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Made & Sold: Toys, T-Shirts, Prints, Zines and Other Stuff
by CH Contributor
on 26 October 2009

by Jeremy Brautman

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Made & Sold, a new book from Laurence King Publishing, collects the work of over 90 artists who make and sell art products, taking on the role as both entrepreneur and designer. Curated by Agathe Jacquillat and Tomi Vollauschek of Fl@33, Made & Sold cleverly takes the form of an online store, dividing the content into shopping cart categories such as clothing, toys, fonts and zines.

For the artist, the pursuit of an ISBN is of less importance than artistic expression, which is why the chapter on Books, Magazines and Zines is particularly rich, kicking off with Masahi Kawamura’s self-published Rainbow In Your Hand flip-book. Stefan G. Bucher started the DailyMonster website to promote his Upstairs Neighbors book and although that didn’t work, people fell in love with the Daily Monster project, which was published in book form as 100 Days of Monsters. Retaining creative control is the most desirable feature of self-publishing, urging Bucher to say “He who signs the checks, controls the type size. ”

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Indeed, nowhere is control more evident than in the independent publishing of posters and prints. With the popularization of high-quality digital production methods, the mark of the artist can seem almost antiquated. But not among this group. Hand-pulled screenprints and labor-intensive letterpressing leave the resulting print with an artist’s stamp that just can’t be rendered digitally. Scien and Klor of 123klan were among the first to mix graffiti and graphic design. “I think we release our own products because of our graffiti background,” they said. “We just can’t stop writing our names everywhere on everything. The cool side of goodies, though, is that you get money back from your hard work.”

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As we’ve seen with recent books like Stuffz: Design on Material and One Day of Design, artists are increasingly turning to 3D platforms. Made & Sold catalogs an array of toys, including hand-cast resin figures by Jon Burgerman, hand-carved wooden figures by Tado, screen-printed inflatable toys by DGPH and whimsical hand-knit plushes by Kate Sutton. Many of the designers in this chapter also make limited and mass-market production toys, but as Sutton puts it, “Even if I had a range of manufactured products, I would continue to make small runs as I love all things handmade, and it’s just part of what I do.”

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Made & Sold is 240 pages with 1000 illustrations, available from Amazon and Chronicle.

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