Jan 30, 2015
Nathan Jurevicinaus - Peleda Designs
Nathan Jurevicius is a design beast and one of my all time favorite toy designers. Just about everything Nathan creates I want to own as a toy. He has a vastly creative mind, an incredible eye for design, and develops ridiculously imaginative worlds for his characters.
Over the past couple years Nathan has shared many designs for his Peleda series he has developed for the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC).The show/concept was created/designed by Nathan J and the short series co-directed by his brother Luke. Nathan would like to make it into a full length film...re-write the whole concept with more humor, adventure, and action. Sounds great to me! And with that I hope we will one day see an entire line of nature spirit and critter toys from the Peleda world.
To view more of Nathan J’s wonderfully imaginative Peleda world, make your way on over HERE.
Interview with Lana Crooks
Lana Crooks is one of the top plush fabricators and has teamed up with many designers to bring their designs to life as well as meticulously creating many of her own faux specimens. She is without doubt a true master of her craft and can now add award winning to her resume as she recently won a Designer Toy Award in the Best Plush category. I reached out to Lana for a little chat.
You have been nominated several times since the beginning of the Designer Toy Awards and in 2014 you won your first award in the Best Plush category. How did it feel to hear your name called? Where is the trophy displayed in your home?
Actually, I was starting to call the DTA award my white whale. So hearing my name called I thought maybe I was having a stroke or something. Once I figured out it was real I was super nervous, this year the awards were at an amazingly large venue. Did not wish to have my acceptance start with falling up the stairs or anything of the sort. I tend to work so much that I basically exist in a bubble so it is extremely humbling and heart warming that I am even nominated each year. It was especially great to win it for this piece in particular, The Hermees plush was thought up at the second Designer Toy Awards ceremony so it came full circle!
The award is in my studio, displayed above my sewing machines. It is the room I spend the most time in and also the place where I have the most struggle. Having it where I can see it is helpful for the creative block syndrome... I get to remember that I am capable of creating something awesome.
The Art of Designer Toy Packaging
Designer toy packaging and header cards are an art form that often goes unnoticed. I have been on the fence with many a toy, and often the packaging design was the deciding factor.
In most cases, the creative mind behind the toy is also the designer of the packaging. Package design is a different art form than toy design, and it can be quite the challenge to design something to house and compliment the toy. Toys are mostly character design based, while box design is more graphic design, having to create a format, font treatments, color selection, materials, special finishes, and any other unique offerings.
When a designer applies as much time and thought toward package design as they do the toy itself, the resulting effects are pretty awesome. The next toy you see, take a moment to soak in the creative decisions the artist made for the packaging.
I hope one day we will see a package design category for the Designer Toy Awards.
Artists I Would Like to See Vinyl Toys From:
Rhode’s art has a strong Halloween influence and is chockfull of whimsy. There is no limit to Rhode’s imagination and he is one of the nicest guys I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.
Thought: With skulls being such a sought after design component, I am surprised there has not been a series devoted solely to it, and I know just the guy for it— Rhode Montijo! His Skeletown world would make for such a fun series.
Mab’s art is stunning and the stuff of dreams. I am convinced she is a robot with a dream chip that never shuts down to sleep. Everything she does is amazing with no limits to her range.
Rarely does a day go by where we don’t see a skull related toy or custom appearing on the toy blogs. They say sex sells, but in the case of designer toys the saying just might be - skulls sell. However, just the use of a skull in one’s design is not enough to make it a successful design, but rather in how it is utilized. Having the design chops to take a globally used icon and transforming it into something original and recognizable as one’s style is no easy task and yet many toy designers have done just that with great success. Humor me now, but what if there were no skulls used? Would the designs still have been as popular? What would have come of the Huck Gee Skullhead, Kaws Companion, Skelves, Calaveritas, Modern Hero, Squadts, Skelenimals, etc., and so on, without the skull theme?
What makes the skull so appealing? Is it that it conveys a face, but is not a face at all? Could it be that our own skull is something we will never get to see? Does the symbolism of the skull provoke an emotional connection? Are skulls simply cool design elements and who gives a crap why they are so widely used?
Whatever the reason and how overused, the skull icon is here to stay.
Arty Toys for Djeco
I walked into a small mom and pop toy shop recently and discovered these really fun toys that appeared to be inspired by designer toys called Arty Toys. Djeco is the company behind them and is based in Paris, France. The Arty Toys collection uses several different platform styles with a variety of artists contributing designs. Although the Arty Toys line is inspired by designer toys, they are targeted toward kids, offering 3 series with the following themes: superheroes, pirates, and knights and princesses.
The toys are articulated 3” vinyl figures that come in window packaging. The quality and paint applications are excellent. One of the best things about the figures is their accessories and how tightly they fit into the figures’ hands. Several figures in the sets also have GID (glow-in-the-dark) capabilities.
Favorite Purchase of 2014
My favorite toy purchase of 2014 was Invisible Creature’s Colonel Stinson produced by Super7. I first saw the initial prototype of the Colonel at SDCC 2012 and have been anxiously awaiting its release. Everything about this toy appeals to me as a collector. The character design is strong and the concept is both fun and creative. The color palette used is one of my favorites, and the Happy Meal-inspired box design completely put it over the top. One specific detail I particularly like is that the back of the chair the Colonel sits upon can be seen sculpted into the backside of the figure. I anxiously await what other toys Invisible Creature has in mind for their Odd Galaxy series. Fingers crossed it is not another two years until the next design is released.
Designer Toy Shelving
Mini figures are some of my favorite things to collect. However, the downside is they tend to multiply like rabbits and can often look cluttered when displayed. I set out to design fun and creative shelving that would both complement and be as fun as the toys that fill them. Here is an example of toy shelving currently being made:
The Autumn Stag shelf is currently in Pobber Toys’ hands and is being produced in resin. Pobber is only making as many as are pre-ordered beginning in February and estimated to deliverer in April, so if you are interested, head over HERE to sign up for the mailing list for more info and updates.
Hopes for Kidrobot
I would like to see the new and hopefully improved Kidrobot get back to making original miniseries. I bought this custom wood totem Julie West made a couple years back and think it would make a fantastic miniseries. They would be great as stand alone pieces or mixed and matched to assemble a variety of stacked forms. Julie could design all the pieces or other artists could contribute designs to the fun and organic shapes Julie creates.
Where Are They Now??? Interview With J. Neth
Ohio based designer J. Neth created and self-produced some of the most beautiful and unique art toys —the Neth Creatures. The creatures received enthusiastic praise and continue to be highly sought after by toy and fine art collectors alike.
J. Neth debuted the creatures at San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) back in 2005 as a series of nine 5” tall interchangeable art figures. The Neth Creatures had an organic and fluid design with a clear plastic shell housing; inside contained beautifully and meticulously hand-painted art within.
Over the course of the next two years, the creatures also saw releases in plush (Knit Neths), limited edition fine art prints, and an edition of resin figures in 2007.
In 2008, J. Neth and his creatures quietly vanished, leaving many collectors including myself mystified by their disappearance. This year, 2015, marks the 10 year anniversary of the Neth Creatures, so I reached out to Rivet Gallery to help put me in touch with J. Neth, to find out: Where did J. Neth go and what is he doing now??
Hi, J. Neth. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions.
It’s been 10 years since the Neth Creatures released, and many collectors have been wondering where you went. Can you tell us where and what have you been up to during the past 7+ years?
Hey Gary, thanks for tracking me down. I can’t believe it’s been 10 years! Developing the figures and especially doing the San Diego Comic Cons for 3 years were both such incredible experiences. Neth Creatures was always such a deep personal project for me and I loved meeting so many amazing people that helped support it. After we sold out of the Series 1 figures, the process of creating new figures became more time consuming than the art. I was really burned out trying to take on all the manufacturing and distribution; I hope I haven’t disappointed anybody with my time away. I’m currently working for a fashion retail company and I feel very fortunate to have a job that allows me to travel and work with cool creative people. Most of my free time is spent in my small art studio in the woods. It’s a nice break from the distractions of a fast paced corporate life. I’m still working on new art and I hope to show things soon. I don’t think you can ever turn off the creative process and I have spent the past several years collecting inspiration, growing, and learning.
The Collector Within
As collectors and designers, we have all heard the same questions and comments from friends and family about the things we collect….
”You paid how much for that?”
“I don’t get it.”
“Who the hell buys these things?!”
I am sure we have all thought the same thing at some point as well. I know I have and often still do. Ha.
Before I got started, I was a collector of mainstream toys like Earth Worm Jim, The Simpsons, Spawn, Toy Story toys, and the like. In 2004, I exhibited at my first San Diego Comic Con and just around the corner from my booth was something that blew my mind. It was the Critterbox Toys booth. I had no prior knowledge of designer toys, so their booth had me awestruck. The toy designs exhibited there were amazing and unlike anything I had ever seen before. There was no doubt I HAD to possess them, so on preview night of my first convention I bought my first designer toy - Pip and Norton from Critterbox.
Jan 29, 2015
Gary Ham’s Vinyl Pulse Birthday Takeover!
We're bringing it back folks! Vinyl Pulse Birthday Takeovers! What better way to start the new year, than with the guy who helped encourage us to get this series running again, none other than Gary Ham! Over the years we've covered tons of Ham related news and we are more than psyched to have him join the team for a day. Gary is the man behind great toys like the Sylvan figure, Hermes, Wooper Looper, and Monster Toytem, not to mention amazing custom and production pieces. Taking place this Friday, January 30th is Gary Pulse. Happy Birthday Gary!
Be sure to give him a follow!
Stay tuned for the next Vinyl Pulse takeover, which will be taking place very soon!