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My Little Pony Project 2012

Kawaii cuteness and "Bronies" in a month-long LA exhibition

by Julie Wolfson in Culture on 02 May 2012

The magical world of My Little Pony (MLP) brings delight to everyone from school-age girls to grown men (we're looking at you, "Bronies"). This weekend the My Little Pony Project 2012 will debut at LA's Toy Art Gallery with customized 18" ponies, jewelry by Onch Movement and a month-long celebration of the super cute kawaii world of MLP with an art show, mural project, screenings and events.

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My Little Pony was created by illustrator Bonnie Zackerle in 1983 as the smaller version of Hasbro's original 1981 My Pretty Pony design. Little girls immediately fell in love with these small, colorful plastic ponies featuring silky hair and whimsical designs on their hind legs and hoofs. The original set of MLP characters sported names like Cotton Candy, Clue Belle, Butterscotch, Minty, Snuzzle and Blossom. As the popularity of the toys grew, so did the My Little Pony world. In 1984, their first prime-time special "Rescue at Midnight Castle" led to more specials, a TV series and a feature-length film aptly named " My Little Pony: The Movie".

Hasbro celebrated the 10th anniversary of their favorite equines by debuting Sweet Kisses, Colorswirl, Sippin' Soda, Wedding Pony, Flower Fantasy and more. Now, nearly 30 years later, the brand is still going strong thanks to an alternative scene that continues to worship the pastel ponies. Customized toys have sprung up around the globe, transforming MLP into everything from horror film icons to Star Wars characters. Even fetish imagery was branded on the plastic ponies. My Little Pony is a major force in pop culture, spawning trans-generational obsession evidenced in the endless stream of MLP tattoos.

For more proof of MLP domination, a search for My Little Pony on Etsy yields over 4,000 results and Deviant Art boasts hundreds of thousands of MLP-inspired artworks. Many a Brony—the brilliant mash-up of "brother" and "pony"—could be found at the recent "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" show, saying they're attracted to the pony's colorful imagery and positive messages.

The My Little Pony Project 2012 kicks off its exhibition in LA with a series of events presented by Hasbro, We Love Fine, LA-based design firm Mighty Fine and Street Sweets. The show features one-of-a-kind customized ponies by 6%DOKIDOKI, 64 Colors, Ana Bagayan, Angry Woebots, Blamo (Mikie Graham), Lisa Alisa, Luke Chueh, Madoka Kinoshita, Martin Hsu, Perez Hilton, Spank!, TOUMA and more. Ten percent of the sales will benefit Give Kids the World, an organization that gives children with life-threatening illnesses the opportunity to take a vacation to a fantasy-filled resort with their families.

Coinciding with the show, Onch Movement—the pop culture icon and jeweler who creates Nicki Minaj's over-the-top treats—will launch an MLP line alongside his existing collection of colorful novelties. Onch created these new pieces for the Bronies and Pegasisters (the term for women who love MLP). As Onch enthusiastically proclaims, "We are trying to take the pony to another level!"

The show opens 5 May 2012 and will be on view at Toy Art Gallery until 26 May with events for fans to meet special guests from The Hub TV's "Friendship is Magic", a family day with crafts and face painting and cupcakes, and a screening nearby at the Silent Movie Theater (where at least a few Brony's are sure to show up). Also beginning the week of 5 May, Buff Monster, COPE2, Indie184, and other artists will be busy painting MLP-inspired murals at Joyrich and De La Barracuda near Toy Art Gallery on Melrose.

The original 18" ponies will be available in the Toy Art Gallery online shop.

Toy Art Gallery
7571 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046

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