Dero, series one: the Jigris from Wootini and STRANGEco
For a look at the creepier side of the Designer Toy letís cast our gaze towards Jermaine Rogers' Dero. This piece marks both his and Wootini's first jump into the Vinyl pool but this is not to say that the toy isn't well made or thought out. The design is one that is familiar to fans of Rogers' work. The Dero has appeared numerous times in his prints and posters. Now the bear is three dimensional and ready to scare the bejeezus out of your Dunnys.
Just what is a Dero, you ask? It's a bit complicated, but it boils down to this: For centuries, Dero have lived below the Earth. You see, the earth is really hollow. These creatures are highly advanced and have a leaning towards the evil side of things. They have had their hands in wars and disputes since Alexander the Great ruled. They have always controlling things from behind the veil. They can appear to humans in whatever appearance they choose and usually it's a bear. Recently the beings have altered the bear to a teddy bear appearance just for that added kick of scariness. These are truly wicked to look at, and that's thanks to a great design and execution.
Wootini worked closely with Rogers to get a direct representation of the artist's 2-D work. (check out the pics from his sketch book below!) The result is a near exact counterpart sculpted by Brin Berliner. There are three colorways available: Brown, Black, and Glow in the Dark. For the most part each is sculpted the same. But I noticed something interesting when I was photographing them. The Glow and Black versions are made from a slightly bigger mold. I would have assumed that the same mold would have been used for all of them, but I guess not. Aside from that, they each have the same details. The face is gripping with sharp teeth protruding from the top of the mouth. The read slitted eyes grab your attention and stare you down. The paint is applied very smoothly with no smudges or light spots. On the Dero's forehead is an "X". I don't know if this is a target; reference to Manson or Christianity; where the spirit enters the bear's body; or what; and I think that's the point. These are beings you don't understand. In the same vein is the symbol on the back of the head. It really bothers me to not know what that is. There are three points of articulation: arms and head. The head is on a bit of an angle so when it's twisted, it tilts to one side. The right hand is open while the left one is pointing. I got a kick out of the feet. Above the foot there are wrinkles. It really gives the figure a sense of weight. Or a look like his skin is a bit too big. Also, each toe has a nail. Finally, he has a nub of a tail. These are the subtle details that make this toy art.
As stated, there are three colorways (that are still available) and each has its own virtues. The original brown (limited to 600) is nice because it represents the artist's original vision. I usually lean towards this version, but this line is the first to convert me. The shiny black colorway on the Shadow Dero is smokin'! The entire piece is black except for the piercing red eyes. The shininess of the vinyl gives the appearance the toy is covered in Catwoman's shiny black leather. And being limited to a run of 250, it's a more satisfying piece to own. But naturally, the hottest piece is the Glow in the Dark variant. This piece is limited to a very very short run of 50 and it's the creepiest too. When charged, this guy will glow all night. I'm not kidding. I charged up mine for a picture, put it on my dresser and it was still faintly glowing in the morning with the shades down! Since his eyes are painted red, they are just black dots on the glowing body. This really creeped my lady out. heh heh... If you know Jermaine you might be lucky enough to own a Golden version, or if you were at Wootini's gallery opening for the piece you might have gotten a clear "invisible" Dero. Both had only 25 pulls. Wow.
This toy really struck a chord with visitors of the Toy Growers aisle at Toy Fair this year, and it's easy to see why. The design is simple yet engaging, the subject matter is striking (and creepy), and the execution is great. I enjoy this piece for these reasons and more.
We're giving away a Glow in the Dark Dero. That's right, you can own one of only 50 made! But that's not all!! You can also win a silk screened poster signed by Jermaine and numbered 64/100! To win email email@example.com (subject line "Dero") the answer to this question: If a Dero was to appear before you, what form would it take if it wanted to scare you out of your pants?
The person who answers the most creatively wins!! Good luck. The deadline is May 2nd.
Since only one person is going to be lucky enough to win, you should check out Wootini's store for all your Dero needs. They have some other great Designer Toys too, and quite possibly the most comprehensive artist guide out there.
Once again, STRANGEco had its fingers in an excellent Designer Toy. Check out what's cooking on their site. You won't be disappointed.
Jermaine Rogers has a site ready to inform you on the Dero and other artistic ventures he's undergoing. jermainerogers.com
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