When analytical psychologist Carl Jung discussed the “terrible mother” archetype, he was describing what would be known in modern vernacular as the “smother“, an overly protective parent who stifles their children to the point of hampering independence and personal growth. And yes, this unfavorable polar opposite to Jung’s “wise old woman” does tend to be the family’s matriarch. But in artist Jason Freeny‘s above-pictured Yolkels jestful rendition of this premise, the shielding eggshell is of non-descript gender. In fact, its minimalist facial detailing with sprawling tongue recalls Freeny’s definitively masculine Mr. Mirth concept.

The Lolling Tongue of Mr. Mirth

Two simple excised dots for eyes, a cartoonishly palette-shaped mouth hole askew below and to the side, and a flapping tongue extending forth, this was Freeny’s Mr. Mirth design. Finding that “the soft defined curves with a goofy hole and tongue exposing the dark space within just worked so well”, according to an interview with the artist1Freeny, Jason. “custoMONDAY: Win a Yolkel by Jason Freeny.” Interview by Jeremy Brautman. ToyCyte, 24 Nov. 2008. Jeremyriad, http://www.jeremyriad.com/blog/art/interviews/customonday-jason-freeny-artist/., these negative space facial renderings were “meant to be shapes floating in the sky, acting as a hole with an alternate universe on the other side” and the “tongue was a device to illustrate this concept by punching through [it]”. Initially conceived for an abandoned illustration project, Freeny executed this idea sculpturally on a pair of hand-modified, Kidrobot-produced Dunny forms, each being individually titled Mr. Mirth Dunny (2008). Inundated with requests from collectors interested in purchasing these, Freeny quickly sought an alternative form to use that lent itself better as a base for hand-producing a small edition.

Enter the Yolkels & BBQee

By June of 2008, Freeny had revealed his solution for creating the Mr. Mirth concept in a small handmade edition: the Yolkels. With their title theoretically being a portmanteau of the creamy, yellow inner portion of an egg (yolk) and the derogatory term for an unsophisticated person (yokel), these Yolkels were made using Toy2R‘s EggQ from the Baby Qee, Wave Nine (2007) as their new base. Created by stenciling the face on each before cutting those aspects out with an X-Acto knife, the tongues were individually sculpted from a mixture of magenta and white Sculpey polymer clay before being finished with a glossy clear coat of Krylon spray paint and affixed to the insides with drops of epoxy glue. Made available to collectors in an edition of 10 hand-modified pieces, Freeny followed these a month later with a uniquely made evolution titled BBQee.
Merging Freeny’s long-standing passion for exploring the inside as well as the outside of sculptural shapes (read more here) and his recurring penchant for using fetal forms (read more here), the offhandedly called Mama Yolkel featured a hinged backside to its shell. And, when lowered, this aspect revealed the true BBQee, purportedly for BaBy Qee, a specially sculpted, pacified infant inside. A remarkably conceived and executed work, this one-of-a-kind BBQee rendition of the Yolkel caught the attention of Toy2R’s founder and owner, Raymond Choy, who announced in 2009 that “I was so impressed that we are going to reproduce them as limited collectibles”2Choy, Raymond. “TOY2R.” Interview by Jesse Ship. Format Mag, 22 Mar. 2009, formatmag.com/art/toy2r. Accessed 31 Dec. 2017.. But by two years later, these production versions had yet to manifest, causing Freeny to reimagine the form in a manner free of Toy2R’s EggQ vinyl base.

Egg Head and Yolkel

In 2011, Freeny revisited the Mr. Mirth facial abstraction for his Cone Head original sculpture, announcing at the time that he had several ideas for a series of characters using the concept. And the first step would be to reclaim the BBQee rendition, remaking it in a wholly non-derivative way. The result of this endeavor was Egg Head and Yolkel, a limbless reinterpretation of the form that shifted the Yolkel name from the outer shell to the spherical yolk baby. And while this direction was indefinately postponed as some of Freeny’s other pursuits soared, this wouldn’t be the last of the Yolkel title or construction.

Jason Freeny’s Yolkels Return in Vinyl

Almost a decade after the BBQee was introduced, Freeny’s plan to reinvent the form for a larger audience using a sculpture that was entirely his finally came to fruition. Manufactured as a 3-inch tall limited vinyl edition by his frequent production partner Mighty Jaxx, Freeny’s Yolkels return with their more anthropomorphic aspects intact, newly sculpted limbs absolving them of their EggQ origins. But remaining true to the heart of the concept, the cheeky eggshell Yolkel gleefully encases its adorable baby Yolkel within, protecting it from all the dangers looming in the outside world. That is, of course, until one decides to remove the parent part’s backside, exposing its bundle of spherical yellow joy to a whole world of possibilities.

Click here to acquire Jason Freeny’s Yolkels.

For more information on Jason Freeny:
website | shop | facebook | instagram

Mike Sutfin's Devilman figure from Unbox Industries
Americans were officially introduced to Japanese creator Go Nagai's Devilman through Dark Image Entertainment's video re-release in 1993 and Verotik's comic book reprints in 1994, though fanmade translations had been circulating through niche events and small shops for years prior. But perhaps a bigger landmark event for English-speaking fans of…
Fools Paradise's I Won't Be A Robot, Lee
Prepare yourself to see the likeness of a founding member of The Avengers as you’ve never seen him before. Whether you know Iron Man from his 55-year-long history in comic books or his more recent decade of Marvel Cinematic Universe appearances, the below-pictured I Won't Be A Robot, Lee sculptural…
Mike Sutfin's Devilman
Fools Paradise's I won't be a Robot, Lee

References   [ + ]

1. Freeny, Jason. “custoMONDAY: Win a Yolkel by Jason Freeny.” Interview by Jeremy Brautman. ToyCyte, 24 Nov. 2008. Jeremyriad, http://www.jeremyriad.com/blog/art/interviews/customonday-jason-freeny-artist/.
2. Choy, Raymond. “TOY2R.” Interview by Jesse Ship. Format Mag, 22 Mar. 2009, formatmag.com/art/toy2r. Accessed 31 Dec. 2017.
tagged in Jason Freeny