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Heller Talks Toys

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An interesting piece in the NY Times yesterday in what’s not usually a section that talks up design all that often: the Sunday Book Review. But yesterday was your day, as Steven Heller took a look at “I Am Plastic: The Designer Toy Explosion” by Paul Budnitz, the Kidrobot founder and a guy who clearly knows the whole trend. Here’s a bit:

Small toy companies — with rock-band names like Secret Base, Tokyo Guns, Cube Works, Rough Toyz and the Creatures in My Head, featuring bizarre (sometimes sarcastically cute) toys by illustrators and artists like Frank Kozik, Tim Biskup, Gary Baseman, Sara Antoinette Martin and Jim Woodring — have since flooded art and design galleries and alternative toy stores with collectibles in a wide price range. These radical, ribald objects are influenced by all manner of pop culture genres, from the gangsta rap used in Misha & Shauna’s Missing Link to the heavy metal in Takumi Iwase’s Rock Rabbit. In the outlaw tradition, there are plenty of scurrilous defacements of corporate symbols: the artist Filth transforms Mickey Mouse into a monster mouse with Devil 666 Bear Qee; Ron English’s MC Supersized is a stubby, bling-wearing Ronald McDonald.

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