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WHAT'S NEW

Designer Toys 101: What's a Custom?

If you are new to this column, it is truly meant to be read from the beginning to the most recent.
Please start with the first installment, "What are Designer Toys?"

We discussed what Munny figures were last week, ending on the mysterious note of referring to them as a "Do-It-Yourself Designer Toy." But there was method to this madness, since explaining what a D.I.Y. Designer Toy is simply becomes part of the bigger question "What's a Custom?" Wanna find out more... hit the jump for the complete run down!

Let's put the term 'Custom' over to the side and instead talk in general art terms: anyone can go into an art store and buy a blank canvas, and while it's form and texture might be interesting, it's still simply a blank canvas. But when someone paints on that blank canvas, it magically becomes art, yes? Obviously, the skill of the artist determines certain things, but even a child's finger painting is still technically art. In these terms, the Munny is the blank canvas and the term 'Custom' denotes the painted form. And just like there are countless ways for an artist to express themselves on a conventional canvas, the same holds true to those "customizing" a Munny…
On the far left we have what the blank Munny looks like (which you may recall from last week), but all the other pieces are artists using their skill and craft to modify — or customize — that base form into something entirely new. They're creating a three-dimensional painting, if you will. By using everything from intricate line drawing to detailed painting, sculpting or sewing additional elements, the artist reforms the vinyl figure into whatever they want.

A customizer can even make a series of the same custom — or "multiples" — hand-crafting the same base design several times to sell a limited edition quantity of their work. So a custom is a unique piece of art that is handmade, hand-painted, hand-sculpted, hand-whatevered; even when "multiples" are made, each one is an individual 'painting.' Once again, these are very general terms, but the overall spirit of the premise is all I'm trying to convey.

Next Week: Why would an artist want to make a Designer Toy?
(which is a reader requested topic that seems rather important to discuss)

Designer toys used in the example set are (L-R):
Blank/D.I.Y. "Original" Munny: Manufactured by Kidrobot
"Police Officer" custom Munny: Customized by JonPaul Kaiser
"Hanbun Otoko" custom Munny: Customized by Artmymind
"Vampirized" custom Munny: Customized by Nevercrew
"The Reindeer Pyjamas" custom Munny: Customized by A Little Stranger

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