Can you tell us who you are? What do you do?
I’m a designer, but not one of those who are busy turning beautiful those useful things, I love to design “useless” things but I want to make them so beautiful as to render them almost necessary. I am Italian, but artistically speaking I’ve always looked far away, starting from Japan first of all.
But today there’s an artistic globalization, carried forward by my generation of “digital” artists, which allows me to use a visual language with contaminations without bothering too much if I am working on an American project, European or Asian.
I’m an illustrator, maybe one day I will tell stories with sequential images, when I find a way which works best for me.
As designer I love to take care of every aspect, from the images to the graphics of a book, from the toy to the packaging.
How did you get the Mekaneko idea?
The concept was born in a BD episode of Sky-doll Spaceship Collection drawn by me, I created a typical kawaii mascot for the main character. Afterwards, when Barbara Canepa created her art-pop label Venusdea, we thought it was interesting to take back that concept and give him a life of his own. So, I imagined it would be a perfect design-toy. Mekaneko is not a toy with an end it itself, it’s more similar to a Japanese character from an anime, in the booklet coming with him you can see various illustrations which represent him as the “ultimate cool gadget” for young guys or rock bands, Mekaneko is imaginary but still very “plausible” and concrete.
Can you explain the working process for a toy like that? (from the rough to the series bulk version)
I have some experience in the production, from the design to the object, and so also in this case I wanted to take care and follow the details in the design of my toy.
Mekaneko’s outline is so minimal, and so very well defined, that I made very detailed drawings. I didn’t need a sculptor who could interpret an idea, but a perfect executor.
In addition to the classical “front, back, side, top” sketches, I also made some ones to explain the shapes through lateral sectioning of the pieces, the sculptor (a Chinese guy) did his job well, but there’s always some correction to be done, when I get the first “clay prototype” the best thing is to draw the changes directly on the pictures.
I can easily say that there is no problem in working on these kind of projects with intercontinental distances.
When I received then the resin prototype it was almost perfect, and most of all it was really moving to touch at last something that was just an idea or a drawing not long before.
The realization of the packaging was a bit more complex, I wanted something really cool, which showed the toy through the transparency, and that was worthily part of the concept. I know people who bought Mekaneko and keeps it in a showcase at home still in its box…
I personally designed the box, providing to the factory directly the file for the printing, but only when I received the prototype I realized that my theotical idea really worked!
Another pretty tricky part was to design the stickers, it wasn’t easy because I couldn’t verify everything straight away, I would’ve slowed down and made more complicated the production by asking constant verifications and shipments on the Hong-Kong – French – Italian axis. So I made do by printing the stickers on sticky paper and testing them at the best of my skills.
How do you proceed for the customization of your Mekaneko? (I think of the one which is half a robot)
Surely for me it’s necessary to work on colours but also on the shape.
I don’t see Mekaneko as a simple “canvas toy” like Qee, Munny etc… For me it’s the small figure of a robot cat which “exists”; moves, does something, has a reason to exist! In the case of my custom, I referred to the “anatomical” scheme I drew in the booklet, imagining a prototype of the robot-cat, in which probably trials are being made…
I worked a month to finish this custom, the robotic half is in part modelled (milliput) and in part built with plasticard pieces and option-parts for Japanese modeling.
The option parts are really useful pieces of every kind, from verniers to rivets, joints and articulations in pvc, tubes… they’re sold in Japan to make scratch-build or to modify models, Gundam for the most part.
But the basic rule to do pieces like this is: every small object or plastic piece which could seem as useless rubbish to anyone else, can be useful and precious to my eyes.
For the colouring I worked as a real otaku-plamodeller, airbrush, drybrush, oil washing, and a final touch of “custom decals and stickers” designed ad hoc.
Anything to add? Dates or places you wish to announce?
First of all, the important meeting at the Japan Expo 2010 in Paris (from 1 to 4 July) me and many Mekanekos will be sitting at the Artoyz stand, with customs, news, and suprises… I wish I will meet many people!
Linked to this event there’s the creative contest hosted on the Café Salé webpage at this link :
I invite you to follow my personal blog in any case :
In addition I want to point out the page in which you can see beautiful Mekaneko customs for the expo organized by the Artoyz gallery some months ago:
and the blog of the Venusdea label :
Thank you Matteo !
AJOUTER UN COMMENTAIRE :
…C’est beau cet article! : ) …
Matteo De Longis a écrit le 21 juin 2010
jokolo a écrit le 22 juin 2010
C’est interessant comme article
Camelia a écrit le 15 août 2010
This gundam serie is the very best. I can’t neglect my very first time watching Gundam Wing then know about Japanese mobile gundam. Hope to possess much more fantastic gundam serie in the future
mbile suit gundam unicorn a écrit le 29 août 2010
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