Ever since MINDstyle released the 18” Fly Boy vinyl art toy from Hebru Brantley at the Shanghai Toy Show in April, collectors have been looking for a stateside opportunity to add this impressive piece to their shelves. The wait is over. The large format Fly Boy will be available for $350 at SDCC from the Pop Life booth [#4845].
If you’re wondering about the origins of Fly Boy, there’s a really nice artist statement about the character after the jump.
Flyboy came out of characters of color within popular culture. I hate saying “popular culture,” but it’s really popular culture. I mean you look at cartoons. You’ve got animated sponges and ducks and birds and whatever, and it’s very rare to see a popular character within any medium that is African-American, Latino, even Asian.
What I wanted to do was create that, but in a space of high art and be able to have some historical context to that character. So I looked at the Tuskegee Airmen, who were fighter pilots in World War II. They flew successful missions and they never lost a person. But at that time black folks were treated far less than equal. For me, it was important to have that historical context to a character, not to just have one for the sake of needing one or wanting one.
As far as it being a kid, it wasn’t necessarily a plan from the outset to create a childlike character; when I create, a lot of times I don’t see kids. I really don’t. I just see them as people. There’s a sense of innocence there, but there’s also a sense of all the other things we go through. What a kid might go through on a playground in certain ways might parallel what a guy goes through in a boardroom in a job day to day.
“It’s very rare to see a popular character that is African-American, Latino, or Asian. I wanted to create that, but in a space of high art and with some historical context.” —Hebru Brantley