Many action figures today can do impressive stuff, like do karate chops and shoot lasers. But how many do you know can make iconic works of art?
The five-inch tall action figure features the painter’s iconic looks, complete with an adorable monkey on her back and a detachable surrealist heart. Also, if you put your nose close enough, you can even smell her fresh wild rose scent (yes, really).
The packaging, meanwhile, includes fun facts about her, as well as artworks you can cut out and place on a miniature easel.
Unsurprisingly, the action figure has already surpassed its funding goal just a few hours after launching on Kickstarter.
We recently had the opportunity to chat with ‘Today Is Art Day’ founder David Beaulieu to learn more.
Tell us more about how the artist action figure series got started. What inspired it? And why action figures?
“I always found that there were lots of superheroes action figures on the market but not so many ‘real-life’ heroes. And since I have a passion for art history, I thought we could turn these great artists into something fun like an action figure.
“I made a test with Van Gogh on Kickstarter and it turned out to be a great success. This is how the Art History Heroes collection started. I also visit a lot of museums and their stores every year. I always thought that an action figure could be a great gift or souvenir after a visit.
“Not that I don’t like the great books and reproductions of artworks but, I think it’s more engaging to have a Frida Kahlo action figure on your desk rather than an art history book on your shelf. That’s my humble opinion (but I do have many art books at home, haha!)”
You’re following up van Gogh with Frida Kahlo. Why Frida Kahlo? (Not that we’re complaining).
“Frida always held a special place in my heart so she was on my list from the moment I decided to make this collection. But I decided to test my wish list with the folks who backed the Van Gogh action figure. I asked them which artist should be next. Frida Kahlo turned out to be the most wanted action figure. So, I can say that both my heart and my art history enthusiasts community took this decision. I was not alone!”
Tell us about the creative process that goes into toy making. How do you design your action figures? What are the challenges?
“It starts with gathering images and photos of the artist and writing a good briefing for the art team. Then we make a 2D drawing that is later converted into a 3D rendering. Afterwards, we have it 3D printed and we make a first mold to create a prototype. Then we paint the prototype.
“It’s a long and fun process. Each step can enhance (or diminish) the previous one. So the key is for each member of the team to respect the work of the previous colleague and row in the same direction. Sometimes an idea that looked good in 2D doesn’t turn out as good in 3D. So it’s a lot of testing and adjusting with the 2D artist, the sculptor, and the painter.”
What’s your vision for this line of toys? And which artists are you planning to make after Frida Kahlo?
“As a creator, my goal is to launch a new figurine every quarter (although this might be a bit ambitious). As an art enthusiast, my dream would be to have thousands of these Art History Heroes living on desks or shelves everywhere in the world. And it would be fantastic to have the action figures available in museum shops around the world too.
“As for the next action figures, I see that many people are rooting for Salvador Dali, Leonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, etc. I also want to include some lesser recognizable artist as part of the collection.
“I’m thinking about Vermeer for example, the painter who created the ‘Girl with the Pearl Earring’. Vermeer’s face is not well known… he might have included one self-portrait in one of his paintings (maybe!). It could be great to put a face on his name!
“And art history tend to be some kind of ‘boys club’ with not so many women represented. So artists like Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, or Tamara de Lempicka could be great additions down the road. I think it could be a mix of superstar artists and lesser-known ones. But I won’t tell you which new prototype sits on my desk right now… I’ll keep the surprise!”