Sep 24, 2007
Toy of the Week - Mister Cartoon's Lost Angel
To close out our Toy of the Week Summer feature we're selecting one of the standout releases of '07 -- Mister Cartoon's Lost Angel figure from SA Studios and Super Rad Toys. Based on the Lost Angel character from Mister Cartoon's upcoming graphic novel, the figure showcases his tattoo art and the culture of Los Angeles. Designed by Cartoon himself, the figure is authentic from the intricately detailed tattoos to the accessories from Joker Brand, created by Cartoon and Estevan Oriol. Lost Angel was first released in an original colorway with white wings. The second Lost Angel figure, featuring three colorways honoring the Mexican Flag -- Green, Gray and Red is currently available at specialty retail boutiques.
About Mister Cartoon
Whether it's with a tattoo gun, spray can, or airbrush, Mister Cartoon brings his interpretation of Los Angeles culture alive with his instantly recognizable style. He is probably best known for his tattoo work which is highly sought after by a who's who list of celebrities. Beyond tattooing, Cartoon is passionate about custom lowriders and motorcycles. His numerous airbrushed vehicles including a one-of-a-kind ice cream truck bring his rendition of LA culture to the streets. Two of his custom Scion XB's were featured in the first Scion Installation tour.
From his personally designed Nike Cortez kicks to the Joker Brand apparel, Cartoon continues to influence streetwear. The Lost Angel figure from Super Rad Toys adds a new genre to his growing catalog -- designer toys. From his original art to his products, Mister Cartoon creates a vivid and compelling look at Los Angeles.
Sep 17, 2007
Toy of the Week -- Akuma Bomb by Huck Gee
Our choice for the Toy of the Week is the upcoming explosive Akuma Bomb original vinyl figure from Huck Gee and Kidrobot. The sexy and devilish Akuma is one of Huck’s older characters and dates back to his original Skullhead. The toy is based on a T-shirt graphic featuring Akuma riding bare back style on an WWII era flying bomb.
Akuma Bomb will draw stares. She is fetchingly sculpted and the juxtaposition of her sexy figure and the bad ass bomb clicks. Huck’s taken inspiration from classic pin-up images adorning WWII bombers to create his own wild ride. Akuma is about 5” tall perched on the 7” long bomb. Displayed on the included clear plastic “flying” base she measures 10” at the tallest point. With her flying base, she’d look pretty awesome next to classic wood models of P-51 Mustangs and Mitsubishi Zeros – just the thing for a wicked double-take. This is Huck’s 2nd original figure and in our opinion Kidrobot’s best release of ’07 so far – not to be missed.
Akuma Bomb will be available in a Red Danger colorway (pictured) and a Grey Skully colorway -- each is limited to just 500 figures with a retail of $60 per figure. Both colorways drop on October 4th.
About Huck Gee
Huck Gee moved to San Francisco in the early 90's pursuing the venerable life of a b-boy. Maintaining day jobs that expanded his artistic vocabulary; he spent his nights testing his skills, and his weekends searching for inspiration. Graphic design by day, graffiti by night, studying Miyamoto Musashi on the weekends. He later culled his skills as an illustrator, allowing him to explore more commercial art styles and delve into the alluring world of Japanese and Hong Kong pop art.
Over the last few years, the demand for his illustrations and custom figures has grown quite immense. With small runs of original prints and hand crafted custom toys selling out in seconds online and shipping to art collectors worldwide.
In addition, Huck has released numerous production toys through Kidrobot including figures for The Standard, DJ Qbert and a series of figures for Barney's New York which come immaculately dressed in the 2005 spring collections of five of the world’s most famous fashion designers: Marc Jacobs, Dries Van Noten, Jil Sander, Rick Owens, and Duckie Brown.
When not busy planning world domination Huck spends his free time chasing skirts and pretending to be a race car driver.
Sep 10, 2007
Toy of the Week - MINDstyle's Tomodachi 13 by Cameron Tiede
This week we're happy to select the first four figures in MINDstyle's Tomodachi 13 series by Cameron Tiede as the Toys of the Week. Edgar, Oswald, Agatha and Roofus -- Cameron's first original toys, carry his bright color palettes and unique rendering of characters into the 3D realm. Each character design has a strong personality brought out through extremely detailed sculpts which emphasize the organic and playful feel of Cameron's work. With their bumpy surfaces, edged features, and their slightly slanted stature, these figures fully utilize the potential of vinyl to bring his art to life. Each of the 13 Tomodachi figures is limited to a collector friendly 300 pieces, ships in large 'can' packages, comes with a collector card, and retails for $39.99. They are available directly from Cameron's online store as well as specialty retailers.
About Cameron Tiede
Raised in the great white north of Canada, on sugar-infested cereal, 80’s music, Peanuts comics, and classic Nintendo games Cameron Tiede has always stayed a kid. In the 90’s, he ventured down to Southern California to thaw out and attend Art Center College of Design where he studied and graduated with distinction in illustration.
Working as a freelance designer and illustrator some of his commercial projects have included clients such as Disney, Mattel, Nickelodeon, DreamWorks and Warner Brothers. He also teaches illustration and design classes at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA and FIDM in Los Angeles, CA.
Cameron’s signature style is infused with raw energetic characters and stimulating color. Described as “illuminated innocence,” his work is as playful as it is honest, and is exhibited and collected around the world.
Sep 03, 2007
Toy of the Week -- Marka27's minigods
We're proud to select Marka27's minigods as our Toy of the Week. The minigods bring together Marka's varied artistic interests - graffiti, music, and indigenous cultures. He coined the term 'indigenous vinyl' to describe his first original art toys which stand 15" tall and feature a working speaker. MG-1 Brazil, the first figure in the series, is available in four colorways : Brazil (300 pcs), Midnight (300 pcs), Gold Grillz (100 pcs), and Platinum Grillz (100 pcs).
By following his passions Marka27 has realized his own uncompromised vision in vinyl with the minigods. Through their choice of music, collectors can use the MG-1 as a means of personal expression in a way not possible with most collectibles. The Gold Grillz edition exclusive to ToyTokyo and the Platinum Grillz exclusive to SURU are both currently available. The Brazil edition and the Previews Exclusive Midnight edition will be available shortly from specialty retailers.
Currently residing in Boston, Marka27 (Victor Quinonez) crafted his artistic style and reputation on the streets as a graffiti artist. He has carried his skill and aesthetic over to commercial toy design, fashion and advertising projects. Not confined to the streets, he has shown his work at several museums and fine art galleries including the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum (Boston), Boston Center For the Arts Gallery, Crewest Gallery (LA) and Meltdown (LA). With his new minigods line, Marka now brings his aesthetic to the world of urban vinyl. For more insight, please check out our interview with Marka27.
Aug 27, 2007
Toy of the Week - Super Jepel by Kaijin
This week, we select Super Jepel created by Kaijin as the Toy of the Week. Super Jepel is Kaijin's second original vinyl figure from Wonderwall, following the success of Steiny. With Super Jepel, Kaijin offers a distinct vision of urban life -- glamorous and sublime. Edginess gives way to sophistication as can be seen in the depiction of the cigarette.
Super Jepel sprung to life from Kaijin's mind and his hands, first as a custom resin figure and now is available as a production toy. Kaijin's vinyl figures are quite collectible with small productions runs. There are currently two editions of Super Jepel -- an orange colorway (200 pieces) and the recently released Fewmany exclusive (100 pieces). The Fewmany edition may be hard to come by but as of this writing it is available directly from Fewmany and TokyoCube (very limited stock).
While perhaps not as well known stateside as some of his fellow Japanese artists, Kaijin is a well-respected multi-talented character artist. He regularly collaborates and shows with some of Japan's top character artists and designers, most notably through regular group exhibitions at Fewmany and the twice-a-year Design Festa. As with many of his Japanese peers, Kaijin is comfortable both with illustration and sculpting. He constantly creates, sculpts and paints custom resin creations for exhibitions. Some of these characters become production pieces including Steiny and the recentlyt released Super Jepel -- both from Wonderwall. Kaijin's work brings a sense of grace and subtle whimsy often to the world of vinyl art toys.
Aug 20, 2007
Toy of the Week - T9G x Devilrobots Evirob 2007 (T9Rob)
We're stoked to select the recently released Evirob 2007 (T9Rob) VCD figure (#98) from Medicom as our Toy of the Week. This collabo figure is Japanese sculptor/artist T9G's take on the Devilrobots' Evirob figure. While Evirob has always been a little mysterious, out-of-the-box, or even 'weird' -- this new incarnation turns up the darkness with a very organic design. Rather than the smooth and reassuring curves of the original, T9G sculpted this one in a rough style which gives the appearance of a hand-made clay figure. To add to the creepiness quotient, he opted to place his trademark round 'doll' eyes behind the Evirob mask. The wild creature body completes the transformation. So if you're looking for a fresh take on a popular character, check it out. Released in Japan, Evirob 2007 is available from several retailers including Rotofugi (USA) and One-Up (Japan). Keep your eyes out as more stateside retailers will soon be stocking this one.
Japanese artist & sculptor T9G is best known for turning the illustrations and sketches of Japan's premiere artists including Devilrobots, Touma, and others into fully-realized forms with his masterful sculpting. His work lines the shelves of many a collector.
Recently, T9G is being recognized for his own artistic creations as well as his sculpting talent. On this path, he designed one of the secret figures for the Be@arbrick 14 series from Medicom Toy. He also has created several original vinyl figures including Berry-Kun, Loveless, Rangeas. Each of his original designs carry his signature element -- round doll eyes. Starting with his concept of "Ugly but cute, scary, and mysterious", T9G's designs stand out in a crowded marketplace. Look for more original T9G figures from Medicom Toy in the near future.
Aug 13, 2007
Toy of the Week - Winson Ma's Adam Ape
Adam Ape created by HK superstar artist Winson Ma and produced by Play Imaginative is our selection for Toy of the Week. For Adam Ape, Winson has transformed his signature ape character featured in his 1:6 scale Apexplorer series into a softer more rounded character ideal for vinyl. Adam is a visual contradiction, an Ape wearing an explorer suit complete with an airbrush and a removable mini-ape accessory. The head sculpt is very nice with exaggerated facial features. The flexible airbrush hose and the electrical cord add depth to the design and offer a welcome change in texture from the rotocast vinyl body. Adam Ape's cleverly engineered removable head sets this figure apart both technically and creatively. The removable head conceals a wicked glow-in-the-dark skull head (articulated). The juxtaposition of cute and hard-edged "faces" works quite well.
Adam Ape's primary draw is Winson's artistic vision, now available in vinyl. Each figures comes in a swanky trapezoidal box and ships with a numbered print. Adam Ape will be available shortly from specialty retailers in both the standard red colorway shown above (450 pcs) and a black/red Previews exclusive.
About Winson Ma
Hong Kong Artist Winson Ma put his stamp on the designer toy scene along with his partners Kenny Wong and William Tsang, as a member of the highly respected Brothersfree group. The three artists produced some of the most detailed and highly sought after 1:6 scale figures ever released. Brothersfree elevated the standard for 1:6 scale detail especially with respect to intricate and functional accessories. Winson is an extremely gifted artist. From illustration to sculpture, he seemingly can do it all.
Building on the sucess of Brothersfree, Winson has recently created several solo projects for his new company, Winson Classic Creation, including two new 1:6 scale series Apexplorers and Fire Spectre. He has recently ventured into designer vinyl with Adam Ape, the first of several planned vinyl figures from Play Imaginative.
Aug 06, 2007
Toy of the Week -- DCTO: Jibun Project by Dacosta Bayley
The DCTO: Jibun Project created by Dacosta Bayley is our selection for The Toy of the Week. DCTO (Dreams Come True Object) is Dacosta's modern interpretation of the traditional Daruma Doll. Daruma Dolls are representations of the historical figure, Bodidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism. These art objects are often used when embarking on large projects or undertakings -- the left eye is colored in at the start of the project, and the right upon completion.
Standing 7" tall and 6.25" wide and made of ATBC (phthalate free vinyl), the DCTO Art Toy Brush Series currently features six colorways produced by Chocolate Soop. The DCTO figure will automatically right itself when knocked over, embodying the Japanese saying ‘Nanakorobi yaoki’, "Fall 7 times, rise 8 times”. This feature symbolizes the persistence required to accomplish difficult yet worthwhile tasks. The three standard colorways are Temple Red, Emperor's Yellow and Sumi-e Black. Stone Garden Grey (200 pcs) and Sakura Pink GID (100 pcs) round out the regular assortment. In addition, ToyQube recently released their SDCC Exclusive 'Ghost' GID edition (150 pcs). DCTO is now available from select art toy retailers.
About Dacosta Bayley
Dubbed a ‘guru’ of vector illustration, Dacosta is a self-taught, award winning, multi-faceted illustrator/designer who started drawing from the moment he realized crayons make better tools of expression than snacks. Born in Barbados, Dacosta arrived in Canada in 1973 and lived in Montreal, Toronto, and Edmonton, before making Vancouver home in 1995. Designing art professionally for the past 10 years, Dacosta is currently among the few, if not the only, dedicated toy designer based in Vancouver and is the founder of CHOCOLATE SOOP INC. Influenced by Japanese art and design, his innovation challenges existing conventions and concepts while maintaining, as noted by a client, “a rare combination of artistic vision, technical execution and commercial sensibility”. He demonstrates a “finely honed grasp of what does and does not resonate with his intended audience”, creating designs which “communicate familiarity without stooping to cliché” and characters which possess “weight and depth…wit and poignancy”.
Dacosta has produced designs for numerous clients across various media including print and the web to animation, film and manufactured toys. He is also currently focusing on his own original art projects including the recently-released DCTO art toys and in-progress 3D childrens animation projects.
Jul 30, 2007
Toy of the Week - Thomas Han's Pushers
For our next toy of the week we select Thomas Han's Pushers from Munky King. The Pushers, Thomas Han's first art toys, feature four mystical influencers -- Spirit (GID pictured), Pirate (GID Pictured), Animal and Monster. Each of these winged creatures has a unique mask and "face" while sharing the same body. The Pushers stand out for the excellent translation of Thomas's colors and fine line work. The paint execution on the Pushers is outstanding from the subtle gradients across the figures to the super-fine and clean pad printing. Munky King offered both the standard (limited to 500 each) and more limited GID editions (150 of each) of the first two Pushers -- Pirate and Spirit -- at this year's SDCC. The standard editions will be available directly from Munky King and select retailers shortly.
About Thomas Han
LA artist Thomas Han's original art work is noted for the extremely clean rendering achieved through screening techniques and electric pastel palettes combining primarily pinks and blues. These colorful constellations often play host to mystical devilish creatures and brightly-hued pills. His recent work shown at Copro Nason Gallery marks a transition to a more organic look through the use of brush work rather than screening while retaining his familiar characters and color palette.
Jul 23, 2007
Toy of the Week - MINDstyle's Buff Monster Art Toys
This week we select MINDstyle's Buff Monster Art Toys as the Toy(s) of the Week. Series 1 of the 3" blind-boxed figures features nine different designs (8 regular + 1 chase) across 4 different sculpts. These limited-edition figures are limited to just 500 pieces of each design. Buff Monster's first original figures bring his signature characters, style and color palette to the vinyl art toy world. Fans of his 2D street and gallery art lined up in the blistering SoCal sun to purchase the figures during this past Sunday's 2-venue Buff Fest release event; selling out of the release event stock in just over two hours. The Buff Monster art toys come packaged in a novel "can" shaped container and as with all MINDstyle products come with a numbered collector card. The figures will be available at art toy retailers starting on Tuesday, July 24th.
About Buff Monster
Buff Monster first made his mark in the LA art scene on the streets. As his wheatpaste art featuring his bat-like character started to appear on walls along hot spots such as Melrose Ave, people started paying attention. His art delivers adult themes in a friendly, happy, candy-coated style creating several levels of appeal. With recent solo shows at Gallery 1988 and Corey Helford Gallery, he has established himself as one of LA's in-demand artists.
Jul 16, 2007
Toy of the Week - Touma's Grabbit
In our opinion, Grabbit is the Japanese designer's finest recent work and stands nearly toe to toe with the original Knuckle Bear, arguably his most respected and iconic figure to date. The character mixes moods, exuding both whimsy and a streamlined fast-paced sense of cool. The strong character design is complimented by the clever articulation and posability -- the large ears are key, they go from droopy to alert mirroring Grabbit's current mood. Additionally, Grabbit works well both in standing and crouching positions. The futuristic kicks further refine the character's sense of style. Finally, the inclusion of several extras including a signed art print, certificate of authenticity, and edition specific packaging, round out this excellent offering.
First released at the Taipei Toy Festival in early July with an exclusive flocked black edition, Grabbit will soon be available world-wide in several editions including Pearlescent White, Wood, Blank (DIY), and an upcoming Whipping edition (faux bronze).
Japanese illustrator and designer Touma started his career as a character designer working for a large video game designer. However, he made his name and reputation in the arena of designer vinyl toys -- first with Knuckle Bear which was followed up by a menagerie of creatures including Boo, Snout, Skuttle, Talons, and many more. His deceptively simple style which gives life and personality to his numerous characters is punctuated by distinctively stylized elements such as clawed hands with promiment knuckles, feet, and the snarling teeth from his 'Knuckle' family. He has recently broadened his character design with two figures for Wonderwall's popular Kaiju for Growups series. Touma is clearly one of the most well-known Japanese designers of limited-edition vinyl figures.
Jul 09, 2007
Toy of the Week: I.W.G. Burnum
Burnum, the duck-billed platypus warrior armed with a titanium boomerang, is our pick for Toy of the Week. Created by Patrick Ma, the recently released Burnum is one of the newest additions (Series 4) to the wildly popular Insurgents Wilderness Gruppo line of toys from Rocketworld. So why a Platypus? Here's what Patrick Ma had to say... "The platypus is already a wonderfully obtuse mammal…I mean this critter has poison heel spikes, a bill, fur, and lays eggs! They definitely deserve a figure to be made around them…Burnum is here, humans beware…." This cute little vinyl animal warrior with just a touch of 'mean' is available at designer toy retailers worldwide.
About Patrick Ma
Patrick Ma (OtterX) spent several years in the US Military before braving the concrete jungles of art school. He created the Insurgents Wilderness Gruppo designer (I.W.G) toy line as a reaction and comment on humanity's poor treatment of animals and the natural environment. If only animals could fight back... The line now spans 5 series of mid-size figures and also includes several minis and a recently released rocket playset. A portion of I.W.G. sales are donated to charities protecting earth's ecosystem including the Gorilla Foundation, the International Rhino Foundation, Zoo Conservation Outreach Group, Friends of the Sea Otter, and the World Wildlife Fund. Patrick currently lives in the Bay Area (California) where in addition to running Rocketworld, he is also the chief executive officer of T.A.D. Gear, a producer of high quality adventure and field gear.
Jun 30, 2007
Toy of the Week -- MINDstyle's Maniac by Skwak
Today we unveil a new feature -- the Toy of the Week sponsored by Scion. Every week we will select a current toy for being particularly cool, noetworthy and in general deserving of the spotlight so to speak.
MINDstyle's The Maniac by Skwak stands out with its fully realized creepy yet cute design. In translating Skwak's frenetic hand-drawn art style, Maniac has a presence that's hard to define but easy to spot once you see it. The sculpt makes strong use of the 3D nature of the medium, with a sculpted mouth and beenie propellor. The original colorway of Maniac is limited to 500 pieces (300 for the USA) and is available from finer retailers around the globe. As with all MINDstyle products, Maniac ships with a numbered collector's card.
French artist Skwak is perhaps best known for his signature art style which combines wild characters into densely packed pieces exploding with color and detail. He recently created a television campaign for Wienerschnitzel and his fine art has been featured in numerous shows including the Archive show at Scion's gallery in Los Angeles. Maniac is Skwak's first original art toy.