Collect3d

29 Plush Artists You Should Know

Posted by collect3d, January 2nd, 2010

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Cover 29 Plush Artists You Should Know

If it’s difficult to get to know the who’s who of vinyl artists, it’s nearly impossible for plush. Collecting plush toys isn’t nearly as popular as collecting vinyl, and there are fewer resources available. Thankfully, we’ve assembled a list of some 29 of the most influential plush artists active today. Whether it’s the toy empire that is Uglydoll, or a humble independent entrepreneur like Mariska Vos-Bolman, we’ve worked to find some of the most passionate, most intriguing artists working in soft toys today. So before you head out and pick up your first Wee Ninja, come take a look at our list of 29 Plush Artists You Should Know.

Alex Pardee

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Alex Pardee 29 Plush Artists You Should Know
Alex Pardee’s unique sense of imagination and ability to mesh the grotesque with the cute is something that plants him on toy shelves worldwide and makes him one of the most intriguing artists on this list. The dichotomy of the cute with the ugly has been seen before, but Pardee’s work draws from a wide variety of influences making them truly one-of-a-kind.

Anna Chambers

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Anna Chambers 29 Plush Artists You Should KnowAmerican artist Anna Chambers has channeled a sense of childlike wonder into her artwork, animation, and toys. With an eclectic style that’s reminiscent of Amanda Visell and mid-Century American animation work. Featured in Japanese trade magazines and Italian fashion magazines alike, and even the target of knockoff plush work, Chambers may not yet be a household name, but her plush has a worldwide appeal.

Dennis Douven (Bytedust)

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Bytedust 29 Plush Artists You Should Know
Better known as Bytedust, Dutch artist Dennis Douven is the graphic designer’s graphic designer. Drawing inspiration from simple, effective health and hazard warning signs, Douven’s toys are popular precisely because of the ubiquity of these signs. Fetishization of simple, minimal designs such as these ensure that Douven’s designs remain popular despite small run numbers and limited availability.

Circus Punks

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Circus Punks 29 Plush Artists You Should Know
Modeled after classic carnival knock-down dolls, this California based company has created dozens and dozens of plush knock-down dolls, and revitalized interest in this carnival tradition of handmade dolls. Collaborating some of the most eminent artists in the toy and art communities, Circus Punks are not just making toys, they’re continuing a folk art tradition.

Dan Goodsell

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Dan Goodsell 29 Plush Artists You Should KnowSomewhere between the realms of the designer toy community and the quirky online-foodie world, Dan Goodsell resides. A capable artist in his own right, Goodsell’s Mr. Toast and friends show off more than his chops as a designer – they’re a world in their own right with associated stories, comics and backgrounds. It’s this rich background that engages Goodsell’s fans and ensures his continued success.

Daniel Svanberg

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Daniel Svanberg 29 Plush Artists You Should KnowThe stereotype that plush toys are a girly field and not really the province of male designers is something that’s unspoken but still held by some. Work like Daniel Svanberg’s Spok-Spok line breaks down these stereotypes and is an essential part of the plush canon. Happy teeth and ultra-cute, abstract designs populate the Spok-Spok world, making it a favorite of plush enthusiasts worldwide.

Devilrobots

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Devilrobots 29 Plush Artists You Should Know
Though better known for its vinyl To-Fu toys, Devilrobots also has a wide range of plush toys available, that channel the same sense of playfulness and design-consciousness seen in vinyl. Plushes like Goldboys and Hellcatz draw from the same aesthetic as the To-Fu toys, but are unique so you never feel that you’re just buying a plush version of a vinyl toy.

Erin Currie

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Erin Currie 29 Plush Artists You Should KnowErin Currie is new to the toy game, but don’t let her inexperience fool you, she’s been illustrating and sewing for years. Her Yeti toy series used the best of plush and the best of hard toys. With a plush body, and an illustrated face, Currie was able to offer four unique faces for the Yeti. This kind of innovation means you need to watch out for this artist from the American Midwest.

Frank Kozik

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Frank Kozik 29 Plush Artists You Should KnowThough Kozik’s strongest work has been in the vinyl and sculpture fields, his Labbits and Mongers have translated well to plush. One of the most revered and most prolific artists in the vinyl toy community today, Kozik is an artist at the top of his game, and when he produces, the plush and vinyl communities alike can’t help but stop and take notice.

Arturo Sandoval III & Sam Borkson (Friends With You)

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Friends With You 29 Plush Artists You Should Know
Friends With You has been responsible for some of the most enduring, most popular designs in the plush work. Their Malfi penguins and Mr TTT plushes are seen on shelves worldwide, and are the cornerstones of any good plush collections. This duo’s continued success is owed to their sharp aesthetic sensibilities and dedication to creating an engaging world of plush friends.

Gus Fink

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Gus Fink 29 Plush Artists You Should KnowThough Fink might be known to the community as a designer of cute-yet-kooky plush toys, his first fame is as a mixed-media artist, who puts his frightening ideas down in two dimensions. Though he tones down his ghoulish ideas for the world of plush, you can see Fink’s sense of the macabre in every stitch, making his pieces great for the goth kid in all of us.

Heidi Kenney

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Heidi Kenney 29 Plush Artists You Should Know
It would be easy to write off Heidi Kenney as just being lucky. It would be easy to say that just because Kidrobot picked her Happy Donut and other food-related plushes for distribution, Heidi’s now one of the first names in plush. It would be easy, if not for the fact she’s so very talented. Kenney’s one of the most notable names in plush, and it’s her hard work, determination, and ability to sew elements of our collective consciousness as plush that has brought her that success.

Junko Mizuno

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Junko Mizuno 29 Plush Artists You Should Know
Japanese manga artist Junko Mizuno is one of the most popular illustrators in Japan today, unafraid to blend the grotesque with the cute. The result is something that’s truly unlike anybody else making plush today. Her illustrative background is undeniably rooted in Japanese shoujo manga, but she draws narrative and imaginative inspiration from masters of the macabre such as Poe. The resulting plush might remind you of Mori Chack’s work – that is, if it wasn’t so much more unnerving.

Kelly Denato

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Kelly Denato 29 Plush Artists You Should KnowAn experienced animator and illustrator, Denato has refocused on plush work and character design. This Brooklynite’s Meatcubes collaboration with Andrew Bell was a huge hit in 2007, and her handmade series of Voodoo plushes is consistently sold out. Each is made-to-order, meaning no two are truly alike, making a truly unique plush for each consumer.

Mariska Vos-Bolman

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Mariska Vos Bolman 29 Plush Artists You Should KnowA former illustrator in the video gaming industry, Mariska Vos-Bolman struck out on her own in 2007, and founded Fluffels, her own plush toy company. In addition to plushes, Mariska also sells the patterns for her plushes, turning the consumer into an artist in their own right. This kind of engagement with her audience makes Mariska one of the artists to watch on this list.

Mark Giglio

29 Plush Artists You Should Know mark giglio 29 Plush Artists You Should Know
Mark Giglio’s work could never be mistaken for anybody else’s. Though his work draws from similar elements and sources of inspiration, and sometimes even covers the same subject matter, Mark’s unique imaginative and aesthetic sense stamps his identity on every plush he makes.

Michael Schupbach

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Michael Schupbach 29 Plush Artists You Should Know
He’s won four Emmys for his work on Sesame Street. He was one of the designers who created the muppets for the Tony Award-winning Avenue Q. He holds both a BA in education and an honest-to-god Clown College degree. So when Michael Schupbach created the Konjoined Kitty plush, people knew it was a pretty big deal. Receiving high marks from the toy community for design and quality, the Konjoined Kitty is the first of hopefully more toys from this alumnus of the Jim Henson Muppet Workshop.

Michelle Valigura

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Michelle Valigura 29 Plush Artists You Should Know
Michelle Valigura is without question one of the most talented, most interesting plush artists working today. Count off her resume with us – a Dunny collaboration with Kidrobot, work that’s been showcased by Disney, and she’s also co-operator of Switcheroo with Amanda Visell. Valigura’s pieces tap into the consciousness of toy collectors worldwide, giving them exactly what they want, before they know they even want them.

Mori Chack

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Mori Chack 29 Plush Artists You Should Know
What can be said about Chack that hasn’t already been said? This Japanese artist is the name of the moment, with his insightful illustration work and playful-yet-morbid toy designs gaining popularity on both sides of the Pacific. Gloomy Bear is one of the most popular designs among collectors right now, and the plush Gloomy Arm has even been showcased on the CW’s hit drama Gossip Girl. Now who else can say that?

OhNo!Doom

29 Plush Artists You Should Know OhNoDoom 29 Plush Artists You Should Know
This Chicago collective is intent on combining their skills for a greater-good, like a Wu-Tang Clan made up of illustrators and designers. Pooling their resources, OhNo!Doom uses its weight and influence to give its member artists increased exposure and opportunities. In addition to the collective’s highly successful plush work, OhNo!Doom has also been able to buy a gallery space to showcase its members work, proving that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Post Pet

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Post Pet 29 Plush Artists You Should Know
You might be wondering ‘Why is Post Pet on here?” It might be true that Japanese toy company Post Pet doesn’t have the most solo plushes, but Post Pet has been responsible for the production of plush toys designed by some of Japan’s most popular, most influential artists, including Junko Mizuno and Touma. Continued work with names like these secures Post Pet a spot on our list.

Shane Geil

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Shane Geil 29 Plush Artists You Should KnowGeil’s eccentric sense of humor and talented artistry make for some of the most unique, most interesting toys going on right now. With toys like plush maggots and sperm, and Highdi the ‘special kind of leaf’, Geil’s toys appeal to our more mature sense of humor, while his plush craftsmanship is beyond reproach. The duality of the cuteness of his work, and the subject matter makes him plushes great additions to any collection, that are sure to spark engaging conversation.

Shawn Smith (Shawnimals)

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Shawn Smith 29 Plush Artists You Should Know
There are some names in plush that are simply big, and Shawn Smith’s is one of them. Shawnimals is simply one of the biggest, most influential plush toy companies in America, producing dozens of new toys in its eclectic collection yearly. With designs drawn from from Smith’s seemingly endless font of ideas, Shawnimals has exploded to include collaborations with Kidrobot and even its own critically acclaimed Nintendo DS game. Simply put, Shawn Smith is a big deal.

Mike & Katie (TADO)

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Tado 29 Plush Artists You Should KnowWhen it comes to British artists, there’s little to talk about if you leave out this pair of friends from London. Success has come to Mike and Katie of TADO from all fronts, be it their best-selling Cannibal Funfair vinyl series with Kidrobot, or their Choop plushes, or their critically acclaimed Private Panda Club plush-themed exhibition. There’s little doubt that TADO are firmly established as among the best designers be it plush or plastic, that the UK has to offer.

Takashi Murakami

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Takashi Murakami 29 Plush Artists You Should Know
The further down this list we move, the bigger the names get, and there are few artists who can hold a candle to the brightness of Murakami. One of the most important names in art, and one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, it would be a crime to call him a plush artist or toy designer. More accurately, Murakami is an artist who simply realizes the opportunities that toy design presents, and seizes them. Like a modern day Warhol, Murakami has turned high art’s critical art on the most humble of designs and forms, and for this, we all pay tribute at the altar of Murakami.

Sun-Min Kim & David Horvath (Uglydoll)

29 Plush Artists You Should Know Uglydolls 29 Plush Artists You Should KnowThey’re the couple that are responsible for Uglydoll, a plush toy that’s turned into a phenomenon. Horvath and Kim were once long-distance lovers, and Horvath’s doodles at the bottom of each of his letters soon turned into dolls that were being sold worldwide, from Urban Outfitters to the independent toy shop just down the street. A million dollar idea, and arguably the impetus for the plush toy explosion since 2005, Uglydoll is one name you need to know.


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Comments (4)

  1. Interesting list but where’s Felt Mistress?

  2. Stay tuned for “Candy The Magic Dinosaur” in 2010!… Plush and Vinyl could be on the cards ;]

  3. Marianne says:

    Frank Kozik a plush artist? You got to be kidding me! Where are the real plush artists? People who design and make the stuff themselves that’s what I call plush artists. There are only a few names here that really belong on this list.

  4. Nathanicus Malec says:

    John Murphy of Stupid Creatures should be on here, as well as–and indefinitely–Jennifer Strunge of Cotton Monster. I’m an upcoming plush artist with these two artists as my BIGGEST inspirations! :)

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