Collectible, Exclusive Resin Sculpture
Nolli – The Creator, 2022
The Elias Project is my first major contribution to the Treasure Coast Arts Community. After 16 years of inspiration, months of planning and weeks of painting, Elias is finally ready to be released on the Treasure Coast. The project is here to introduce the art toy medium to our community. It celebrates the urban art scene combined with one of the internet’s favorite topics – crazy cats. They’re funny, grumpy, moody, high energy, petty, and probably mind controlling us, but we sure do love ’em, right?
While the Elias sculpture is imperfect, it’s the first original resin art toy that I am releasing with the intention to refine it through each series while demonstrating the versatility and imaginative fun that the form provides to artists and adoring patrons. Ultimately, Elias will become the first art toy platform for other artists to express themselves.
What’s An Art Toy?
Not sure what an art toy is, learn more about them here.
Want to learn more about the art toy development process for The Elias Project? Read more here.
9 Lives | 9 Editions
Elias’s first release consists of nine unique characterized figures. Each one was designed and painted by yours truly, but inspired by various experiences, influences, and cultures that came to mind during my time bringing this project into reality. The designs in Series 1 are each open editions, so when one sells, a new one of the same design, but with its own uniqueness, may pop up to take its place.
Series 1 began as a self-initiated challenge to create nine editions without alterations to the sculpture or any additional props. The challenge was to demonstrate how paint alone could change the form’s appearance and breathe a different life into each character.
As a result, Series 1 is appropriately named…
Series 1 – To Skin A Cat
Elias is one cat with many lives, each teaching observers a lesson and leaving a mark that defines him. One of the greatest questions we seek answers to about our individuality and identity are explored through his many lives. We are defined as the meeting place between who we believe we are and who others expect us to be. In the middle ground, where internal motivation and values meet external expectations and biases is where we find our identities.
Series 1 Art Toy Editions
Great pressure is often placed on the firstborn child. They carry the hopes, dreams, and fantasies of their parents. Their flaws – magnified and nit-picked until they’re perfect.
Yet, our firstborn is a gift from the universe as we are not promised another.
Those perceived imperfections are just details that make them unique.
There is beauty in imperfection, and the FirstBorn reminds us to look beyond the flaws to see it.
I purchased FirstBorn and FirstSun as a momento of my life, my struggles and successes. There is stress in being the first born. So many expectations and desires for the first born.
When I first purchased them they reminded me of the Aztec Warriors. How the Aztecs would put on the skin of an animal as a way to obtain strength for battle. FirstBorn and FirstSun will be the momento of my life and how I will continue to strive with strength.Erika Ortiz, Purchasing Patron
There is a strength in silence that is indescribable. Our daily lives are overstimulated with sights and sounds that distract us from the calmness of silence and reflection.
With each NewSun we have the opportunity to resolve our conflicts, internal and external.
Take a moment, take a breath, turn off the noise, and reflect on yourself.
There’s much to consider.
*Purchased by Erika Ortiz
A fierce, primal nature resides in each of us, lying dormant until the moment we need it.
Usually, it’s a great trauma that releases the TaiGer from it’s cage.
Unfortunately, once the TaiGer is out, sometimes its difficult to cage again.
When the danger is over, we must allow the TaiGer to rest or risk becoming the beast ourselves.
*Purchased by Eva Sanchez-Garofalo
Influenced by various African and North American cultures, MixedTribe is a conglomerate of colors, symbols, and emotions. From the bright hues of festive hope and life to the mysterious and confusing dark, MixedTribe is representative of the mixing of cultures to find the common ground we all seek to return to.
His existence is a reminder that cultural conflict is the inability to accept anything or anyone unfamiliar to yourself. So, get familiar.
The Native American Tribes that once roamed these lands and used storytelling to convey their history and folklore have been a continuous source of inspiration to explorers and pioneers since their first meeting. Through our nation’s manifest destiny, the tribes were robbed of their lands and their stories; villainized and silenced in history.
FolkCat is a tribute to the Native Tribes, their lost stories, and the ongoing inspiration that they continue to provide to us.
*Purchased by Jason Hendry
TomCat is a homage to the golden age of animation and my father, Maurice M. McMillon, Sr. (1966-2007). He reflects a playboys’ charm, styled with a particular deceptive innocence once idolized by men everywhere. The nature of his character, seeing everything in black and white, lends itself to gatekeeping happiness in between the extremes of life.
His mischievous grin and that shiny, well-oiled coat hide a lonely cat yearning to belong to someone, somewhere.
*Purchased by Jason Hendry
The best intentions, paired with naive idealism, can lead to our greatest tragedies because of corruption and greed. Those who escape it are often marked, judged, and forever haunted by it. We must remember to not see a cat for where they came from, but for where they hope to go.
A refugee from a land ruled by a government that abuses its power, seeking safety for those inalienable rights, cannot escape the past or ties to their country.
But that doesn’t make him the enemy. Just another cat, seeking a home to be loved.
The truth is rarely found from just one point of view, rather it’s necessary to see from many perspectives for it to come to be known. The TruthShire is the place where the truth is revealed, through many perspectives. Behind those mesmerizing eyes and that ear-to-ear smile are cleverly disguised hidden intentions.
Ever watching, TruthShire will push you away from comfort to face the truth beyond your own; his.
*Purchased by Calvin McMillon & Kevin Doherty
As we grow and awaken, it’s necessary to strip ourselves down to our core and rebuild from the bones. We begin to shed one version of ourselves leaving us fragile and gaunt as we prepare for our rebirth that comes as an AfterLife. Like the evolution from child to adult, we release our identities to create new ones sometimes resembling our former selves and sometimes completely new.
Not the end, merely a new beginning and a reminder to us all that there is still more to come as we reanimate.
“For so long I pondered on existence and why things begin just to end. As you guessed, I could not come up with a definitive or acceptable answer to this but as I grew up, and continued thinking and overthinking, I came to terms with inevitability. everyone and everything, has to come to an end, whether we like it or not, the cycle of life is designed or even predetermined this way for a reason, and this reason all depends on us as individuals or maybe the reasoning of a higher power, depending on what you believe in.. we don’t know! I discussed with my brother one night, what is the meaning of life, what is the point, desiring an external opinion and view, from someone I can open up to. He said that “life is what you make of it I suppose” I’ve heard this many times before but with more certainty from others of course! So why was it different when I heard it from him? It dawned on me that I have yet to go through the process of living until I truly understood that this life is fleeting and there is no time to sit and ponder on why it is what it is. It’s how I spent most of my time, in the quiet with only me and my thoughts. That during this life I should experience what I can and be grateful of the positive conditions that I’ve been given, for the relationships and connections I’ve developed and kept, and be glad to have had the ones I’ve lost along the way. Before I go on much longer, I’d like to say I’m proud of you Maurice, you continue to be an inspiration to focus on setting up my own growth to become a better me that others would love to see! I’m glad and grateful to be someone you’ve made a connection with, through our time working together and being out as friends! Pursue your purpose and keep going forward no matter what I’ll be one of the few and soon to be many that cheers you on and support your work!”Malik Bruce, Purchasing Patron
Participating Locations & Release Schedule
Cool Beans Brew
The initial release location for The Elias Project.
February 4 – 17 :: FirstBorn, NewSun, & TaiGer
February 18 – March 3 :: MixedTribe, FolkCat, & TomCat
March 4 – April 10 :: FuGee, TruthShire, & AfterLife
April 11 – Unspecified :: TaiGer, MixedTribe, & FuGee
Art Toy Future Vision
After the completion and sale of Series 1, Elias will return to the Treasure Coast in Series 2: [re]ANIMAT3D. Series 2 will consist of some new characters and popular character motifs from Series 1, but feature additional sculpting, accessories, and new color palettes. Patron’s comments, likes, posts, and shares will help to determine popularity of designs – so be sure to speak up.
By Series 3 Elias will elevate to art toy platform status as other Treasure Coast Artists of various medium backgrounds are invited to design and create an edition of their own with the intention of a public exhibition. Elias will provide a new, fun medium for our arts community, and will widen the threshold for other urban-style artists in the area.
In time, Elias may become a popular figure found and sold all over the Treasure Coast. This is the first of many exclusive art toys to be produced and available here, so find your favorites and collect them while they’re available.
Dedicated to Mrs. Mauro of Lincoln Park Academy High School
The Elias Art Toy Project is a passion project that started in 2005, when I won the A.E. “Beanie” Backus Gallery’s Uncle Bean “Pay It Forward” Scholarship. An achievement I’d have never earned without the helpful push and guidance of my high school art teacher, Mrs. Mauro. Mrs. Mauro inspired me in many ways, in fact, there were days that if not for her and her classroom where I was safely free to express myself, I’d probably have dropped out of high school. One teacher can make all the difference in a person’s life, and to this day, my dedication to become an art teacher in the K-12 system, is largely thanks to her.
Thank you, Mrs. Mauro, for your legacy. Thank you, A.E. Backus Gallery, for funding the beginning of my education and experience. I made a promise in 2005 to bring what I learn back to the Treasure Coast, and I’m finally paying on that promise.