By Oasim Karmieh
Handcrafted Art Toys
As all artists since the beginning of time, we always search for masters and mentors to look up to, whose work speaks to us on a spiritual level, those artworks that touch our hearts or engage our minds or maybe even enrage us. So, when I started my career as a Toy Designer, I needed to find beacons to light up the toy crafting path ahead.
“Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?” – Gabrielle Roy
His nickname is just perfect and incapsulates the beauty of his art toys: 2Petalrose, aka Liam Scriven from London UK, is one of my all time favourite toy designers. His handcrafted toys are just exquisite, his style is so unique and so detailed that you could spend literally hours just gauging at his gallery and instagram account, just to make sure you don’t miss any of his hidden details. One of my favorite posts on instagram was when he showed the sole of one of his beautiful resin art toys with the comment “I know you won’t ever see it but…”; that kind of commitment and effort shows you the amount of love that goes into each piece of art that he creates.
The art toy that I fell in love with designed by Foolsparadise (Alan Ng) was Keiko. I was hypnotized by the twisted vibe that these art toys emanate. And to be honest I didn’t know why I felt they had that twisted ooze, until I had a talk with my friend Trustpigs (aka Nick Curtis) and he told me that in fact the founder of Fools paradise created the main characters of his handmade toys series as inmates of the Fools Paradise asylum, which specialized in people who thought they were human-animal hybrids. Thus we later got the interpretations we now know, which were how these characters see themselves… like Keiko as a bear-headed vixen.
THE Jason Freeney
If you haven't heard of Jason Freeney or at least seen one of his famous art toys, I'm sorry but you must have lived under a rock. His works are so deep, literally and figuratively, his dissected toy are the most famous ones — from the balloon poodle to the dissected lego figurines. Lately he released a toy collection of dissected super heroes with Mighty jaxx which I absolutely love.
Frank Kozik's art toys are so badass and so in your face; some of them are political and all of them are non-apologetic, they have the right amount of juxtaposition. The more you learn about his work and about his personally, the more you love his art toys and you will end up like me buying at least a couple of copies for your personal art toy collection.
His style is a mixture of clean shapes and dynamic poses, with a handmade feel, and in my opinion that mix is what sets his art toys apart from everything that is out there. And on top of being a great toy artist, he is a machine when it comes to the amount of toys he can create, all handcrafted, hand cast, hand painted. He is an amazing dude, but you can already tell from how awesome his Art Toys are.
The first art toy that I saw made by PlastiCell was the famous Tupac shakur figurine, and I gotta tell you, the way these guys where able to capture the essence of Amaru, from the beautiful peaceful pose, to the amazing hand painted details on the bandana… Don’t get me started on the tattoos that look soooooo badass. The amount of work that goes into each figurine is just mind-boggling. You have to follow the guy on instagram, so you can see the amount of love that goes into all their beautiful handcrafted art toys.
Dangerous Badass Cuteness — the characters these guys create are just too hard to describe, cause when you tell somebody that they are the most badass and cute toy you have ever seen, they look at you as if that’s not possible for an Art Toy. The juxtapose of cuteness and badassery is just awesome; combining the cuteness of their goggly eyes, with their shotguns, bombs, chemical weapons, bazookas, and most importantly the gas masks. And did I tell you that they are wearing real clothes? And that it comes with tons of accessories— make sure to check the pockets.