Animal Life: A Fonzo Customisation Show Hosted By Toitoy

Posted: 15 October 2013
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Cape Town's Toitoy vinyl toy speciality store recently hosted an exhibition of customised toys that included a rooster, a dentist/pilot, a fox, and a caged bird, all based on the same base blank vinyl toy - Fonzo by Burundanga Design.

In July Toitoy, a store in Cape Town that specialises in vinyl toys, put out a call for local designers and artists to apply to be part of a new show that would feature customised Fonzo figurines. Twelve designers from South Africa, and later three international contributors, were selected to be part of the project.

The one-night-only show, titled Animal Life, was held earlier this month in the store. By the time I got there half of the artworks had already been sold to collectors due to the growing popularity of vinyl toys in Cape Town and the tiny store was quite crowded with fans and many of the artists, who had come to support the show.

Most of the pieces were housed in cabinets or on display pedestals behind glass so they were a little tricky to photograph but, nevertheless, here is a showcase of all the artworks.

Animal Life: Mr Terrance P Wilde by Ume Toys

"When he's not wrenching out rotten molars or descaling a gingivitis-ridden mouth it's time for him to take to the skies and keep the world safe from would be overlords."

"Mr Terrance P Wilde" - the dentist with a difference - is by Ume Toys (also know as Rich Page), a professional designer and vinyl-toy customiser from the UK.

Animal Life: Mr Terrance P Wilde by Ume Toys

Animal Life: Christopher Beukes

We've previously written about Chris Beukes' post-apocalyptic comic Wrath for but he is as much an artist as he is an illustrator and writer.

Animal Life: Fonzo

Fonzo, a six-inch blank vinyl-toy design with a subtle bulldog appearance, was created by Gary Ham Mario Rincón and Anelys Rodríguez of Freak Store and Alyna Izquierdo and Daniel Rinaldi of Burundanga Design. Freak Store is a company in Venezuela that specialises in vinyl toys and pop art and Fonzo is the first art toy designed in the country.

Fonzo forms the base of all the art featured in Animal Life. From there, the artists customised the toy with modelling clay, paint, and accessories to form the 15 completely different artworks that you can see in this showcase.

Animal Life: The Hunter by The Given

"The Hunter" is by The Given (also known as Abe Viljoen), a designer and custom toy maker from Cape Town who has also designed his own blank DIY vinyl toy, the Keg O' Boom.

Animal Life: The Hunter by The Given

Animal Life: Crafty Fox by Greg Darroll

Greg Darroll (who also goes by Tokyo-Go-Go) is a designer and illustrator from Durban.

"Crafty Fox": Instagram

Animal Life: Die Swart Kat by Paul Oxborrow

Paul Oxborrow is an illustrator and graphic designer from Durban.

Paul Oxborrow: Blog, Behance, LinkedIn

Animal Life: Ivan by Sneaky Raccoon

"Ivan", by Anna Mullin, a designer, illustrator, and toy customiser from the UK, "is a fruit bat, painted in acrylics with a bronze paint finish".

Anna Mullin/Sneaky Raccoon: Official Site, Store, Behance, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter

Animal Life: art by Pete Woodbridge

Pete Woodbridge is an artist and illustrator from Cape Town who has worked on corporate comics, draws caricatures and designs characters, and runs his own design studio.

Animal Life: Mister Winter by Francois Conradie

"Mr Winter" was customised by Francois Conradie of Cape Town's Run Rabbit Run design studio, which he co-founded this year with Kirsten Beets.

Animal Life: Animal Life: Mister Winter by Francois Conradie

Animal Life: art by Robin Myles

Robin Myles is a student at The Animation School in Woodstock, Cape Town, as well as a dancer and actor.

Animal Life: A Dog's Life by Kerry Hugill

Kerry Hugill runs design studio Malossol in Cape Town.

"A Dog's Life": Facebook

Animal Life: art by Shane Lee

Shane Lee (also known as N3rd-ZA) customises whatever he can get his hands on (vinyl toys, skateboard decks, knuckle dusters).

Shane Lee/N3rd-ZA: DeviantArt, Twitter

Animal Life: Daft Pug by Samantha Breakspear

Samantha Breakspear is a designer and artist "with a foot in both Cape Town and Durban".

Samantha Breakspear: Blog, Twitter

Animal Life: Ranchero by kEda Gomes

"Ranchero" was on display with a long character bio and backstory, which is as follows:

"'Sunny Side Up' - a cruel jibe and hardly fitting name to the camp concentrated with his feathered brethren! Ma and pa had taken French classes... specialising in coq au vin... they hadn't seen it coming! The bitter taste still lingered in his mouth, and it wasn't the first meal either. This left Ranchero and his little sister orphaned and dreaming of crossing the Great Asphalt River... but why? Why would a chicken cross the road, when life was so easy on this side?!

"But when his little sister was poached right from under his beak the question no longer mattered! Having been tagged as the perp - the headlines read 'Pigs' Main Witness Squeals "Fowl Play"' - Ranchero flew the coup [sic] vowing to return and avenge his little sister and clear his name. His ruffled feathers warmed with the sun on his back and two fists to the wind as Ranchero's motorcycle gang, 'Gato Gutters', tore down highways. The only nagging concern at the back of his mind was that every mile it seemed his troubles just slipped away... or were they in close pursuit?"

Animal Life: Ranchero by kEda Gomes

kEda Gomes is, among other things, a designer, artist, comic and zine creator, and toy customiser from Cape Town. We have previously reviewed her comic collaboration with Wesley Harris, Cream Cheese Ninjas Chapter 1.

Some of the detail on "Ranchero" was incredible (but difficult to photograph), such as the design on the back of his jacket, which most people wouldn't have even seen as you had to be outside the store looking through the window (and the glass cabinet) to spot it. The Fonzo headpiece, which was turned into Ranchero's helmet, was customised with a slot to accommodate his very large comb.

Animal Life: Pinata by Warren Talmarkes

Warren Talmarkes is a photographer and designer in Cape Town.

Warren Talmarkes: Official Site, Facebook
"Piñata": Facebook

Animal Life: Not So Fly by Wihan Mouton

"Not So Fly" was placed in an open cabinet with an interior of black cloth. There was a light embedded in the top of the cabinet that you could switch on for a more dramatic effect.

Animal Life: Not So Fly by Wihan Mouton

Wihan Mouton is a freelance artist in Cape Town.

Wihan Mouton: Blog

Tags: #arts_and_culture, #cape_town

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