REVIEW: Mark Ryden’s YHWH
Mark Ryden is one of the most popular contributors to the lowbrow art scene. And since there is such crossover between the designer toy world and lowbrow art, for years, collectors have been clamoring for some sort of original Ryden art toy. And after three years, a pair of manufacturers and dozens of prototypes, we have our first (and probably only) Mark Ryden vinyl figure.
Teaming up with Long Gone John and Necessaries Toy Foundation, Ryden has released one of the most anticipated pieces of this year - YHWH. Based on the painting of the same name, the large pink vinyl figure has his fans in a frenzy.
Manufacturer: Necessaries Toy Foundation
Artist: Mark Ryden
Material: Rotocast Vinyl
Points of Articulation: Zero
Edition Size: 2,000 pieces (numbered on the bottom and box)
The YHWH packaging is quite possibly the best of 2009. It’s not often that the packaging actually overshadows the vinyl piece inside, but that’s the case here. The rectangular box has a gold embossed YHWH logo on the lid. It’s accompanied by reproductions of the character and little girl from the original painting.
Three of the other panels have Ryden paintings on them, including instructions for playing with your YHWH. Inside, the figure is packaged in shredded brown paper, and the ears packaged separate in a white envelope.
YHWH (pronounced yah-way) is the personal name that God gives Moses in Exodus. And while the character doesn’t appear to have any religious connotations, take a look at Ryden’s painting. It appears that the little girl is praying to YHWH.
So Mark Ryden fans got their ever-elusive designer vinyl toy, but how does it stack up compared to the original artwork? The eyes are possibly the first area you’ll focus in on. The eyes on the vinyl are lacking any eyelashes and they all face forward. In the painting, there are eyelashes and the top two eyes are pointed toward the corners. I would have like the ability to move the eyeballs, but they are all stationary. Also involving the eyes, they’ve a great job subtly shading they areas around the eye sockets a brighter pink color.
The backs of the ears have a noticeable seam, but since you’ll rarely look at this side (there’s nothing on it), it’s not that big of a deal. The ears come packaged separate from the body and snap into place with a little force. The texturing on the white part is well done, but I can’t tell if they’re a little oversized compared to the painting. Either way, I like the ears the size they are.
Overall, I think fans of Mark Ryden, and lowbrow art in general, will be pleased with NTF’s YHWH release. They have taken an extremely complex design and constructed a solid vinyl figure that – for the majority - stays true to the original character. I’m just hoping that this isn’t the only figure that Necessaries and Ryden produce together.
For wholesale inquiries, contact DKE Toys.
You can pick one up at the following:
Frozen Empire Toys: $164.95
Kung Fu Toys: $180.00 (pre-order)
Paniks Toy Box: $179.99
Tainted Visions: $169.95
Figure Quality: 8/10
Fun Factor: 8/10
What do you rate this figure?