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Bewitching is almost upon us, like a swarm of fruit bats at sunset, so it seemed like a good time to check in with our artists and see what’s going on in their studios.

Stephan Webb, our local ABQ bronzesmith, is busy at work hand sculpting a bat that will be eventually cast in bronze.

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Kristina Drake is busy sculpting away in her studio as well, surrounded by a bevy of resin skulls. We’re incredibly excited to see where this is going!

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Meanwhile, another local artist, Jessica Chao, is hard at work on a pink haired witchy woman – we can’t wait to see what else she has in store for us!

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If like us, you can’t wait to see these finished pieces – be at Stranger Factory on October 10th!

Bewitching IV runs October 10th – November 9th, with an opening reception on Friday, October 10th from 6 – 9 PM.

Following up their successful vinyl collaborations on Stingy Jack, Calliope Jackalope, and Stinky Ginger, Circus Posterus and Tomenosuke are proud to present the new sofubi toy series, Pocket Sideshow! The Pocket Sideshow is an homage to the tiny and adorable Japanese “chibi” art style, and will feature well loved Circus Posterus characters in miniature format.

Brandt Peters

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Kathie Olivas
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Chris Ryniak
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Amanda Louise Spayd
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The first series will feature four figures designed by Brandt Peters, Kathie Olivas, Chris Ryniak, and Amanda Louise Spayd, and sculpted by Yohei Kaneko. The figures will have interchangeable heads and will be approximately 3” tall.
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For more information on the making of the Pocket Sideshow, check out Tomenosuke’s blog here, written by our wonderful collaborator Shinji. Stay posted for more details, but I would bet on seeing these little darlings in the flesh at Bewitching next month!

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October 2014 brings our annual Halloween group exhibit back to Stranger Factory!

Bewitching is the annual Halloween group show at Stranger Factory, featuring an eclectic and diverse group of artists creating their own personal versions of iconic Halloween-related imagery in a wide variety of styles and mediums. Halloween is an incredibly special holiday for Circus Posterus and Stranger Factory, and our favorite time of year. We hold many shows and events each year, but Bewitching is always one of our favorites, and we hope you’ll join us for this celebration of all things dark and spooky.

This years participating artists include Brandt Peters, Kathie Olivas, Tim Lee, Joe Scarano, Robert Hoggard, Stephan Webb, Katie Carillo, Josh Stebbins, Shing Khor, Michele Lynch, Valency Genis, Karl Deuble, DrilOne, Leecifer, Carisa Swenson, Karen Peters, Stan Manoukian, Mark James Porter, Jay Hollopeter, Lana Crooks, Brandan Styles, Scribe Ross, Alisa Ross, Cory Benhatzel, Darren Goldman, Desiree Fessler, Ellie Rusinova, Michael Serwich, Blanca Apodaca, Emma Sancartier “Oddfauna”, Julie Bossinger, Matthew Duncan, Beast Brothers, Kristina Drake, Jessica Chao, Valeri Blossom, Loesa Bezzeg, Erich Moffitt and a few surprises!
Spectacled Specter by Darren Goldman


Hot Key (detail) by Tim Lee

Bewitching IV runs October 10th – November 9th, with an opening reception on Friday, October 10th from 6 – 9 PM.

Stranger Factory
109 Carlisle Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87106

Amanda has this amazing tendency to craft tiny objects that I would gladly wear myself. Unfortunately, I am tiny, but not quite that tiny, so the likes of Amanda’s glorious jewelry and capes will never adorn my stumpy little self. She sent these images recently, and they are absolutely squeeworthy.

Below are some of the lovely baubles that she’s created for her show with Chris Ryniak in September, Unseen Forces. As Amanda describes, there are two neckpieces that will be adorning Pumpernickles, cast faux-bronze pieces that will be used throughout the show, and most stunning of all, a quartz-crowned face that will be featured on one of her largest pieces!

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The opening reception for Chris Ryniak and Amanda Louise Spayd’s Unseen Forces is Friday, September 5th from 6 – 9 pm at Stranger Factory. Both artists will be in attendance.

 


Stranger Factory is excited to announce a new exhibit from collector favorites Chris Ryniak and Amanda Louise Spayd. “Unseen Forces” finds the two artists bringing us a glimpse of their trademark characters in a world steeped in magic and sorcery and….cake. Imagine if the village idiot was also the village mystic, and you’ve got the right idea.

Chris Ryniak’s signature creatures, eyes wide open to take in all the wonder, put on magical hats and stumble towards the meaning of life and a recipe for extra-moist cupcakes. Big smiles and fat toes abound as Chris brings us an exhibit of new drawings and hand-painted resin figures, large and small, including the new Crystalwort and Stumpwort.

Amanda Louise Spayd’s Dust Bunnies stare wide-eyed into the abyss in an attempt to comprehend the universe, and come away just as blank and confused as they arrived. Adorned with stars and ruffles and tattered accoutrements, Amanda presents her bunnies as resin figures and elaborate plush sculptures.

In “Unseen Forces”, both artists allow their childlike creations to drape themselves in the mysterious trappings of the occult, like a child at play in their parents clothing. Stars and powerful symbols are worn like party hats and face paint as Worts and Bunnies come out to play at Stranger Factory!

The opening reception is Friday, September 5th from 6 – 9 pm at Stranger Factory. Both artists will be in attendance.

***Due to high demand for these artists, items from the show will be available via raffle for attendees of the opening. Please contact Stranger Factory for more details.***

If you’re a frequent visitor to this blog, or to our Sideshow forums, you may already be quite familiar with Dan Talone(sethsabbat), whose gorgeous collections we’ve featured before, as well as a series of delightful guest posts during Le Carnaval Des Spectres. This time, we are thrilled to welcome him to Stranger Factory as an exhibiting artist, for our Sideshow exhibition opening in August.

Dan’s art is an atmospheric combination of Old World charm and rustic hand sewing, and his fabric sculpture is a delightful reflection of his eerie, off kilter, packratty, aesthetic.

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He took some time away from his busy life in Paris to chat with us about his influences and collections!

Circus Posterus: How did you find your way to Paris? (You’re originally from America, right?)

Dan Talone: I actually left the states for London. My intention at the time was to take a little voyage before continuing my university education. Needless to say, I extended my visit for 5 years. Towards the end of that 5 years there were several events that took place that brought me to Paris.  It was a good time for a new adventure.  Now after 18 years here I am not sure I could make another move like that again.

How did you end up working with textiles, and what draws you to textile art?

I had a string of jobs that were back to back involving textile.  It started off with wrapping a very old tree in silk in Florence, followed by the covering of furniture and found objects in Irish tweed in Kildare and then decorating a commercial center with 500 pairs of jeans in Belgium.  I amassed a lot of fabric!  I started to do little pieces of work and experiments, I never sewed before in my life, but was amazed at the pieces of handwork I would find in the brocantes (flea markets) here in Paris.   My 3D stuff started with a combination of making creations based from my nephew’s drawings, and doing accessories for a song in a French piece of theater called Les Joyeux Bouchers by Boris Vian  (The Happy Butchers)  which called for slabs of meat, skinned rabbits and legs of ham all in fabric.

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A preview of Dan’s gorgeously off kilter fabric sculpture.

 

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Stranger Factory is excited to present two new exhibits for August; a group show curated by Kathie Olivas, and a new exhibit in the Project Room by fan favorite Leecifer.

“Sideshow” is a group exhibit in our main gallery featuring circus-themed work from a talented and diverse roster of artists, curated by Stranger Factory co-owner Kathie Olivas. Sideshow features new works by Kathie Olivas, Jessica Joslin, Brandan Styles, Desiree Fessler, Valency Genis, Dan Talone, Seymour (Peter Kelk), DrilOne, and Phil Noto. With works ranging from original drawings to paintings to sculptures and customs, Sideshow brings all the wonder, magic, and mystery of the circus to life.

In the Project Room, Stranger Factory brings new original works by Leecifer, a fan favorite. His new body of work, entitled “Real Live”, brings his signature painting style to a new group of sculptures and customized figures. Featuring a bright and almost child-like color palette that has been worn and weathered, Leecifer’s work looks like designer toys from a distant past…the lost designer vinyl of the mid-century.

There are opening receptions for both exhibits on Friday, August 1st from 6 – 9 pm at Stranger Factory. Some artists will be in attendance.

 

ccmStranger Factory and Cotton Candy Machine are teaming up to create a collaborative crossover exhibition, one big awesome event taking place simultaneously both at Stranger Factory Gallery in Albuquerque, NM and at Cotton Candy Machine in Brooklyn, NY on the same evening. All works by each artist will be split up evenly between both galleries, so no matter which location you attend you will experience the exhibition, each with a different perspective.

The show will feature new works by Glenn Barr, Dilek Baykara, Scott C, Katie Carillo, Karl Deuble, Jeremy Hush, Tim Lee, Tina Lugo, Jeremyville, Kozyndan, Stan Manoukian, Tara McPherson, Phil Noto, Kathie Olivas, Brandt Peters, Chris Ryniak, Amanda Louise Spayd, Lamour Supreme, Greg Rivera and Chet Zar.

The opening reception for both events will be Friday, July 11th from 7 – 11 pm, local time.

 

We’re so excited for the Vagaries opening on Friday! I caught up with some of the ladies featured in the show for a very short interview, and despite their insane work schedules, they were happy to oblige me. Read on for my chat with Carisa Swenson, Michele Lynch, and Allison Sommers.

Circus Posterus: How did you come up with the title and theme for the show? What does “Vagaries” mean to you?

Carisa Swenson: Given the varied nature of our mediums, styles and voice we each lend to our pieces, we felt it was best if we presented a title that didn’t trap us in a particular theme, giving us all freedom to create and follow our ideas wherever they took us. After tossing a few descriptive titles back and forth, we felt the word “Vagaries” (derived from the Latin “vagari”—wandering) best accomplished this. Using the definition helped push me to create new characters and forms as well as work with cast resin pieces.

Work in Progress by Kelly Denato

Work in Progress by Kelly Denato

CP: Did you all know each other already? If so, how did you meet?

Allison Sommers: Carisa and I know each other through mutual artist friends, she comes out to shows in the city every now and then.

Carisa: While both Allison and Kelly are NYC based artists, I only personally know Allison. We first met at a show opening in Brooklyn last year which we both had work in. As an admirer of Allison’s paintings, especially the altarpieces, it was quite exciting to finally chat with her.

Michele Lynch: I didn’t know anyone in the group, but I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone!

Work in progress by Allison Sommers

Work in progress by Allison Sommers

CP: Where do you draw your inspirations from?

Allison: Constant sketchbooking.

Michele: I’m inspired by fairy tales, flea markets, antique stores, a feeling, something someone says, Victorian society, so many different things!

Carisa Swenson: Animals and nature are huge sources of both comfort and inspiration. The works of Beatrix Potter and illustrator Bill Peet have always enchanted and influenced me, as well as the films of directors Jeunet and Caro (Delicatessen, City of Lost Children), the Brothers Quay and Ray Harryhausen, to the music of Kate Bush. Mythological tales of the trickster, and the desolation of old houses and abandoned buildings are never far from mind.

A delightful mole, by Carisa Swenson

A delightful mole, by Carisa Swenson

Allison, how long did it take you to perfect your colour palette(all those wonderful greys!)? 

Allison: Over the course of the last two or three years– there was a point a few years ago where I was fed up with the palette I was using then– it was rather garish and story-book-ish– and decided to try to strip myself down to (near-) monochrome and build up again. I ended up staying with the greys (and their related greens) for the most part, and later acquired the particular reds I use now through a serendipitous art-material-accident.

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Works in progress by Michele Lynch

 

Michele, how did you come across the steampunk influence in your work, and does it permeate the rest of your life as well?

Michele: The steampunk influence came about because when I first envisioned the sculptures, I could see them as half human and half mechanical, working for someone that had made them half machine, so adding machine parts to them came naturally. I wish I was active in the steampunk community! I think it would be so much fun to dress up in all those wonderful costumes! But sadly I just haven’t had the time.

Work in progress by Carisa Swenson

Work in progress by Carisa Swenson

Carisa, you’ve been branching out from your standard doll body shape, and it is delightful! Have you encountered any specific challenges with these newer designs?

Carisa: Thank you! Well, the sculpting isn’t an issue, but sewing up the bodies and clothing them has presented some challenges, most notably with the rabbit/bird hybrids due to the set of their wings and legs. Avian proportions add a whole new layer to the pain of sewing for me!

“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
505-508-3049

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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.

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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)

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You can learn more about the Toy Art Book, featuring Circus Posterus artists, at http://www.toyartbook.com and purchase it at http://www.toyartbook.storenvy.com.

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