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December 7, 2010

A visit with Foox at his NYC studio: x-rays, Buddha and potted plants

Foox in his studio with his pet shark and some compelling lightbox/x-ray pieces

David Foox is a singular fellow: a child of the stars, living and working in NYC, an artist and a toy designer. He's at once mystical, spiritual, factual and gentlemanly. Roll it all together with furry mane of hair, and you have a genuinely compelling person. Fooxie recently invited us to come visit him at his studio- I needed to pick up some more of his Organ Donors mini figures for our shop, and some prints, and why not go for a tour of his studio as well?
 I had NO IDEA what I was getting us into.
Foox's "studio," if you can call it that, is a 100,000 square-foot full floor in an office building in the Financial District of downtown NYC.
The amount of space he has is mind-bending, and I am still dizzy from the nighttime views of the city from 20 floors up. Foox's actual painting studio occupies a window office at the corner of the building, overlooking the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. His receptionist has a desk outside his studio. There's a fantastic reception area, a room dedicated to Michael Jackson, a mini studio for platinum-selling artist Pizzi, funky masks, toys, prints and paintings everywhere. Apparently, somehow, he has the run of the entire floor. At some point it appears that Foox stopped trying to populate each room with his stuff: Foox-related items pop up in slowly spreading blobs, like ink seeping and creeping through the fibers of thick paper. But many window offices and cubicles remain empty. It would be impossible for him to fill up the floor.
Don't ask.

 The juxtaposition of Foox's mystical artwork inside the framework of an empty corporate office space was jarring, to say the least. We all thought it would be best to take turns wearing a cheap lamb mask and carry around a bunch of half-deflated birthday balloons. We galloped and traipsed through endless corridors, rooms filled with empty cubicles and corporate reception areas, complete with potted plants. 
It was surreal.

And speaking of the surreal, there was a lot of Foox artwork to see:
Custom Toy2R BunneeQ Qee figure by Foox
The above Foox-customized Toy2R BunneeQ is a part of a project Foox is working on- more installation art than simple custom toy, this project apparently entails giant Qees standing on red carpets, inside brightly-painted caskets.
I was lucky enough to see a custom tyrannoCecilrex by Nathan Hamill (below) which apparently no one had ever taken a picture of, so I rectified this egregious oversight by snapping some pics myself (see more images of the custom here):
Custom tyrannoCECILrex by Foox
I was also able to get the skinny on Foox's "The Fifth Letter" print series, which is extensive, complex and laden with symbolism. Each individually numbered giclee print is a sort of Foox currency- just over 6 inches long, each based upon a larger painting by Foox. Each successive print release is smaller in quantity than the one before. Foox has also taken note of the buyers of each numbered print in every series (see below), and he plans on releasing that info so that collectors can trade and seek out specific prints that they'd like to add to their collection. In this way the whole series becomes interactive between the collectors.
Foox shows us the list where he keeps track of the buyers of his Fortune prints.

The Fifth Letter print runs are as follows:
FORTUNE (Ed of 100 sold out)
FAME (Ed of 90 sold out)
FAITH (Ed of 80 - 2 available)
FATE (Ed of 70 - 4 available)
FANTASY (Ed of 60 - 9 available)
FREEDOM Red (Ed of 50 - 23 available)
FREEDOM Blue (Ed of 50 - 26 available)
FREEDOM White (private collection only)
FUTURE (not yet released;  Ed of 40)
The remainder of the series counts down to the finale, which will have an edition of 10
Foox with his collection of his own currency prints.

Two of Foox's Fantasy prints.

I find it fascinating that Foox is literally printing his own money. But everyone who carries money needs a place to carry it, and Foox has you covered in that respect as well: behold the Foox Buddha Bucks canvas wallet, based on a painting by the same name:
Foox's Buddha Bucks canvas wallet from the Scary Money series

By now you've figured out that Foox employs a complex mixture of religious, numerical, social and societal symbolism in his artwork. But really, what does it all mean? What conclusion does it lead to? As someone who spent 4 years overanalyzing other people's artwork during critiques, I am adept at digging deep and attributing assorted meanings to the work I see in front of me. And with such rich subject matter- numerology, socio-political references, animal symbolism- it would be easy to put forth all kinds of theories on Foox's upbringing, his religious beliefs, his perception of the universe and his role therein...
But why do that? You can read into art as much as you'd like, but in the end that can become cumbersome and ruin the experience. One need not analyze every petal on the rose to see that the rose is beautiful. It's sorta like hanging out with Foox himself: there are clearly many facets of the guy that you may never uncover or understand, but it's fun enough simply to hop on the rollercoaster that is Foox's imagination. Just leave your mind open and enjoy the ride! Now if I could only convince him to set aside some office space for me, I think I might be able to find my zen....

Land of Misfit Toys custom toy show: Dec 11th in Chicago

The Land of Misfit Toys show will come alive on Saturday, December 11, 2010 from 7 pm - Midnight at Royal Flesh Tattoo & Piercing located on 4005 North Broadway, Chicago. Royal Flesh Tattoo Gallery, Rotofugi and Graham Crackers Comics are collaborating for a unique custom toy show, which will showcase the creative talents of four (4) artists specializing in custom toy art: Fuller, B.A.L.D, Fried Gold Productions & Chicago’s own Rocketboy Customs.
The gallery show will also include a live raffle with a combination of unique prizes from Royal Flesh Tattoo, Rotofugi and Graham Cracker Comics valued at approximately $400 or more. Raised funds from the raffle and other designated proceeds from the show will be donated to the American Cancer Society, the nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service.
This free show will feature unique art on display and for sale, ranging from custom urban vinyl toys to other kinds of DIY toys, including appearances from the custom toy artists Fuller and Rocketboy. 
Complimentary refreshments will be available with sounds from DJ Tommy Ruffingers.
For more information on the Land of Misfit Toys show, call (773)975-9753 or visit their website.
About Royal Flesh Tattoo & Piercing:
Is a locally owned and operated tattoo and piercing shop, established in July 2009, located on the corner of Irving Park and Broadway in Chicago. Royal Flesh is original on every level; their artwork, atmosphere and attitude. Royal Flesh’s mission is to provide their clients with services and modifications that are innovative, unique and custom, through specialized techniques to express their individuality, reclaim their body or beautify themselves. Royal Flesh prides themselves in providing a clean and comfortable environment, while also maintaining a wide variety of artists and styles.
About Rotofugi:
Rotofugi Designer Toy Store & Gallery, established in July 2004, is located on the border of Chicago's Lincoln Park and Lakeview neighborhoods. Since opening, Rotofugi has grown to become one of the world's premier sellers of designer toys from artists all over the world. Rotofugi features a diverse selection of vinyl figures, capsule toys, plush and more from both eastern and western designers. The adjoining Rotofugi Gallery features monthly art exhibits by a range of both local and nationally known artists. Rotofugi is owned and operated by husband and wife duo Kirby and Whitney Kerr.

POLL: Help design the Laconic 1 figure!

Another Tenacious Toys exclusive: this time we are helping create the Laconic 1 figure! Leave a comment below and tell us what color the pile of money should be under the Laconic 1 figure: 
Lime Green, Cyan, Magenta or Orange/Red
We just got word of this impending colour choice this morning. No idea what the other side of the figure looks like!

SNEAK PEEK: Teasers for Almighty Dunny Show

Just to whet your appetite: above we have a teaser with 5 pieces from the upcoming Almighty Dunny Show, kicking off Dec 11th at Halcyon in Brooklyn. Clockwise from upper left are: Lana Crooks, Chelsea Boxsom, Leathers 2000, Jay222 and Grimsheep.

SNEAK PEEK: Wazo The Thinker figure prototype

Tim Lockhart shares with us a sneak peek at the prototype of his Wazo figure, which NEMO sculpted. Can't wait to see the full reveal!