06/25/2010 – BLAMO Solo Show
Interview with Blamo Toy’s Spencer Hansen 2010
Who is Blamo Toys? How’d you guys start?
Blamo is currently Spencer Hansen, Shayne Maratea, Cortlan Robertson, Mikie Graham, Muji, Kadek and other contributing artists.
I started Blamo in January 2007. I was inspired by the toy culture but liked the idea of wood or other natural substances rather than plastic. I enjoy working with wood, metal, glass, leather and other materials that feel real – so it was an easy step.
You’re involved in the fashion industry. Does this influence your toy work, and if so, how?
Yes, many of the processes that I experiment with through Heathen, our clothing line, end up being used in Blamo and the other way around. I really don’t think of them as that separate. Our amazing leather tailors that create our jackets also make the bodies for the leather toys. All our buddies are all hand made – I think the toys don’t mind – they would much rather be out of wood than plastic.
You use a wide variety of materials in your work. How do you decide which materials to use for each toy?
Hard to say exactly where the inspiration comes. For example, I was walking down the beach in Indonesia and kept finding light bulbs washed ashore. I thought they were such beautiful objects and collected a box full. They sat around until they became the glass head for our toy Major Mars. It was a similar fate for Mr. Cappy – his arms are made from found bottle caps.
What is your favorite toy you’ve produced? What’s your favorite toy in general?
What makes for a good toy design?
I have an attachment to Rice Baby. I have been drawing him since I was in high school. I take him everywhere. He can be a very naughty one. Sometimes he puts his tail between his legs and whacks people’s faces. Dirty Birdy.
I think a good toy design is a toy that you want to touch. The weight or the details make you want to touch or interact with the toy.
Who or what are your biggest influences, artistic or otherwise?
Baby Jesus, Mark Mulroney, Leighton Kelly
What’s next on the horizon?
I want to produce Blamo creature onesies for adults. The kind with feetsies and hoods and everything. This is probably the real inspiration behind Blamo. My mother and I made a onesie bunny suit for my first year of college. I never took it off. Since then I have made a few monkey suits for my friends and I. We are going to produce them so that other people can be Rice Babies or Billy or some other character and we can frolic.
Monkey Tales : spencer hansen
Spencer’s otherworldly artistry brings elements of his imagination to life in a playful toy line called BLAMO. Spencer can usually be found designing and drawing and painting and sculpting and sewing and photographing and dancing. (He is an excellent clogger). Spence spends most of his time frolicking in the arts, but you can also find him crouching, creeping and crawling on things of all shapes and sizes. Spence likes to eat most everything. He can eat a lot. He has been accused of having a hollow leg. If you want to make him happy, cook him something yummy. Spence created the BLAMO family to accompany him on his meandering ways. Come along as he continues to create toys for all creatures, big and small.
Blamo Toys’ website: http://www.blamotoys.com