Official Press Release
In the past ten years, an exciting new world of limited-edition designer toys has exploded worldwide. Tracing its roots to the Hong Kong toy scene in the late 1990s, this phenomenon refers to unique figures, usually produced in very limited editions, that are either original creations by individual designers or small companies, or else three-dimensional works inspired by contemporary artists.
Dark Horse Deluxe is pleased to announce a new addition to this burgeoning field: Hell’s Proprietor, a creature sprung from the imagination of American artist Glenn Barr. Standing a large 11″ tall, the figure will be released in two versions: a regular edition of one thousand pieces that utilizes a palette of earth tones taken from Barr’s paintings, and a variant edition of only five hundred pieces decorated in shades of blue. Suggested retail price for each version is $74.99. The release date is slated for late September 2007.
Asked to explain the origins of the character, Barr recalled, “This little beetle has been popping up in drawings and paintings for years. He was initially a humorous antidote to some of my more surreal depictions of a post-apocalyptic carnival midway. He then slowly turned from barker into a managerial position, relocating him in Hell, a position he felt suited his stern yet gentle nature. He sees to it that all cares are met and that everyone is comfortable.”
Hell’s Proprietor is the first in a planned series of three-dimensional art toys based on Barr’s work from Dark Horse Deluxe. In addition to being able to see a preview version of Hell’s Proprietor, lucky attendees of July’s Comic-Con International in San Diego will be treated to the first look at other future releases.
“We have been very excited by our experience in working with Glenn Barr,” Dark Horse’s David Scroggy observed, “and his participation all the way through the process has been a big part of the success of this figure. Early reaction has been quite strong from the industry, so collectors and retailers are advised that allocation of this item seems likely. The limited-edition nature of the designer toy and urban vinyl market means that the purchasing window for upcoming items is often quite compressed, and we are seeing that in this case for sure.”
This kind of art toy is now taking a place alongside paintings and drawings in many contemporary artists’ bodies of work. It is no different for Glenn Barr: “With every show, I try to bring in all aspects of my work, including prints and books, and now toys. If there is a gallery store, it usually caters to the folks who love the artist branded merch. The limited edition toys have become a big part of this. Because, well, who doesn’t like toys?”
In addition to the Dark Horse version of Hell’s Proprietor, another, different version has recently appeared from Ningyoushi.com. It is made out of wood, and at 5” is much smaller in size, but is nonetheless a worthy companion piece to the Dark Horse edition. Other recent items by Glenn Barr include a two hundred page hardcover art book titled Haunted Paradise: The Art of Glenn Barr (Last Gasp/La Luz de Jesus), a set of stationery, envelopes, and stickers based on his Janes paintings, and a 128-page journal, from Dark Horse Deluxe.
Barr’s next art exhibit, titled “No Means Yes,” will be held in June at Outré Gallery in Melbourne, Australia.