May 08, 2014
Mini Magellan –- Jade Stars: The Great Race, Illustrated by Jerome Lu
You might be familiar with the Chinese Zodiac and Lunar Calendar which mark 2014 as the ‘Year of the Horse’. But do you know how each of the twelve animals earned that honor? To answer that question, Mini Magellan has released Jade Stars: The Great Race, a children’s book illustrated by Jerome Lu and written by Charles Huang and Stacey Hirata which presents the classic tale in a fun, fresh, & kid friendly way. The hard-cover book ($17.99) unfolds the Jade Emperor’s fabled race over 24 full-color pages.
To bring Jerome’s versions of the Chinese Zodiac characters to life, Mini Magellan asked Patty Varoiba (Fat Rabbit Farm) to create large plush toys as a companion to the book. Currently, there are three plushies – Year of the Horse (17”), Year of the Snake (14”), and Year of the Ram (19”), each with a suggested retail of $59.99. If your birth year animal hasn’t been given the plush treatment yet, don’t worry; Mini Magellan is planning to create plush versions of all twelve of the Chinese Zodiac animals.
If you have a little one, Jade Stars: The Great Race will make a fine and fun addition to his or her growing library. Having had a chance to 'play with the Year of the Snake plush, the oversized, detailed, =undeniably cute, made in the USA plush is easy to recommend. The book and the plush toys are available now from MiniMagellan.com and should soon be available at retailers around the country.
Mar 05, 2014
‘We are Indie Toys!’ by Louis Bou
Louis Bou’s ‘We are Indie Toys!’ book ($29.99) was recently released by Harper Design. The 207 page soft-color volume focus on resin art toys created and hand-made by independent artists as opposed to produced by factories. The book features a great, diverse selection of artists Jon Knox, Suckadelic, Paul Shih, Podgypanda, Eldercut, Doubleparlour, Gumliens, Emilio Garcia, Sergey Safonov and many more.
We had a chance to take a look at a review copy and came away impressed. With artist spreads covering at least four pages (or more) filled with excellent color photography, ‘We Are Indie Toys!’ is a great place for those looking to showcase the creativity and variety of indie resin toys as well as the medium’s sky high potential for reducing the barrier to toy making for talented and motivated creators. If you hand someone this book and they don’t immediately understand the magical pull of art toys – they never will.
What’s a little less successful in our opinion, is the book’s seemingly forced focus on the process artists use to ‘turn their unique ideas into one-of-a-kind collectibles’. While each artist provides helpful tips or tricks they’ve discovered and incorporated into their work practice as well as behind-the-scenes photos of molds and such, the advice and info is not detailed nor systematic enough for true beginners. While the book is a great overview of the state of the art in independent resin toys, it is not really a good starting point for learning the ins and outs of the process of creating them.
That said, we highly recommend ‘We are Indie Toys!’ by Louis Bou for its excellent coverage of top resin toy artists and their amazing creations.
Feb 24, 2014
Dacosta Bayley – March of Robots Book + Instagram Challenge
Dacosta Bayley, artist/toy creator (DCTO and more)/robot nerd, has put together a new book, ‘March of Robots’. The book features 80 pages of Dacosta’s robot illustrations including some process sketches and augmented reality portions which can be viewed as 3D models via an app on your phone/tablet. Dacosta will be launching a kickstarter campaign for March of the Robots on wait for it … March 1st. He will also be starting a month long instagram challenge – one original robot drawing per day, and asking others to join in as well. To find out more about the project – check out marchofrobots.com. We’ll be sure to update you once the kickstarter goes live.
Jan 28, 2014
Juan Muniz – ‘Da Bunny Trail’ Book Set on Kickstarter
Las Vegas-based artist Juan Muniz has just launched a Kickstarter campaign for his ‘Da Bunny Trail’ 2-book set featuring his signature character, Felipe the Bunny. The book set features a glossy 50-page art book with brand-new illustrations exclusive to the project and a coloring book version of the art book. The campaign is raising money to produce the books as well as to help ensure that Juan will be able to offer them at both SDCC and NYCC.
There are quite a few rewards including exclusive bookmarks, removable wall graphics, Tees and at the higher end of the scale OG sketches and paintings. At the $45 level, you’ll get both volumes – the art book and the coloring book. Head on over to the Da Bunny Trail Kickstarter page to check it all out. The books should ship in June.
Oct 17, 2013
Brian McCarty -- War-Toys Vol 1. Book + NYC Exhibition (11.5)
For the past several years, toy photographer extraordinaire Brian McCarty has been travelling to warn torn regions to explore and document children’s experiences of armed conflict as part of his ‘War-Toys’ project. The project draws its name from the narrative process used to engage children in which they create drawings and pose toys to relate their experiences of war in a manner that reduces stigma or emotional barriers.
Having completed the first phase of his project in Israel and the Gaza strip, Brian has compiled the work into his new War-Toys Vol 1. Book and is about to open a War-Toys exhibit (11.5) in NYC at the Peanut Underground curated by Tinca Art.
Available in both a regular ($32) and a special edition ($125), the 80 page book features 75 photographs and illustrations relating children’s memories of war as well as an introduction in English, Arabic, and Hebrew; essays by renowned expressive therapy experts Dr. Judith Rubin and Dr. Julia Byers; and a narrative account of the production of the project. Limited to 50 books, the special edition features a special foil stamped cover, signed/numbered title page, a pewter toy artifact (34 mm) molded by Pretty in Plastic of the actual plastic army man toy used in the Wall Shooting photograph, a signed/numbered 5” x 7” Wall Shooting Print and a certificate of authenticity. Both versions of the book are available for pre-order on Brian McCarty’s site. The book will be released on November 12th.
Jul 29, 2013
Martin Hsu - New ‘Kinfolk’ Book
Martin Hsu has just released his brand-new, self-published ‘Kinfolk’ book. The new 66 page hard-cover volume features his artwork from 2010 through 2013. Limited to 500 signed/numbered pieces, Kinfolk (w/bonus sticker) is available now from Martin’s webshop for $24.95 (+ s/h). The book is a convenient, affordable way to get to know Martin’s artwork beyond his toys better or to introduce a friend to his paintings.
May 21, 2012
Review: ‘The Art of Luke Chueh: Bearing the Unbearable’
It’s here. Well, almost. ‘The Art of Luke Chueh: Bearing the Unbearable’ from Titan Books officially releases in early-mid June depending on which release date you go by. I received a promo copy today, and I’ve posted up a review over on Dailydujour along with a photo gallery featuring a look inside the book. In case you just want to cut to the chase, yes it’s a very good book – a well-designed presentation of Luke’s art.
Apr 05, 2012
Awaiting ‘The Art of Luke Chueh : Bearing the Unbearable’
Luke Chueh’s first monograph, ‘The Art of Luke Chueh: Bearing the Unbearable’ ($34.95)from Gallery 1988 / Titan Books is almost here for all to enjoy. If the official release date of June 1st holds up, the wait is down to a couple of months. The 196 page volume will offer a look back at Luke’s first seven years of work including sketches and commentary from gallerists, curators and collectors about his impact. We know the art’s going to be on point and from Titan’s previous work we’re confident that book will be beautifully executed at a form-factor that does the art justice (see Luke’s instragram photo above). Now the question is… the regular version or the special collectors’ edition… ?
Aug 25, 2011
Pink Ghost – Chubby Book Series 3 (09.16)
Pink Ghost are proud to present to you their all new Artist Chubby Book Series 3, which features cover artwork by Kukula, Danny Brito, and Allison Cole. Each 6”x"6”x2” Chubby Book includes 10 Artist postcards within the 250 pages (100 lined + 150 sketch pages), which you can use for notes, journal entries, and sketches. You will find these available beginning on Friday, September 16th through Pink Ghost or other Chubby Book Retailers for $21.95.
Jun 07, 2011
Medicom Toy Manual 2
To celebrate their 15th Anniversary, Medicom is about to release ‘Toy Manual 2’, a retrospective of their toy mastery. This is a follow-up to the OG Toy Manual from 2010. It *appears* that Toy Manual 2 includes an exclusive ‘Multi-Color Be@rbrick’. Toy Manual 2 drops in late for July for ~ $48. Interestingly, Medicom also released a Be@rbrick Book to go along with the first Toy Manual. Perhaps there’s a Be@brick Book 2 in the works as well. If you don’t read Japanese, your best bet for Toy Manual # 2 may be Otacute as it’s geared towards English speaking collectors. [Image: Otacute]
Sep 09, 2010
Seen: Brian McCarty 'Art Toys' Signing
Brian McCarty signed his Art Toys photo book @ La Luz on Thursday evening. In addition to the book, Brian offered a few select prints from the book.
Sep 08, 2010
Brian McCarty: Art-Toys Signing @ La Luz De Jesus (9.9)
Toy photographer extraordinaire Brian McCarty will be signing his new Art-Toys book (Baby Tattoo) on Thursday, September 9th @ La Luz De Jesus from 6-9 PM. The book documents McCarty’s body of work capturing the essence of toys (designer, mainstream and otherwise) through over 100 full-color toy portraits as well his recollection of the shoots. Come on out, meet the man behind the lens and pick-up a signed copy.
La Luz De Jesus Gallery
4633 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Aug 17, 2010
Martin Hsu -- ‘Multigrain’ Book Signing @ GR2 (8.29)
Martin Hsu will be at Giant Robot 2 on Sunday August 29th 2010 (3-5 PM) in support of his new fine art book, Multigrain. Limited to 500 copies, the 58-page hardcover book collects his favorite paintings from the past few years. Printed by a small mom and pop press in Taiwan, the new volume looks to be a great addition to any art library or coffee table.
Giant Robot 2
2026 Sawtelle Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Jul 21, 2010
Brian McCarty – “Art-Toys” Signing and Release @ SDCC
Look up “Toy Photography” in an encyclopedia and I’m pretty sure you’ll see a picture of Brian McCarty. Brian takes amazing photos of toys in physical environments that capture and bring out their essence and personalities. After a long development period, Brian’s new ‘Art-Toys’ hardcover (240 pgs) from Baby Tattoo books collects his sweet toy photos as well as the process that goes into transporting the viewer into the toy’s world.
In addition to the standard edition ($40), there’s also a very nice special edition ($95). The special edition comes with a swanky clear slip-cover, a title-free cover (very cool) and the title page is signed by a large number of the artists whose toys are featured in the book.
I recently had the pleasure of dropping by the Switcheroo Workshop for a mass signing of the Special Edition with several artists including Bob Dob, Gary Baseman, Mark Ryden, Amanda Visell, Scott Tolleson, Yoskay Yamamoto, Luke Chueh, Greg ‘Craola’ Simkins, and Craig Anthony Perkins to name a few. Spread across several stations, each artist made their way through signing all 600 SE books.
When you look through the photos of the signing, you’ll no doubt notice the books with doodles on the covers. These are the artist-customized ‘misfit’ copies. Basically a small percentage of the 600 Special Edition books have covers that were damaged in shipping. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, and when life mars the cover of an awesome art book, you cover the defects with what else, more awesome art! Where do you get the misfit copies ? At SDCC in the Baby Tattoo booth (#) Another thing you’ll likely notice is the couple of books that have serious doodling on the title page. Consider it an amazing bonus for a few lucky collectors.
Speaking of SDCC, Brian will be signing ‘Art-Toys’ throughout the convention. Here’s the full run-down:
Baby Tattoo Books (booth #601) - Wednesday @ 5pm, Friday @ 1pm, and Saturday @ 1pm
Hi Fructose (booth #4939) - Thursday @ 4pm, Sunday @ Noon
Apr 28, 2010
Paul Budnitz – I Am Plastic, Too
While I Am Plastic, Kidrobot’s first collected book about designer vinyl took some heat from some collectors it was noteworthy in part because of the broad scope of toys selected – not just western but also a nice mix of eastern figures. So we’ve been curious about the anticipated follow-up titled – I Am Plastic, Too. Kidrobot front man Paul Budnitz recently revealed this image from the book (cover? or just promo?) featuring a Thomas Han 8” Painkiller Dunny.
The book is subtitled – “the next generation of designer toys” which we assume means it features toys since the publication of the first book (late ‘06). This one is chock full of photos/illustrations – 1000 or so. As for a shipping date for this one? Budnitz leaves it as ‘fall’ while the publisher Abrams indicates October 1st, 2010. The 368 page hardcover volume is available for pre-order now and has a suggested retail of $45 (Amazon is cheaper, of course).
Mar 30, 2010
DGPH – Journey to Molestown @ Gallery 1988 SF (4.1)
Argentinian design house DGPH (Martin Lowenstein, Diego Vaisberg, and Andres Vaisber) will open their Journey to Molestown exhibition @ Gallery 1988 SF this Thursday, April 1st (7-10 PM). This is essentially two shows in one – one wall DGPH will be showing roughly 90 pieces of varying sizes. The other wall will feature one-off prints from DGPH’s extremely cool ARK Project book which collects the work of 210 international artists, each contributing an image of a different animal native to their country/region. Proceeds from the sales of these prints will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund.
Gallery 1988 San Francisco
1173 Sutter St. (at Polk)
San Francisco, CA 94109
Dec 16, 2009
Buff Monster – Life is Sweet Signing in SF (12.19)
Buff Monster will be signing his ‘Life is Sweet’ art book @ Giant Robot SF this Saturday, December 19th from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. Published by MINDstyle, the book features nearly every aspect of Buff’s art career from his wheat pasting days to his gallery work and his art toy releases.
618 Shrader St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
Sep 17, 2009
Michael Lau x MINDstyle – Gardener Tenth Book
MINDstyle has just posted a behind-the-scenes look at the printing of Michael Lau’s new Gardener Tenth Book chronicling a decade of vinyl artistry. From behind-the-scenes material to a photographic collection detailing the preeminent Gardener series, this volume will prove to be a must have for experienced collectors as well as those looking to learn more about the godfather of urban vinyl.
Jul 22, 2009
Buff Monster -- Life is Sweet @ SDCC
MINDstyle will release Buff Monster's all-encompassing Life is Sweet art book at their SDCC booth. We had the chance to check out a printer's proof of Buff's first book and as we flipped through kept thinking wow... everything is in here. If you're a die-hard Buff Monster fan or simply curious about his work, this is a must. From his street art beginnings, to his gallery fine art, right on through his numerous art toys, it's all in there. Studio shots? Yes. Art WIP shots? Yes. Proto and unmade toy shots? Yup. Toyography ? Yup.
Very well done and packed with great pics (full disclosure -- some are from a toy blog that you know). In all seriousness and ignoring our blushing vanity, Life is Sweet at $24.95 for 144 8" x 10" loaded pages is worth a long look.
Jun 30, 2009
Gama-Go x Joe Ledbetter T-Shirt Revealed (07.02)
Gama-Go revealed images of the T-shirt that will be released during Joe Ledbetter’s “Creatures of Habit” book signing that we last mentioned here. These limited edition t-shirts will be available this Thursday, July 2nd at the Gama-Go shop in SF just for the special event. The signing will take place from 5:30-8:30 PM. Both book and T-shirt will be sold together for only $30, which is an amazing deal!
Jun 23, 2009
Joe Ledbetter – Creatures of Habbit Book Signing in SF (7.2)
Joe Ledbetter will make the short trek to San Francisco for a special signing of his recently released Creatures of Habit art book, published by Last Gasp, on Thursday, July 2nd 2009 (5:30 – 8:30 PM) @ the Gama-Go store. While the book is very cool, it’s just part of the draw. There will be a new Gama-Go x Joe Ledbetter limited-edition Tee as well as a few new original paintings. So if you’re in SF – start your Independence weekend early with JLed @ Gama-Go.
335 8th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
May 04, 2009
Sneak Preview of Joe Ledbetter’s Creatures of Habit
Joe Ledbetter just posted a sneak preview of his first art book, Creatures of Habit, published by Last Gasp. The book is in transit from China and should be available shortly. The hardcover volume features 168 full-color pages chronicling Joe’s paintings through the end of 2008. Priced at a very reasonable $19.95, this volume should prove to be an excellent showcase of the work and characters that brought Ledbetter to the forefront of the lowbrow art scene. Hit Joe’s blog over at Dailydujour for the preview.
Apr 21, 2009
Urban Paper Book Launch / Show @ Mobius (5.2.09)
Located in LA’s Koreatown, Möbius will host the launch party show for the Urban Paper book edited by Matt Hawkins as well as a paper art toy show featuring one-off works on Saturday, May 2nd starting at 7PM. The book offers 25 ready to cut and build paper toys from a who’s who of paper artists including Shin Tanaka, Kenn Munk, Sjors Trimbach, Matt Hawkins and more. The volume includes artist interviews and toy specific building instructions.
3300 W. 6th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90020
Bwana Spoons – ‘Welcome to Forest Island’ Book
You’ve collected his paintings and his toys, you’ll soon have the chance to add his colorful chaos to your bookshelf. Welcome to Forest Island, his first art book, is a tour of Bwana’s magical Forest Island featuring 144 full-color pages (9.5” x 6”). The hardcover volume will drop in June from Top Shelf Productions. You can preorder it now direct from Bwana’s web shop for $30 (+ s/h).
It will also be available on Bwana’s WTF summer tour with stops in London, Paris, New York, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. It will also be a numerous retail shops as well.
Jan 04, 2009
MCA – Simian Nation Book
Toy2R has just released MCA’s Simian Nation full-color book documenting the evolution of the artist’s signature character, Evil Ape. MCA created Evil Ape in 2001 as a reaction to the demonizing of Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman) in the media. Evil Ape was born from Reubens’s mugshot and fleshed out with sarcastic additions including demon horns and the ‘evil’ label below the character. The book features a visual history of the character including Vinyl Figures, Qees, Sculptures, Street Art and Fashion. Look for it at your favorite designer toy retailer.