Thursday, May 29, 2008

Toy of the Week 2

The toy that sparked our interest this week is 74b from Kenn Munk. Kenn was asked to customize a 1966 Action Man, along with 40 other artists. He chose to do 6 versions of the figure--inspired by a childhood love of Star Wars and THX 1138--all in black and white. His only self-imposed restriction was to give the figures absolutely no back story. 74b was the first piece born in the series.

Kenn has said the figures are "part manufactured by me, part re-sampled existing bits of toys - inspired by the way graphic design/art direction works. You get these pieces, texts, messages, photos, logos and so on and your job is to make these many things one thing." He wanted to explore the idea of harnessing in rampant creativity to fit the needs and mental images of a group of people. The results are beautiful.

VinylCut ended up with 74b after seeing him featured in an issue of Clutter Magazine. The contrast of colors, clean lines and underlying homage to military styled robots sent us on a hunt to track Kenn down. After his show "Everything is Black and White" was finished, we acquired the piece. Though 74b is a conglomeration of new and old toy parts, the pieces come together seamlessly and give the figure the personality of a machinist samurai.

Sometimes a little restriction can be a good thing. 74b is a sleek, shiny reminder that it's not always a bad thing to have outside input or direction on something. Just a thought.

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