Tanya Davis and the MunnyWorld Experiment

By | 9:46 PM

Tanya Davis Visual Artist with foomi form custom vinyl in her studio.
all images © Tanya Davis
Tanya is an artist of many talents who does not limit herself to just one medium. She produces art in polymer clay, pencil, acrylic paint, mica powder pigments, Prismacolor markers, and digital photography. Her foremost style is Steampunk and she also uses art deco lines. Tanya often just pulls designs straight from nature or from who-knows-where. For this artist-interview we will focus on her latest endeavor with DIY vinyl toy customization. 

As a newcomer Munny artist on the custom toy figurine scene, Tanya Davis’ first custom Munny - a TRIKKY figurine that resembles a steampunk anthropomorphic cat - was on display at the Guzu Gallery in Austin, Texas March through May 2013. This first piece was also featured in Jerry's Artarama 2013 Munny Show and sold three days later.  She is most pleased to have found a welcoming local custom vinyl scene.

Why so many different approaches to making art?

I use multiple art mediums because it keeps me from getting bored.  Also I find that one type of process informs the other and so I can mingle my knowledge of, for instance, architecture and painting, which I use together to create clay sculptures.

Tell me about your first experience creating a customized toy:

In 2012 I was gift-shopping for my little cousin who was twelve.  She likes arts and crafts and I figured a couple of the small munnies would be a fun project for her. So while I got a couple of  2 inch ones for her, I went ahead and got myself a 4 inch TRIKKY. The Trikky sat on the floor patiently waiting for two months before I even took it out of the box.  You see, I have this thing about not wanting to try something new until I am ready because if I mess up then I have wasted the materials and I did not want to make a crappy customization on a $10 vinyl model.  Also I was preparing to make my debut art show for my polymer clay Steampunk Buddies that winter, and wanted to give the first Munny toy my full attention.

My Trikky custom is made of polymer clay and colored with acrylic paint.  I used the typical industrial steampunk style that I use on most of my figurines.  One admirer told me it looked like a Steampunk Hello Kitty.

Trikky MunnyWorld vinyl figure before and after customization.
You have also created a Sea Creature from a Foomi form munny toy.  What inspired you make it?

I must admit, it is very different from my usual style.  It is a fantasy creature that has many elements from different marine life all rolled into one.  It was very experimental and a spontaneous creation.  The big fish mouth gives it a pouty look.  My misplacing one of the arms of the toy resulted in my first sculpting of tentacles. It is a good practice since I want to play around with an octopus like design in the near future.

The Foomi sea creature was also my first use of Super Sculpey, and I discovered it was easily malleable and less sticky than the usual polymer clays I use.  The clay was a light beige color, so all the colors you see in the photo image were added by my painting the figurine.  The painting is a thing I am learning to have patience with.  Perhaps I will need to learn to work on two at a time in order to have something else to do while waiting for one coat to dry.

Foomi MunnyWorld vinyl form made into sea creature custom.
Foomi form based Sea Creature

What has your experience with the Munny World community been like?

I have received wonderful support and feedback from the Munny community. There are so many creative artists working on their own custom toys.  They inspire me and also give me lots of good feedback and advice.

That is great, aside from the encouragement - do you ever get any annoying remarks about your Munny figures?

I have had someone ask me if I could make a figurine smaller and cheaper.  This is probably the most annoying remark due to the fact that for the amount of effort and the quality of materials that go into making them, they are already at the lowest price points I can afford.  It is understandable that people want to get a bargain, but they need to keep in mind that these are handmade artworks and not some kind of mass-produced item from an assembly line.

What can we expect to see from you in your future Munny customizations?

I have an original Munny form lined up to become a steampunky-Cthulhu type character; that is unless I decide to make it something else right in the middle of creating it.  I have an organic process of letting the figurine kind of decide what it will be.  Similar to how many wood carvers and other subtractive artists work, only in reverse.  I am adding to it and the process will create itself.

I have a 2.5 inch Foomi form (smaller version of the Sea Creature’s base), which I may just apply a Zentangle design to.  Also I have a robot form, which is not MunnyWorld brand but another DIY custom toy.  It is the Android mascot for Google’s mobile platform of the same name.  I haven’t decided what I will do with it yet, but it is on the shelf waiting to be transformed.

Through Kickstarter I have watched designers produce their own toys and I have been contacted by an aspiring new toy designer which I may do a collaboration project with.  If this works out, I will have my contributions displayed at a Designer Con and get my name out there along with it.  I am withholding details because this is still in the negotiation stage.  There are many opportunities in this medium, which is adding to my overall portfolio.  I may even have a few vinyl based figures at my next showcase.

See more of Tanya’s art at her official site Tanya Davis Art
And keep up with her visually on Instagram 

art online, urban vinyl
Read more on the Munny in this article also on IOUart 

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Tanya Davis Art said...

Thanks Becca! We will have to do a new article soon. :-)

Rebecca said...

Whenever you are ready, I am here.