Collectible Art Toy Resin Sculpture
Nolli – The Creator, 2022
I’m proud to say that The Elias Project Series 1 was successful in achieving its objective of introducing the art toy medium to the Treasure Coast community. When it was released at Cool Beans Brew Cafe, interest and excitement was generated by art patrons and local artists over the unique expressive quality of the art toy. In fact, several conversations highlighted the project as a historical achievement for our area, though I don’t know that I’d go so far as to own that qualifier just yet.
Throughout the time that the project was on display at Cool Beans Brew, six of the nine figurines sold. With three left and a buzz started in the arts community, I approached the St. Lucie Cultural Alliance about hosting FuGee, MixedTribe, and TaiGer in their member gallery.
In contrast to the initial resistance I experienced over the project’s release at Cool Beans Brew, the project was welcomed with open arms (more on that below). Furthermore, I was invited to release all of Series 2 at the gallery for an exhibition called Fur, Feathers, & Fins which will run from July 15th thru October 17th.
Series 2 found a new home that will set up the project for Series 3 development, all according to plan.
Art Toy Series 2.0 – Fully Sculpted
Series 2: [re]ANIMAT3D was greatly inspired by one of my all time favorite albums, Linkin Park’s [REANIMATION]. In the album, Linkin Park deconstructs their 2002 album Hybrid Theory, and infused the musical talents of MCs and remixers from across the music industry. It was incredible – a musical journey, and I highly recommend it.
I don’t have an ounce of musical talent, but great works inspire others and so I was inspired to deconstruct some of my Series 1 figurines and reimagine them for Series 2. A comparison between Series 1 and Series 2 FirstBorns shows growth and change in the figurine’s characterization. As I become more confident, the figurine exhibits more strength of character and personification. So, in manner of speaking, my belief in the value of continuing this project is reanimated with each figurine I bring to life.
Anyway, without further adieu, here are the figurines featured in Series 2:
The reanimated [1st]BØRN features subtle hints of African influences, celebrating my Nigerian heritage. Like the original, this Elias figurine was the first of its series to emerge from the mold into existence. [1st]BØRN carries with it the hopes and dreams of all those that came before it, standing proud despite the heavy weight of such an extraordinary burden only made heavier with each generation.
Nu•SUN is a reanimated edition from series 1 that features a samurai-styled face mask and sharpened edges all around. These characteristics are necessary at times to hold onto one’s self and sanity in a mad, mad world. In contrast to the original, this nu•SUN finds himself in a state of conflict, angered by the inflexibility of tradition to tolerate and accept the blessings he has come to bestow.
Br0ke’NSide is the epitome of heartbreak. Long after the break, the emotions beneath the surface still burn hot and can take years to eventually stop glowing and reminding us of loss. The surface is left cracked and scared, still warm to the touch, but changed forever from what it was. One day, it will be fertile again, but for now – it’s just healing from the forces of emotional eruption.
Inspired by my mom, Alicia Vega, [re]GR0WTH is an example of how parts of our identity change, leaving us to feel ruined. Vestiges of who we once were, still there, but decomposing as time and experience continues to ware our minds and our bodies. Despite this, life finds a way to renew us. A tiny seed full of life and love planted long ago in our minds quietly grows amidst our lost self, and before you realize it, you find yourself rising above the past, springing forth from its very remains.
D*NILE pays homage to the Egyptian mythological deity, Bastet. The deity was known for protecting homes from evil spirits and disease, as well as occasionally guiding or helping the dead. D*NILE reminds us to protect ourselves and our loved ones from evil through truth, love, and understanding. In the shadows of our darker selves where we deny our inner truth and the truth of those we love, we fall to corruption and temptation – the paths that lead us to the evil from which we seek salvation and light.
King//HEARTs is a conversation between morality and society. King//HEARTs celebrates selfless sacrifice despite the inevitable betrayal that the kind-hearted are unfortunate to endure. How can we continue to keep our hearts open, knowing that the world will send someone to stab it? King//HEARTs proclaims that a sacrifice means nothing if not loss.
The [re]ANIMAT3D AfterLife, LIFE< is blacklight reactive and inspired by a childhood favorite movie The Nightmare Before Christmas. LIFE< is a reminder is a reminder that sometimes we need to strip ourselves down to the bones of our identity to find what makes us unique. More so now than in any other time of history because of the influences that we are bombarded wherever we may roam.
Art Toy Future Vision Series 3
Now that Series 2 is complete, I’ve already got Series 3 on my mind. Unlike the previous two series, I intend for Series 3 to bring the art toy medium into the spotlight. Local artists will be invited to create their own Elias figurine and in 2023 I hope to bring a full Elias Project Exhibition into reality, perhaps even featuring some other art toys by other local artists – who knows, our imagination is the limit!
Interested? Contact me.
Why So Resistant?
It’s important to acknowledge the adversity one faces when introducing something new and my experience with The Elias Project was no exception. I didn’t honestly expect to encounter such resistance regarding the art toy’s initial release. Actually, I had expected it to be highly welcomed, but that wasn’t the case at first. Following an explanation of what art toys are, public spaces that best serve the medium, and proof that I had already began the work necessary for educating people with various media touch points, I found myself at odds with the owners of Cool Beans Brew.
Truth be told, initially The Elias Project was unwelcome in the art-adorned cafe. “I don’t want to waste your time or my wall space”, was how it was stated to me when I first brought the idea to the establishment. I’ll never forget that moment and that feeling. Instead of giving up, which all of my instinct demanded, I took it as a challenge – THE Challenge – of The Elias Project; demonstrating the value of different.
After a few conversations and some internal discussions, they agreed to host the project and soon figurines were selling each couple of weeks. Eventually, they began to look forward to what figurines were coming next, and the partnership worked out better than it started. Originally, I had planned to release Series 2 there as well, but the opportunity presented by the Alliance Gallery in addition to the warm reception changed my mind.
Always Make Things Right
While I may have proved to Cool Beans Brew that I was right about the opportunity for their location to host art toys being prime, truly they had not made amends with me for how oppositional they were towards the project. I bit my tongue and held my breath regarding how I was treated as a community contributor and local artist for the sake of the project’s release. Despite the opposition, I am thankful for the opportunity they gave me, and for that I may return someday to offer an exclusive figurine for their location.
For now, I highly encourage any business that works with artists to mind your words – art is many things, and one of them is a form of expression, so your rejection of someone’s art is a rejection of their expression and that’s very personal. Rather than oppose new ideas to “protect what [you’ve] cultured”, look for the opportunities in what someone else brings to you.
Thank you all for your support of The Elias Project!