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Art History

Art Without Intent Celebrates the Aesthetics and Mysterious Histories of Found Objects

November 25, 2022

Kate Mothes

A vintage head on a stand that reads "desire"

All images © Art Without Intent, shared with permission

“The found object is an illegible, unknowable thing, out of reach even when in hand,” reads a statement of Art Without Intent, both a collaborative project and a way of looking at historic material culture. In March 2022, a group of nine antique and art dealers curated the Found Object Show in New York City. Crackled paint, weathered patinas, eccentric shapes, and amusing juxtapositions characterized the pop-up exhibition of 96 eccentric items.

Removed from their original contexts, transformed by time and the elements, and reinterpreted in a salon-style exhibition, the objects transmit an aesthetic experience similar to viewing art, even if the anonymous makers did not intend to create artworks in any formal sense. “Transformed physically and contextually, a found object sometimes packs the same aesthetic and conceptual punch of conventional art. But without artistic motive nor objective meaning, it must lie in wait to ambush an imagination,” the group explains.

Accessibility is a unique facet of the show, which invites dedicated collectors, history buffs, curious passersby, and children into the showcase, in which all objects are available for sale in a unique art-gallery-meets-antique shop atmosphere. “Art without intent ennobles the random, celebrates the anonymous, and embraces the subjective, empowering individuals to see art where they may least expect to find it.”

The next Found Objects Show will feature eighteen exhibitors and is scheduled for March 24 to 26 with an additional focus on stuffed animals. You can find out more about the project, purchase a catalogue on the website, and follow updates Instagram. (via BoingBoing)

 

Installation view of 'Found Objects Show' in New York City, March 2022

Barbells made from coffee cans.

Items in 'Found Objects Show' in New York City, March 2022

Installation view of 'Found Objects Show' in New York City, March 2022 through a window with a logo in the foreground.

Two images of found objects. Left: Five metallic hands sitting on a concrete surface. Right: Two laced shoes with long leather extensions from the toes.

Installation view of 'Found Objects Show' in New York City, March 2022

Two images of found objects. Left: Two sculptural metallic pieces on stands. Right: Conical forms covered in barnacles.

A piece of wood in a trapezoidal shape with three holes and a comb-like addition on the front.

Installation views of 'Found Objects Show' in New York City, March 2022

An aged wooden box filled with animal skulls.

 

 

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Art Craft

Papier-Mâché Creatures Inhabit a Whimsical World in Penny Thomson’s Kinetic Sculptures

October 28, 2022

Kate Mothes

A host of wild creatures inhabit the whimsical world of artist Penny Thomson (previously), who creates intricate, kinetic sculptures that fit in the palm of your hand. Joined in her Derbyshire studio by her daughter Briony, she works primarily with papier-mâché, which she began experimenting with when her children were still young. “Using pulp, laminated and household waste paper, and cardboard, I made a seven-foot giraffe and conducted a workshop in my son’s school, which involved all the pupils in making a 14-foot Diplodocus,” she says.

Since then, Thomson’s creations have scaled down quite a bit, but her interest in working with paper and recycled materials continues. After creating a diorama for illusionist Sam Drake’s House of Magic, she became fascinated with automata and combined skills she acquired over her career to develop the mechanical miniatures. Briony adds, “That is why we say that a batch of two or three kinetic sculptures usually take between one week and 40 years to make!” Each expressive, miniature figure incorporates a mechanism with a small handle that sets it in motion, giving life to hungry chicks, impatient zebras, and joyous penguins.

Thomson regularly releases small batches of sculptures in her Etsy shop. They sell quickly, so you can keep up-to-date about new work on Instagram, and see more on her website.

 

All images © Penny Thomson, shared with permission

 

 



Craft Design

A 546-Piece Puzzle Slots into a Hulking Simian with Moveable Limbs

June 27, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Mat Random

A follow-up to his wooden geometric figures, Mat Random designed a similarly stocky simian with a DIY twist. The architect and craftsman, who’s currently based in Lisbon, recently released a three-dimensional puzzle that once slotted together, forms a moveable ape-like creature. Made from 546 pieces that are laser cut from cardboard, the buildable figure has flexible joints and can be posed in various stances. “The Simian” is available as a limited edition in Random’s shop, and be sure to check out his Behance for more of his playful creations.

 

 

 



Craft

Colorful Characters Emerge From Chunks of Timber in Whimsical Toys by Wood You Mind

April 19, 2022

Kate Mothes

All images © Parn Aniwat

Texas-based Thai artist Parn Aniwat, who also goes by Wood You Mind, hews charming figures from timber, embellished in bright colors and playful outfits. Ranging from about four to eight inches tall, each unique character has a distinct personality, whether it’s a sweet face emerging from an owl costume, a bee sitting in a flower, or a vibrantly striped whale. Using traditional tools like a small hatchet and chisel knife, every piece begins with a rough sketch of the design before the contours and details are revealed by chipping small pieces away. The artist then applies vivid splashes of acrylic paint to bring the character’s sparkling eyes and rosy cheeks to life.

Aniwat shares quite a bit of work on Instagram, where you can see snippets of his process and stay tuned for announcements about commission opportunities. Shop available pieces on Etsy. (via Design You Trust)

 

 

 



Art

Piped in Decadent Layers, Yvette Mayorga’s Bright Pink Playhouses Luxuriate in 90s Nostalgia

February 15, 2022

Grace Ebert

Surveillance Locket 2″ (2021), acrylic piping, and collage on panel, 36 inches in diameter. All images © Yvette Mayorga, shared with permission

Within the luscious pink acrylic that composes Yvette Mayorga’s Surveillance Locket series, messages of joy and nostalgia for a 90s childhood coexist with critiques of consumerism and gendered labor. The Chicago-based artist uses tools like piping bags and tips to apply paint in peaks, curls, and scalloped edges evocative of an elaborately decorated cake. She builds each relief layer by layer, drawing on techniques she gleans from baking shows and Instagram tutorials. “Cake decorating is a true craft that is super laborious,” she says.

This sense of labor permeates Mayorga’s body of work and provides a conceptual framework that’s as subversive as it is celebratory: “The color pink holds so much weight that is tied to fragility and prescribed to femme identity and gender norms. Piping and baking labor is also very gendered and constitutes a perceived notion of labor,” she says. “I am saying that pink and baking labor is powerful. The hyper femme is powerful.”

Alongside fields of ornate textures, the artist also uses the tactile material to define labyrinth-like playhouses, which reference the small, plastic clamshells called Polly Pockets. “It’s a toy that I always dreamed of owning,” she tells Colossal. “To me, it’s a marker of attaining an Americaness that as a child of immigrants is often sometimes forced upon us in order to fit in.” Mayorga’s iterations include recreations of her childhood home alongside gilded rooms, staircases, and Rococo-style flourishes she admired while spending her childhood summers in west-central Jalisco and Zacatecas, Mexico. More modern emblems like cartoon-style characters and the televisions she used to watch MTV and Looney Tunes, alongside frames showcasing art historical works and selfies, complete the decadent mansions.

 

Detail of “Surveillance Locket 2” (2021), acrylic piping, and collage on panel, 36 inches in diameter

Beyond their idiosyncratic and playful reflections, though, Mayorga’s works contain more ominous messages. She stations toy soldiers in entries and underneath staircases, shrouding the works with “a feeling of an impending doom” as the concealed characters surveil the scenes in a nod to patrols at the U.S./Mexico border. “My practice is a compounding of these two worlds coming together to create surrealist landscapes that are about the pink, decadent, playful, real-time, nostalgic, art historical, surveillance, and consumerism. To me, the decadence becomes the surrealist in-between space that marks my identity, because it is imagined and an aspiration,” she shares.

You have multiple chances to see Mayorga’s dioramas in person this year: in April, she’ll be at EXPO Chicago, in a group show in Hong Kong this fall, and will open a solo show at Crystal Bridges The Momentary in October. A commissioned work will also be installed in O’Hare’s Terminal Five at the end of the year. See more of her works on her site and Instagram. (via It’s Nice That)

 

“Surveillance Locket 3” (2021), acrylic piping and collage on panel, 36 inches in diameter

“Surveillance Locket” (2021), collage and acrylic piping on wood, 60 x 35 x 2 inches

Detail of “Surveillance Locket” (2021), collage and acrylic piping on wood, 60 x 35 x 2 inches

“The Procession (After 17th-century Vanitas) – In loving memory of MM” (2020), acrylic nails, decals, collage, piteado, rhinestones, and acrylic piped on canvas, 72 × 72 inches

 

 



Craft Design

An Adorably Eccentric Cast of Googly-Eyed Characters Exude Joy and Whimsy

November 3, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Lidiya Marinchuk

The quirky troupe of characters crafted by Kyiv-based doll designer Lidiya Marinchuk sport a wide range of emotions from surprised three-eyed monsters and gloomy rain clouds to sly foxes in polka-dotted socks. Sometimes leaving them as soft, plush creatures and others painting their bodies to create sculptural forms, Marinchuk instills each with a dose of whimsy and play. You can find more of the wildly emotional cast on Behance, and shop available pieces on Etsy.