Friday, May 24, 2013

Twist tie action figures

Special thanks to Tribe of One for the heads up on this story.

They remind me of a specific variety of toy.

Ever been in the toy aisle of a drug store?  They often have cheap plastic knock-offs of name brand action toys such as transformable robots or the like.  At one point you could buy them for maybe a dollar or two.  Sure, they would last maybe a week and then fall apart as they were shoddily made, but they were fun.

It's that kind of toy that Shota Katsube's sculptures bring to my mind...and that is by no means an insult or an invective towards that artist.  His work reminds me of things that brought me (and still bring me) great joy.  In fact, what makes his work all the more stunning is that it's all done with twist ties.  You know, those things you seal bread bags with or wrap cables together?

Katsube found shiny, colorful ties and made an entire army of action figures out of them.  What is even more stunning is that each action figure is made up of only twist ties and you can stand them up on their own.  You couldn't even do that with the toys I mentioned earlier.

Now that I'm looking at the pics at the link, I'm reminded of a specific toyline from 1984.

Remember Crystar?  Hero of the world of Crystalium where crystal beings fought lava men led by Crystar's brother, Moltar?  It was sort of fusion of science fiction and sword and sorcery, an intended rival for the Masters of the Universe line, methinks.  Things didn't work out so well for Crystar, but I still liked the comic books.  Looking at the twist tie action figures, their bright and shiny colors, many of them of a turquoise hue, Crystar isn't far from my mind.

The twist tie action figures are being featured in an exhibit of outsider art from Japan at the Wellcome Collection in London.  I urge you to click the link above and check it all out.  Only a true artist could take an everyday item and turn it into a skeuomorphic joy for the postmodern geek set.

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