Thursday, February 16, 2012


The phrase "Art Toy" is interesting.  I remembered when it was coined.  It was Jim Crawford, Co-Founder of StrangeCo who first brought the term to life.  He did it because he was having a difficult time generalizing what we do.  It's art but it isn't so exclusive or inclusive.  It's a toy but it isn't really played with (to an extent) and it's less broad in notion.  So, he came up with a term that could describe what we do in pure dumb simplicity that is dually genius.  Art Toy.  And there it was.  It was a perfect term describing StrangeCo's product line since much or all of it derived from 2D art - be it paintings, fine art or pop art in much the "indie" realm - relatively what is considered "non-licensed" to those accustomed to stocking shelves with large evergreen brands like Star Wars, etc.  We all adopted that term - believing, what we do is a combination of art, design and product.  Specifically, product derived from art springing from similar wells - painters, fine artists, pop artists, etc. - both, in a scholastic, meaningful sense and a playful, less emphatic and didactic sense.  Cut to the chase.  Gary Baseman's Buckingham Warrior is a perfect example of 'Art Toy' in scope. The project is a non deliberate gesture in familiarity - picking up with The Loyal Subjects where the brilliant Critterbox left off.  If you don't remember Critterbox, you should.  They were brilliant in their approach.  The pieces were big, beautiful and had depth.  The Buckingham Warrior certainly has these inherent traits.

The Buckingham Warrior in Cliff's Notes:
The Buckingham Warrior is a deer named Buckingham.  An unusual deer.  He has three legs.   This three legged deer lives in the Wolyner Forest.  He is a living organism in symbiosis with the greater and vastly expansive mother to all...Nature.  Life is ideal.  Until the idyllic inertia was disrupted by a malevolent and greedy man.  This man (the Land Baron) saw the forest as a rich resource ripe for exploitation.  He and his henchmen marched into this otherwise peaceful domain and without conscious or compassion, started to destroy the forest.  Buckingham refused to submit to this painful reality.  He stood his ground and fought back.  In his struggle, Buckingham was decapitated by the evildoers.  In an act of other-wordly defiance, the deer grew several heads back, replacing the decapitated head.  Buckingham was unmovable in his righteous stand. 

The story itself is anecdotal, a fable in feel but the sentiment is rich in metaphor.  The story was inspired by Gary's own father who was a Holocaust Survivor.  The Buckingham Warrior embodies the spirit emboldened by strong value sets; Freedom, Respect, Dignity, Fairness, Bravery - and to a larger scope, including the delicacy of our own ecology.   Buckingham is a hero for the ages.

The first edition is Buckingham as the the deer living peacefully in the Wolyner Forest.  The figure boasts several points of articulation, accessories and the rich color palette that is signature to Gary Baseman.  The figure is packaged in a closed 4C box with a satin finish.  A gorgeous piece. 

The Buckingham Warrior will be available Wed, Feb 22nd 2012 at NOON PST on and select retailers for $115.00USD.  Edition - 400.

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