Monday, August 31, 2009

let us count the ways

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

Monday, August 24, 2009

the soft side of be@rbricks

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,, wikipedia / All pics by yours truly

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,,

Sunday, August 2, 2009

a yellow tribute

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