewarding seeing people’s faces when they see my masks. It makes everyone happy, including myself, and it gives me a drive to go harder.
People know me and the way I work. I just keep going and going. It’s not just about money or getting your name in the limelight. I love inspiring people. I get emails daily of people telling me my drive and everything I’m doing is inspirational to them. That to me is what it’s all about. Go for your dream!
iHorror: Which mask is the most popular? Or does it vary based upon the convention?
RS: The Jason masks are definitely the most popular. At Spooky Empire I sold masks that were darker in theme, and more pop culture and comic book related masks at MeagaCon Orlando. However, Jason is still the main guy in charge. Who doesn’t like Jason? Funny story though, my last hour at MegaCon a guy came over to me and said he was famous. I had no idea who he was. He opened up his wallet and his license said “Jason Voorhees”. It was so surreal! I gave him a mask for free. I want him to be my new best friend!
iHorror: What made you branch out from the original Jason mask into other fandoms and categories?
RS: After a few months of making Jason masks I was messing around with some 3D paint and ended up making a Freddy mask. It came out pretty sick! So I picked some other characters that I wanted to try and I guess I just kept going it.
Two masks that I got lots of love for, well, and even some hate lol, is my John Wayne Gacy and Charles Manson masks. A friend’s daughter of mine called the Manson mask “angry Jesus.” LOL!
I just love going through pop culture and just making art. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. I made a Leatherface mask and, well, it was pretty horrible. It came out looking like Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs! “Put the lotion on the skin or you get the hose again!”
iHorror: On average, how long does each mask take?
RS: I have found a way to speed up most of the Jason masks but I try to get all of the correct detailing, so that takes time. Each mask is usually a two day process when you take into consideration the sanding, primer, detail and protection. The other masks can even take longer as I paint everything by hand. No air brushes at 13X Studios. Since I began selling in November 2016 I’ve sold over 700 masks, that’s a lot of hours mask making!
iHorror: Do you take custom orders?
RS: I do custom orders daily. I try to accommodate everyone and get a feel for what they want. I love trying new characters or different styles. Sometimes you just need to take a break from the same styles that I paint on a daily basis. In fact, I just got a custom order the other day for a Fifty Shades of Grey type bondage mask. Now that’s some freaky shit right there!
iHorror: What does the future hold for you and 13x Studios?
RS: I feel like I haven’t even started my business yet, not really. I’m still in the early stages, but what I’ve accomplished so far is pretty awesome! Not bad from an ex-Online Poker Player, bartender and DJ.
I guess Poker taught me to take more risks, so I’m using that strategy with my masks. I can’t even imagine what this Halloween season will bring. Aside from the conventions I’ll be doing and the online sales, my masks are also in Gods and Monsters. Gods and Monsters is a famous comic book store in Orlando, Florida and I’ll be at their two year anniversary party selling my masks on Saturday June 17. Fellow artists Morgan Wilson or Luxnova and Vaughn Belak who has personally helped me navigate this scene will be there as well!
The future looks very bright, and a lot of that has to do with Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash!
I also have an amazing model from Connecticut. Her name is Cunnographic and she will be doing lots of work with me in the future!
iHorror: Where can we see you next? What is the best way to reach you for orders as well as to see what work you have available on hand?
RS: I try to update all my convention appearances on social media. I just started a Twitter, but I also use Facebook and Instagram. You can search 13xStudios. A website is being worked on as my dot com name brings you to my etsy store www.13Xstudios.com.
Please be aware not much is in stock at the moment as MegaCon Orlando wiped me out, but I’m back to work tomorrow, dutifully cranking out masks daily. Ok my wife Dawn is walking up the stairs, I need to hurry and get a mask on and scare her. My daily routine.
Thank you iHorror. Keep inspiring all of us Horror buffs!