TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – There are people who stumble across Eric Lee’s home office and wonder if he’s on permanent hiatus.
“I have stories of people coming here while I’m doing animation and thinking I’m slacking off,” he laughs.
But he’s really, honestly working, sculpting what looks like a Wiley Post figure in virtual reality.
While working, he tells us, “I like the idea of hiding the shape of Oklahoma in these numbers.”
He is an animator by profession and has always been a collector of small action figures.
Lee recalls, “Rubberized little guys called Muscle Men. They were guys from Keshi.
When someone suggested he model an action figure based on the Tulsa Golden Driller at the local fairgrounds, he took on the challenge and went the extra mile.
“I made a sculpture of him, posted it on Instagram, and everyone was like, ‘Hey. where can I find one?’
Will Rogers seemed like someone most people knew.
Wiley Post followed when Lee saw a photo of himself with his space helmet.
Eric says Post reminded him of “a regular Iron Man”.
Eventually, he decided on five figures to place in a package.
Will and Wiley, the Golden Driller, famed U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves, and the character Buck Atom who stands outside the Tulsa store that bears his name.
“How was it received,” asks a visitor to the office about his OKIES line?
“I think people were excited,” Lee replies. “It’s a great starting point to start talking to people about Oklahoma’s history.”
We found these sets at the Ida Red outlet in Tulsa.
Eric has boxes of these lying around in case someone orders more, but he also has other ideas in the works.
“I did Chester Gould,” he tells us, “Gary Busey, Belle Star. Everyone I meet tells me I have to do this person and this person.
Lee takes breaks from work to actually perform.
There is a drum set and an electric guitar at hand.
He still likes to play with his action figures too.
After all, ideas for a growing population of OKIES are coming all the time.
“Popular art meets pop culture,” he smiles.
You can find original OKIES at Ida Red stores or the Buck Atom store in Tulsa.
Lee also just shipped an order to Literati booksellers in OKC.
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