Monday, August 10, 2009

yesterday... today... futura

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, Highsnobiety,, Wikipedia,, Flyglobalmusic,,


Trevor said...

Hey you found it. Congratulations. I didn't know that the Futura designs are a big deal. said...


To find rare bears like these, one must keep a close watch on eBay. A lot of graffiti artists design Bearbricks. Futura just happens to be one of the pioneers. :-)

Trevor said...

Hi. Thanks for the tip. I'll keep an eye out for them. Keep 'em coming.