May 17, 2019

Pop Life Global x Imperial Palace x DC Comics Art Toys


As part of its newly announced collaboration with the Beijing Imperial Court Cultural Development Company, Pop Life Global introduced an initial catalog of collectibles and products at a press conference  held at the historic Summer Palace in late April. The brand-new Imperial Palace x DC Comics art toy series is one of the highlights of the new collection. Echoing the rich 600-year tradition of the Forbidden City (Palace Museum), the new line features DC's iconic heroes and villains in traditional armor and garb.

The large-format vinyl series is loaded with a heroic cast including Superman, Batman, Robin, Flash, Green Arrow and Nightwing. The rogue's gallery includes Joker, Deathstroke, and Harley Quinn. While exact release dates are not available at this point, the first release, Flash, is debuting this weekend at SneakerCon in Shanghai.  The new Imperial Palace x DC collectibles are tentatively scheduled for a stateside release in June 2019.


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May 15, 2019

Unboxing 'Little Voyagers' from Coasre x Pop Mart

LV Revised Edit - Zooms WIP 1-2

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Coarse's Los Angeles Studio to unbox all of the brand-new Little Voyagers blindbox figures produced by Pop Mart.  Despite some slight (ahem) technical difficulties, I had a blast opening both Little Voyagers 'chapters' (series): Let's Go! (daytime) and Sweet Dreams! (nighttime).  Give it a watch on Youtube or below.

The twelve sculpts—two each for Cactus, Cat, Hamster, Frog, Fish & Raccoon—highlight Coarse's signature aesthetic and emotive storytelling. In addition to character cards—fairly rare these days—Coarse has also gone the extra mile by including fold-out pamphlets in each blindbox featuring a story detailing each character's journey (12 in all) and a full-color illustration on the flip side.

Little Voyagers are available now direct from Coarse in full cases (six figures each) for $98/case.

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Go Incognito with 'Blue Moon Hooligans Hideout Skull' by Bwana Spoons

bluemoon Hooligans hideout

For his newest sofubi Bwana Spoons changes things up.  Instead of a quirky or cute character figure,  Hooligans Hideout Skull is Bwana's take on the vinyl skull. While the subject might be conventional, the new piece is anything but with a stylized shape with a wide, pronounced jaw, mushroom spores and an erupted-volcano top.

The debut Blue Moon Hooligans Hideout Skull is available now for $55 direct from Gravy Toys.  This unpainted edition features translucent 'Blue Moon' vinyl which has a richer, deeper look than the 'rainy day' translucent blue that many collectors are familiar with. 

From the front or 3/4 perspective, the figure definitely reads as a skull. From the side profile shot (above), the Blue Moon edition presents a more challenging read with a slight shape shift. The translucent blue cast visually softens details such that the unusual shape comes to the fore, becoming an undulating landscape of sorts.  And… what's that at the rear? What is described by Bwana as a 'window into the back of your soul' looks like it might be a blown-out wound.


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May 14, 2019

Go Back to The DBZ Future with BTTFool by Fools Paradise

IMG_4882 copy

Fools Paradise is now taking pre-orders for its latest pop-culture mash-up, BTTFool.  Limited to 498 pieces and available for $328 direct from their online store,  the new vinyl release is a clever mix of Back To The Future and Dragon Ball-Z.  In addition to the Marty  and Doc Brown relationship, BTTFools also plays with the fact that the 'future' versions of Trunks (Marty) and Vegeta (Doc Brown) are in fact, father and son.  The other clever aspect of this design, is that it seamlessly incorporates their previous coin-op ride series via the Delorean ride with the brand's recent focus on stylized re-interpretation of not one, but two pop culture universes at once (Super Mario + The Professional & Super Mario + Forest Gump). 

Having had a chance to see the prototypes in person, one thing that stands out is their  impressive size.  Doc Fool stands almost 14" tall and due to Fools Paradise's exaggerated, muscular style, is quite bulky.  In fact, most of the recent Fools Paradise releases have a surprisingly large scale that really needs to be seen to be appreciated. Their oversized profiles add considerably to the over-the-top nature of Fools Paradise's recent releases.  So much, fun.


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BlackBook Toy x Mishka x Lamour Supreme — Hallucination Kong Micro-Run by Kenth Toy Works


BlackBook Toy is set to release the first painted edition of Kong, the latest evolution of their ongoing collaboration with Mishka and Lamour Supreme, with the Hallucination micro-run (edition of 7 pieces) from Kenth Toy Works. The ideal choice for the honor, as he sculpted both The Beast (Kong's body) and the Kong head, Kenth Toy Works brings his signature Hallucination paint scheme to the imposing ape sofubi. With a mottled purple, green and blue pattern, Hallucination Kong draws out the beast's ferocity and visceral anger. 

Limited to just 7 pieces, the Hallucination Kong micro-run sofubi (12.6") will be released via email lottery for ¥27,000 (~$246) from Thursday, May 16th at 8 AM PDT through Sunday, May 19th at 7:59 AM PDT.  Check BBT's Kong lottery page for full information and complete lottery directions.


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Greg 'Craola' Simkins To Open 'Let The Outside In' at KP Projects (5.18)


Greg 'Craola' Simkins returns to KP Projects for his new solo, Let The Outside In, opening on Saturday May 18th from 7 to 10 PM.   The cleverly named show, plays on the artist's imaginary world known as The Outside, home to all manners of fantastical creatures whose very existence challenges that which most of us accept as reality.  Rather than be trapped by our everyday existence, Simkins encourages us to let the boundless fascination and imagination of our childhoods back inside. 

From the expansive and immersive title piece, Let the Outside In, which truly is a window into Simkins' wondrous world at a gaze-filling 60 x 96 inches to Six the artist's latest still life—a particular passion of his—the new collection highlights the pop surreal creativity, imagination and tremendous painting talent that we all have been spoiled by and come to expect.  A definite 'add' to your SoCal calendar, the gallery requires an RSVP by email to [email protected]  to attend the opening. Be sure to mention you're RSVPing for the Craola opening.

Greg 'Craola' Simkins || Let The Outside In
Opening: Saturday, May 18th (7 to 10 PM)
RSVP Required 

KP Projects
633 N. La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036


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May 13, 2019

Designer Toy Awards Voting Ends on Thursday (5.16)


It's that golden time of the year again, when the art community comes together for the 9th Annual Designer Toy Awards to recognize those who have excelled in the past year across numerous categories including Best Artist, Toy of the Year, Best Store, Best Media Outlet and more.  The nomination committees have carefully reviewed the submitted nominations, added overlooked yet deserving candidates, engaged in passionate back and forth discussions and finally come up with a list of deserving finalists for each category.

If you haven't already cast your votes, the clock is ticking to beat the Thursday (5.16) at 9 AM PDT deadline.  It's just takes a few minutes and a few clicks to support your favorite artists, brands, toys and more.  

Having had the privilege of serving on the nomination committee this year, I can say that each and every member deserves the community's thanks and a drink or two  (not me, more than one is way past my list)  for the hard work, passion, and attention to detail to make the DTAs the best they can be.  Props  to Dov Kelmer, Benny Kline, Travis Lykins, Gary Rozanski, Vincent Yu, Keegan Rooney, Kyle Kirwan, Don Kratzer, Cory Rutter, Jason Freeny, Jeff Rawson, Yaniv Brick, Steve Braun, Sarah Churchill, Czee, Nick Curtis, Justin Cheah, Lee Funai, Rob Lumino, Katherine Park, Kevin Philips, Craig Spalding, and Trevor McIntosh.

The DTA Awards ceremony will be held in conjunction with Five Points Festival on Saturday, June 1st 2019 in NYC.  Want to be there?  Unless you're a nominee or an invited guest, the only way to attend is purchase a 5 Points VIP pass ($125) which includes a DTA ticket, Exclusive DTA Sparkle Gold MicroTEQ63 3" resin figure from Quiccs and Martian Toys, early admission to 5 Points each day and more.

Finally, Vinyl Pulse pleased to be a finalist for Best Media Outlet.  If you've enjoyed our coverage over the year, please consider voting for us. 

Posted by Jack @ 11:17 PM in Designer Toy Awards | Permalink  | Comments (0) |

May 12, 2019

Ron English and Friends Build The 'Welcome Wall'


'The Wall' seems to be a persistent constant, from news outlets to everyday conversation—it's a nearly unavoidable topic in the USA.  As he's been known to do, Ron English is turning the polarizing concept on its head with the Welcome Wall, a planned 2000-foot long, 15-foot high wall beginning on the property of the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas which is situated near the Mexico-USA border. The center is scheduled to be the site of a proposed section of the actual border wall which would split the preserve into two.  As the name suggests, this new plywood wall features art from Ron and fellow artists welcoming visitors from both sides of the border.  Emphasizing the new wall's welcoming nature, the structure features at least one door and a climbing wall.

Ron's contributions to the wall include many of his popular characters as well as panels that are satirical and political in nature— some mocking President Trump, the #1 proponent of the actual border wall. The first section of completed wall also features the art of Anat Ronen, Jessica Monroe, Helena Martin, The Ghost, Federico Archuleta, The Deathhead, Jose Ramirez, and Jason Perez.  Funds to complete the the Welcome Wall were raised via a now completed Indiegogo campaign.


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May 10, 2019

Coarse x Pop Mart — 'Little Voyagers'


The brand-new Little Voyagers mini-ish figures from Coarse and Pop Mart continues the storyline set out in the Cold Ways illustrated book.  The six travelers include three drawn from the pages of the story—Raccoon, Fish and Cat— and three newcomers to the saga—Hamster, Frog and Cactus.

Coarse's first  blind-boxed figures are available in two smaller 'chapters' (series). Let's Go! (chapter 1) features on-the-move sculpts of each of the six series characters while Sweet Dreams! (chapter 2) features sleepy, restful versions of each voyager.Having seen these in person, the Little Voyagers impress with sculpts full of life and personality as well as their unexpectedly large size relative to typical blind-boxed figures.

First released in April at Shanghai Toy Show, Little Voyagers - Let's Go! and Little Voyagers - Sweet Dreams! are available direct from Coarse's online shop  in cases of six figures for $98/case.  Each case features a full and complete set of that chapter's figures. Coarse is not offering individual blind boxes.


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May 08, 2019

Superplastic Takes Over Kickstarter with Janky Series 2


After just two days, the Janky Series 2 Kickstarter campaign from Superplastic is off to a roaring start, eclipsing the initial $25k goal by roughly 12x with 28 days to go. Series 2 features exciting designs from Add Fuel, Caramelaw, Chocotoy, Jor Ros, Julie West, Pete Fowler, Guggimon, Huck Gee, James Groman, Seen, Squink, TADO, 2PetalRose, Wattle and one mystery artist. The new series features an almost entirely new roster compared to S1 with Pete Fowler and Huck Gee as the only returnees. As with the first series, the new collection is a strongly curated mix of artists well known to art toy fans and talented artists and illustrators who are making their toy debuts. Overall the new designs are full of life including Jeiko from 2PetalRose, Smiley Don from dino loving James Groman, and the mystical Zero dragon-inspired design—with wicked tail—by Wattle. Series 2 is set to drop in November 2019.

In addition to the brand-new Janky series, Superplastic is also offering two 8-inch Superjanky figures in Kickstarter exclusive editions: Gloomy by Mori Chack and Bendybones by Squink. And… there's a brand-new 12" Work & Play figure from Guggimon.   Finally, what would a Janky Kickstarter be without a new King Janky or two? Fear not, his highness returns as a royal ninja with the new King Janky IV design in both a regular blue edition and an early-bird Storm Edition which will be added to all pledges/orders placed before 9 AM PDT on Friday (5.10). 

Head on over to the Janky Series 2 Kickstarter for all the info and to browse the various rewards packages.


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May 03, 2019

Look Keys Launches Art Key Collection (5.3)


New lifestyle brand Look Keys has launched two lines of art-driven house keys.  Curated by yours truly, the Art Key Collection features designs from sixteen talented artists:  Alex Pardee, Amanda Louise Spayd, Amanda VisellAndrea Kang, Chris RWK, Chris Ryniak, Greg 'Craola' Simkins, Hyperactive Monkey, Jermaine Rogers, Joe Ledbetter, J*RYU, Julie West, kaNO, Reactor-88, Sket-One  and Yoskay Yamamoto.

With large, bold images (1.25") protected by semi-rigid resin domes, these keys are an easy way to add more art, color and style into your everyday routine.  Available for both Schlage and Kwikset keys (90%+ of USA house locks), each key is ready-to-cut at stores that make/copy keys.  Head on over to to pick up one or a few—handy for quickly identifying which keys is which—for $10 each. In addition to the Art Keys, Look Key is also debuting keys from apparel brands including Mishka, Sketchy Tank, Slush Cult and more.

Be sure to check out the gallery for a look at all 16 art keys.  I enjoyed putting together this collection and hope you find one that you'd love to put on your key ring.


Posted by Jack @ 05:19 PM in Incoming | Permalink  | Comments (0) |

May 02, 2019

Thailand Toy Expo On-Site Coverage

We're in Bangkok for Thailand Toy Expo!  Check out our daily coverage @Vinylpulse on Instagram from Wednesday (5.1) to Monday (5.6) starting around 8 PM PST each day. We're also doing live video over on our Facebook Page.  Here’s the last few shots from the show floor!  Check @vinylpulse for all the photos so far.Want to see something we haven’t covered yet? DM us on IG and we’ll try to get to it.


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