Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Winter Break Project- The Munny

During last semester I became interested in Kidrobot vinyl designer toys called Dunnys.  These are touted as not being toys but as art for ages 15 and up.  They are the same basic body shape that Kidrobot then has artists create onto like a canvas.  They are then reproduced and sold in blind boxers so the consumer doesn't know which one they are getting.  By making some Dunnys more rare than others these items quickly become collector items worth hundreds of dollars.

Kidrobot also makes Munnys, or a do-it-yourself version of the Dunny.  This allows for a person to create a highly personalized vinyl piece of art.  They come in different sizes ranging from a couple of inches tall to giant 18 inch behemoths.  While at a coffee shop that sold Kidrobot merchandise I mentioned them to my sisters, one of which ended up buying me a Munny for Christmas.

The version I got was a 4-inch Christmas Mini Munny that can be hung like an ornament.  I ended up removing this hook that screws in.  It came with red and green markers, a blank candy cane accessory, and an accessory that appears to be a sign like a person in a picket line would use.  None of these included items ended up being used.

At first I was completely baffled on what I should do with this project. The first problem with a project like this is that there are too many options to go with.  Limitations needed to be set so a clear and precise idea could be formed.  I naturally lean towards simple and clean design, and since Jamie advised me to explore this natural tendency I decided to make this my first limitation on myself.  How little could I add while still making an object that is personalized and complete?

I began working on this Munny by researching what others had done with theirs.  These blank canvases basically have unlimited potential as people paint them, add on more structure using modeling clay, and use fabric for realistic clothing.  The majority of my research brought up Munnys that were pushing the limits of complexity.

My first strong idea was to create a hillbilly.  I would add simple black buttons for eyes, paint him flesh color, and I would make him a pair of overalls. These overalls would become the important part of the Munny since they would become the most detailed part.  They would show to the audience that the creator, while working simply, was purposefully working this way as a stylistic approach.

The first step was to take the Munny apart and add supports for me to hold on to while painting.  Taping the joints was done so that nothing could get on them so the pieces would still fit together.  Since vinyl is not the best choice for painting on a primer coat was also necessary.  After painting a matte finish was applied to protect the paint from chipping.

At home production method for drying.

The next step was to create the overalls.  This began the evolution of this project to its final actualized form.  After creating blueprints for the overalls I cut them out of the denim and laid the initial plans over the Munny body.  Needing to resize became apparent.  After two more iterations of overalls I realized that this plan was being hindered by my lack of experience with creating clothing.

I stopped production to begin rethinking my plans.  New plans included a professional boxer or an Olympic swimmer.  Going past these juvenile plans I went back to my visual research in hopes of finding something to react to.  Once again I noted the complexity in them.  I jumped from this overuse of complexity to my new plan that would celebrate the efficiency of simplicity.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Martin Venezky captures how the visual experience can be a fleeting moment. He tries to capture this moment in his collaging.  The items that he uses are supposed to be relative to the items next to them.  His work is not random as he spends time with each piece of the collage to make sure it is correctly placed.  After any period of time passes he will take down pieces if he finds that they no longer fit.

This changing of ideas occurs when you look at past projects. After looking at artwork I created in high school I can't help but asking myself what I was thinking.  This seems like an almost natural experience to lose interest while moving on to greater ideas.  Moving upwards on this design slope you can't help but look down on the things you created in the past.

Semester Reflection

As I round the corner to the end of my first semester of graphic design I find time for reflection.  From the beginning of the semester there has been an emphasis on engaging the viewer through visual means.  As designers we therefore have to put emphasis on creating dynamic work.  I have also gained an appreciation for clean craft.  Being able to hold and view objects that have perfect craft brings electricity through the fingertips and eyes.  Craft has become a form of beauty for my and in the future I will continue on my quest for perfect craft.

Dead-end Iteration Critique

The above image was supposed to be a dot composition showing anonymity.  I realize now that this sort of stacking doesn't show a lack of identity but instead has more congested connotation.  The image also appears very flat and uninteresting.  The negative space that has been left around the dots is awkward and gives a strong diagonal line from corner to corner almost making a 50/50 composition.

Final Thoughts

Working with Flash these past couple of weeks has reinforced my love of print media.  I have found that time based movies have very little interest for me.  Even though animations don't interest me I tried to conceptually link my haiku and the meaning I found in it to the marks, motifs, music, type, and the transitions that I used.  From my haiku I got the story of a personal journey.  Since the concept of isolation occurs in the haiku I chose to keep my motifs simple and isolated with a good amount of negative space.  I chose to use Coltrane's Monk's Blues for the music track because of its hollow simplicity and cool toning.

With the taxonomy books we decided to create field guides like those used by bird enthusiasts.  Atheistically the books were kept somber and natural.  The inside pages are filled out with notes like they were written on out in the field. Some pages are missing the images and notes. This makes it appears as if they are in the process of being completed. After the books were completed with careful craft they were aged.  This process of aging became very entertaining as it allowed us to get out our last week of finals stress through abusing our books.  The books were bent and thrown to loosen the stiffness, they were hit on the edges of desks to create slight indentions, the covers were also smudged.  To create a difference between our books the natural marks book was crushed by a large rock to create speckling indentions, while the man-made marks book had a tire dropped on it to create the track marks of a dusty tire.

Final Haiku Motifs and Movie

The lines left by the moving shapes were created when exporting as a .mov file.  They are not supposed to be there.  

Song: Monk's Blues by John Coltrane