Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
All you need to do to win a Tetris Bearbrick (and more) is to play Tetris, the popular video game invented by 53-year old Russian computer engineer Alexey Pajitnov in 1985.
1. Where to play:
2. How to join:
Take a screenshot of your highest score and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
3. What's the prize:
one (1) Tetris Bearbrick, one (1) Red Jelly Bean Bearbrick, one (1) Ren Bearbrick, all from Series 18 (left).
4. Deadline for submission: Nov. 18, 2009. Announcement of winner: Nov. 20, 2009. If you win, I will send you the prize via registered airmail – it's that simple!
So, why buy these bearbricks on eBay when you can get them here for free? :-)
(Pics by Bearbrick Lover / Copyright, October 2009.)
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Where can a Be@rbrick lover get a haircut?
At the Be@utybrick Hair Art Studio, of course! :-D
(Left) Owned by a young Korean stylist named Shin (who speaks fluent Japanese), it's a place where one can get a haircut like a Korean pop star's. For only P600 / US$12.
Too bad I shave my head! LOL
Location: Unit 103 Doña Consolacion Building, 122 Jupiter Street, Bel-Air Village, Makati City, Philippines.
Thank you, Sunny, for this very amusing discovery! ;-)
(Top pic) The white bearbrick with the "scissor" eye was designed for CUBE Art Bookzine by Sartoria Communicazione, a design firm based in Modeno, Italy. Released in December of 2004, it's one of ten Worldwide Tour Bearbricks (Set C).
Info/salon pics from The Jonas Chronicles, spot.ph / Hair pic from apnimarzi.com / scissors pic from ironscissors.com / Bearbrick pic and digital imaging by yours truly
Friday, October 30, 2009
I was checking my email last week when I heard my business partner S (who was reading the newpaper) say, "A new planet's been discovered – doesn't that make you think we may not be alone in the universe?"
Could she have been referring to the planet named WASP-17 which was discovered by the UK's Wide Area Search for Planets project in collaboration with the Observatory of Geneva last August 2009?
The planet, which is approximately 1000 light years away in the constellation Scorpius, is said to be twice the size of Jupiter.
Planets (like Earth) are thought to form when dust particles and gases around a newly-formed star gather to form rocks.
"The dust bunnies under your bed grow in a similar way." said Scott Kenyon, a planet-formation theorist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "And after a million years, a dust bunny can get pretty big."
So that explains the planets. But not the human race.
Well, lemme put it this way: if we came from interstellar dust bunnies, then I don't wanna know! LOL
(Top pic) The Interstellar Bearbrick, a rare secret bear from Series 17, was designed by Gustavo Alberto Garcia Vaca of Chamanvision Visual and Literary Art Studio. It was inspired by "Interstellar Transmissions", Vaca's art book of digital images inspired by Jazz, Detroit Techno, Hip Hop, Electro and Funk – music by various artist that were built on themes of time and space.
According to his website, "Vaca is a visual artist/writer working in various mediums including digital, writing, drawing and photography. His artwork is exhibited in art galleries around the world, including Parco Museum in Tokyo, Japan and the Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo, Japan. His writing is published in literary journals, magazines, books and anthologies including Dance the Guns to Silence. His photography is published in various art books including Graffiti World: Street Art from Five Continents."
WASP planet background image from NASA / Bearbrick pics and digital imaging by Bearbrick Lover / Info from chamanvision.com, space.com, spacedaily.com
Saturday, October 10, 2009
It's not unusual for graffiti artists to achieve a certain level of fame and fortune later in their careers. Consider Kaws, Shepard Fairey (of Obama hope poster fame), Futura, and Slick, for example. Their art moved from streets and subways to hip galleries, fashion labels, designer vinyl toys and graphic design.
But among all of them, none lived a life more glamorously than the Parisian graffiti artist named André. After all, he's French. And handsome (see below, left).
This year, he became the star of the Belvedere IX Vodka campaign, along with Monsieur André (above, right), the character he made famous on the walls of Paris in the early 90s.
André's other early claim to fame was the "love graffiti" (above). He would paint the name of a lover over a random spot in Paris, on commission.
Because of his cool image, the Palais du Tokyo commissioned André to open a store (called Black Block) within the modern art museum. It sold everything hip, including toys based on his Monsieur André character (above) as well as global street fashion (below).
Later, André's partnership with high-profile friends resulted in a chain of successful clubs – Le Baron, Paris Paris, Le Regine (with Lionel Bensemoun) and La Montana (with Olivier Zahm). That's how he became the "it boy" of the Parisian club scene (below).
But the André style did not end there. Soon, he went into the hotel business with Hotel Amour (below, left) near Montmartre, probably the best "chic & cheap" hotel in Paris. I'd love to stay in one of its Bearbrick-decorated rooms! (below, right)
"Graffiti is not vandalism but a beautiful crime." – André
From artistic outlaw to lifestyle prince. I guess that's what happens when creativity combines with business savvy. Who says street artists have to starve? :-)
(Top) The Monsieur André Bearbrick designed by André is part of the Bearbrick Worldwide Tour Set A, released in 2004.
Info/other pics from cyanatrendland.com, theselby.com, labelnetworks.com, guillotine.com, blackblock.org, hypebeast.com, myspace.com, chicinparis.com, style.com, anthemmagazine.com, bkrw.com, www.lebaron.jp, lacoquette.blogs.com, belvedereix.com, blackblock.com
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Last Saturday, I woke up at around 9:30 a.m. If it was any ordinary Saturday, I'd be getting up much later, except on that particular morning, the fire alarm was ringing like mad!
I hurriedly put on my shorts, ran to the living room and opened the door of our condo unit. Outside, along the corridor, two of my neighbors' maids were screaming at each other in panic.
"Where's the fire?" I asked one of the maids. She pointed to the fire indicator (see right), shouted, "Sa 10th floor!" and disappeared into the fire exit. We were on the 17th.
I dashed back inside my unit, stood in the middle of the living room and thought hard. "Okay, okay, calm down, you can't bring everything with you!" I told myself.
So I just grabbed the bag nearest me – my leather Nike carryall designed by Carol Davidson (creator of the Nike "Swoosh" logo) and stuffed it with the basics: my wallet, checkbooks, car keys, house keys, mobiles phones, iPod, camera and chargers.
Next was my laptop which I always toted inside a lightweight nylon bag.
Then I went into the bedroom and got my valuables: watches, jewelry, passport.
After that, I grabbed the dog carrier and shoved my pet chihuahuas Kenzo and Hogan inside.
Finally, I was ready to go. But first, I went to the main electrical switch and turned it off. Before locking the main door, I stared at my condo for a brief moment, trying to make sure I didn't leave anything...
Oh. My. God. The Bearbricks! F___ing s__t! (Freeze frame.)
But I decided – there was no time left to pack them. So I took a deep breath, stepped outside and locked the door.
As I made my way to the fire exit, the elevator doors opened and my neighbor from Unit 17-C walked out, wearing only house robes and clutching her Louis Vuitton Speedy bag to her chest. "False alarm!" she blurted out.
For me, that morning's alarm was an important wake-up call – I should keep my bears in friggin' rolling luggage!
(Top pic) If I were to save just one of my Bearbricks from a fire, it would be my BWWT Bearbrick designed by Nike CEO, Mark Parker. For me, it's the most inspired Bearbrick creation ever. It's interesting how the bear's body is engulfed in flames, isn't it?
Friday, September 18, 2009
Do you know that in the the "Pink Panther" film series, the panther isn't really an animal but a large and valuable diamond?
In the original 1963 version directed by award-winning American director Blake Edwards (Breakfast at Tiffany's, Days of Wine and Roses), a jewel thief known as "the Phantom", played by David Niven, plotted to steal the Pink Panther from its owner, Princess Dala (Claudia Cardinale). A French detective named Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) played his klutzy adversary.
According to the story, the pink panther diamond had a flaw that formed the shape of a leaping panther, and this image could only be seen if the stone was held up to the light in a certain way.
It's interesting to note how an imperfection can make one all the more extraordinary. Remember supermodel Cindy Crawford's signature mole? Before her arrival in the modeling world in the 80s, such beauty marks were often airbrushed out of fashion magazine covers. But it became Cindy's million dollar trademark.
Speaking of gems, the Floyd Ring Cup (below) is as irresistible as a real diamond ring. It's so clever!
I bought several cups at the Franc Franc store in Hong Kong and gave some to couple of friends who just celebrated their anniversary.
The gem in the Floyd cup ring isn't a real diamond, but it's a genuine Swarovski crystal. I guess that's bling enough to impress, don't you?
This gem-of-a-cup is still sold at mollaspace.com, at a price that's a steal.
(Top, left) The Pink Panther Bearbrick is a collaboration between Medicom Toys and Universal Studios Japan.
Info from Wikipedia / Bearbrick pic by yours truly / Floyd cup pic from thisnext.com
Monday, August 31, 2009
We always count the days to a long vacation or the minutes before an exciting show. We also count the things we want to buy with our Christmas bonus, and the gifts we receive on our birthday. And every time we join raffles, we tend to "count our chickens before they're hatched".
However, there are a few things that we sometimes lose track of. Here are some useful tips on what to count in life:
1. Count your money before you leave the cashier. It sucks to be shortchanged.
2. Count your calories. It's costs more to lose weight than to gain it.
3. Count your luggage when you travel. Remember, once you leave a city, there's no turning back.
4. Count to ten when you are upset at someone. It will stop you from saying things you don't mean.
5. Count your time online. Don't forget to spend quality time with the people you actually live with.
6. Last but not least, count your blessings – your family, your friends, your job. There is always someone else who has so much less. :-)
(Top pic) The 'tally marks' logo on the Bearbrick's chest belongs to the Japanese streetwear brand Undefeated. This bear is a collaboration with two other fashion brands, Stussy and Real Mad Hectic, to promote the the New Balance MT 580 Running Shoes (below).
Bearbrick pic by yours truly / Shoe pic & info from highsnobiety.com
Monday, August 24, 2009
This Bearbrick created by Japanese dj-turned-designer Hiroshi Fujiwara for the "4th Bearbrick World Wide Tour" is what you call a "flocked" toy.
FYI, flocked toys are those that have undergone the "the application of monofilament fibers, usually nylon, rayon or polyester onto a surface that has been previously coated with an adhesive." The resulting texture is very soft, similar to velvet or velour.
Back in the 70s, flocking was the rage. Almost all types of Christmas decor – trees, snowflakes, stars, lettering, candy canes, and holly – were flocked to death. Printers flocked everything from greeting cards to invitations to colored paper.
Very quickly, flocking became mass produced, and soon spread extensively to cheap and whimsical objects defined as kitsch. Even the once-luxurious jewelry box became tacky with all the flocked red lining. By the end of the 80s, flocking had lost its appeal.
Today, toy designers like Gary Baseman, James Jarvis, Touma, etc. have been reviving interest in flocking by creating flocked versions of their famous toy designs.
Hiroshi Fujiwara's Bearbrick is one example of how flocking is appropriately/tastefully used. It turned a hard-edged Bearbrick into a soft and furry teddy bear.
My dog Hogan, who loves all things soft, was instantly attracted to my flocked bear.
But I quickly grabbed the thing away from him.
That left Hogan with nothing but a soft and silky comforter to snuggle in.
Well, at the end of the day, softness is happiness. :-)
Info from craftflocking.com, swicofil.com, wikipedia / All pics by yours truly
Monday, August 10, 2009
Finally, it arrived – my Series 18 Secret Artist Bearbrick designed by Futura 2000.
It is a 'must-collect' for me, because Futura 2000 was one of the pioneers of the 80s graffiti art scene. Back in the 70s, when there was practically no 'scene' yet, Futura (born Leonard Hilton McGurr) was already writing (also called 'bombing' or 'tagging') in the subways of New York.
While graffiti artists moved from the streets to the galleries during the 80's (like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Kenny Scharf), Futura's career took a different turn. An unfavorable review by a prominent art magazine drove him away from New York galleries and into illustration and graphic design. In the 90s, he worked on record labels, created collectible vinyl toys, and collaborated with famous street fashion brands such as Recon, Nike, North Face, Undercover, Supreme, Levi's, and A Bathing Ape. Today, he designs for his own clothing line, Futura Laboratories which has a store in Fukuoka, Japan.
The Series 18 Bearbrick's 'paint splatter' design (above) was first seen on the "Clarks X Futura collaboration" Wallabee boots (below), a colorful classic that was launched late last year at Stless).
After that, the design reappeared on Futura Laboratories' Selvedge denim jeans, sold last March 2009 for $350 a pair.
If you're wondering what made Futura famous in the vinyl toy scene, look below. That's his 'Nosferatu', a 16-inch futuristic figure rendered in various colors and patterns. It looks more like a piece of modern sculpture than a toy, if you ask me.
And if you're curious about how he looks, then check out the pics below: Futura then (left, with Madonna)... and now (right).
While today's Futura 2000 seems to have embraced all of pop culture and the new media (his website has become his new subway walls), he still paints for art's sake. Last February, he exhibited 150+ postcard size paintings – not at a big New York City gallery – but at a local bar! Each artwork was raffled off for free (!) as his way of saying 'thank you' to his loyal followers and friends.
While Futura is not finished with fine art, he's done with art galleries. Who says art has to be hung on a white wall, anyway?
Futura Laboratories Bearbrick pic by yours truly / Info & other pics from coagula.com, Highsnobiety, flshop.exblog.jp, Wikipedia, streetlevel.com, Flyglobalmusic, dapperkid.blogspot.com, bkrw.com
Sunday, August 2, 2009
For the people of the Philippines, the song "Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round The Old Oak Tree" (composed by Irwin Levine and L. Russell Brown) is a meaningful one.
"Tie a yellow ribbon 'round the old oak tree,
It's been three long years, do you still want me?"
It was the theme song that marked the return of Filipino national hero Ninoy Aquino (Ferdinand Marcos's political opponent) to the Philippines in 1983, after three years of exile in the US. As a welcome sign, yellow ribbons were scattered along the streets of Manila by his supporters. But upon his arrival – just as he was stepping off the plane – he was brutally murdered. For a long time, we Filipinos endured the shocking image of Ninoy, our hero, slumped and bloodied on the airport tarmac, in our minds. (While the soldiers who assassinated him were sentenced to jail in 1990 after the ouster of Marcos, the mastermind remains unnamed and unpunished to this day.)
His wife, Cory (below), empowered by the Filipinos who were clamoring for change, continued her husband's fight against the tyranny of the Marcos dictatorship. The yellow ribbon, as well as the yellow color, became the symbols of her campaign. After leading the first non-violent revolution in 1986 (called the People Power Revolution), she became the first female president of the Philippines and served the country up to 1992.
Yesterday, August 1, 2009, our beloved Cory Aquino succumbed to colon cancer. Like millions of Filipinos, I am deeply saddened. Under her leadership, we Filipinos learned the real meaning of democracy, and how it felt to be free from military rule, free from fear. We will forever be grateful for this most priceless legacy.
Maraming Salamat, Cory!
(Top) The yellow-colored Bearbrick with a medal was created by Medicom Toys to commemorate the 100th year of the Teddy Bear (1902-2002). Did you know that this stuffed toy was named after former American president Theodore Roosevelt? Read about it here.
Bearbrick pic by yours truly. Cory pic from the blog, Stray Cat in the City
Saturday, July 11, 2009
There is an 'MJ' Bearbrick (above, left), but it does not stand for Michael Jackson. It's the one designed by 'Miura Jun' (or Jun Miura), a famous Japanese illustrator, for Bearbrick Series 16. One of his artworks exhibited at the Tokyo Laforet Museum in 2002 (above, right) must have been the inspiration for it.
Judging from the pics below, it is easy to see that Miura (right) has something in common with the King of Pop.
Check out a video of him here.
However, the similarity doesn't end there. Like Michael, Jun has spent a lifetime of trailblazing artistry. He is also a cartoonist, painter, essayist, novelist, musician, record producer and a very good friend of music legend Bob Dylan. How akin to creativity can one be? :-)
Info from we-make-money-not-art.com, cduniverse.com, assemblylanguage, 1101.com /MJ pic from o.aolcdn.com / Jun Miura artwork from assemblylanguage.com / Pic of Series 16 Animal (Miura Jun) by yours truly
Monday, July 6, 2009
To tell you the truth, I didn't know what to expect of my first South Korean trip. My friend J and I only decided to fly there because Cebu Pacific Airlines had a big sale and it was the only Asian country that we hadn't been to. If you ask me, I knew nothing of the place, except that Seoul, the capital where we were headed, was the site of the 1988 Summer Olympics.
It was a trip in search of an itinerary. Fine by me. The prospect of deciding where to go and what to do 'on the spot' was truly liberating. And I loved it!
After days of wandering leisurely around the busy Myeongdong shopping area, taking a guided tour of the Gyeongbok Palace (with my Korean Flag bear, top pic), and strolling down the touristy Insadong-gil, I finally decided to try my luck with Bearbricks.
That search took me across the Han River to the Gangnam-gu area where the huge COEX Mall was. There, I found one (1) of the four (4) Kinki Robot stores in Seoul (see below).
The toy store chain's managing director happened to be there. We got to chat a bit (nice guy) and he even helped me get a cab to the other Kinki Robot store in Sinsa-dong Kangnam-gu.
That other shop is this one below. The guy with glasses is Jerry, the store manager.
On the wall beside the cash register is a poster by the famous Seoul-based figure maker, Coolrain. He's a Michael Lau copycat, but a very good one (the miniaturized Nike shoes are wonderful!) But you have to order online, where each of these handmade 12" figures will cost you US$770 – whoa!
Just when I thought my search was over (I was ready to head back to my hotel with several new bears), I stumbled upon this cafe/toy store called Le Caviar (below), just about 50 meters from Kinki Robot Sinsa-dong.
Outside, the place looked loaded!
Inside, stuff was spilling over to the cafe's dining couch! LOL
That night, I went back to the hotel happy – with 8 new Bearbricks (including the first die-cut metal one from Bandai) from three different stores.
Bearbrick-hunting may be tiring for the body, but as far as I'm concerned, it's damned good for the soul, too!
All pics by yours truly.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Three weeks ago, my friend J and I spent four days in Seoul, Korea. We arrived at our hotel in the trendy Myeongdong district late in the evening (11pm), so we had to walk quite far to find a restaurant that was still open.
On our way back to our hotel after dinner, the rain suddenly poured! Naturally, we took shelter inside the only place that was still open at that time – a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf cafe. As we approached the counter to order anything that could legitimize our stay, J exclaimed, "Look, a Bearbrick!"
Below was what he saw.
It was the 2nd Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Be@rbrick, a Korean exclusive – you wouldn't find it anywhere else in the world. I was really planning to get one – what a coincidence, eh? :-)
This (below) was the box that it came in.
Those angular brown patterns are the same ones on the bearbrick's torso. They are supposed to be the Korean letters for b-e-a-r-b-r-i-c-k. On the actual bear, the consonants are in front while the vowels are at the back. (Or is it vise-versa?)
And you probably thought they were just pretty patterns, huh? :-)
All pics by yours truly.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
I won't forget the date – June 9, 2009.
I received a notice from the post office that my L.A. Robber Bearbrick (above, designed by Simone Legno of Tokidoki) had arrived via registered airmail. I asked my driver to pick it up.
Who would have known that this bearbrick with darkly whimsical markings was an omen of the bizarre coincidences that followed?
I got a message from a client. He informed me that our 2 pm meeting at their office might be cancelled. He said, "Some robbers broke into our 3rd floor offices last night and all the tenants have been forbidden to enter the building since this morning.... for security reasons."
My client called back to say that they've already been allowed to go up to their offices. "Let's proceed with our meeting at 2pm," he advised.
I arrived (with my colleague) at the back entrance of my client's building where a crowd of people were gathered by the sidewalk. As we moved towards the door, a security guard stepped in front of us and said, "Sorry, sir, ma'm... we are securing the building. Nobody's allowed to go inside."
Before I could open my mouth to speak, he had already turned his back.
My colleague whipped out her cellphone and dialed our client's number. "We thought you said that we'd be permitted to enter the building already... How come we're being asked to leave?" she asked him.
He apologized, "Sorry, there's been another robbery, just 20 minutes ago. Happened so fast, I wasn't able to warn you... A group of armed men held up the bank on the ground floor!"
Our jaws dropped. Had we arrived earlier, we would have witnessed the whole thing! Because to get to our client's 3rd floor office, we needed to take the elevators which were right in front of the bank's glass doors.
My client continued, "Meeting's canceled, of course, I'll call you people next week. Bye!"
By that time, we've been ushered to the sidewalk where the rest of the crowd was milling about. I couldn't help but overhear someone say, "I heard that the two adjacent buildings were also robbed last night – can you believe it? Must have been the same thieves!"
Another voice quipped, "It's election time, that's why...."
The first voice replied, "Yeah... election time."
When I got into the car to go back to our office, I told my driver about what happened. He quickly commented, "That's because it's election time..."
Now, what in the world do you think they all meant by that?!
I shudder at the thought.
(Pic by yours truly. Copyright Bearbrick Lover June 2009.)