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May 19, 2008

Interview with the Toy Baroness by Huck Gee

One of the greatest people I’ve had the opportunity to meet through my involvement in this industry/community is the Toy Baroness, Kidrobot’s promotions queen and event planner.  With the release of her first 8” Dunny this year I thought this would be an ideal time for folks to learn a little more about her. Having one of the biggest hearts of anyone I’ve ever met, she’s a walking beauty, and can drink you, me and almost everyone I know under the table, yet still make it in to work the next day. Part goddess, part genius, part fuckin' animal, you def want this girl on your side in a bar brawl. So without further ado…

First and foremost, who is the Toy Baroness? And what the hell does she do?

I don't know, but I heard that bitch is crazy! Toy Baroness brings the rawkus! Haha.

It's safe to say that if she isn't AT a party...she's planning one.

For the past 5 years she's helped make sure that Kidrobot keeps on smiling. At events and parties she's the HBIC and does her best to make sure everyone is taken care of and has a good time. Basically her job is to make people happy. Which she thinks is pretty fuckin awesome.

After years working with Kidrobot you finally released your own 8" Toy Baroness Dunny, covered in your own lip print? How's it feel to have your own toy? And why don't I have one?

Well you don't have one 'cause your credit card was declined. But we'll talk about that later...

Kidrobot released 290 8" Dunnys for my 29th BDay. I sold a majority of them to the Kidrobot Discussion Board members (because they rule!) and then sold a few at the Seven Deadly Sins Party as the "Greed" part of the night. I'm really honored to have my own Dunny. To be part of a toy collection that is filled with such amazingly talented people is such a treat for me, especially since I know how rare it is to get a Dunny design into production and I'm not an "Artist". I see how many submissions we get on a daily basis for Dunny ideas and I'm so grateful to the Kidrobot team for giving me the opportunity to have my very own toy.

I got such loving responses from people about the Dunny and I appreciate everyone who took the time and effort to pick one up. And also thanks to everyone who came out to the Seven Deadly Sins party...geezus that was insane...


As Kidrobot's promotions queen, you've traveled all over the world and met all kinds of interesting folks and celebrities. Who/what's the most memorable experience that comes to mind?

I've had the amazing opportunity to travel worldwide for my job and I am thankful for that every day. I'm so humbled by how many incredible people I have met through my travels and all the adventures we have all shared together. There are honestly too many people to name but you know who you are.

It would be hard to pick just one memorable experience, but if I HAD to, the first thing that comes to mind is my first time in Taipei. Never in my life have I met such amazingly warm and hospitable people. From day one it was like we had all been friends for years. Tons of new best friends were made from that trip.

One of the first nights, a group of 30 of us decided to roll to this club with the Playtimes crew, my favorite Singaporean party animals (Love you Darren!). I didn't really know anyone at the time and nobody really spoke English, but I decided to go anyway. The club was from another planet, over-the-top bartenders juggling bottles that were lit on fire, live performances, and the most random crowd ever. I felt like I was in some warped movie. As soon as we got there it was like one big family. Everyone got boozed up things and things started to get crazy. We were all dancing going nuts and out of nowhere the hip hop group Onyx came out and sang their hit "Slam" from '93 ...like wtf? Everyone was bombed at this point and we started an all out mosh pit in the place. Everyone started pouring beer on each other and all over themselves. It was a madhouse.

After Onyx left the stage they started playing some REALLY random stuff like Lenny Kravitz and C&C Music Factory to get people to leave, but we didn't blink and eye. When "C'mon 'N Ride The Train" started blasting I was grabbin' random people into a train line through the entire club. Towards the end of the song I think we had like 100 Tiawanese peeps chuggin' through the club going "Choo! Choo!". And at one point I remember doing the Tootsie Roll in the middle of a huge circle of people chanting. We stayed until they turned the music off and switched the lights on. Everyone was exhausted like they just had a workout and some of us were just soaked head-to-toe in alcohol. When I got back to the hotel I had to throw out my clothes.

That night was so amazing and I can't image it would have gone the way it did had it not been for the amazing people we were with.

At one point in time you had a massive, jaw-dropping toy collection, mostly Futurama and Simpsons figures if I remember correctly, that you've since parted ways with. What do you collect these days?

These days I'm collecting memories, they take up less space and don't need dusting.

One of the questions I commonly get asked in interviews is "where do you see toy design in 5 years, 10 years?" to which, I usually don't have an answer. What's your take on this question?

I sometimes think people ask this question to see if someone will say "All this stuff is going to be worthless in 5 years cause the second-hand market will get over saturated and will bottom out." And to that I say "Who gives a fuck?". I'm not into toys for their future value or to fund my retirement. I buy toys cause I like them and there will ALWAYS be people who will buy toys because they honestly have a passion for them. To quote SM "This is a lifestyle, not a trend".

I see Toy Design as Art, I don't really separate the two. So when I think of how Art has evolved through the years, I just think of the endless potential Toy Design has. In 10 years from now new artists are going to be in the scene taking it to the next level, creating insane new pieces of work. The whole process of production will continue to evolve as well in order to keep up with the demand. We'll be seeing new material, new paint processes and molding techniques. All I just see is progress.

And where do you see you yourself in 10 years?

Damn...10 years...If I had to take a guess I would say that I'd still call NYC home but have many more air miles under my belt. I love traveling, it's my biggest passion, so I hope that in the next 10 years I get the opportunity to explore more countries around the World.

Travel has opened my eyes to so much that I have started to think about what I can do to give back to the World. Art is so powerful and emotionally moving that I would love to help take it to a level where it could be used to directly impact the awareness level for everything from child education, homelessness, to abuse, disease, even global warming. So I hope that over the next 10 years I will gain the experience, knowledge and insight to actually have this idea come to complete fruition and be able to make an impact.

Are we ever going to see your infamous Little Black Book? What's in it?

Ah, my Little Black Book. It's getting quite a little reputation for itself isn't it?

Well it started at NYCC last year. I was always jealous of everyones sketchbooks that had all these amazing drawings in it, but I never had one myself cause I felt weird asking my friends for drawings. Then Sket put the idea in my head that I should have a themed book. I thought it was a great idea that everyone could have fun with. So I decided that my Little Black Book's theme would be 'Dirty Sex'. And I encourage everyone to get 2 Live Crew style on it and be "As Nasty as They Wanna Be".

Tim Biskup did the first page and totally set the bar for the theme.

Over the past year I've gotten drawings from Mori Chack, Devilrobots, Gary Baseman, Ron English, Tilt, Mist, Tado, Jeff Soto, Nathan Jurevicious, Junko Mizuno, Chris Lee, and more. Urban Medium even cut out a Glory Hole in the back of the book. Soo funny.

I decided that once I reach around 100 drawings I am going to make a small run of books, but the only people that get a copy are the people who are in the book. I have also taken a photo after every drawing so a CD will be in the back featuring pics of everyone posing with the book. It will be a good laugh and a sick and twisted treat for all the pervs that took time to sketch out some smut for me.

I have a small wish list of artists that I want in the book, so it may take a while to get'em all, but it will happen :)

Geek, nerd, or rockstar?

Fuck a Rockstar - G33/<5 4 L1F3!!!11!1!!

Vodka or tequila?

YOU of all people are asking me this question? You know it's Vodka in the big glass and Patron in the little one.

And finally, what is the Toy Mafia?

I have no idea what you are referring to. I have never, nor will I ever, have any affiliation with such named group.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Yes - HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOTHER FUCKER!!! Not only do you deserve to take over Vinyl Pulse, but you deserve to take over the World. I love you death and I hope you get many spankings today! xoxoxo

And that, my friends, is the Toy Baroness.

Posted by Huck Gee @ 12:00 PM in Interviews | Permalink  | Comments (0) |

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