The ORIGIN of PLASEEBO
While it has been some 4000 years in the making, if you believe the backstory, PLASEEBO was finally founded in 2004 as a shop dedicated to creating unique one of a kind collectable figures and designing original figures for Ultra Limited editions. You can read the PLASEEBO backstory here if you wish
Whatever the direction or medium of expression, the drive is to bring to life a personal vision in the form of a new figure, hence the tag line, ” PLASEEBO / its not what you think “. To create is to push the envelope, that is to say, I will not make today what I made yesterday. The goal of the work is not in achievement, but rather in that of ” ever becoming “.
I am a collector, and have always been as far as I can recall. I remember, as a young boy, my most prized possession being a small box in which I kept colorful or uniquely shaped stones, butterfly wings, bird’s feet, dried flowers, a skull I had carved from wood, a small red plastic A-Bomb, and a wave-washed piece of deep blue glass. This first collection was a micro cosmos of my world at that time.
Since that first taste,collecting has taken me on many journeys, including the quest of unique toys. When I was in collage, I took out a student loan that I really did not need and went knocking on doors asking folks if they had any old toys the attic they would like to sell. Thus began a collection of early american cast iron horse drawn fire wagons, pre-war wind up german tin litho vehicles, and on and on. Later the collections included MIP action figures, vintage Japanese tin robots and space toys and in the 1980’s vintage Japanese vinyl kaiju.
My experience as a collector is my guide to ensuring the lasting quality and value of the figures produced at Plaseebo, by hand sculpting all of our figures in house and hand painting each piece of every edition, by keeping the figures very limited, from one of a kind pieces to Ultra Limited editions as small as four or five and regular editions rarely exceeding fifteen, and by striving to continually create fresh and unique new figures.
Some thoughts on THE TOY AS ART
I have often thought of toys as small sculpture. They are miniature interpretations of things that are unattainable in the “real” world. They enable a child to become General Patton directing the Third Army of die cast Dinky tanks through the dirt in his own back yard or allow an adult to time travel back to that moment in the back yard of his memory. This spurring of the imagination is certainly the stuff of Art.
The consideration that the status of a toy may be elevated from that of a plaything to a collectable work of “Art” is not unique to this century.
One can find examples that reach back thousands of years across a myriad of cultures in both museums and private collections.
Here is an African toy in carved wood that moved long ago from a child’s hand to stand alone on a pedestal in a collection.
A centuries old toy from Peru and another from a Native American tribe that now reside in dust free cases.
More recent examples include, a 1950’s battery operated tin robot now valued at $1000. and a 1974 vinyl toy to be offered in an auction next week with a top estimated value of $2000.
Clearly not all toys possess those elusive intrinsic qualities that would enable their move to the Museum. The examples above do however have some important features in common. One, they are scarce, their limited numbers insure supply will never meet demand. Two, they are well executed, the design of each was well suited for its intended use. Three, they are a reflection of the society they were made for and as such, serve as historical markers in the evolution of civilization.
Ultimately, it is not the designer, gallery or museum that will determine what will be elevated to be considered “ART”, it is only the collector en-mass that has this power by virtue of his or her commitment of purchase.
How it WORKS
“The most important creative part of my day is the first 30 minutes in the morning. Almost all of my ideas for new pieces come to me during this period upon waking from sleep and I spend the rest of the day working out how I can bring the ideas to life. I have no idea where the ideas come from and I do not force or try to direct the process, I just let it happen as if I am listening to the voice of someone else. I make very quick short hand sketches and notes, as some mornings it is fast and furious.”
It is a form of brainstorming with self in which the prime directive is ” do not edit at this stage ” What ever comes to mind is all of equal value for the moment and I will separate the chaff from the wheat later. I am not directing the process, it is more like I am a funnel through which the process flows.
This almost explosive stage of the process is clearly the most exciting and the furthest from anything that could be considered “work”. The work starts with trying to bring something of the resulting vision into worldly form. Much of this work is also enjoyable, as the form of a given vision continues to emerge, change, evolve, and develop throughout the process, albeit at a much slower pace.
Some times the process is sparked by my concern for what I see as deplorable human behavior such as our war in Iraq, which inspired my WAR figure or my anger over the unfair practices of Banks which resulted in my sculpting the ” Bank America ” piece. Other times it may bubble up from distant childhood memories or fears.
Each morning sets the stage on which my day will play.