Collect3d

Doodlesplatter

Posted by collect3d, November 11th, 2009

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A fan like Jeremy Brautman doesn’t come along every day. Brautman’s a one-man Jon Burgerman fan club, running the massive Jon Burgerman fan-blog, www.doodlesplatter.com, himself. What started as a hobby and side-project to his work with ToyCyte is now the web’s largest Jon Bugerman resource. Whether you’re a dedicated Burgerman fanatic, or someone who’s only now starting to learn about the artist, Doodlesplatter has what you need. Collect3d sits down with Jeremy Brautman and gets inside the head of the world’s biggest Burgerman booster.

“I like writing daily, and I enjoy the instantaneous feedback.”

C3D: Please introduce your site. When did you start it, and what was your biggest challenge in the initial development? How did you overcome the challenge?
Jeremy Brautman: I was hired (off Craigslist!) to write about art toys for ToyCyte in April of 2008. A few months later, I was promoted to Editor-in-Chief. Then the recession hit hard, and that dream job is now just a great memory. Since then, I’ve been working on my own projects: Doodlesplatter (a Jon Burgerman blogography) and ARTkivers (an ‘artkive’ of ephemeral art). Obviously, the challenge with ToyCyte was related to funding. Doodlesplatter is a challenge in that Jon Burgerman seemingly makes art as often as I breathe air. But that’s a good challenge. I enjoy keeping up with it. When something is fun, the challenge is motivating.

C3D: Since starting your site, what have been the most significant changes in designer toy culture, specifically as it relates to media?
Jeremy Brautman: There is a lot more media involved, for starters. A new toy-related site crops up almost monthly. And we’re starting to see an increase in the commodification of this niche, like the recent Taco Bell Bellhedz debacle. Using art toys as part of a Happy Meal speaks to the fact that collectors are getting younger. That said, the good news is that the media is taking notice of art toys, and in part at least attempting to understand them. And conversely, artists and toy companies are enjoying more exposure due to the media interest. So there is a symbiotic relationship in that sense.

C3D: With many development opportunities available on the Internet and in other media, why have you chosen to remain a blog?
Jeremy Brautman: I like writing daily, and I enjoy the instantaneous feedback. I’m also finding twitter to be a good way to promote and exchange information about toys and shows. I’m curious about those “many development opportunities available on the Internet.” Do elaborate because I’m available! I’d be stoked to write for a print magazine if anybody out there is reading this and requires the services of an intrepid toy journalist…

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C3D: With so much of the same content being distributed on the Internet, how does your site separate itself from its competitors?
Jeremy Brautman: ToyCyte separated itself from the pack by being honest, critical, humorous and personal. If collectors simply wanted to know the color or edition size of a toy, they could find that out on many other sites. We stood out because I asked hard-hitting questions that sites with ad revenue couldn’t risk asking. The writing on ToyCyte was topnotch and included commentary on emerging artists who were being ignored by other sites. I was writing about toys full-time, so I could really cover the scene in depth.

Competing is kind of a weird concept in blogging, and that hat didn’t fit me so well during that time. Sure, competition is a necessary part of trying to monetize a blog, but at the end of the day, it can get a bit ugly and you have to remind yourself: we’re talking about toys here. With Doodlesplatter, there is truly no competition, and it’s a great feeling to just do something different for the sheer fun of it.

C3D: To what degree do you feel your site develops, and/or, influences toy culture?
Jeremy Brautman: Without sounding immodest, I do think that in its short lifespan, ToyCyte had some influence on the industry. I went on a bit of a crusade about blind-box packaging, and some companies did appear to get the message. If I like a toy, my writing reflects that enthusiasm and that organically leads to more interest in the toy. I was also able to introduce some new artists and their toys to a wider audience. One guy even got a call from Kidrobot after his work appeared on ToyCyte. As for Doodlesplatter, I like to think that though the site focuses on Jon Burgerman, people can see that anything is a canvas and that is a very liberating feeling.

C3D: To what degree is your site a reflection of your personal interests?
Jeremy Brautman: A very high degree. In writing classes, they always say, write what you know. I find that to be the case. You can tell if a blogger is truly into what he/she is doing vs. copying and pasting press releases. When I read other peoples’ toy sites, I enjoy seeing their persona and opinion in their writing. Since it’s next to impossible to make a living on this kind of writing alone, you might as well enjoy what you’re doing.

C3D: What are the biggest challenges your site is currently dealing with?
Jeremy Brautman: Well, ToyCyte has basically been parked on a desolate tumbleweed-surrounded stretch of the Internet superhighway since June. For Doodlesplatter, the challenge is getting the word out about the site’s existence. With ARTkivers, I’m working with a great UK-based design team called The Neon Hive. We’re just taking our time to plan and build something we are all happy with.

C3D: What advice can you offer to someone interested in starting a blog for commercial interests?
Jeremy Brautman: Umm…don’t quit your day job?

More info: www.doodlesplatter.com

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