In a novel use of Kickstarter, Tenacious Toys have teamed up with Scott Tolleson and Toy2R for their first project on the site- to help fund an exclusive ‘Noir’ edition of Tolleson’s Uncle Argh! Coming in a grayscale colour scheme, a stark contrast to the OG’s vibrant greens and oranges, Uncle Argh ‘Noir’ will be limited to 500 pieces and will ONLY be available to backers of the campaign. With several different levels of pledges starting from $5 ($30 gets you the figure), the team are set to offer a wide selection of extras for those willing to sink a bit more into the project, including the original Uncle Argh, custom pieces, sketches and mini prints. Be sure to head over to the site now to make your pledge- places are already vanishing fast!
Recent revealed over at Tenacious Toys, both Sun-Min Kim’s Spider Boom and MCA’s Evil Ape will be receiving the mini-figure artist series treatment in the coming months courtesy of Toy2R. Featuring a staggering list of participants across the 2 series including Jon Paul Kaiser, Sneaky Racoon, Lunabee, Scott Tolesson, Jim Koch, Abe Lincoln, Sam Fout, and of course a few designs by Sun-Min Kim and MCA themselves, the blind-boxed figures will be up for pre-order from your local art toy retailer for around $8.99 a-piece soon…
Our good friend Adam Pratt has just revealed his latest toy project, the ‘Cerebragon’ custom Podaigon (originally sculpted by Steven Patt of Papagrim under Halfbad Toyz). Standing at 6″ tall, the 12 ounce hunk of resin comes replete with a Jumping Brain infused cranium, extra sculpted detail, and, as always, an expertly finished custom paint job. Cerebragon has 2 points of articulation (the 2 posable ‘head feet’ have been removed to make way for the brain), plus removable gun for your posing pleasure…
Available to purchase from Adam’s Big Cartel now, Cerebragon has been priced at $75 plus shipping. Head over to Adam’s site with any queries regarding private commissions, we’re sure he’ll be more than happy to oblige…
Regarded as one of the art toy scene’s most talented artists, Jon Paul Kaiser’s distinct black and white aesthetic has lead to huge success in both the custom and production toy communities. With a constant flow of jaw-dropping custom pieces, an extensive collection of Toy2R production figures, and the recently released Fatcap Series 3 Spaceman, JPK shows no sign of letting up in 2012…
We managed to prize Jon away from the workbench for a minute to talk about how he got into the scene, his influences, and the numerous projects he has lined up for this year (including the infamous Project X!)…
How did you stumble upon the art toy scene? Were you a collector before you started customising?
That’s all thanks to Paul from Porlzilla – I’d been a collector of toys (Star Wars, Transformers, Mcfarlane etc) and we got introduced to each other by a DJ friend of ours (Kid Keith from Great Scott). We started talking about design and the next day he sent me a link to Vinylpulse’s coverage of the design and development of one of their figures (I think it was El Panda.. might have been Tequila) and that was it; hooked. Weirdly I went straight into trying to make art toys before collecting them, that’s where the Ozzel came from. Porl drew him, I sculpted him up, then we went along to the local college who helped us make the first molds for him and pretty soon we were casting in his kitchen.
Your toys are instantly recognisable through their strong graphic black and white aesthetic, do you find limiting your colour palette helps to focus the design, or is there another explanation to your approach?
It definitely helps focus the design. The Black & White aesthetic comes from a few different approaches; The bold and stark contrast really makes the design stand out, especially if it’s in a group shot with other customs that have multiple colours. If it’s a good design it shouldn’t need colour to work, and it’s that idea taken to the extreme. It’s also partially from the way characters in film noir look. They’re imposing and Significant with the strong, over-exposed light and lush, deep shadows.
From pirates to Star Wars, your work has always covered a diverse range of themes, beautifully unified by your unique style. Apart from the obvious, who or what has has influenced your approach to both custom and production art toys, in particular the latest Whispering Corsair series from Toy2R?
My influences come from a range of places, some of them not that obvious. By day I’m a menswear designer and I follow a lot of trend & style blogs (you’d never guess by the way I dress) and I take inspiration from fashion collections, trends that are emerging like the resurgance of classic patterns such as houndstooth & tweed. Others from conversations I have with friends, and particularly my wife. Several of the ‘rules’ I work to are from my college & university tutors, they’re only simple things but my work remains unique, or at least identifiable, because I try to adhere to them.
You’ve gained a huge following through your breathtaking array of customs, but the last year has seen a number of production releases from Toy2R, and recently Kidrobot. How has the design process differed? Have you still had the same level of control? The extensive sculpting involved in your recent Captain Sturnbrau Mini Qee would suggest that companies such as Toy2R are willing to represent artist’s designs more faithfully than in the past- would you tend to agree?
The design process is only slightly different; working with Toy2R has made me aware of some of the restrictions of the production process and I keep these in mind when designing a sculpted part or where a print lies.
The companies I’ve worked with have given me a great deal of control, Toy2R’s development of Captain Sturnbrau is a great example of this; if you look at my first design of that figure, it’s exactly the same as the finished product. We went through several stages of sculpts, paint apps and corrections to get it right, and I was encouraged by Kevin to speak up if there was anything I wasn’t happy about. They wanted the product to be as good as it possibly could be, and I think it’s turned out perfectly!
I’m not sure I would agree that companies and more willing to take on new sculpts when it comes to toys. In the earlier days when the scene was beginning to flourish there seems to have been a lot more experimentation and a wider variety of sculpts and platforms. Many to still come through now but I think Platforms are becoming more staple in the field.
Your Ozzel collaboration with Paul Burke is one of the scene’s most sought after toys, helping to kickstart the current trend of artist produced runs. Apart from your upcoming collaboration with UME and Run DMB, would you ever consider working on another self-produced resin toy?
Is it really? I had no idea!! I’m skeptical of doing anything in resin myself, mainly because I spent a lot of time trying to master it and failing quite badly – just getting a flashback of a time I really mixed up my ingredients and nearly set the house on fire!
My wife was… furious..
Rich (umetoys) really knows what he’s doing when it comes to casting, so I’m happy to let him take care of that part.
About that UME x Run DMB collaboration… How did it (Project X) come about? And what involvement in it do you have?
We all met up at the Icons Show, curated by The Hang Gang in Leeds late last October, I’d already met Rich at NYCC earlier that month. We spoke about some of David’s characters over email and twitter, he developed them and Rich made a sculpt. Hopefully there’ll be a couple of similar characters so we can make them a set (and I’ll get a chance to sculpt). All three of us will be painting some of them up, perhaps for a show..?
Unlike many customisers, you’ve never tied yourself down to one particular platform, working with toys as diverse as Coarsetoys’ Paws, Luke Cheu’s Mecha Sad Bear, Futura’s Nosferatu, and of course Kidrobot’s Munny- which has been your favourite to work with?
Mini-Munnys and the new Toyer Mini-Qee are great to work with;- they’re straightforward, have character of their own and their articulation allows you to move limbs etc without scratching the paintwork. I’ve done a couple of Kathie Olivas’ Scavengers and they were great to paint as well.
What can we expect from JPK in 2012? We’ve heard numerous rumours of a follow up to your Captain America Mini Qee (NYCC 2011) in the form of the Avengers set, will these get a production run?
I have a hell of a lot lined up for 2012! I thought 2011 was as good as it could get, but very quickly my schedule has filled up nicely with some great projects and releases! I am indeed working on a custom set of the Avengers, There’s nothing set in stone at the moment, but I believe Marvel will be shown them, so who knows?
Captain Sturnbrau makes his debut proper this year, as well as a fantastic variant, there’s more due from Toy2R and Kidrobot, hopefully some apparel, a few shows, NYCC again (I loved it last year and felt so welcome) and I’m also working on “The Big Project” which is ambitious to the point of being ridiculous and that’s all I’m saying about that for now…
JPK on Flickr
JPK on Twitter
Recently revealed on Toy2R’s Facebook page comes the third addition to the Love Bear Mini Qee series, Love Pink. Releasing in time for Valentines day, the 5″ fluffy vinyl bear is set to retail at $28, with reservations being taken at the Toy2R store now. No news as to edition size, so be sure to register your interest soon to secure yours for February 14th…
Love is in the air as Toy2R plans to release the third flocked 5″ Mini Qee Bear in the “Qee Loves” series. Introducing the Qee Loves Pink Mini Qee Bear. Following in the Qee-Steps as last year’s winter edition (Qee Loves White) and the classic spring edition (Qee Loves Green) Toy2R continues the cuteness with this pink edition.
Spike, the latest 5″ DIY Mini Qee platform, was also teased this week on the Toy2R site. No news yet as to which Mini Qees will be getting the ‘Spike’ treatment (the Bear and Toyer have been revealed so far), but we’ll bring you more news as soon as it hits. Can’t wait to see what the custom community can come up with on this one!
After much speculation, the latest additions to Voltaire’s extensive range of 5″ Mini Qees have been confirmed as Deady and arch-nemesis Sleetzer in Bunee form. Coming from Toy2R sometime this April, edition size and availability are still to be confirmed, but we’re guessing that regardless of quantity, these, as with all Voltaire/Toy2R releases, will sell out quick.
Head over to Toy2R’s site for more details…
Sleezter Bunny (Deady’s comic book nemisis) is coming and hes bringing his posse of evil legions of Death Bunnies with him to help take over da worldddddd!
Showing no signs of stopping their onslaught of releases this year, Toy2R’s latest collaboration with EVIL artist MCA has just been announced in the form of the Qeezilla Kid. Joining Toy2R’s extensive range of 5″ Mini Qee’s, the figure is set to come with custom sculpt tail and Zilla hood, in a selection of as-yet-unannounced colourways and editions. Pricing and release dates are still unavailable, but expect the toy to drop sometime next month. Check Toy2R’s site for further details…
A mighty roar is heard from the seemingly indestructible playground. Toy planes and trains are strewn about without a care. A reptilian tail wreaks havoc on the ankles of innocent witnesses. This incredible, unstoppable tiny titan of terror rules playtime – it’s none other than the precocious Qee-Zilla Kid!
MCA is back and his playful characters are ready to take 2012 by storm. Toy2R is proud to announce the development of this new 5 inch figure, The Qee-Zilla Kid, a new Mini Qee featuring an all new head sculpt and mini monster tail. A comical creature indeed, Toy2R has some very cool surprises in store for this release…so stay tuned for more information as playgrounds become monster battlegrounds in 2012. -Toy2R press