The exhibit, 'Kokeshi: From Folk Art
Toy' pays homage to traditional
Japanese Kokeshi, brightly painted wooden dolls with no arms or legs, at the
LATDA in collaboration with the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in
downtown Los Angeles. A giant crocheted doll by Emi Motokaw greets museum goers
at the entrance, welcoming them into the three-part
exhibit. The first part
shows Itske and Anthony Stern's collection of traditional Kokeshi, followed by
11 contemporary art
ists' original takes on the Kokeshi in diverse media. For the
third section entitled 'Custom Kokeshi 2009,' curator Christina Conway gave over
ists an identical blank Kokeshi form to create pieces of art
Cool Hunting asked Conway to tell us more about the world of customized toys,
ists and the surprises she found along the way.
What inspired you to do this show?
ed collecting a
few random vinyl toys a few years ago, but was always on the lookout more
feminine pieces. I loved the idea of the same toy customized by a series of
ists, but I wanted to see more diversity in the style of art
. I remember
talking to different toy designers at Comic-Con and asking why more women were
not included, everyone just laughed and shrugged it off. The vinyl toy market is
rather male oriented, considering that most designs are created 'kawaii' style,
it's a bit ironic there are not more girls dominating the scene. With my custom
shape based on a feminine form I have been trying to introduce finer art
custom toy world. So many talented art
ists, illustrators and designers were
being overlooked. I wanted to see my favorite people work on a 3-D form too.
After a series of events, I looked into creating my own show. Don and Dylan of
Subtext Gallery were open to seeing what I could do. I have them to thank for
getting the project start
ed, without someone willing to try something new none
of this could have happened.