[Above video circa 2007]
TOYSREVIL: What is the 1000 Teddies project to you now? Versus when you started? Has anything changed?
PHILIPP JORDAN: The 1000 Teddies installation means a lot to me. It started out as a crazy idea I had once sitting in my studio. In the beginning I thought 100 teddy paintings might be enough, but as soon as I was finished i realized that 100 wasn't enough to gain the effect i was looking for. So thought "let's make it 1000 canvasses". My wife thought I was crazy and in the course of that year I was working on it I sometimes thought so myself.
PHILIPP JORDAN: But when I first saw it hanging in a gallery in Vienna I knew it was worth all the work. And yeah, a lot has changed. Back when I started I would never have imagined to travel the world with this installation. This installation made me see a lot of cool places and meet a lot of cool people and I am confident it will make me see even more.
TOYSREVIL: Why a collaboration project with Crazy Label? Why give a tangible toy figurine form to a canvas-themed project from before?
PHILIPP JORDAN: I was introduced to Crazy Label via a design toy wholesaler called Gerard who lives here in the Netherlands. He worked with them before and he helped me get in contact with them. He actually was the guy coming up with the idea of a design toy accompanying my paintings. Crazy Label was enthusiastic about my teddies from the start and as I was familiar with their products and liked their toys I felt happy to work with them from the start.
PHILIPP JORDAN: I think there is a big difference between two-dimensional work and three-dimensional work in general. The installation is an experience of it's own just as the toy is. But if I look at the toy I am sure that this is as close to the paintings as you can get. Andy Woo came up with the idea of the canvas grid for the toy and I really loved that. It seems as the bears crawled out of the canvas into our world.
TOYSREVIL: Nice! What do you feel about the figurines now? What would you say to folks looking at both your artwork and toy?
PHILIPP JORDAN: As mentioned above: the figurines are the 3d version of my paintings. Usually most design toys have a very geometrical appearance. They are smooth and often symmetrical. That is totally fine but as my paintings have this kind of roughness in them it wouldn't have done my paintings any justice to go for smooth and symmetrical. I tried to translate the curiosity of the teddies I paint to the toy. I think I wouldn't say anything to the folks looking at both my artwork and toy. I'd rather wait to see what their reaction is.
[On-left above is Philipp's initial sculpt]
TOYSREVIL: Is this your first toy? How do you feel about it? Had you ever imagined your project being made into a toy, when you first started?
PHILIPP JORDAN: Yes, this is my first toy. I am very happy with it and can't wait 'till it hits the stores. When I started with the paintings i had never imagined that it also might become a toy one day. About 5 years ago a guy called Gerard called me. He saw my paintings and as he was a big design toy lover he asked if I am interested in doing a design toy of one of my teddies. Back then I wasn't interested yet. It took another year till I was really interested in taking it from 2D to 3D. I went to the local art supplier and bought clay. That was a disaster.
Every other minute an ear fell off and I wasn't able make the clay bend as i wanted it to. Several weeks later i got in touch with Olly Klinkenberg via an artist internet platform. He had some self made design toys so i asked him for advice and he helped me find the right kind of clay. Without him or Gerard there's a big chance the teddy toy would have never seen the light of day. So thanks to both folks and of course to Andy Woo from Crazy Label.
This figure is currently available for pre-order here priced at US$74.95 per 8-inch tall vinyl figure, with a tentative Jan/Feb 2012 delivery date. Limited to 400 pieces only. Check out this link for the European exclusive distributor for this figure.