In perusing the artistic oeuvre of Igor Ventura, perhaps one might stop at a grimacing bear character holding a burnt out match, accidentally having exploded one of the firecrackers atop his head. Or maybe it’s a roly-poly toy rendition that catches the eye, with its ill-fated penchant for holding glistening knives in its faux inflatable hands. Both perfect examples of how underneath Ventura’s signature cartoonish faces there lies a twisted element of humor, a personal favorite manifestation of this aesthetic is the artist’s Pyromaniac Puppet piece, which debuted as part of the Most Wanted 3 (2012) series.

So what is the Most Wanted series?

Since the earliest years of Kidrobot‘s Dunny form, there was a desire from artist’s to use the shape as a canvas for their own original art. But 2009’s Most Wanted Messageboard Artist Series took this a step further, creating the semblance of one of the company’s multi-artist blind boxed series using strictly hand-painted (and sometimes even modified/sculpted upon) Dunny forms. And with each piece unique in the sense it was handmade by the artist, most contributors were tasked with creating small editions by hand using the same design, leading to ‘percentage of receiving’ ratios within the randomly packaged boxes just like on Kidrobot’s factory produced brethren.

Born out of a discussion on the Kidrobot discussion boards, this Most Wanted concept was spearheaded by forum members timselF (Tim Munz), oggyboy (Igor Ventura), and mANNEe (Manny Rivas), who assembled 17 of the highest demand artistic talents from the message board to contribute to the series. A highly popular concept, the trio would revisit it again for 2011’s Most Wanted 2 and 2012’s Most Wanted 3, the latter of which contained Ventura’s Pyromaniac Puppet pieces.

Igor Ventura’s Pyromaniac Puppet from Most Wanted 3

An inspired concept done in the likeness of a classic marionette, Ventura’s Pyromaniac Puppet was expertly crafted to resemble the string-controlled figurine. Building an enlarged, cartoonish nose to accentuate its facial features, delicately applied wood grain texturing coated the whole, only absent where other hand-painted elements, like the face or clothing, were present. But it is the handmade torch accessory that is the heart of the Pyromaniac Puppet, the rising flames granting the illusion of threatening the piece itself. Each adorned with a control bar strung through the modified tops of the Dunny‘s rabbit-like ears, there was a total of six of these to be randomly found within Most Wanted 3 boxes, though two more ‘special edition’ renditions of this concept would be executed at this roughly 3-inch tall size.

Special Edition Versions of Pyromaniac Puppet

Announced in early July of 2012, Ventura personally issued a singular Artist Proof edition of his Most Wanted 3 design, which was differentiated from its blind boxed counterparts by the addition of a gasoline tank accessory. But, more notably, was another unique version that surfaced around the same time. Titled the PWNED! edition, Ventura and fellow Most Wanted artist (and long-time friend) Sergio Mancini created additional copies of their contributions to Most Wanted 3 but left the face area blank, allowing the other to finish the work in their own style. This collaborative PWNED! Pyromaniac Puppet beautifully incorporates Mancini’s signature facial elements, like circular cheeks, oval eyes, and a trio of blemishes on the nasal bridge, all of which can be seen in his Most Wanted 3 contribution, Paperboy, as well.

The Pyromaniac Puppet Revisited

But Ventura would revisit the Pyromaniac Puppet concept again in 2014, having been commissioned by a private collector (who also authored this article) to translate the design onto an approximately 8-inch tall Dunny form. With a larger canvas to cover, Ventura was able to visually elaborate upon elements from the smaller iterations, most notably the custom-made fabric clothing, executed by the artist’s wife, Claudia Vieira Ventura. But the true testament to his skill is in the subtle augmentations, such as the more angularly sculpted appendages and tiny screw head additions. Finished with an unbelievable amount of hand-painted wood grain texturing, this Pyromaniac Puppet once again holds aloft a sculpted torch, but is the flame threatening to consume his form or is it an attempt to free himself from his threaded confines?

For more information on Igor Ventura:
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