Chao Woo’s INLY COOL Series

Once DesignerCon‘s doors opened, a thunderous trample of VIPs stormed towards the Medicom booth, a massive queue of people forming in mere moments. In their rush to ostensibly buy hyped works such as Hajime Sorayama‘s 1000% Bearbrick tribute to Mickey Mouse, these collectors sadly raced past ToyQube‘s gallery-style display space, an inviting area abundant with diverse artistry. Among this treasure trove of works, a selection of animal-like sculptures may entice the viewer’s gaze with their softly curved skeletal nature. Inherently depictions of death, each work’s stance imparts a vibrant sense of life: a fish arching its tail upward, a snake coiled into an S-shaped formation, and a wild boar frozen in a face-planting blunder. Collectively forming roughly half of the INLY COOL series’ current selection, this display of “gravitational bone” works essentially introduces the U.S. marketplace to their creator, the Chinese artist Chao Woo.

Chao Woo and his INLY COOL series

At the end of 2017, already several years into establishing himself as a film director and fine artist, Chao Woo needed a break from an online drama project that had been plaguing him. The artist, who alternatively anglicizes his name as Wu Chao, retreated to his studio and began exhuming scribbled ideas from a paper pile for inspiration. Purportedly, this is when the seeds of INLY COOL were planted, blossoming into a refined series concept shortly thereafter. Conceived to appear defiant of gravity, INLY COOL combines life’s inner beauty, as represented through skeletal formations, with the rounded aesthetics of succulent plants, known for their ability to survive in even unfavorable conditions. Each a complex juxtaposition of life and death, Woo spent months digitally sculpting the initial forms in ZBrush, seeking ideal shapes for execution in several sizes. And, once satisfied, Woo had the first three INLY COOL designs — the Cool Fish, the Cool Snake, and the monkey-like Cool Man — which all debuted at the Shanghai Toy Show in April of 2019.

Extremely well-received during their initial offering, Woo sought to expand his line of polyurethane resin sculptural editions in July of 2019, when the artist launched a month-long crowdfunding campaign to finance his second trio of INLY COOL pieces: the Bone Wild Boar – Never Compromise Love, the Bone Deer – Growth of Everything, and the Double Bone Bird – Unbearable Lightness. Offered in the same ceramic-like blue coloration with rusty red accents as the first wave, though without the corresponding Pink Starry Sky limited variations, these INLY COOL universe additions were offered alongside one further expansion: the Bone Snake Ball – The Seed of Gravitational Bone. Viewable as a ‘building block’ microbe within his universe’s concept, this direction may signify Woo’s desire to explain his rich visual dimension, a task he’s begun through a series of gravitational bone-themed murals. But, ultimately, Woo’s INLY COOL concept needs little explanation, for its narrative is primal and universal. It is life and it is death, the two forever entwined in their delicate dance.

Click Here to Acquire Chao Woo’s INLY COOL series pieces from ToyQube.

Support Chao Woo’s new INLY COOL: Bone Ball crowdfunding campaign.

For more information on Chao Woo:
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