Unfortunately, sometimes in the designer toy market, a new company will be slightly overlooked. Case in point: Chump Toys. Chump Toys is a very small company just trying to start out…and they have put out a truly amazing first figure. It’s by far and away one of my favorite releases of 2005. Jason Amendolara (the designer and producer) has chosen a great piece of artwork to base a toy on.
The Toy Monkey, Chump’s first delve into the vinyl world, is your prototypical art piece. It was taken from the artwork of Gary Taxali (if you haven’t seen his rustic approach…you need to check it out) and transformed into an 8-inch tall vinyl toy. Now, there are no moving pieces or points of articulation. It’s really just a 3-D representation of a work of art.
There is a removable fez, and the monkey looks good with it on or off (I prefer leaving it on). The fez is not connected in any special fashion. It simply sits atop of the Toy Monkey’s head.
There are 2 different versions of this figure. The first is the Original Toy Monkey – the blue version you have probably seen around. The second is the Whitney Toy Monkey – a greenish-tan version that was created exclusively for the Whitney Museum in New York. The original figure is limited to 500 while the exclusive is limited to 200.
The original Toy Monkey is selling for anywhere between $60-70 around the internet. You can email the folks at Chump Toys to inquire about a signed version they are advertising for $80. Also, if you check out the Whitney Museum store, they have their exclusive version for sale at $85.
So let’s talk about why I feel this is a very cool, as well as underrated toy. (At only 500 units…I really would have expected it to sell out by now) The packaging is a basic cardboard box that has been designed with Gary Taxali’s artwork. So if you enjoy his art...you’ll definitely like the box. There’s always a lot going on in his artwork – with several different layers, as well.
As you can tell, the toy itself is somewhat basic. But it is such an amazing representation of the piece of art it was based on. A lot of the time, figures are based on an artist’s painting…and then don’t convey the same look or mood. You truly feel sorry for this little toy monkey.
No complaints as far as paint applications or sculpting. All around fine job. Let’s just hope that Chump Toys and Gary Taxali continue to release quality vinyl figures such as this.
Overall Rating: 99%