Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Ok, this cracks me up to no end:

It's a vinyl toy designed by Amanda Visell. Its name is "Baby-Eating Crocodile."


And here are two illustrations from her website to accompany it:


The figure was originally part of a multi-artist show at Gallery 1988 in LA, and now the whole series of toys are being released as a blind-box set. I think the set as a whole is kind of meh, though, which is especially disappointing given the awsomeness of Visell's contribution to the collection. As an art show, all the different styles may work, but as a blind-box set, there's not enough cohesion. And it's not just the art styles that differ wildly, it's also the level of detail. The individual boxes are $7.99 each, which is about average (i.e. expensive as hell), but I wouldn't want to pay that for (or even own, for that matter) a couple of these.

Anthony Ausgang's Clean One, for example, features bright, fun colors, but the character's lack of detail gives it a flat and boring look overall. Peter Gronquist's Stella and 'Roo is also unsatisfying. There's a seem right down the center of its tummy! What's that about? Who thought that was a good design choice? The colors, too, are bland. Designer toys are usually immaculately put together and cleverly colored, so this one looks cheaply made by comparison.

On the other hand, Greg Simkins' Scurvy Nevil is highly detailed and intricate (not to mention, ADORABLE). I covet this little trinket like nobody's business. Joe Ledbetter always comes through with amazing toy creations, and his Ledkin and King of the Deadbeets are no exception. This is how you do mock 2D. The creatures, being actual toys, are obviously physically three-dimensional, but his heavy black outlines and solid, stark color blocks give the little guys the feeling of being drawings on a page.

About half of these toys are really creative and weirdo, while the others aren't particularly special. And even though they're sold as a set, none of them match. They're better as singular pieces; but in that case, I don't want to shell out eight bucks in the hope of getting a Joe Ledbetter or Amanda Visell toy, only to end up with some ugly thing I don't want. Let's face it, $8 is too much to pay for a three inch chunk of plastic anyways (not that it's ever stopped me before...), so if I'm going to actually pay that, it has to be for something unique and clever whose design looks like it received a lot of work. The odds of getting that in this case aren't high enough. My advice? Wait a couple months, then buy them pre-opened on ebay.

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