Monthly Archives: May 2014

smallNot in tune with our social media outlets? Well, we got a wrap up for you to sing your shiny teeth into!

This week, we showcased many works in progress from the talented artists gracing our June exhibitions “Vagaries” and “Transfigure“. We get a small look into what Carisa Swenson, Kelly Denato, Michelle Lynch, and Katie Carillo have in the works.

To catch up, flip through the gallery.


Picture 1 of 4


10312470_311260039028532_8769107342838707190_nIt has been almost a full month since our own Brandt Peters started his sketching campaign with all the fans out there. “Creatures of the Sunday Night” started off as an interactive way for any skill level of artist to contribute and draw together with Brandt in the same Instagram studio, and the success of this project has been tremendous.

Every Sunday, Brandt posts a theme on his Instagram page for everyone to be inspired by for a 24 hour character design challenge! So far, the character themes have ranged from cryptozoology and Mother’s Day mutations to circus ghosts and a haunted yellow brick road. Our forum and Instagram feed(follow along with with hashtag #creaturesofthesundaynight) have been laden with amazing submissions from all around the world and Brandt is even there to give feedback and encourage ideas like:

Another fantastic exercise is redraw your #creaturesofthesundaynight idea again and only give yourself 5 minutes… Next redraw that same piece but give yourself 3 minutes… 1 minute… 30 Sec… 15 Sec. Watch what happens with each pass. You will start to adapt to the shorter time frames, and you will be forced to put down your vision faster, taking shortcuts, trimming down details, editing, becoming faster and faster. You will start noticing details you like in each pass and you will bring those details to each shorter time frame (hence editing), but will take risks. This exercise will train you to see details faster, make more decisions on the spot, help you to develop your own drawing style, etc. Push yourself!

It seems everyone has grasped this Sunday undertaking with open arms, and we thought we would show off a few submissions that have made it in under the 24 hour deadline over the past few weeks!

from CarlosAguilar

from Le_Mal


from Creeptoons



from TashaLlama

With only a month in, this has been a great exercise for new and experienced artists alike. Get ready for a new theme this Sunday, and get those pencils ready!


10296715_1431186700468742_1162862585_nIf you haven’t kept up with our social media outlets, we got a roundup on some things you may have missed.

We covered a lot of the development and works in progress from all the artists in the upcoming Vagaries group show at Stranger Factory. To put it simple, Carisa Swenson, Michele Lynch, Kelly Denato, and Allison Sommers are on fire.

Now for the proof:

Carisa has been sculpting like mad the past few months for the show, and we get to see some nice hands and jackalopes in progress.
Hands for Digging

Michele Lynch has also been putting her sculpting tools to their utmost potential. Look at the flowers and bird details.


Kelly Denato gave us a little taste of her paintings underway.
10296979_790625104283476_1138439470_nWe also got to see the magnificent work from Allison Sommers!

We will have plenty more developments next week from all the artists, and some new exciting work from Katie Carillo.
Keep watching!

“Vagaries”  opens June 6th and run through July 6th, with an opening reception on Friday, June 6th from 6 – 9 PM.
Stranger Factory
109 Carlisle Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87106


The Toy Art 2.0 book is not the first coffee table book devoted to toy art on the market, but it is likely the most comprehensive – not just profiling artists and designers, but also collectors and gallery owners. At 4 pounds, it is also likely the heaviest. Most importantly, it is driven by people from within the toy community! The book is spearheaded by Okedoki, a Canadian artist known for toys such as Benny the Dreamer, with former toy blogger Jeremy Brautman(Jeremyriad) on editing and interview duties.


Kathie and Brandt’s page spreads in the book!

Excitedly for us, the Circus Posterus collective is featured a lot in the book. Brandt Peters and Kathie Olivas, Chris Ryniak, and FERG are interviewed, alongside many of our friends. Jeremy is a good interviewer, and includes the usual introductions and surfacey questions, but also digs for details on toy productions, frustrations with the artistic process and common artists myths. Still, even though the seasoned toy community members can find lots of new ideas in the book, it remains accessible and a perfect introduction for newcomers to designer toy art.

Where this book excels though, is spotlighting the gears that make the toy industry run. I loved reading the interviews with Julie B. of Pretty in Plastic, the master sculptor behind some of the industry’s most well loved figures, as well as the essay by Kirby Kerr, although writing about his life as a toy collector and not the gallery director/co-owner for Rotofugi. In addition, several of our own Sideshow community are in the book as well – Stacyjean and Sara Harvey, two wonderful women that we look forward to seeing every year. It is also more than obvious, looking at collectors like Stacy and Sara(and by the way, there are pages and pages of full colour and absolutely drool worthy toy shelves that make it into the book), that collecting is its own art form and passion project.

An outtake from the book of Stacyjean's wonderful collection.

An outtake from the book of Stacyjean’s wonderful collection.

 I’ve always felt that most “art books” are great machines to promote artists, which is all well and good, but the true heart of every community has always been its people…every single one of them, not just the ones selling stuff. As Jeremy told me, “When I came on board the project, I read all 500 pages and started cutting it down to a reasonable amount of text. Along the way, I noticed that this wasn’t a book about the world of toy art ten years ago, but rather the Internet-enabled world of toy art: emphasis on community and collaboration.”

I’ve always been blown away at the toy art community’s willingness to embrace the outsiders, the newbies, and the slightly lost and wide eyed. We’re a community largely based around making art and design accessible, and I think it’s always been one of our best aspects. At the end of the day, our community is the most important thing to us at Circus Posterus, and I am excited that this book chose to highlight the diverse and fascinating community that has evolved around the toy scene in the past ten years.

Quotes from the book:

“We started as outsiders, and forming a group just made sense. Everyone contributes something.”—Kathie Olivas (about the Circus Posterus collective)

“I enjoy art in an accessible form made by people I admire, and I can create a world around me.”—Sara Harvey

“I hope by sharing images of pieces I’ve collected, I’m contributing back to the cycle.”—StacyJean

“It’s an awesome, punk rock response to what we liked as kids.” —Chris Ryniak (about toy art)


You can learn more about the Toy Art Book, featuring Circus Posterus artists, at and purchase it at

You can also join our community at The Sideshow forums(one of us. one of us.). We like the stuff you like.

Stranger Factory has two exhibits opening in June; “Vagaries” featuring new work from Carisa Swenson, Allison Sommers, Kelly Denato, and Michelle Lynch, and in the Project Room, “Transfigure”, a new exhibit by Katie Carillo.

“Vagaries” is a four-person exhibit with four distinctive voices in contemporary character art, each exploring the further corners of their work, and allowing themselves the opportunity to explore a bit beyond the walls of their usual style and themes. Without losing their distinct styles and voices, each artist is nonetheless enabled to create new work without the need for an overall theme.

Carisa Swenson sculpts and stitches odd and endearing characters that tread the line between fantastic and familiar. Her passion for these remarkable beasts comes from her lifelong love of mythology, cryptozoology, and the groundbreaking work of artists like Ray Harryhausen and the Henson Workshop. Her assemblage of wee beasties give us a glimpse of a fantastic world just beyond the edges of our childhood memories.

Allison Sommers is a Brooklyn-based artist who practices art less as an artist and more as an inventor or tinkerer; she considers all avenues and frequently changes her medium or technique to realize her vision. An experienced creator of paintings, drawings, books, sculptures, collage, and more, Sommers brings to Stranger Factory new works that are dark, exciting, and unsettling.

Kelly Denato is a Brooklyn-based artist whose delicate and ethereal paintings capture a hidden dimension of sight and emotion, taking stylized versions of the familiar and giving them new life as they spew ribbons of vivid color in the pursuit of their desires. Her work illustrates the slow strokes of melancholy alongside bursts of passion and love, in a surrealistic setting.

Michelle Lynch sculpts and paints strange characters pondering their own humanity as they experience the world through their unusual forms and metallic implements. Her “Steampunk Souls” seem to ride the line between child and machine, forever trying to find their footing as they straddle two worlds.

In the Project Room, Katie Carillo explores nature with a surrealistic eye for detail in a series of new paintings. Carillo pulls animals out of their natural habitat and then isolates and manipulates them to give the viewer a sense of bewilderment as familiar creatures melt or give way to almost blinding palettes of unnatural (for them) colors. Her newest body of work explores the ways in which nature changes itself, and the way that our observation can change nature.

“Vagaries” and “Transfigure” open June 6th and run through July 6th, with an opening reception on Friday, June 6th from 6 – 9 PM.
Stranger Factory
109 Carlisle Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87106