About Crakens: A Q&A With Martin Hsu

Let's give a warm hearty "hello" to Crabby Bear, Puffer Puss, Sea Monkee, Octobunny, and Snappy Pig. Collectively they are known as CRAKENS, and they are the creations from the mind of Martin Hsu (www.martinhsu.com) - who recently launched a solo show @ Rotofugi [blogged]. Fascinated by the cute and adorable creatures coated with a decidedly razor-blade slice of veracity and danger, I knew I had to find out from Martin, what the heck "Crakens" were!

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TOYSREVIL: I am sure you have answered these to death by now, but how did the concept of the Crakens come about?

MARTIN HSU: As so many of us, I've always been a fan of the Kraken from legends of the sea.  My concept for CRAKENS is a mix of my love for cute, creepy creatures with a touch of light hearted environmental awareness.  I try to be as "green" as I can and often wonder about what I can do to get the message out.  What I realized is that I should do my best to stick to what I love and know how to do, and that is art.  Hence all the environmentally/animal conscious designs like Urban Cleansing or Propapanda.

So in my mind, CRAKENS are products of mass pollution and habitat destruction by the humans.  They are made of half land animal and half sea animal (Crabby Bear= crab + panda bear) in order to be able to survive on any surface on earth.  Their main hobbies are destroying power plants and sewage systems. Now, I know this all sounds a little heavy, but it's the core and heart of CRAKENS... you asked!

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TOYSREVIL: Heavy indeed! TIs not very often we see creations borne from such altruistic origins - or perhaps there were, but never as directly implicit (as this Q&A can attest) - so ultimately, Who Are The Crakens?

MARTIN HSU: …they are ultimately innocent and naive creatures that love nature and all living organisms.  When they're not knocking down power plants, they hang out with woodland animals and participate in activities that you and I both would enjoy like playing video games, having ice cream, collecting vinyl toys, and sometimes getting a little drunk ;)

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TOYSREVIL: So what are your plans for The Crakens now? Are they going to be "just" drawings on a canvas, or something more?

MARTIN HSU: CRAKENS is a new brand of characters that I'm developing into hopefully T-shirts, accessories, books, and ultimately an animated TV series.  It's an ambitious goal, but I'm super excited about the potential for these lovable and creepy monsters. I also think they would make kick ass vinyls and am looking for people who might be interested in producing them.  

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[Go check out Martin Hsu's CRAKENS show currently on exhibit at Rotofugi until June 26th]

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