Designer Toy Explosion
Paul Budnitz’s, second book I Am Plastic, too, the next generation of designers toys, new book in our store.
According to Wikipedia, the term Designer Toys is used to describe a toy or other collectible work of art made in limited quantities, usually by designers or graphic artists. The most common materials used to manufacture these toys are vinyl and plastic. Plush dolls are also a frequent designer toy.
But all is changing, as you can read in the Paul Budnitz s, second book, I AM PLASTIC TOO: The Next Generation of Designer Toys, published by Abrams.
Paul Budnitz is the founder of Kidrobot, the world’s premiere creator of art toys, fashion apparel and accessories. The son of a nuclear physicist and a social worker, Paul Budnitz was professionally coding safety analysis software for nuclear power plants by the time he reached high school. He also created video games for the now-legendary Commodore 64 home computer.
Budnitz studied photography, sculpture, and film at Yale University, earning honors in Art. His first two feature films, 93 Million Miles and Ultraviolet won awards at the Berlinale and many other film festivals, and were distributed worldwide.
Budnitz recognized the quirky, intricate toys as works of popular-art that mixed many aesthetic movements he loved — including fashion, cartoons, graffiti, comics, music, and fine art. Budnitz sold Minidisco and sunk the proceeds into founding Kidrobot in a California garage in 2002, leveraging the technology he’d developed for his older businesses. He moved the new company to New York City in 2003. “When I first started Kidrobot is was impossible to explain to people what I was doing. People would ask, ‘are they art or are they toys?’, and I’d say, ‘Both. Now the toys are in museums and they’re for sale in stores.”
Budnitz called upon the talents of friend Tristan Eaton, the illustrator he’d worked with on his previous animated films. Together they created Dunny and Munny, two of Kidrobot’s best know and bestselling characters. With a philosophy of collaboration, Budnitz brought in dozens of other fine artists, graffiti artists, and illustrators to work on toy projects with the brand.
In 2010, thirteen toys created by Budnitz & Eaton were accepted into the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Kidrobot’s innovative toys were also the centerpiece of the 2008 Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Museum Design Triennial.
Budnitz has worked with many of the world’s top artists, designers, and fashion brands. A short list includes artists & illustrators Frank Kozik, Dalek(James Marshall), Doze Green, Tara McPherson, Gary Baseman, Huck Gee, Shepard Fairy, Eboy, Tilt, Paul Pope; Designers including Heatherette, Jil Sander, Dries Van Noten, Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, and Prada; Musicians including Swizz Beatz and Gorillaz; and brands including Nike, Barney’s NYC, LaCoste, Burton Snowboards, Standard Hotels, Siemens, Swatch, Volkswagon; and many, many, many others.