We gave you a head’s up in March that Tara McPherson‘s Gamma Mutant Space Friends mini-figures were en route, and they’ve arrived at Kidrobot and other designer toy store worldwide. But let’s say you’re a connoisseur of limited edition art, and you’re in a position to scoff at the tiny $7.95 production figures. Well, you’re in luck: Tara created a handful of ultra-exclusive resin and aluminum sculptures for Kidrobot Customs. The three 2-foot Mr. Wiggles sculptures are priced at $2,500 each. And Tara made just one colorway each of the three $12,000 3-foot Skullflowers. Kidrobot suggests calling to check availability before placing your order.
We’re big fans of I Heart Guts. The adorable LA-based family hit the perfect formula for didactic design with their plush organs. For jaded adults (and precocious kids), a soft heart (“I Got The Beat”) or a plus kidney (“When Urine Love”) is just what the doctor ordered. One of the best offbeat bits of toy news from early 2008 was when the plush uterus was recalled due to detachable ovaries that could pose a choking hazard risk. While all other organs in the I Heart Guts body of work are certified safe under US and European codes, they are bringing back the infamous adults-only uterus for Mother’s Day. It’s on sale for just $14 here. Or as the site says: “When it’s that time of the month, you may not like your uterus much, but hey, you wouldn’t be here without one, so give props to this special reproductive organ.”
On May 1st, Selfridges, the high-end UK department store, celebrates its 100th birthday in style. Over the last century, Selfridges has remained on the edge of fashion and culture by collaborating with luminaries like John and Yoko, Salvador Dali and Vivienne Westwood. In October of last year, they opened a designer toy lounge in conjunction with Kidrobot.
For their 100th birthday, Selfridges commissioned exclusive apparel, accessories and products in signature Pantone 109 yellow. The collection, which will be sold in the store throughout May, features pieces by Ralph Lauren, Levi's, Converse, Simon Carter, Fender and Moleskine. In addition, the Big Yellow Festival (including music, fashion, cabaret and gay bingo) kicks off May 1st. If you’re in the old city, be sure to stop by!
British illustrator and designer vinyl pioneer, James Jarvis, has teamed up with Nike for a whimsical non-linear animation. The project was proposed and produced by Jarvis with the end result being, he hopes, “a much more equal collaboration with a brand.” Although the idea was to explore characters that were not referential, Onward, explores the subject of running free, and is inspired by Jarvis’ own experiences: “a favourite run over Blanchland moor in Northumberland, being attacked by a crow in Singapore "“ and also by the transcendent, almost psychedelic experience of the simple act of running.”
Notably, while Jarvis’ vinyl toys have been getting fatter (ie. Martin X and Yod), Onward features a slimmed down Lance Armstrong yellow “potato-headed stickman.” Jarvis, who is an avid runner, but suffered a stress fracture setback, said that making the video gave him perspective and “re-affirmed the simple pleasure of just running. Being injured, what I miss isn’t the racing but just getting out there and doing it.” The video is directed by Richard Kenworthy with music from Caribou.
Back in January, LA’s Gallery1988 paid tribute to the Beastie Boys with Under the Influence, a group show featuring Beasties-influenced art by Alex Pardee, Dave Flores, Jim Mahfood, Mear One, Tristan Eaton and more. Today, the gallery made available three limited edition prints from the show: Scott Scheidly‘s “The Brass Monkey Has a License to Ill,” David MacDowell‘s “Hey Hey Hey Ladies” (shown here), and Casey Weldon‘s “B-Boys Unite.” Each print is limited to just 25 pieces. Interested? Check availability by calling G1988 at: (323) 937-7088.
San Francisco-based interactive design firm, 17FEET, revealed their first designer toy at Phoenix’s Resin Collective group toy show. When I caught up with 17FEET last December, the Feeters were still in the prototype stage, but now the tiny trio is ready. Loosely modeled on Kidrobot’s Dunnys and DIY figures, they chose the shape of a giraffe (which measures 17 feet, the combined height of the firm’s directors) and worked with Patch Together to realize it in resin. Although the three figures are a first for each designer (Brandon Herring, Malea Gadhoury and Lisi Howell), they’re not sticking their necks out for no reason: When you buy your toys through Food for Feeters, all proceeds go to the San Francisco food bank. A donation of $25 gets you a mystery Feeter; $60 for the set of three. Each design is limited to 100 pieces. For every $1 donated, the SF food bank distributes $9 worth of nutritious food to more than 132,000 local people in need. The Feeters are available now online and at select designer toy stores. Toys that do good. We like that.
As the guy who posted about the Twitter Backlash, I’m perhaps the person to best sing the praises of Telegram Stop. The service is meant to celebrate the proud history of person-to-person communications and revive the lost art of the telegraphic record. Step 1: Enter some text on the site (periods become “stops”). Step 2: Address it. Step 3: Pay $4.70. I did these things, and in a week my girlfriend received a crisp telegram delivered by the USPS and postmarked from Australia. Perhaps you’re thinking: Why telegram when tweets are instantaneous and free? Sometimes it’s just nice to mash-up technology with tradition. So classy, so classy.
When we last wrote about California-based metal toy-makers FullyVisual, they were throwing a sale. This time, they’re (literally) providing a way for you to save money. The catch is, you have to spend it first. In clever coordination with the last day to pay your taxes, the company is dropping nickel (edition of 35 for $135) and copper (edition of 5 for $235) Anarchy Reagan banks by Frank Kozik. Each piece comes with a signed and numbered print. Get yours after 11AM today here.
Formula Werks teamed up with Loyal Locals for a new series of Build Your Own city-themed clothes. Whether you’re representing Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, the Bay Area or beyond, you can wear your home teams on a fully customizable T-shirt. You choose from a spectrum of sizes, fits, shirt colors and text colors. Formula Werks does the rest. The artist-driven streetwear company was founded in 2003 and draws from skateboarding, tattooing, low-brow art, design and graffiti cultures, with a healthy dose of humor. They make soft shirts, cut right with in-your-face sloganeering. Don’t follow sports? They’ve also got your shoe fetish and toy fetish covered.
Rumor around the toy scene is that resin is the new vinyl. The economy plays a big part in this trend. Vinyl is expensive and often involves overseas manufacturing, while resin artists make the toys themselves. With lower costs passed on to collectors, we are again seeing a vibrant global community of art toy creators and fans. This weekend Red Hot Robot in Phoenix will host the first Resin Collective group toy show. The roster of artists is amazing and includes (among many, many more): Cris Rose (UK), Das Mo (Germany), Emilio Garcia (Spain), Itokin Park (Japan), Suckadelic (USA), Tan-Ki (France) and WeKillYou (Canada). Each artist has been sending out sneak previews leading up to Saturday’s opening, and one of my favorites so far is this crew by Pacific Northwest artist, Arbito. You may recognize the psychedelic designs of Arbito from his collaboration with Nike and Danny Kass.