Friday
Apr262013

It's Mine Now, Sucker! *THE PLOT CONTINUES TO THICKEN* 

In a scene that revolves around the weekend-customizing-warrior just as much as the full fledged designer types, the topic of theft and piracy never seems to be too far away. The question of where new art begins is one that I think we all have to answer for ourselves as there is usually some grey area. Usually.

Toy Break co-host, sculptor, and toy maker, George Gaspar posted an image to his Facebook page this week that has sparked up this conversation again but from an angle we don't typically see. Sculptors tend to stay in the background and not make too much hay about what they've worked on or who they have worked with. George isn't any different. He's an opinionated guy for sure but he is also pretty humble, I'd say, about what work he has done. But like with all good work, it's nice to be credited for it, and this is an instance where that appears not to have happened appropriately. 

This is the post I'm talking about:

From the post George lays it out that the Ice Cream head he had sculpted for Buff Monster, I believe as part of the Sucklord inspired Super Suck-Up group show at DCON 2012, has since been credited to sculptor Mitch Martinez. You can see from the image that the only difference between the two (George's original and the piece being sold through Buff's web store) is that the eye has been carved in. George explains it had originally been left smooth for customizers to paint in as their design needed. 

So this begs the question how much change is required before a sculpt becomes your own? Must you cover an entire Munny with clay to call it your own? Would it even be then since it isn't an original base? I'm not an artist and I don't know how I'd feel if I were in this spot but as a collector this kind of thing bugs me. This case is obvious. I don't know who Mitch is or what his thoughts on this are, and honestly we don't know what Buff's side of it is either since all he's said so far is that he has one though he won't say what it is. Staying quiet isn't going to help. Maybe there is an explanation that makes sense but not saying anything just makes it look worse.

But this problem isn't going to go away. Bootleg, Sucklord style, figures appear more popular than ever and the self-producing artists working in resin are only going to become bigger and bigger influences on the scene and collectors. Where does new art begin? How much needs to be original, to be original? Does it matter if it's a ball of foil in there or a Munny head? I don't know! Honestly, and as hypocritical as it is to say, it varries for me from artist to artist. Sometimes it seems lazy whereas other times it makes perfect sense. There isn't an easy answer to this but I'd love to know what you think. One thing is clear, though, if the only difference in a figure you're trying to pass off as your own is two circles you've (had someone) etch in, then you are a fraud. 

*UPDATE*

So Mr. Monster finally shares his side of the story and explains everything! After saying he'd been blocked from George's Facebook page (and obviously then the entire internet and apparently his own web site where he could have easily addressed the accusations) it all totally all makes perfect sense now! I mean you're accused of, for all intents and purposes, stealing the work of someone else and of course you're going to jump right on it and straighten it out to not look like a complete scumbag. Glad this is finally settled and over! Wait. What?

It's still unclear what exactly happened and while I'd love there to be some logical explanation this kind of response to the apparent theft of another artists work only makes a good reason less plausible. I can only imagine what Buff's response or action would be were the tables turned. He doesn't strike me as a dude that loves the idea of other people taking credit for his work. 

*UPDATE 2*

So at least one of the parties is interested in getting the truth out. George just posted (I'm starting to feel a bit like Perez Hilton here by the way, not sure how I feel about that) this update on the original Facebook status about this issue:

Good on Mitch for straightening out a story that Buff so far hasn't been willing to. Maybe this is all a case of copy/paste error? Looks like maybe but why be so shady about it once it's pointed out? How about simply saying "oops" and fixing it? 

*YES ANOTHER UPDATE*

As you may or may not know George had, in previous Facebook posts, also posted images of sculpts that were not to be. Figures he'd worked on but that fell out of production for one reason or another. It appears that Buff was not pleased with this and when it was brought to his attention via a write up in Urban Vinyl Daily, well, this Twitter exchange happened. 

I'd like first to draw your attention to the dates of the post and tweets. February 22nd was two days before George's status pointing out the mis-attribution on the Ice Cream head. So what does this timeline mean? Was he pissed his secret failing toy project was outed and that's why he won't speak up to the latest accusations and intrigue? Was there some contractual element that George broke by posting the image? 

A more nefarious and completely made-up guess of what this could mean, in light of the mis-attribution George identified, is that now it'll be clear to a lot more people that that "similar" line of figures coming out could potentially be a lot more "exact copy" than "similar". And he wouldn't be able to use the line "...created entirely in NYC - design and sculpt...". As if that means anything anyway. 

A story for another day, perhaps, is why the original post by Urban Vinyl Daily that contained the picture Buff was so upset with, has since been deleted? Is this continued support of the thesis that toy blogs are a lot less about news than they are about catering to artists? Unless they were worried about the consequences of pissing off Buff why remove it? Can you imagine (yes, I realize this is a major stretch in comparison) the enter-your-hometown-newspaper-here going back and deleting news stories because one of the subjects was bothered by it? That's kind of the point, isn't it? Maybe it's still there somewhere but I sure can't find it. I would love for there to be a good reason or for me to just be too stupid to search correctly.  

 

Sunday
Jan272013

OMFG! Another Giveaway!

This time I'll make it even easier because I have no ulterior motive and I'm not celebrating any milestone or anything special. I just want to give you some toys that I love because I think you should love them too. And isn't that what this should all be about anyway? I have this place to use as a megaphone to shout to the world, "hey world! I love this toy and I think you should have it in your collection and here is why!" So here is what I'm going to do: hold another giveaway.

I really enjoy the OMFG! figures produced by October Toys. While I'm not a big Muscle Man toy type collector, it's more about how the OMFG! figures came to be that I love. Through their forum, George and Ayleen Gaspar (of October Toys and Toy Break fame) put together a contest wherein forum members could submit their character ideas/designs which were then voted on by the forum members and ultimately through an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign, were produced. And they turned out incredibly cool. October Toys then went on to Kickstart a GID pack of the series 1 figures which also did well. But in 2012 they did it again, running another forum contest where designs were submitted and voted on and in late 2012 series 2 of OMFG! was released. 

Like series 1, there are store/site exclusive colorways spread around the internet which makes collecting the figures so much fun. Chances are your favorite toy blog, online retailer, etc. have their own colorway-take on the series complete with personalized packaging. Which brings us to this weekends contest.

By being one of my followers on Twitter, at mhisey26, you have the opportunity to win not one, but two complete retailer exclusive sets of OMFG! series 2 figures. But along with those sets you will also receive the Cuddlehard (Fully Engorged edition) pink artist exclusive figure courtesy of the artist, turboPISTOLA himself! That's 11 figures you'll receive. The two retailer sets include Tenacious Toys' white pack and the Rotofugi blue pack available only through Rotofugi.

If you're not already an OMFG! collector, this is a great way to kickstart the habbit! 

The rules:

Follow me on Twitter at mhisey26. That's it. I will pick a follower at random on Monday 1/28 at 7PM pst and announce the name on Twitter and here shortly thereafter. 

Good luck everyone!

Tuesday
Dec252012

And the Winners Are....

And our grandprize winner, taking home a $25 Rotofugi gift certificate, the ToyPinionated Tee of his choosing (assuming he chooses a size/style that I still have), and best of all an original piece of incredible art by Vanessa Ramirez is... @smack6102 !!! Congratulations and thank you for being there listening, hanging out with, and supporting us in our ventures! Thank you!!

We also have two runners up that will each receive a ToyPinionated Tee - TOO! as designed by Yosiell Lorenzo to help celebrate year two of ToyPinionated! Those lucky folks are... @oddfae and @IGypsyWoman! Congratulations and thank you for joining us on this fun little celebration.

To everyone that took the time to stop by and drop a comment, thank you! Whether you "won" or not, please know that both Vanessa and I appreciate the contributions to our daily lives that all of you provide. While some of you I know in real life, and cherish that fact, the rest of you (whether you entered or not) bring endless smiles and good times over irreverent chatting or out and out arguments over art and toys. I love it all and I love you all. 

Merry Christmas everyone! 

Friday
Dec212012

Merry F*&%ing Christmas! *UPDATED WITH AWESOME x2*

 

And a happy New Year! 

Recently I noticed that after nearly three years of rambling, complaining, singing, joking, and sucking up through my Twitter account that I've finally surpassed the magical 500 followers mark! While a good chunk of those are most certainly spam bots and/or marketing accounts I'll take 'em! I'm far to vain to block anyone or anything that drives my numbers up. 

So to celebrate this accomplishment and to thank all of the truely amazing people that have decided to join me on my Twitter journey, I'm going to give a little back. A little, I said a little.

Here's what's going to happen: If you're a follower AND leave a comment on this post (be sure to leave your Twitter name in the post - if it isn't there your post won't count) you'll be entered to win a $25 gift certificate to my favorite retailer/gallery, Rotofugi. It's not much, I know, but I'm a poor man and I just couldn't let this milestone pass without at least acknowledging the hundreds of people that subject themselves to my nonsense day in and day out. You will also win the ToyPinionated Tee of your choosing (from remaining stock - not all sizes/styles available). Knowing you're there, and the conversations we have together, are some of the things I'm most thankful for. 

I will pick a winner completely at random on Christmas day so hurry up! Feel free to tell your friends but please know that only those following me at the time of the drawing will truly be entered to win. The comment can be anything from just your Twitter name to your grocery list. 

*AWESOME UPDATE* Also celebrating her own 500 follower milestone is none other than ToyPinionated favorite, and all around awesome lady, Vanessa Ramirez! So to show her gratitude to all of you and all of her followers (safe to say there is probably a fair amount of overlap between the two groups - as there should be) she has added to the contest one of her original Dapper Men sketches! This 8.5" x 5.5" pencil sketch, on heavy bristol paper (shown below) is being added to the pot and will go, along with the $25 Rotofugi gift certificate and ToyPinionated Tee of your choice, to one lucky winner! So make sure you're following us both to win! 

Stop by Vanessa's shop to see what other goodies she has that may tickle your fancy!

*UPDATE 2* And because I really do want to make this about making sure you all understand how much we do appreciate you and the interactions you make possible, after the grand prize winner is drawn, two more names will be drawn to receive ToyPinionated Tee - TOO shirts (sizes sm-xl still available)! 

Thank you for being there and for all of the support and arguments over the years! You are fantastic, I love you all, and I wish you all a very happy Holiday!

-Matt

Thursday
Nov012012

Leecifer's Designer Con Exclusive Android Series Revealed! 

Some of these images you've likely seen already if you've been on Twitter much today but in case you've been under a rock, here are in all their glory are Leecifer's latest custom Android series to be released at Designer Con! Take a look...

Each blind box will be selling for only $75, but don't forget the discount deals I told you about yesterday: Show up to the booth sporting your ToyPinionated tee and you'll walk away with a blind box for only $65! Really want a blind box but don't have a ToyPinionated tee yet? No Problem! Pick up a tee for $15 and get your blind box for only $60! That's right, pick up both and you're only spending as much as you would for the BB itself. Why wouldn't you partake in both? So be sure to stop by booth 412 first thing, pick up your shirt and BB and a Sickling, and rest assured that the rest of your day at Designer Con can be spent with the knowledge that you've got the hotest tickets already in the bag.

See you there!

 

Wednesday
Oct312012

Are You, Like Me, A Fan of Awesome?

Yesterday I posed the first picture of the kind of work that Leecifer will be offering up at Designer Con this weekend. Today I'm pleased to share with you the bounty of beauty that Yosiell Lorenzo will be unleashing on the masses out of booth 412.

What you see here are limited edition, hand cast resin figures. These represent the latest additions to Yosiell's "Sickling" line! There will be four of the full size "Dunce Hat Sicklings" along with four of his newest scuplt, the mini Sickling! In addition to the figures will be four resin Sickling art pins which allow you to take those adorable little faces with you anywhere you go. Yosiell will also have a selection of wood mounted prints. This is something new that Yosiell's been doing over the last few months and as a guy who has a few, take it from me that they look great on the wall with all of your framed art! Pricing for these offerings is as beautiful as the pieces themselves with the 5" Dunce Hat Sicklings going for $80, the 2.5" mini Sicklings for $50, the art pins will sell for $20 each, while the wood mounted prints will range from $20 to $25. At prices like these, and in these low runs, you'll want to come by the booth early to make sure you're one of the lucky few to go home with one!

But wait, there's more! Today I can also announce that Leecifer will be releasing, exclusively through our humble booth, an entire new series of custom Android blind boxes! Over a dozen custom figures with ratios to be released soon. And as if this news wasn't great enough, Leecier and I have come together to sweeten the deal and spread the ToyPinionated love by offering a special discounted price/combo deal for you lucky people! The regular price per blind box for this series is an incredibly low $75 (compare that against past custom BB series and jump for joy at the accessibly of these!). But it gets better! If you show up to the booth to purchase your blind box and you happen to be wearing a ToyPinionated tee you're going to walk away with that toy for only $65! Ten dollars off just for being a supporter of the site! Oh, but there's more! If you've been meaning to pick up a shirt but haven't yet, if you decide to take the plunge at the show by picking up the $15 ToyPinionated tee of your choosing, Leecifer will knock the blind box price down to only $60! That's a fantastic discount on an already wonderfully priced original piece of art AND you're helping to support the site! Why would you not do that? Big thanks to Leecifer for putting in the hard work to create the customs and for being so generous with me and the readers. Both artists have busted ass to pull this show together and I think you'll agree once you see them in person that there is a lot to love here!

See you all soon! 

 

Tuesday
Oct302012

Come Get Some Leecifer Up In Your Face!

I'm starting to get some glimpses of the pieces that Leecifer and Yosiell Lorenzo will be having with them at the ToyPinionated booth this year (booth 412), this Saturday in fact, and they are blowing my mind. The first one I'm going to share here with you is a custom Grease Bat by Leecifer called the Key Master. Not only did he paint the shit out of this figure but it's got a magnetic hand with removable skeleton key. This is a gorgeous piece and you owe it to yourself (and to these guys' hard work) to come by and see it in person! 

More sneak-peak images to follow but I wanted to give everyone a little taste of the awesome you'll be getting massive quantities of this weekend. 

Oh, and this: While I can't share specific details yet let me just say that if you're one of the lucky folks that has a ToyPinionated tee, you'll want to be wearing it when you come by the booth! Good things happen for supporters of the site! And if you don't have one yet, no worries, we'll have some at the show and you'll be able to join the ToyPinionated team and feel all the benefits, too!

Saturday
Oct272012

Booth 412, Bro

It's the time of year where collectors and artists of all shapes, sizes, tastes, and talents get together in Pasadena, California for the single greatest community event of the year: Designer Con! And like last year, ToyPinionated will be there enforce at booth 412 and playing proud host to artists Leecifer and Yosiell Lorenzo! Both gents will have art and toys and art toys in tow and are excited to meet you so please come by the booth and say hello. In addition to their amazing art we will have the few remaining ToyPinionated tees (both designed by boothee, Yosiell) and buttons for sale so if you haven't picked one up yet, this will be a great opportunity to save on shipping! We're all really looking forward to the show and to meeting all of you on November 3rd. 

A bit about the artists:

 

Leecifer

Channeling the influences of tattoo, hotrod, skate, graffiti, gigposter, manga, kaiju and vinyl toy cultures, with every given opportunity, into his very own version of urban contemporary art, Leecifer resides with an amazingly patient wife, three turtles, a large collection of art, innumerable vinyl art toys and a healthy quantity of beer in the Oakland Hills of Northern California. 

 

 

 

Yosiel Lorenzo: 

 (bio written by Jeremy Brautman then dutifully stolen for this post)

Yosiell Lorenzo’s work fits into that saying: “never judge a book by its cover”. At first glance, his artwork is all cuteness: cupcakes, cherries and candy. But beneath the facade of frosting and the rainbow sprinkles camouflage, a sadness is stirring. Yosiell uses sweetness to reel us in. Once he has us in his saccharine net, we settle and see beyond the surface: these are cheerless creatures. They are all searching for love.

The Sicklings are a troop of Yosiell’s recurring characters who are particularly mopey and needy. Rendered in sexless simplicity, the Sicklings function like anthropomorphic feelings: Frustration, loneliness, despair…Often the Sicklings wear masks. Yosiell uses masks as a device throughout his paintings and three dimensional work. The masks represent dual and hidden identities, as well as society’s attempts to label individuals who resist categorization. Yosiell has dealt with these identity issues first hand. As a gay, Puerto Rican artist, he was often told that he didn’t “look gay” or he was a “fake Rican”.

Yosiell was introduced to art in his youth during a time when hip hop and graffiti defined urban culture. Growing up in Bridgeport, CT, he’d hop the train to New York and absorb it all. In the bold lines and bright colors, he saw strength. The writing on the wall seemed to shout: Look at me! I’m here! While he admired the intrepid markings of the graffiti writers, Yosiell also found himself looking inward. Inspired by movies like Labyrinth, he began to explore the idea of creating his own fictional world through his art. Aerosol and acrylic as escape route.

These days, Yosiell's work incorporates a process of textures and washes. Thematically, he continues to explore issues of sadness and longing in varying mediums, including: sculpture, paintings, graphite, ink, mixed media and digital vector art. He has had a solo show every year since 2008 and his paintings and resin sculptures are collected around the world. Additionally, Yosiell makes his presence known in group shows around the country with events in New York, LA, San Francisco, Chicago and Miami. Recent personal highlights include being a featured artist in the Pixar Times and invited to show at renowned art venue, Gallery1988.

Yosiell holds a BFA in graphic design from Paier College of Art. In 2011, he will debut new bodies of work in solo shows at Art Whino in the DC area and Screaming Sky Gallery in Portland. He currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he continues to spend many hours in his studio working on paintings, toys and illustrations.

About the name…  Yosiell could have grown up a Jose, like any other decent Puerto Rican kid. However, his mom, saw something unique in her bundle of joy and blessed him with one of the hardest to spell/pronounce names ever. Lets say it together..“Joe-See-Ell.”  Moms rule.

 


 

All images in this post were taken from the artist's individual web sites. If you like what you see, pay them a visit online or at ToyPinionated's booth, #412, at DesignerCon on November 3rd in Pasadena, California. 

 

Sunday
Sep232012

Let There Be A Second Shirt! Oh, And Buttons!

After the success had with the first ToyPinionated Tee (thank you everyone who bought one!), I put Yosiell back to work designing the ToyPinionated Tee TOO - Bagged and Carded Edition! The new shirt is up in the shop now along with new buttons sold indivually but with four designs you'll no doubt want to grab all four. At least I hope. So take a second to stop on by and do a little shopping. 

Sunday
Sep232012

"Friends, Forever! Always Will Be Friends."

In my August installment you joined your disgruntled hero as he railed against the destructive nature of friendships and blind attachment to affable personalities above artistic talent. I described for you the negative aspects of a very small and insular scene that unfortunately places less than adequate value on creativity and risk while favoring the rote and safe. That is to say the organizers and galleries favor these things. The very explosion of garage and home studio resin slingers is evidence enough that the fans are pretty tired with what the shops, galleries, and bigger production companies like Kidrobot are presenting us. While there are only so many ways you can skin a cat, there are even fewer ways to customize the same Dunny figure we’ve all been staring at for years. But I’m getting away from today’s point. 

While last month I put down the unproductive side of friendships in the art world, I wanted to take some time to recognize that if it weren’t for a very specific and serendipitous meeting of my own, I would never have been given the opportunity to be writing to you now. Is that reason enough for you to begin your design and construction of a time machine? The story begins a little more than two years ago, more specifically the first full day of San Diego Comic Con, 2010. While sitting at work, I pulled out my phone and began flittering through the tweets I’d missed throughout the day. As I’m scrolling through the list a new tweet pops up from writer Jeremy Brautman, whose blog I’d enjoyed for some time though had never interacted with. But this one tweet, sent almost assuredly in a manic state, was a proposition to his followers to split a pair of Ron English Telegrinnie figures being sold only in sets and of which he only wanted the green colorway. 

That tweet changed my life and, in a much more insignificant way, yours too. It was without much thought that I replied immediately that I would. As fast as I could type out the words on my phone, the tweet was sent, and a dialog with an Internet stranger began. We agreed to meet that evening to exchange cash for his unwanted purple Telegrinnie, thus beginning what would become two years of a beautiful friendship. Ultimately I ended up selling him back the Telegrinnie because, for me at least and in a very stalker kind of way, it wasn’t something that appealed to me as a piece of art so much as a way to get to meet someone I’d come to be a fan of. 

It was that night, standing there in the dark and loud bar hosting the annual Munky King SDCC party, that two strangers talked and where the well known one took the time to introduce the unknown one to people of significance. As artists would pass he would extend his hand out, point to me, and introduce me like I was someone. Like I mattered to any one of the people in that room at all or had anything to contribute. Standing just outside the roped off VIP section I was star-struck by the people mere feet away and Jeremy, all on his own, became a gateway for me to meet my idols. From there, from SDCC 2010, everything changed for me. My love of art toys grew in a different way. The fact that I was meeting, shaking hands and conversing with people I’d been collecting toys by, rocked me. It wasn’t until that started to happen that I realized how small the scene really was. How everyone knew everyone and while I wasn’t anywhere near Jeremy’s level and certainly not an artist, I was a part of it now too, and was welcomed without fail. 

The best part of this story for me is that no matter how many times I get the opportunity to meet an artist, or writer, or other collectors, I’m still just as star-struck. It hasn’t worn off. I still get butterflies just replying to tweets and a silly grin on my face when I look up at my shelf, see a toy that I love, then notice its artist replied to a blog post I’ve written or is making fun of me on Facebook. It is a small world, a small scene, and while that isn’t always a good thing when those friendships become more important than the art, it is fantastic in the sense that it means that everyone is involved, from the fan on up. Artists don’t get to keep doing what they’re doing if we as fans don’t keep doing what we’re doing. While I would never wish SDCC on anyone as it is a cesspool of sweat and dry-humping strangers through tight aisles, it will always hold a special place in my special heart as where a new life for me began. 

My story isn’t unique. I think this happens to a lot of fans and budding artists. There are a lot of people I know now that, through Twitter and great annual community events like Designer Con in Pasadena, CA, have had the opportunity to create relationships with people they never thought they’d be in the same room with much less share ideas. The best thing I can say about the people that I’ve met and would dare to call friends is that they are (as corny as this sounds even to me) fans just like us. If they weren’t as in love with the art as they are they wouldn’t be creating it. And because they’re fans like us they are (as corny as this sounds even to me) easy to talk to and are approachable and welcoming (with only a few notable exceptions). For as much as I complain about the things I see wrong around us and for as down in the mud as I get, it’s only because I love these people so much. These people, their art, delivered me through difficult times and it’s when the people you love let you down that it hurts the most and when I get the loudest. There is room for everyone here at this party, and that’s a great thing. So reach out to an artist today. Tweet at them or comment on their blog or Facebook wall. Take a chance to make a connection that I promise will change your life forever and for the better. There is room for everyone.

Oh, and bonus points for those of you who know the song from which the title of this post was stollen. Don't Google it, cheaters!