Mimoco Interview Part 2

This is part 2 of our interview with Evan Blaustein the founder of Mimoco.  (see part 1) In this conclusion to our interview, Evan talks about Mimobots from the perspective of designer toys.

Your current products have both fairly abstract designs (SDCC exclusives) and much more character-driven designs.  Do both approaches work equally well in your opinion or is one preferred over the other?  On the subject of the art for the Mimobots, do you have a particular artistic goal for the current and future series?

Glad you asked. There are a couple things about the first four mimobot characters that we’re trying to convey. On one level, Cosmos Series characters play a significant role in the mimobot backstory. In the fantastical world of the mimobots, these first characters arrive on Earth in an experiment masterminded by the one and only Knowledgeus. Protobot0 and Protobot1 are androids first “flashported” to earth to retrieve and transmit data bits back to Planet Blooh. Similarly, Isadore and Fairybit are the first creatures “flashported” to Earth for their intrinsic abilities to interact with digital DNA.

On another level, we wish to convey with these first characters that the mimobots are more than just flash drives shaped like toys. I hope people see mimobots as art and not just novelty. The minimalist/abstract design of the Protobots and San Diego Comic-Con editions are meant to showcase the sculptural element of the mimobot canvas. We wanted to divert people’s attention to the form and the concept of the mimobots before diving directly into character design. The mimobot shape was created by industrial design lead, Baron Brandt, and the technical features were implemented by engineer, Todd Taylor. A lot of thought was poured into the mimobots, not to complicate things, but rather to simplify them.

Moreover, “USB device” on the Protobots visage, is a subtle message that even though it doesn’t look like an ordinary flash drive, it really is a flash drive. It’s in your face and contradictory at the same time. It states the obvious, and the not-so-obvious. mimobots aren’t really flash drives, they are characters and designer toys first and foremost. But they happen to function like flash drives, and that’s how they should be used.

Your website describes the Mimobots as a designer toy that happens
to also function as a USB flash drive.  While this combination feels
innovative and certainly intriguing, I’m wondering about where you can
erase the boundaries between toy and functional device (USB flash
drive) or whether that’s even a goal?  Put another way, will collectors
focus on the toy aspect rather than the functional aspect and will
people in need of a flash drive be content to own just one?

We’re not exactly sure what maniac would buy every mimobot ever made, but we’re not gonna stop them!

interesting issue is collectability.  Do you think people will see the
Mimobots as collectible?  Are collectors likely to ignore or be less
interested in the functional (USB flash drive) aspect of these toys?
Take Qees as an example, the original concept was that people would use
them as key chains.  Very few collectors are willing to use them in
this way because doing so would likely ruin their prized possessions.
Or perhaps the functional capability will attract collectors as a
feature other designer toys don’t have even though they don’t plan on
utilizing it per se?

Qees are a good example. We’ve seen secondhand
what happens to Qees used as a keychain – arms and legs break off, the
paint peels, it’s heartbreaking. Actually, mimobots do not come with a
keychain because they are not ordinary flash drives. They were never
intended to be attached to ones keys because we didn’t want to condone
the abuse of an innocent and helpless mini action figure. Not to
mention, mimobots are meant to hang out on your desk in a standing
position and not just thrown with your keys wherever they happen to
land. We hope people take good care of their mimobots, but on the other
hand they’re meant to be used. Lots of things are collectible that are
meant to be used – cars for instance, sneakers, or t-shirts. It’s just
as abusive to keep a mimobot trapped in a glass menagerie – the little
guys need to see the world, they’re meant to go with you in your pocket
or purse and transport your data. Now, when the drive becomes less
useful due to Moore’s law, as with all consumer electronics and
computing products, then it’s okay to display the mimobot in a case.
Actually, that’s a major point I like to make. Most people throw their
obsolete electronics and computers away. And that’s precisely where a
mimobot’s “collectability” comes into play.

How far can the concept of USB flash drive as designer toy go? Are
there plans to do a designer series of Mimobots featuring the work of a
group of selected artists much in the same way as Qee and Dunny
series?  If so will we see any chase Mimobots?  Blind-boxed Mimobots?

We’re not into blind assortment, but lots of
artist collaborations and crossovers are in the works. Some will have
smaller editions and a few chase mimobots are sure to materialize. The
concept of the crossover is one that is key to the mimobots, but not
just for the sake of transposing a character onto the mimobot canvas. A
mission of mimoco’s is to push the boundaries of the art toy world with
the crossovers we publish.

The act of customizing toys seems like a vital part of the
excitement surrounding designer toys.  While it’s certainly a great
creative outlet there’s also the underground sense of appropriating
existing art and doing one’s own thing.   Are you planning on curating
and organizing an exhibition of Custom Mimobots?  Do you think people
will take the initiative to create custom Mimobots?  Will you support
or encourage this activity with DIY editions?

Right now, custom mimobots are a bit tough
because of their plastic material and small size. We’re working on this
and we’d definitively love to organize exhibits in the future!

Mimoco donates part of its sale proceeds to Art for Humanity. Can
you tell our readers more about Art for Humanity and why you feel it’s
such a worthy charity ?

Artists for Humanity is a local non-profit
whose mission is to transform lives with experiences in the arts. AFH
gives urban high school kids a means to express themselves through
ongoing intensive summer programs and actually pays the students for
their creative output. It’s an amazing self-sufficient organization
that has impacted thousands of lives, 100% of whom enroll in college.
Many pursue careers in the arts, but most importantly all depart with
an experience of entrepreneurship, creativity, and an amplified voice.
You should see the art these kids create, how imaginative they are, how
much feeling they transfer. It is art where the only ambition is to
release or reveal one’s self in style, and they are good at it! It’s
easy to see why this is such a good cause, and as a design studio it
was easy for us to stand behind the program.

What are you now working on for Mimoco? Can you give our readers some insight into what the future holds for Mimoco?

All I can say is the mimobots are coming…crossovers are keeping us very busy…

Vinyl Pulse would like to thank Evan Blaustein for taking the time to answer all of our questions!

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