Playtimes, an image-packed magazine devoted to the designer toy scene, has made a triumphant return to print, and it’s first two issues are available now. Issue 2 (Gloomy Bear cover) has a three-page spread on Monster Party that I wrote and photographed as a favor to my friends at Dragatomi. Unfortunately, the magazine failed to run the websites of the artists involved (don’t feel too badly: they also forgot my byline credit), so here they are: Mark Nagata, Bert Gatchalian, LiLJAPAN and D-LuX.
It’s interesting how feelings for particular kinds of art evolve over time. What I started to articulate here about airbrushing toys has been on my mind over the last few months. Writing about art is often controversial because the most compelling art criticism, at least in my opinion, tends to involve the author’s opinion. I recently put my foot in my mouth by saying that I don’t write about people who “just spray over toys”. While I regret the crudeness and the timing of that, the statement in its entirety, still holds true for me. The operative words though are “just” and “over”.
There are artists who do more than use spraypaint and there are also artists whose use of spraypaint does more than re-color an existing figure. Likewise, there are artists who design and sculpt original figures and then spray over them. (This remains of much interest to me.) The point is: there are always exceptions, and finding exceptions is exciting. Collectors collect what we like, and luckily there’s a little something for everyone in the realm of art and toys.
As a journalist, though, my job is to write about what I’m seeing. I am happy when a work tells a story or stirs an emotion or breaks new ground or calls out to or inspires me in some way. Because this website is a project I enjoy doing (as opposed to one which is paid for by advertisers), I will typically only spend my time writing about work that does these things. In saying that, I am 100% only speaking for myself. I recognize that other industry bloggers use other criteria and like different things, which is great. There are currently FIFTEEN toy blogs nominated in the category of Best Blog for the Designer Toy Awards. If my personal tastes don’t mesh with yours, please don’t be upset with me, and instead read one of the others. I 100% won’t hold it against you, and I’ll probably still keep an eye on your art.
If you’d like to read the article in Playtimes (I think it’s a rather complimentary portrayal of the show, and I’m pleased with how it turned out), please click on the JPEGs for my meh scans or go buy a copy at your favorite neighborhood toy store (which includes Dragatomi).