Deph’s Big Mouth Dunny

What makes a work truly a pivotal piece? What must its pedigree include? Would it be enough to know that a copy of the work was held in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), one of only nine rabbit-shaped Dunny forms to achieve this honor? How about if it spent roughly a year being exhibited between New York City’s Smithsonian Design Museum (Cooper Hewitt), Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), and Houston’s Contemporary Arts Museum (CAMH) as part of the Design Life Now: National Design Triennial 2006? And, moreover, that the Triennial, which seeks out innovative work from across all the various fields of American design, selected the work to feature prominently on their promotional materials for that 2006 traveling exhibition? Would that be enough? If so, then only one Kidrobot-produced piece can lay a claim on all these accolades, that work being Josh “Deph” Welsher‘s Big Mouth Dunny design.

A Brief History of Deph’s Big Mouth Dunny Design

Having already groomed a passion for art and lettering through graffiti, Welsher and his brother Jason, an established staple in the Orange County hardcore music scene, fused their loves into a new endeavor when they began the To Die For lifestyle brand in 1997. Initially silk screening bespoke apparel strictly for local musicians, their tattoo-inspired fashions eventually expanded availability to satisfy discerning members of the public. Thus it wasn’t surprising that Deph’s well-known and outré aesthetics were enlisted to hand-decorate a roughly 20″ tall piece for 2004’s The Dunny Show, a Visionaire Gallery exhibition that coincided with the debut of the rabbit-like shape’s Series 1 offering. Constructing an open-mouthed alteration of the form for the show, Deph’s piece has obvious similarities to his following year’s contribution to Dunny, Series 2, the roughly 3-inch tall Big Mouth design. Cast in a striking green colored vinyl with crisp wings emerging from its backside, the factory-applied paint on this estimated 833 piece edition granted the illusion of it screaming.

An unusual facial expression when compared against the more frequently employed smiles and smirks, one can perhaps imagine the Big Mouth creation insisting on being granted one’s attention. And whether that was the artist’s intent or not, that is certainly what happened. Collectors took to the Kidrobot hosted forums with a petition to upscale the Big Mouth design to a roughly 8-inch tall size, a request that accumulated so many signatures and supporters that the brand happily granted their appeal. With Deph returning to the form, redesigning the wings and adding further embellishments to the bigger canvas, the resized rendition of the familiar green coloration was limited to an edition of 250 copies signed by the artist, two hundred of which were offered to those that initially signed the petition to have the piece produced. A new blue coloration with glow-in-the-dark accents was offered at the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con, the 500 piece edition supported by Deph signing sessions on July 21st and 22nd. And while the design was translated by the artist as a two-dimensional work from which he made limited edition, hand-pulled screen prints, an oddity emerged in 2013 when Deph revealed a Big Mouth canvas painting he’d completed for a GCS Santa Ana exhibition. Aside from sharing its name with the Dunny design, this painting of a wide-open mouth with a rose inside it had evidently been a long-standing work-in-progress, one that the artist admitted, according to an Instagram post, was one of his “beginning inspiration pieces” for his Big Mouth Dunny. With the saga of this design seemingly coming full circle, the work that apparently inspired the iconic piece being completed nearly a decade after that Dunny was initially issued, it sadly felt like complete closure had been achieved by the artist with his creation. But, thankfully, this isn’t quite the end of the Big Mouth design’s tale.

The Return of Deph’s Big Mouth Dunny Design

Dating back to when it was known as Vinyl Toy Network (VTN), Deph has been a regular attendee of DesignerCon (DCon). As such, when Kidrobot decided to celebrate the gathering with a Dunny-based DesignerCon Mini Series, one that culled artists from those that have been part of the convention’s thirteen-year evolution, it only made sense that they would include Deph. And this proved the perfect opportunity for the artist to revisit his Big Mouth concept, utilizing advancements in the production process to create a vinyl sculpture that wasn’t possible when the initial design was issued. Featuring a deep mouth cavity, lolling tongue detail, and defined teeth accented by thin lips, this new rendition of the form brought the idea to beautiful, fleshed out life. With the traditional green coloration being one of the rarest designs within the collection, each of the 18 decorations in the series issued through a randomly packaged “blind box”, there was also a variant version featuring an interplay of matte and glossy black highlighted by gold accents. And, as an additional gift for the first 35 collectors to order a case of twenty-four blind boxes, included with their acquisition was an extremely limited glow-in-the-dark Big Mouth Dunny. And now that collectors have seen a rendition of this iconic design with more sculpted details, it seems only a matter of time until there’s an outcry for an upscaled rendition of this screaming beauty.

Click Here to Acquire the DesignerCon Mini Series, which include Deph’s Big Mouth Dunny, from Kidrobot, or find a Kidrobot Retailer to order it from.

For more information on Deph:
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