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Jun 19, 2008

Closeup with MINDstyle’s Scavengers by Kathie Olivas


Kathie Olivas’ Misery Children series of paintings has captured the imagination of collectors and fans through numerous group and solo shows.  Her adolescents may appear to have a youthful innocence, but their expressions, predicaments and assorted muzzles reflect a deeper, more encumbered experience.  Kathie presents her Misery Children in both 2D with original paintings and 3D with beautifully hand-painted custom toys created with spot use of custom sculpting.  Starting last summer with the exquisite Benny and Red Bird two-figure set, Kathie has teamed up with MINDstyle to bring  the charm and complexity of her Misery Children to life as art toys. 

Her latest collaboration with MINDstyle, the Scavengers, brings her beloved and highly sought-after customs to life as blind-packaged mini art toys.  Series 1 featuring 6 figures + 1 chase goes on sale today – Friday June 20th, at art toy boutiques around the globe.  Each blind-assorted figure retails for $11.99.

We recently cracked open a Scavengers display case (15 figures) and went about hastily opening them, looking at them, scrutinizing them from about an inch away to check paint application, and photographing them for this extended look.  Before we launch into specifics, let’s just cut to the key bit – MINDstyle’s Scavengers are perhaps the finest execution of the art toy concept in mini figure form we’ve seen to-date.


Each of the six regular edition Scavengers is an original sculpt drawn from Kathie’s paintings and custom toys.  Seen above from left to right are: Beaumont , Aubrie, Masao, Dexter, Winston, and Nigel.  Each of the figures feature her signature embellishments including beanies, tentacles, crowns, lollipops, and more.  Our favorite of series 1, Beaumont, highlights the attention to detail with his awesome ‘wood’ arms, nicely swirled lollipop in hand and a painted sucker in his mouth.  In short, more than any other platform could possibly deliver, the Scavengers are a strong representation of Kathie’s Misery Children.

Yes, we do stare at toys from an inch or so away looking for paint flaws – hey, this is Vinyl Pulse – we have an excuse (well… sort of!).  While we’ve never seen a perfect paint job, the Scavengers feature extremely well-excuted paint applications especially notable in the facial details.   We can safely say there’s nothing paint-wise to detract from these toys, in fact the paint is a selling point and strength of the Scavengers.

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Usually we feel obligated to talk about and show pictures of the packaging.  For a mini figure series we’d normally skip this step – from long experience we know the drill: you rip open or if you’re an exacting collector slice  open  the box with an x-acto knife.  Either way, the result is a more or less damaged box that many of us likely wish we could bring ourselves to deposit in the circular file.  MINDstyle has upped the ante with blind-boxed packaging by presenting the Scavengers in an elaborate magnetic panel box that folds up and back to give access to the Mystery Child nestled inside.

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These boxes follow both the design sense and high build quality (extremely thick and sturdy) of Kathie’s Benny and Red Bird packaging.  Each box is fitted with an embossed slip cover that slides over the side of the box (not shown). Given the high-quality construction and their reusability thanks to the magnetic latch, these are boxes you wouldn’t dream of departing with.  Yes, in the end they are boxes and the focus is and always will be on the toy inside.  They do however add richly to the collecting experience  - torn, jagged blind-box ?  Not here – these are boxes befitting a discerning collector.

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Beyond this first series, MINDstyle will offer rare (200 or less) retailer and show exclusives starting with two SDCC exclusives.  Series 2 is expected in the fall.


From the original sculpts offering a strong translation of Kathie Olivas’ art to the excellent paint application and quality to the innovative and swanky blind-box packaging, MINDstyle’s Scavengers set a new standard of Art Toy mini-figures.  Series 1 drops today, so drop by your favorite store or purchase ‘them online.


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