We had a chance to chat with the man behind one of this year's new, hot designer toy lines - Neth Creatures. It's a very unique collection and one that warrants a lot of attention.
What was the inspiration for the Neth Creatures project?
Honestly, just about every experience of my life has inspired and influenced this project. I get a lot of design inspiration just from traveling around the country and the world, experiencing different designs and different design philosophies. It's also an inspiration to meet people who are out their doing their own thing and are passionate about it. I began working on the figures on the weekends as an escape from my corporate gig. Neth Creatures was my chance to develop something on my own and create something deeply personal. I wanted to do something that wasn't mass market, that wasn't concerned with mass appeal.
Please tell us more about J. the artist.
I basically have used my work experience to refine my aesthetic eye. I think the figures have a good mix of my past experiences in toy, product, graphic and fashion design. I love that I'm continually growing as an artist and I want to continue to show my growth in my new work. I have always been drawing creatures, but they used to be very elaborate in illustration. Over the last few years, I've grown to appreciate design in a very raw, simple form. Lately I have been developing more print and canvas pieces exploring color, patterns and my love for nature and the beauty of simplicity.
Did you do all of the design work and artwork for the 9 Neth Creatures?
Yes, I designed, redesigned, mocked up, changed, reworked and tweaked everything. I never really showed the designs and figures to anybody during the development except for my wife, who is also an artist. I wanted the figures to only be apart of us. I've always felt that too many people giving opinions waters things down.
Most of the figures in the Designer/Vinyl Toy Scene are based on simple designs and sculpts. However, you do have your occasional intricate piece. This award is to single those figures (and sculptors) out, because without their hard work...it would be difficult to go from an idea or a painting to a tangible figure.
Wheaty Wheat and Joe Ledbetter's Mr. Bunny is up for another award. This time, it's due to the way the figure's tail and ears are attached to the body. You would think it would snap off in your hand, but it's a very durable toy. They were able to create a toy that is the spitting image of Ledbetter's drawings.
STRANGEco and Mars-1 released their Invisible Plan line in San Diego. This was the special SDCC line in a bluish-grey. The details on these figures (some under 2 inches in height) is great. I'm looking forward to seeing the full color lines - see below.
McFarlane Toys just recently released their Napoleon Dynamite line. These toys speak lines from the movies, but are more statues than "playable" toys. They look just like their real life counterparts...and get ready for more characters in series 2.
Winner: STRANGEco and Mars-1 Invisible Plan
It's a very impressive line (probably why it sold out) for it's size. The sculpting work on some of the UFO looking figures are amazing.
Since it's the time of year to send cards and let folks know that you are thinking of them and appreciate them...I though I would share some of the Holiday greetings I have received with you.
The first is a little animation from the folks at Red Magic...with their flying mini destroyer and CiBoy. It takes a couple of seconds to load up, so be patient.
The 2nd animation is from a friend of mine and it tells a very special story of how he wanted a Huffy Vortex bike for one Christmas. So check out Envisionboy's special holiday greeting for a good laugh.
Toy2R is showing off a brand new 8-inch Qee from Tim Biskup. It's the Egg shaped Qee - named Polska Cyclops Egg - and will be retailing for $80. Look for it to hit store shelves beginning in January. This specific design (the red version) is limited to 300 pieces.
Frank Kozik's Dr. Bomb - Lime Sherbert Edition - is my favorite variant of the Dr. Bomb figure. Yeah, there are a couple with the scary razor blades...but the big elephant eating his lime sherbert is my favorite of the bunch.
Any product that is in plastic clamshell casing is automatically thrown out. The more twisty ties, the less likely you'll be considered. Artwork and interesting reading always help. In 2005, this category was dominated by 3 companies: Necessaries Toy Foundation (NTF), Wheaty Wheat and STRANGEco.
NTF always does a great job "aging" their boxes to look as if they came straight out of the 1950's. They created Todd Schorr's BunnyDuck and did an amazing job with the packaging. Nice tidbits of info, great artwork and their aging effects.
Wheaty Wheat Studios' Ledbetter line is a toss up as to which figure has the better packaging - Fire-Cat or Mr. Bunny. Both are works of art in their own right. I would probably choose Mr. Bunny's box over Fire Cat just due to the evil and happy bunnies adorning each side.
STRANGEco and Wootini worked on the Booted Glamour Cat. The twisty tie doesn't deduct because the overall packaging is so cool (and it doesn't take an engineering degree to get to the toy). It looks like the figure is in it's own little traveling sideshow display. There is reading and background artwork as well.
Winner: Wheaty Wheat's Mr. Bunny
If you are looking for an amazing work of art that houses and even more amazing work of art...this is it. If you like great, displayable packaging...the Booted Glamour Cat is the way to go.
The winner of the 10 inch tall Dalek Ice Bot is Steve Piper. Thanks to 3DRetro for the cool prize. He has already been sent an email and should expect his figure in the near future. I'd like to thank all of the folks who entered, and please keep checking back in for more chances to win cool prizes.
I'd also like to thank 'Claire' in my new neighborhood for keeping her wireless network open...wherever and whoever you are...thanks!
Thirdly, I would like to remind readers to submit their choices for our 2005 Toy Awards. Just click this link in the left hand corner and answer the 5 questions. Easy enough.
Lastly, the next 2 weeks will consist of reviews and awards...chocked full of holiday fun. You won't want miss them!
Here's a toy we've been waiting a while for. I initially saw a photo of Hunchy many months ago...and he'll now be a reality in just a few more. I must say that my favorite is the Charlie Brown version - What the Chuck! (the Skullbrain Exclusive).
You might be just as perplexed as I am when it comes to the photos on the site. From the look of it, they should be back up on the site by the end of the weekend. So, please do not fret!
A winner will be chosen for the Dalek Ice Bot figure (thanks to 3DRetro.com) on Saturday. So if you have not entered the contest...do so! And include your picks for our 2005 Toy Awards and receive 2 entries in the contest.
Finally...I'll be moving this weekend so I will not have access to email until Monday. I also won't be able to update the site until Wednesday (unless someone in the neighborhood has an open wireless network). But when we do get back on track...get ready for reviews galore and our 2005 Toy Awards.