Do you like Buff Monster? I sure do. If you are familiar at all with this world-famous street artist’s extensive body of work, then you know that his key creation is Mr. Melty, which is an anthropomorphic ice cream cone. This Hot Pink version of Mister Melty was a limited edition that was selling in the Clutter Magazine booth at last years Five Points Festival for about $275, I think. That sounds like a big chunk of change, but consider that this piece is also a highly-collectible work of art, and, you know, it’s kind of a bargain. Plus: Pink.
I feel no shame admitting that I had stuffed animals on my bed into my thirties. Despite being a grown adult with a day job, I still love and collect toys, and I especially have a sick fetish for Designer Art Toys. This is why the annual Five Points Festival is my jam. Thanks to this awesome blog, I was able to score press passes once again to this year’s Five Points Fest, which took place the first weekend in June. Since Geoffrey is no longer on-the-scene, so to speak, I brought along my photographer and Partner in Squee, Jamie, and we spent about 5 or 6 hours trawling through hundreds of tiny toys and using the words “Cute” and “Adorable” about one hundred million billion times, each. Just being serious. While many designer toys are limited editions that can sell for hundreds of dollars, it is also possible find dozens of captivating art toys at Five Points Fest that can be yours for as little as $10 each. Please enjoy my photos of some of the toys that we found to be most squee-worthy, and you will see how easy it can be to build an affordable toy collection that adds joy to your life.
Do you like Buff Monster? I sure do. This Hot Pink version of his Mister Melty creation is a limited edition that was selling in the Clutter Magazine booth for about $275, I think. That sounds like a big chunk of change, but consider that this piece is also a highly-collectible work of art. Clutter is a generous sponsor of Five Points Fest so I want to give them a big Shout Out, right now!
These cute little guys are called Squash Buddies ($8 each) and, yes, they are scented! Top Trenz is the manufacturer and they were found in the PIQ booth.
PIQ is also where I discovered this shameless Pusheen rip-off series of Fat Cats called Meowchi, by Tasty Peach Studios of Japan. Don’t be fooled by imitations! Demand Pusheen!
Why did I take a picture of the box but not the toy? Clever Idiots, indeed. Sushi Cat sells for $7.99.
Hey look; more cats for you Cat Lovers! This slothful feline is part of the Lazily Sitting Cat Series by Vivi Cat. There are nine different poses to collect (9 Lives = 9 Cats) which sell for $12.50 each, and they are from Pop Mart toys.
More Five Points Action After the Jump!
This year’s Five Points Festival is a few weeks behind us now, and trust me when I say that the full-on photo recap of this truly mind-blowing event is on the way. But in the meantime, I’d like to satiate your craving for art toy news with a little teaser, featuring my favorite purchase from the show: these adorable Mini Lego Figures of David Bowie as two of his most famous personas, Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane!
These figures were designed by artist Ron Reeves of Spandex Studios (SPandEX), and the attention to detail makes them instantly recognizable. For example, the toy above is rocking the Asymmetrical Knit Bodysuit designed by Kansai Yamamoto in 1973 for the Ziggy Stardust tour. Mini Lego Ziggy also comes with a Mic, so he can drop it.
And despite the fact that it says “Ziggy Stardust” on the packaging, this figure is clearly Bowie from the Aladdin Sane-era — distinguish by the iconic lighting bolt across its face. The card art includes an image of Bowie from the D.A. Pennebaker live concert film, Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars (1973). Perhaps a bit more attention to detail could have been employed here, but whatever. It is still pretty cool.
Visit Spandex Studios on the Web at This Link!
Concert Poster artist and collectible figure aficionado Frank Kozik has been churning out limited editions of his Mickey Mao bust, officially entitled The Bird is the Word (because “Papa Ooh Mao Mao,“ I guess?) for a decade, I think. I’ve seen them in all sizes, colors and finishes, but this one measures an imposing 30″ x 20″ x 18″ and comes in a Lime Green Sparkle Automotive finish that can be yours for just $7,500!
If you happen to be a fan of character-based, pop culture collectibles — which includes dozens of items encompassing such must-haves as enamel pins, plushies, art toys, limited edition / designer vinyl toys and action figures, monsters, model kits, art prints, novelties and seemingly endless subcategories of amazing swag — then the Five Points Festival, which took place in Greenpoint, Brooklyn over the weekend of June 2nd and 3rd, 2018 is the only place you want to be. There’s a lot to distill in this recap, so we are going to get right to it. If you weren’t at Five Points Fest, here is just some of what you missed!
You can’t really talk about Five Points Fest without at least mentioning Kidrobot, acknowledged worldwide as the premier manufacturer and retailer of limited edition art toys, signature apparel and lifestyle accessories. Their booth was crammed full of goodies like these pocket collectibles.
Artists Kathie Olivas and Brandt Peters have designed a new mini figure series called Dark Harbor, which Kidrobot manufacturers and distibutes. We’ve been fans of Kathie’s work forever, so these super cute little guys are fun to see!
Eric Althin’s Sad Salesman designer toy and vinyl collection started as a labor of love and has grown into a family of endearing characters inspired in part by Eric’s young son and daughter.
The Dessert Oracle came home with me to join my collection!
Eric’s Pink Astral Wizard (created in a now sold-out limited edition just for this show) also won Sad Salesman an award for Breakthrough Artist! Congratulations!
Jim McKenzie is a formerly New York-based artist who has enjoyed great success with his unique hybrid character creations such as the Pumpkin Crab, Racoonicorn and the Pugglepillar, as well as his adorable Scarecrow who is, literally, scared of crows. Jim recently relocated to live the dream out in Burbank, California so we were happy to catch up with him at Five Points Fest!
Jim painstakingly hand sculpts all of his creations.
He also does amazing digital paintings. Jim McKenzie!
Frank Ape is another character that has evolved from the street to the merchandise market thanks to the innovative vision of his creator, Brandon Sines.
Here is Geoffrey hanging out with Frank Ape on the exhibit hall floor. Hilarious.
Do you like Rock Stars? I get yer Rock Stars right here. Meet Matthew Lineham, who makes all kinds of wildly collectible merchandise featuring his own charicatures of famous rock stars from back when pop music did not yet suck. His shit is the shit.
Check out these David Bowie Valentine Cards, which are just insane.
If I was a person who still bought T Shirts, I would have to own this Halloween-themed Robert Smith design for sure. Twenty Bucks? What a bargain! I hope that you are doing a Google on Matthew’s website (M Lineham Art) right now because I am not going to make it easy for you by adding any hyperlinks to this post. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Husband a wife team Kelly and J. Spencer Shill work with both original and appropriated characters for their Jellykoe line of prints and soft toys. Do you like Uglydolls? Check out these out Mini Monsters that Kelly sews from Spencer’s original designs. Ugly Cuddly!
Ron Swanson Fans: this one needs to go in your TV room right now. And this Pennywise poster; just brilliant.
Move over, Barbie and make way for Pidgin, the fabulous creation of New York sculptor and doll maker Joshua David McKenney. A reinvention of the fashion doll, Pidgin is a medium for the language of style! All dolls begin life from an identical sculpt, and are then hand painted and styled by Joshua, so that no two are alike. The dolls have ball joints, so they’re fully posable and can be interacted and played with, as well as being a unique work of art!
If you were at the fabulous Ramones and the Birth of Punk Exhibit out at the Queens Museum a couple of years ago, then you may have seen the art of Naoshi, who created a very memorable Kawaii-influenced picture of the band!
Naoshi also works with sand (called Sunae in Japan) to create colorful tiny pictures, and makes enamel pins of her characters. Oh, the cuteness. You can find her shop on Etsy.
Five Points Festival proved to be an ideal place to pick up original paintings, drawings and other unique wall art that you’d otherwise have to scour dozens of galleries to find — if you could find them at all, because a lot of these guys are underground, baby!
Look at this cool and affordable Monster art by Justin Lieter! You can see the top of Justin’s head behind the number 5 on the Kewties sign!
Do you like Sharks? I sure do. This awesome grinning shark character is the signature creation of the street artist known as Sharpy. I think his work is just fantastic.
Chil Pepper (which, genius) is the creation of Mike Grossman and is part of his Goofy Froot series of anthropomorphic fruit characters. Yes, I just typed that.
Okay, how great is this unintentional homage to The Residents? An artist named Christian Hooker (real name? Likely not) took one of photographer Gene Korman’s most iconic images of Marilyn Monroe ever, photoshopped out her face and replaced it with a giant, flame-encircled eyeball. It is so many kinds of brilliant.
Many of the artists in attendance participated in a Live Painting Event, where each artist created an original spray paint artwork on-the-fly!
Here are Chris RWK and Jim McKenzie in action!
Here are Chris and Jim again, a little bit farther along!
It was fun to watch the artists paint while enjoying tasty snacks from a selection of food trucks, like these mini donuts from Glazed and Confused!
All the paintings were auctioned off, with all proceeds going to benefit Planned Parenthood! Excellent!
We saw many very cool examples of toys and other merchandise made via the magic of 3D Printing, such as these adorable little planters from Meow 3D Printing! Check out the Pink Hedgehog!
You’ve seen his Batman Buddha on Worley Gig before, but were you aware that the artist known as 3D Mucky Chris has created an entire universe populated with Buddha-fied versions of many of your favorite sci-fi characters? It’s true!
The Tardigrade is an actual Living Thing That Exists, and now DoomCo Designs have created a Tardigrade character for all of you Tardi-fans. His name is Tarbus and he comes in variety of colors and two sizes!
Big Ten Inch Tarbus!
Tardi-great is more like it!
Here’s a bunch of other random stuff we liked enough to snap a photo (or two). Enjoy!
Is this the cutest thing in the universe or what? Presenting Mister Self Indulgence (Cherry Flavor edition) by Nouar (Martian Toys).
Mister Self Indulgence (a cherry pie with a chubby-cheeked grin who is poised to eat a slice of his own head) is a soft vinyl figure and he comes accompanied by his friend Lil’ Scoopy, who is a dish of ice cream. So cute, I can’t even live.
I am dead now, from the cuteness.
Artist Nick C. Kirk made this Pink Wookie character based on his photo of an actual Cosplayer whose likeness can be seen on the box.
GWAR Comics. I am speechless.
Topic: The Japanese have too much time on their hands. Discuss.
“Do Not Eat Me.”
Since art toy obsession is a legitimate lifestyle, you need some accessories to help you rock the look, amiright? KT Ferris Creations (#ThisShitBlinks) is a line of handcrafted Jewelry featuring hyperrealist doll eyes that open and close with the movement of the jewelry. Lovely and Disquieting!
We like these handbags by Marzipan Physics! Stylish!
Do you like Monsters? I got yer Monsters right here. This guy is called Mr. Death (2nd color Version) designed by Rockin’ Jelly Bean for their Freaky Monster Village series (sold by Black Book Toys).
Here’s a Pink Monster from Lonely Monster Toys By Elliot Lobell.
Zombie Alex from InstincToy is due for release in October 2018.
I don’t know this little guy’s name, but he looks like some kind of Monster Travelling Salesman, and he is just fantastic-looking! I found him at the booth for Mothership Toy Gallery.
Mummy Spice Version of King Creepy By Richard Strohmeyer.
One-of-a-Kind Figures by Emilio Subira (those that did not sell at Five Points Fest are available online from Mothership Toy Gallery).
I am pretty sure this Pirate Dude is called Captain Sturnbrau and he is by JPK, which are the initials of toy designer Jon-Paul Kaiser. Aaargh!
Before I forget, I must give a shout out to Five Points Festival’s primary sponsor, Clutter, which is the world’s premier magazine and media source for Designer Toys, and the originator of the Designer Toy Awards, as well as having a gallery dedicated to art toys, and doing custom manufacturing on-demand!
Thanks to Clutter for all that they do to support the community! See you next year for another rad Five Points Festival!
A mostly forgotten (if not widely-known) fact about me is that, in my high school years, my nickname was Wizard. The backstory on that takes way too long to talk about, but Wizard is nevertheless a word and a thing that has remained near and dear to my heart through the years. So, to come across a Pink Wizard: that is a pretty big deal! While Geoffrey and I were making the seen at this past weekend’s Five Points Festival in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, we came across this little guy in the booth for Sad Salesman, a collectible figure and toy company run by Eric Althin, who used to own the late great Bold Hype, one of our favorites among the Chelsea Art Galleries. We miss them so much, so it’s awesome to know that Eric is still making cool art and bringing it to the masses! Eric designs and sculpts all of Sad Salesman’s original characters!
Eric told me that The Wizard was the very first sculpture he sat down to make with the intention of it being a designer toy. “I made others following it,” he explained, “but after hearing feedback, it seemed to be everyone’s favorite. I crossed my fingers and went ahead and produced it as a limited edition vinyl toy, via Pretty In Plastic. I also wanted to have an even more “special edition” and had the factory make a translucent pink version!”
Created in a limited edition of just 70 pieces, the Pink Astral Wizard (so named for his powers of Astral Projection) is 9-inches tall, with a vinyl body and resin legs. He is giving you the side eye, because he knows all. Eric tells me that there are few of the Pink Astral Colorway Wizards remaining from sales at Five Points Fest, so if you weren’t able to make it out to Brooklyn, you can get yours now at This Link! And be sure to check out Sad Salesman’s other cool toys and figures while you are there!
Stay Tuned for our Spectacular Full Coverage Five Points Festival Coming Soon!
Artist Ron English is now selling his Popaganda merchandise in a Pop Up storefront at the corner of 72 Gansevoort Street and Washington Street in the Meatpacking District. This collectible art toy figure of his Dinogrenade character in bright, shocking Pink sells for $70.00. Get ’em while they’re hot!
If you’ve visited the MEET Corporate Meeting Space’s Chrystie Street location, you’ve probably noticed their Favorite Things Lamps, designed by Chen Karlsson. These clear glass pendant lamps showcase MEET’s eclectic treasured objects and provide fun, surprising branding opportunities their clients. Over this past summer, Art Toy vendors My Plastic Heart curated the lamps’ featured contents, enlisting toy designers Kano, Brent Nolasco and Justin Alan Volpe to each fill a selection of the lamps with one of their signature creations.
In July, I attend a party and Q&A at MEET, where Brent Nolasco and Justin Alan Volpe were present to discuss their art, and I was able to take these photos in this post. Enjoy!
Justin Alan Volpe creates one-of-a-kind, handmade felt toys like the one he is holding here. They did not photograph so well, unfortunately, but this will give you a good idea of what he does.
This is Brent Nolasco. Below are some of the lamps featuring his fun monster toys!
Toys by Kano feature a Robot figure emblazoned with one of his design on the front of its body. I love this little Smiling Shark!
MEET on Chrystie is located at 195 1/2 Chrystie Street, Suite #200, in Manhattan.
World on Fire, the new album by Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators, which hits stores on September 17th will feature a brightly colored, collage design by Popaganda artist, Ron English.
English previously created the cover art for Slash’s self-titled solo album released in 2010 and he has also designed limited edition, collectible art toys inspired by the former GNR Guitarist, such as this Top Hat-Adorned Bust Sculpture. Very cool!
Famous for his wildly original Soundsuits and also for not being This Guy, artist Nick Cave has joined the family of Little Collector with the creation and marketing of his Inflatable Soundsuit Punching Bags for kids! Yes, I just typed that. You have your choice of two different designs, as seen above, available for just
$80.00 $99.00 each and I am betting they will sell out fast! Grab one for your favorite art-loving, active child right now at This Link!