Once again sharing a booth at this year’s ToyCon UK, Jon Paul Kaiser and Rich Page of UME Toys have teamed up for a very special collaborative figure for the event… the murderous surgeon Buford Mandrake! Inspired by the real-life doctor of Charring Cross hospital, the 4″ tall piece was hand sculpt and cold cast in copper by Page, with aged, oxidised washes from JPK. Coming complete with the butcher’s infamous pair of masks (featuring interchangeable magnetic articulation), Mandrake has been limited to just 10 pieces, priced at £35 each. Dropping at the UME x JPK booth this Saturday, April 12th, we suggest acting quick on these or the doctor may just give you a bedside visit whilst you sleep!
Marking the first anniversary of UK streetwear brand Rhymesquare in style, Jon Paul Kaiser and his cohorts are proud to present a brand new colourway of their popular BearAll mascot… the Red Panda edition! Prototyped and cast in resin by our very own Tru:Tek, the 2.5″ tall mini figure has been hand painted by Jon in a stunning deep red and golden yellow combo. Priced at just £14 plus shipping, the Red Panda BearAll will be touching down in the Rhymesquare store for a 24 hour period starting Midnight GMT tonight (August 31st)…
MAN-E-NEWS// Taylored Curiosities’ ‘Brilliant Blue’ & custom Giant Monster Embryos now available online…
Another artist we were finally able to catch up with at ToyCon over the weekend (however brief!), the lovely Penny Taylor of Taylored Curiosities brought along a mesmerising display of aroma-plush, one-off mini sculpts, resins (including a cheeky proto of a forthcoming collab with Alto!), and of course, the hotly tipped Giant Monster Embryo customs. Easily one of the show’s highlights, the beautiful display featured pieces from some of the art toys scene’s finest, the remainder of which have now been put up in the Taylored Curiosities web store… Joined by the original ToyCon exclusive ‘Brilliant Blue’ edition, the impressive 2.5kg+ hand cast resin figures range in price between £225 for the production piece, right up to £433 for Nervis Wrek’s Nibrian custom. Head over here for a closer look, and stay tuned for more news on ‘that’ Alto collab soon!
Previewed here last week as an early test-paint, we can now proudly share the ‘Libertas’ resin skulls in all their glory! Designed, sculpted and painted by Jon Paul Kaiser and cast by none other than our very own Tru:Tek, the incredible figures will be making their debut in 2 different colourways; the previously revealed ‘standard’ black and white in an edition of 10, plus the beautiful new addition above, the ‘Scribed’ edition, which has been limited to just 5… Priced at £65 and £85 respectively, the Libertas skulls will be up for grabs on Jon’s ToyConUK booth next Saturday, April 6th.
There’s been one project from our good friend Jon Paul Kaiser that we’ve been dying to let out of the bag since it’s inception a few months back, and with the first test paint sent landing in our inbox today, we couldn’t resist finally sharing it with you guys… Entitled the ‘Libertas Skull’, the jaw-dropping cyclopean is the latest resin figure from the heralded toy customising, coming sculpt by Jon himself with prototyping and production duties handed over to our very own Tru:Tek. Due to be making an exclusive appearance at next month’s ToyCon UK, the piece will be available in 2 different colourways; the pictured ‘standard’, limited to 10 pieces with a price tag of £65, and the intriguing ‘Scribed’ edition (featuring red script across one side of the skull), which has been limited to just 5, priced at £85 a piece… Stay tuned for a full reveal closer to the event!
After the near-instant sell out success of the ‘Polar’ BearAll resin minis back in November, RhymeSquare are proud to reveal that the second wave is already primed and ready to drop! Standing at around 2″ tall, the bear has been designed, sculpted and painted by Jon Paul Kaiser, with prototyping and resin casting handled by our very own Tru:Tek. This time around coming in a ‘Grizzly’ inspired brown colourway, the figure is set to drop exclusively on the RhymeSquare store this Friday, February 22nd at 12noon GMT for just £14 each (international shipping included!). As we mentioned before, these proved extremely popular the first time around, so you guys better act quick to be in with a chance of nabbing one!
A little late on these guys due to our internet problems, but here goes… Jon Paul Kaiser is proud to present his first resin figure for new music/art venture RhymeSquare with the release of “BEARALL”. Originally debuting at the Designer Toy Awards last month in exclusive gold and pink colourways, BEARALL sees general release in a rather striking black and white paint scheme. Hand cast by our very own Tru:Tek, the 3″ resin figures are available in extremely limited quantities through the RhymeSquare shop for just £14 plus shipping…
UPDATE// Unfortunately since the time of writing BEARALL has been listed as out of stock… Word is on the grapevine that there may be more of these little guys very soon, so be sure to stay tuned for all the info as soon as we get it!
In celebration of the launch of their new site, the organisers of ToyCon have joined forces with 3 of the UK’s hottest talent, runDMB, Planet Domu and Jon Paul Kaiser for a custom competition of epic proportions… Say hello to War Tourist! Originally designed by and produced by runDMB and Planet Domu, the once resin cast War Tourist has gone super sized for ToyCon UK, with the introduction of not one, but two huge exclusive fibreglass versions of the fantastic original sculpt. One of these beasts has been shipped off to the UK’s own master customiser Jon Paul Kaiser, whilst the other has been held back for one lucky customiser to get to work on for Planet Domu’s booth display! All you have to do to enter is follow these 4 easy steps;
1) Click here to download the War Tourist design template.
2) Create your Tourist either by hand or digitally
3) Give it a name
4) Email your design to firstname.lastname@example.org, including pictures or a link to your previous custom work.
Entries must be in by December 1st, with the finished War Tourist custom due by March 1st. The ToyCon guys will be covering postage on the huge figure, which sadly means entries are restricted to UK artists only…
On another note, ToyCon tickets have just gone on sale through the new site for just £12 a piece- we suggest anyone interested in attending should bag them now, there’s very little chance they’ll be around for long!
It’s been a while since we’ve heard any news with regards to more Captain Sturnbrau colourways, so it came with great pleasure yesterday to find that JPK and Toy2R are gearing up for the spooky “Deep Blue Sea” edition’s imminent release! Coming cast in a clear aqua blue vinyl, the 5″ Mini Qee should be seeing the light of day sometime in June. As with previous Sturnbrau releases, expect to find “Deep Blue Sea” in limited quantities at your local designer toy emporium for around $40 (£28). Expect more news on exact dates and edition size soon…
“As the tide rolls in, it brings a warning from the sea… the Captain is not gone, but waiting. Deep in the water the peg-legged pirate waits to set sail once again on the Whispering Corsair along with his crew of undead shipmates.”
The ever busy Jon Paul Kaiser has been hard at work on another two stunning custom pieces, the Cap’n Sturnbrau Midnight Marauder and Norse Eatin’ Dragon! The first custom we’ve seen Jon’s Sturnbrau “Pieces of Eight” variant, the piece abandons the use of bold lines and stark contrasts in favour of a more subtle approach, accenting the sculpt’s beautiful shapes whilst offering a hint of the detail found in the original production piece. No news as to whether this guy is available to purchase, but we’re guessing that he was for a private commission. Hit Jon up through Flickr for more details…
Yet another rare choice of platform, JPK’s next piece comes in the form of the Norse Eatin’ Dragon, a 3″ Amanda Visell Baby-Eatin’ Croc from the Vivisect Playset! The faux wooden sculpt of the figure looks tremendous in Jon’s black and white style, really helping to give a new spin on an already ingenious piece. Our favourite detail has to be the poor little viking awaiting certain death- his Obelix styled pants and moustache are absolutely hilarious! Again, we’re unsure as to whether this piece is available to purchase, so your best bet is to hit Jon up here.
Designer toy collectors Jonjo Glynn, Ben Hart and Barry Darnell have finally answered the prayers of thousands here in the UK, with the official reveal of the country’s very first art toy convention! Dubbed ToyCon UK, the event is set to take place on Saturday, April 6th 2012 (364 days and counting!) at the Baden Powell House in Kensington, London. With most of the UK’s premier talent already confirmed including A Little Stranger, Cris Rose, Doktor A, Fugi.me, Hang Gang, Lunabee , Jon-Paul Kaiser, Matt “Lunartik” Jones, Mintyfresh, TADO, Triclops, The Tarantulas, Squink, Ume Toys, and Unbox Industries, ToyCon UK is already looking to compete with it’s bigger US counterparts, offering the best in vinyl, resin, and plush that our little island has to offer. Expect more news on this awesome project soon…
Following the success of a number of 5″ Mini Qees over the past year including the stunning Captain Sturnbrau, Jon Paul Kaiser and Toy2R have once again teamed up for the release of Pandaimyo! Originally featuring as a one-off custom Dunny in April of last year, the samurai panda warrior appears to be making a smooth transition to the familiar 5″ format, if anything appearing more detailed and better suited to the new platform. No solid news on pricing or availability, but our guess is that these guys will be making an appearance sometime this summer for around $28 each…
Jon Paul Kaiser has just revealed a tentative image from his latest project, a collaboration with Toy2R and Yoyamart. With just an image of the Death Star to go on, we can only begin to speculate what this is going to entail- judging by the lack of an official Star Wars or Lucas Film presence, we’re guessing that this will be (at least initially) a custom toy run. The date, 10.11.12, just so happens to coincide with the first day of NYCC 2012, so the money is on that whatever is planned, New York will be the place to witness it. Expect more news on this massive project as soon as it hits…
Recent revealed over at Tenacious Toys, both Sun-Min Kim’s Spider Boom and MCA’s Evil Ape will be receiving the mini-figure artist series treatment in the coming months courtesy of Toy2R. Featuring a staggering list of participants across the 2 series including Jon Paul Kaiser, Sneaky Racoon, Lunabee, Scott Tolesson, Jim Koch, Abe Lincoln, Sam Fout, and of course a few designs by Sun-Min Kim and MCA themselves, the blind-boxed figures will be up for pre-order from your local art toy retailer for around $8.99 a-piece soon…
Continuing the jolly theme of last weeks smiling ‘Budha’ Munny, Jon Paul Kaiser is proud to reveal his third oriental inspired custom of late, the Totoro 5″ Foomi. Based on the much loved Studio Ghibli character, the unorthodox choice of platform had really pulled off, giving the round raccoon-like face and ears of Totoro’s ‘O’ form the space it needs to breathe. We love that Jon’s been experimenting with different subject matters recently, and although he will always be known for his darker works, it’s great to see his style translate to a wider audience. Anyone interested in commissioning a private piece from Jon should contact him through his site here.
Whilst we endeavour to cover all of the latest production and self-made projects the art toy movement has to offer, one of the most important aspects of the scene is often neglected- custom toys. In our new weekly feature, we’ll be rounding up the best custom pieces the scene has to offer, including further links to featured artist’s work, availability, and pricing…
To kick our second week off, we be delving into the latest work from Jon Paul Kaiser, Carson Catlin, J*RYU and Zukaty to name but a few… Hope you enjoy!
Dragon Boy custom from J*RYU
As Dragatomi‘s ‘Year of the Dragon’ show looms ever closer (opening February 11th), we’re finally starting to get a look at some of the pieces that will feature, with J*RYU‘s entry, the Dragon Boy (WIP) our favourite yet. Based on the iconic Sam Flores x The Loyal Subject figure, J*RYU has re-sculpted the beautifully detailed head dress, finishing the custom with a bronze metal style colour scheme. Full reveal coming soon…
Riker’s Island Death Row Inmates from JC Rivera
The latest 3″ custom Dunny series from JC Rivera dropped this week in the form of the ‘Riker’s Island Death Row Inmates’. Limited to an edition of just 5, the hand sculpted and painted thugs are available to purchase at Tenacious Toys, priced between $40 and $75 (plus shipping) depending on the level of modification.
“… and so, as punishment for your heinous crimes, I hereby sentence each of you to death by lethal injection. You are remanded to Death Row on Riker’s Island to await your executions. Court adjourned.”
With the pounding of Judge Gerety’s gavel against his desk, the fates of the five criminals were sealed. The prosecuting attorney and the D.A. shook hands as the Inmates were led away in shackles through a door in the front of the courtroom. Reporters screamed a cacophony of questions and flashbulbs went off like strobe lights as the Inmates stepped into the beat-up, white DOC van. The short ride over the bridge to Riker’s Island would be the longest ride of their lives. It was over.
Custom NADE from JESTER
Created for Aerosol Warfare’s upcoming ‘Blow Up L.A!’ show, custom artist JESTER unveiled his latest custom NADE this week. Featuring an authentically weathered metal look, the deceptively ornate piece will be sitting alongside over 30 other custom 10″ NADE and BUD toys come the show’s opening on February 9th (Crewest Gallery).
Seven Six custom Munny from Carson Catlin
Swiftly following J*RYU this week, cut-out custom king Carson Catlin revealed yet another stunning entry for Dragatomi‘s upcoming ‘Year of the Dragon’ show, the 7″ Munny- ‘Seven Six’ (his birth year, and also a year of the Dragon). Featuring thousands of painstakingly applied bristles, the black and red dragon has got to be one of Carson’s best customs yet- here’s hoping we see more of this style in 2012!
The Buddha Munny and Daimyo from Jon Paul Kaiser
With the passing of another week comes even more hot customs from JPK, this time in the form of the ‘Buddha’ Munny and ‘Daimyo’ Android customs. Straying from the usual dark subject matter, Buddha’s smiling face and squinting eyes are a welcome change for Jon, proving that his unique b/w style can be applied to just about anything. The 3″ Daimyo on the other hand, is trademark JPK- the fully decked out samurai features some of the most insane detailing we’ve seen yet. No new as to wether these were privately commissioned, but we’ll let you know if these guys are ever made available…
The latest batch of customs from Zukaty
UK based artist Zukaty has been busy prepping his latest batch of customs for release this Saturday, February 4th. The fantastic collection is set to feature 3 8″ Dunny’s, a 7″ Munny, a 5″ MAD*L, and a Jubbs (expect prices between $40 and $160), all lovingly sprayed and brushed in Zukaty’s big, bold and brash style. In preparation for the big launch this weekend, 6 Fatcaps have been released on the store early, priced at $40 each plus shipping.
Mummy Mania! Customs from the Crypt at Super7
Held last weekend, Super7’s Mummy Mania! show featured over 40 Mummy Boy customs from some of the neo-kaiju scene’s biggest talents, including Mummy Boy sculptor Brian Flynn, Leecifer, Blurble, Paul Kaiju and Nebulon 5. All of the customs are now available to purchase through the Super7 store, with prices ranging between $55-$600. Our personal favourite is Rik Sans‘ neon-hued effort (pictured below left), the colours are quite simply out of this world- I have to say I’ve fallen in love with the pink to purple spray, but it’s that tight green detailing that really helps to make this Mummy pop. Where’s a spare $250 when you need it?!
Regarded as one of the art toy scene’s most talented artists, Jon Paul Kaiser’s distinct black and white aesthetic has lead to huge success in both the custom and production toy communities. With a constant flow of jaw-dropping custom pieces, an extensive collection of Toy2R production figures, and the recently released Fatcap Series 3 Spaceman, JPK shows no sign of letting up in 2012…
We managed to prize Jon away from the workbench for a minute to talk about how he got into the scene, his influences, and the numerous projects he has lined up for this year (including the infamous Project X!)…
How did you stumble upon the art toy scene? Were you a collector before you started customising?
That’s all thanks to Paul from Porlzilla – I’d been a collector of toys (Star Wars, Transformers, Mcfarlane etc) and we got introduced to each other by a DJ friend of ours (Kid Keith from Great Scott). We started talking about design and the next day he sent me a link to Vinylpulse’s coverage of the design and development of one of their figures (I think it was El Panda.. might have been Tequila) and that was it; hooked. Weirdly I went straight into trying to make art toys before collecting them, that’s where the Ozzel came from. Porl drew him, I sculpted him up, then we went along to the local college who helped us make the first molds for him and pretty soon we were casting in his kitchen.
Your toys are instantly recognisable through their strong graphic black and white aesthetic, do you find limiting your colour palette helps to focus the design, or is there another explanation to your approach?
It definitely helps focus the design. The Black & White aesthetic comes from a few different approaches; The bold and stark contrast really makes the design stand out, especially if it’s in a group shot with other customs that have multiple colours. If it’s a good design it shouldn’t need colour to work, and it’s that idea taken to the extreme. It’s also partially from the way characters in film noir look. They’re imposing and Significant with the strong, over-exposed light and lush, deep shadows.
From pirates to Star Wars, your work has always covered a diverse range of themes, beautifully unified by your unique style. Apart from the obvious, who or what has has influenced your approach to both custom and production art toys, in particular the latest Whispering Corsair series from Toy2R?
My influences come from a range of places, some of them not that obvious. By day I’m a menswear designer and I follow a lot of trend & style blogs (you’d never guess by the way I dress) and I take inspiration from fashion collections, trends that are emerging like the resurgance of classic patterns such as houndstooth & tweed. Others from conversations I have with friends, and particularly my wife. Several of the ‘rules’ I work to are from my college & university tutors, they’re only simple things but my work remains unique, or at least identifiable, because I try to adhere to them.
You’ve gained a huge following through your breathtaking array of customs, but the last year has seen a number of production releases from Toy2R, and recently Kidrobot. How has the design process differed? Have you still had the same level of control? The extensive sculpting involved in your recent Captain Sturnbrau Mini Qee would suggest that companies such as Toy2R are willing to represent artist’s designs more faithfully than in the past- would you tend to agree?
The design process is only slightly different; working with Toy2R has made me aware of some of the restrictions of the production process and I keep these in mind when designing a sculpted part or where a print lies.
The companies I’ve worked with have given me a great deal of control, Toy2R’s development of Captain Sturnbrau is a great example of this; if you look at my first design of that figure, it’s exactly the same as the finished product. We went through several stages of sculpts, paint apps and corrections to get it right, and I was encouraged by Kevin to speak up if there was anything I wasn’t happy about. They wanted the product to be as good as it possibly could be, and I think it’s turned out perfectly!
I’m not sure I would agree that companies and more willing to take on new sculpts when it comes to toys. In the earlier days when the scene was beginning to flourish there seems to have been a lot more experimentation and a wider variety of sculpts and platforms. Many to still come through now but I think Platforms are becoming more staple in the field.
Your Ozzel collaboration with Paul Burke is one of the scene’s most sought after toys, helping to kickstart the current trend of artist produced runs. Apart from your upcoming collaboration with UME and Run DMB, would you ever consider working on another self-produced resin toy?
Is it really? I had no idea!! I’m skeptical of doing anything in resin myself, mainly because I spent a lot of time trying to master it and failing quite badly – just getting a flashback of a time I really mixed up my ingredients and nearly set the house on fire!
My wife was… furious..
Rich (umetoys) really knows what he’s doing when it comes to casting, so I’m happy to let him take care of that part.
About that UME x Run DMB collaboration… How did it (Project X) come about? And what involvement in it do you have?
We all met up at the Icons Show, curated by The Hang Gang in Leeds late last October, I’d already met Rich at NYCC earlier that month. We spoke about some of David’s characters over email and twitter, he developed them and Rich made a sculpt. Hopefully there’ll be a couple of similar characters so we can make them a set (and I’ll get a chance to sculpt). All three of us will be painting some of them up, perhaps for a show..?
Unlike many customisers, you’ve never tied yourself down to one particular platform, working with toys as diverse as Coarsetoys’ Paws, Luke Cheu’s Mecha Sad Bear, Futura’s Nosferatu, and of course Kidrobot’s Munny- which has been your favourite to work with?
Mini-Munnys and the new Toyer Mini-Qee are great to work with;- they’re straightforward, have character of their own and their articulation allows you to move limbs etc without scratching the paintwork. I’ve done a couple of Kathie Olivas’ Scavengers and they were great to paint as well.
What can we expect from JPK in 2012? We’ve heard numerous rumours of a follow up to your Captain America Mini Qee (NYCC 2011) in the form of the Avengers set, will these get a production run?
I have a hell of a lot lined up for 2012! I thought 2011 was as good as it could get, but very quickly my schedule has filled up nicely with some great projects and releases! I am indeed working on a custom set of the Avengers, There’s nothing set in stone at the moment, but I believe Marvel will be shown them, so who knows?
Captain Sturnbrau makes his debut proper this year, as well as a fantastic variant, there’s more due from Toy2R and Kidrobot, hopefully some apparel, a few shows, NYCC again (I loved it last year and felt so welcome) and I’m also working on “The Big Project” which is ambitious to the point of being ridiculous and that’s all I’m saying about that for now…
JPK on Flickr
JPK on Twitter
Featured in our toy round-up a couple of weeks back, Rich over at UME Toys has just revealed images of Pembleton Stranglefoot’s first test pull- and it looks amazing! No news as of yet on edition size or pricing for the 4″ resin octopi, but stay tuned for an interview in the coming weeks where we’ll be probing Rich on the project, the future of UME Toys, and, of course, the recently announced JPK x Run DMB x UME collaboration.
(THAT JPK x Run DMB x UME Toys collaboration: Project X, more news soon!)