Wednesday, May 30, 2007

stick your tongue out, be@rbrick!

The cheeky logo of the rock band Rolling Stones (left) became very famous, although the artist – not Andy Warhol, mind you – received a measly £50 for it.

His name is John Pasche, a British graphic designer and D&AD Awardee whose other works include: the poster for Roger Vadim's 'And God Created Woman'; cd designs for The Art of Noise and Sinead O'Connor; tour ads for David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, and The Who.

The logo first appeared in 1971, on the inner sleeve of the Rolling Stones album, Sticky Fingers.
Two years later, Pasche supposedly received £200 more, in recognition of the logo's great success. Of course, the band earned millions from it.

Well, they got the money but the honor belonged to Pasche. For him, I photographed my 2nd Rolling Stone Be@rbrick against the pages of Rolling Stone Magazine (above, right).

I love this logo, and how it has come a long way from 'racy t-shirt graphic' to 'classic pop icon'. It's solid proof that irreverence can earn you respect.

(Related Blog Entry: Be@rbrick was a Rolling Stone!)

(Info/logo:, IP Review, Wikipedia)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

bear & bird: separated at birth?

'You look like someone I know,' each of us has been told by a stranger we've just met. That would make us freeze for a split second, hoping to hear 'Brad', or 'Angelina' right after. In any case, the 'looka-alike' referred to certainly decided whether the new acquaintance would be an instant friend – or foe.

Uncanny look-alikes: (Below, left to right) The Yellow Flapper Be@rbrick and Tweety Bird.

(Below, left to right) The Yellow Flapper's designer, Hisashi of the Japanese rock group called Glay, and... Boy George!

I, with my shaved head, have been told that I looked like the 3-year old Puyi in Bernardo Bertolucci's epic movie, 'The Last Emperor'. Since he was only a child, I was unsure whether that was a compliment. But I took comfort in the fact that the 'older' Puyi was played by the handsome Chinese actor, John Lone. :-)

So much for uniqueness, individuality, and originality, etc. Somewhere in the world, there exist walking and talking imitations of ourselves – just as brilliant, just as beautiful. Think of us as a zillion precious hard drives; and God simply wanted back-up copies!

(Tweety pic from Wikipedia / Hisashi pic from / Boy George pic from 'Kissing to be Clever')

Thursday, May 24, 2007

ink blots on bears

Unless you're psychologically disturbed, you don't need to take the Rorschach Test.

But maybe you'd want to. After all, the test mechanics sound fun enough to be a party game! Ten ambiguous ink blots will be shown to you in succession and you're supposed to say what each reminds you of. In the end, expert psychiatrists will determine whether you're nuts or normal.

While the test's validity came into question over time, it continued to be used in clinics and courts of law – e.g., to analyze victims of sexual abuse, to evaluate felons, and to decide which parent should be granted child custody. (I guess for some, taking this test would be no fun at all!)

A Rorschach inkblot is splattered on the face of the Pushead Silver Anniversary Be@rbrick (above, right). The designer, Pushead, a.k.a. Brian Schroeder, is a hardcore punk artist who fronted the band Septic Death and created record labels like Pusmort and Bacteria Sour. His band's CD covers were his artworks, most of which depicted death and skull imagery. [Hmm... did I hear... Rorschach test? :-)]

(Rorschach info from / Ink blot pic from the Hermann Rorschach Archive & Museum / Pushead info from Wikipedia)

Monday, May 21, 2007

to kill or not to kill a bear

Bears are wild animals. If a grizzly suddenly attacked you in a forest, you'd probably be forced to shoot it down in self-defense.

But how would you feel about killing a baby polar bear like Knut (right)?

Born last December at the Berlin Zoo, Knut was abandoned by his mother at birth, prompting an animal rights controversy between the zoo management (who wanted to rear the bear) and activists (who would rather see him dead than to be raised by humans). It was a searing dispute on what was best for the bear; which echoed pro-life and pro-choice sentiments not only from the opposing parties, but from the angry public as well.

I, for one, challenge the case of the activists. To denounce their cold-blooded call, I have taken a picture of my Horror Be@rbrick (left), dismembered and bloody.

Long live Knut!

(Knut news and pic from Spiegel Online, Follow-up stories here. )

Series 8 Horror Be@rbrick designed by: Nagi Noda – Japanese graphic designer, video and commercial director who has done award- winning packaging for Laforet Department Store (Japan), press ads for Nike, a music video for Scissor Sisters, and a TV spot for Coke (Mother/London)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

camo comes out of hiding

The army camouflage, once worn to blend with the background, is now sported to stand out.

'Camo', for short, emerged from the fashion ranks years ago and since then has invaded millions of closets worldwide. Brands like Polo, A/X, Diesel, Bathing Ape and Industrie peddled the pattern in full force. Likewise, Nike, Adidas and Converse fans marched the streets in funky, camo footwear.

Recently, hip designers like Alexander McQueen, Michael Kors, and Jean Paul Gaultier (above, left to right) continued to dress models in combat-inspired gear, years after the pattern first hit the runway. Like stripes and checks, will camo be the next classic? Will it survive next season's trend wars?

Who cares? I love camo – from my Series 2 Pattern Be@rbrick (top, right) to my camo jeans, shorts, shirt, and belt. Going through life is like going to war – I say, better be dressed to kill! :-)

(Camo fashion from and

Monday, May 14, 2007

sargeant pepper's lonely hearts club bears

Every year, our company would go on a trip – a perk for employees who have done well. Last year, I was among the many who lobbied for (a second visit to) Hong Kong. Most of the guys at the office pointed out the relatively new Disneyland HK as the main attraction while I, on the other hand, had a hidden agenda – to buy Be@rbricks at the little toy shops in the busy Mongkok district! :-)

So Hong Kong it was. And Mongkok it was! I jostled through the thick crowds just to bring home the Beatles Be@rbricks you see above. It's a vibrantly designed set, with colors and details based on one of the most popular Beatles albums, Sargeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Notice how the military style outfits match the original Manuel Cuevas designs (below).

The said album is probably the most celebrated among the Beatles' incredible musical legacy. Aside from the title song, I also love the other hit songs from the album: the heady music trip, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds; the ode to friendship, With A Little Help From My Friends; and that amusing love song that I will continue to sing, with a smile and a passion, now and... When I'm Sixty-Four.

(Beatles pic from http:

Thursday, May 10, 2007

what's so scary about the scarygirl be@rbrick?

Nathan Jurevicius' Scarygirl Be@rbrick (left) has a very interesting pattern, but there's nothing scary about it. The term 'Scarygirl' was simply derived from the designer's signature comic strip of the same title.

Look closely – what seems like a school of fish is actually a flock of silver birds (note the beaks).

I am reminded of African cuckoos (below, right), migrant birds with a fascinating story. Do you know that they fly from Africa to England every summer, breed there and fly back home after? What's even more interesting is that they're called brood parasites. Why?

They don't build their own nests. Instead, they search for existing ones (often with eggs) built by host birds, and lay their own eggs on them while the host birds aren't looking.

Even more disturbing is the behavior of their offspring. Once a cuckoo egg hatches, the baby cuckoo pushes the host's eggs out of the nest! The poor, innocent host does not realize that the baby it is feeding isn't actually his own. What treachery!

Right after giving birth, cuckoo parents fly back home to Africa. The young are left to traverse continents on their own once they are strong enough to. I guess being abandoned and unguided at such a young age makes them extremely tough – and downright selfish. It's called survival.

Now, that's scary.

(The Scarygirl Be@rbrick was released at the 2006 Taipei Toy Festival. To see more of Jurevicius' wonderfully whimsical work, go here. Cuckoo Info: RSPB Wildlife Explorers)

Sunday, May 6, 2007

the curse of the black kitty

I scare you.

Whenever I cross
your dull daily trail,
your stride slowly stops
and your face turns pale.

In your mind, you surmise
all bad luck will ensue
'coz of this little puss
with the darkest of hue.

In your eyes, I will see
faith weakening so,
courage a-crumblin',
spunk sinking so low.

But I say, 'Why is that?'
'cause all that I've been
is a cat with a coat
of mysterious sheen.

Life's unfair, don't you think
when you're judged by your look;
You're seen more as the cover
and not as the book.


Darker and rarer, the black Hello Kitty Be@rbrick (top, right) has only 1.5% availability. It's one of six 'Secret' Be@rbricks from Series 13. 'Secret' Be@rbricks are hard-to-get designs that aren't included on the series' publicized list. If you find one, consider yourself very lucky.

(Cat pic from Wikipedia)

Thursday, May 3, 2007

hello be@rbrick!

The obsession with toy figures has never been more spirited than it is with Hello Kitty, the Tokyo-born and London-bred kitten with no mouth. Wearing a signature bow near its left ear, Kitty's likeness has appeared on every conceivable retail item: from clothes, bags, shoes, and jewelry to pillows, towels, phones, compact disc players, electric guitars, etc.

Not only that – this fab feline has also been linked to a great number of celebs. Mariah Carey, Cameron Diaz, Heidi Klum, Steven Tyler, Christina Aguilera, Carmen Electra, Mandy Moore, Ricky Martin, Britney Spears, Lisa Loeb, and Nicky Hilton have all been spotted sporting Hello Kitty goods.

(Above, right) The pink Hello Kitty Be@rbrick is part of Series 9. Impossibly cute and pink almost to the point of kitsch, it's a cult classic, a definite must-have.

Just like that purr-y purse is to Paris Hilton (left).

(Paris pic from People)