Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cuckooland Series by Bovinyl

The Cuckooland Series by Bovinyl is a huge departure from the custom work and shows involving the Moody platform art toy. This new project is something that I have wanted to do for some time. The idea for this series originated in something that most people experience ... recognizing a familiar thing that may appear in a cloud, texture, piece of wood or sometimes even in a stain on a sidewalk. It could be an animal, face, object ... just about anything, even a fantastical creature, can emerge if you use your imagination.

The first Cuckooland creature, Starborn, emerged from a still-life photograph of a flower arrangement that I took at a wedding a number of years ago. The creature appeared in that photo and from that moment on, I couldn't look at it without seeing the Starborn figure. The starfish dreadlocks that sit on the creatures head morphed out of one of the arrangements uniquely shaped flowers.

Seewatt, the second creature, was discovered in a shape that emerged from a piece of granite tile on the shower wall at a hotel my wife and I stayed in during a trip to Zihautanejo Mexico. During my morning showers, my eye was drawn to this unique, horse-like creature pattern. I couldn't wait to get home to my studio to begin sculpting it. The idea for the colorful fruit plants that grow in the world that Seewatt inhabits were inspired by water drops that form shapes on the steamed up walls of a shower. Yikes ... I think I'm spending too much time taking showers!

My latest sculpt, Bunny Man, emerged out of a photo I took of a waterfall during a trip to the Caribbean island of Dominica. Again, after the ghostly image of a human figure with long ears and bunny-like arms emerged, the photograph could no longer be viewed as a beautiful waterfall ... it was now the mysterious image of the Bunny Man. There's an urban myth that has sprung up about the Bunny Man. Google the name if you are interested in grizzly murders involving a killer dressed up in a bunny costume. In contrast, my Bunny Man is a gentle, nurturing-type who protects and looks after all of the innocent forest dwelling creatures that inhabit Cuckooland.

Nephelococcygia (cloud watching) - The term that is used when people hunt for objects in clouds is Nephelococcygia. The word was first coined in the play The Birds written in 414 B.C. by the Greek comic Aristophanes. Aristophanes wrote in the style known as Old Comedy, a farcical and free stylethat permitted him to ridicule public figures and institutions. The Birds is considered his best work. The play takes place around two Athenians, Pisthetaerus and Eulpides. Fed up with the corruption that seems to govern their city, they find a solution in leaving for a better future in a better place by turning into birds and immediately begin planning a city they decide to call 'Nephelococcygia.' In their quest for a perfect city they join forces with their once human friend Tereus, the Epops, 'who is a bird, without being born of one'. Terus is convinced by Pisthetaerus and Eulpides and other birds of their right to reign the skies, and together they create an ideal, flawless city nestled in the clouds: Nephelococcygia. Rebelling against humankind and the gods alike: they fight and are the victors. Eventually Pisthetaerus marries Zeus' lover. The menu of their wedding banquet includes roasted birds, to wit, those who opposed the new rulers.

While their city never really comes into being, by capitalizing the word it refers to their imaginary city. One of the characters tells them they are crazy for seeing shapes in the clouds. So literally speaking the term nephelococcygia means cloud cuckooland or 'Cloudcuckoosville.' By today's usage the essence of the word has come to mean nonsensical cloud watching; to look for changing shapes and transformation in the cloud forms.

Friday, March 18, 2011

'Ragin' Bull' artwork for Shuffle Up & Deal 2

Bovinyl partnered up with graphic wizard Aaron Keeling on the card artwork for the Shuffle Up & Deal 2 fundraiser for the Royal Canadian Legion. We narrowed it down to three designs and finally settled on the traditional playing card image (top image).

55 local artists will be designing the cards that will be transformed into a standard playing card deck (including the Jokers and the back of the cards). The original card art will be auctioned off at the 'Shuffle Up & Deal 2' fundraising event. Last year's fundraiser was a huge success with all proceeds from the sale of decks and artwork going towards programming at the Bowman Arts Centre.

Thanks again to Aaron for lending his talents to another Bovinyl art project.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ragin' Bull Moody custom by Bovinyl

Bovinyl was asked to design one of the playing cards for the 'Shuffle Up and Deal Two' fundraiser for the Royal Canadian Legion. 55 local artists will be designing the cards that will be transformed into a standard playing card deck (including the Jokers and the back of the card). The original card art will be auctioned off at the 'Shuffle Up and Deal Two' fundraising event. Last year's fundraiser was a huge success with all proceeds from the sale of decks and artwork going towards programs at the Bowman Arts Centre.

The theme for this year's set is military aircraft nose art. Nose art started as a way to identify planes, however it soon developed into a true art form. It pushed the limits of military conformity and provided a unique way of connecting troops to their lives at home. The art was inspired by memories of peacetime life and acted as a type of psychological protection against the stresses associated with war. Nose art was not officially approved by the military, however the regulations that would have seen the art removed from aircraft was never enforced.

The Ragin' Bull custom was inspired by the menacing shark mouth art that appeared on a number of different war planes such as the Spitfire and P-40 Warhawk during WWII. Ragin' Bull features a camo paint job and a working propeller.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

'Headhunter Moody' custom by Ryan Fuchs (Canada)

We were very impressed with the 'Headhunter Moody' custom created by talented Edmonton based artist, Ryan Fuchs. This was the first time that Ryan has customized a platform toy and we hope that it won't be his last. Ryan is a professional graphic artist and photographer with a great eye for detail.

The 'Headhunter Moody' comes complete with head-dress, spear, shrunken head and other 'equipment' ... the 'headhunters' bubble butt and twig & berries definitely brought a smile to our faces. The only things missing from this piece are a drum beat and some chanting ... "ouga chaka ouga chaka ...". Ahhh ... National Geographic would be proud of these uncensored images. Excellent job Ryan! We can't wait to see what you'll come up with next.

For more information on the talented Ryan Fuchs, visit