Klav’s Dae Dae Janky

In the heart of New York City’s trendy SoHo district, situated on Prince Street between Wooster and Greene, was the home of Kidrobot‘s second brick-and-mortar boutique, the aptly named Kidrobot New York (or KRNY). Now, to be clear, this wasn’t the well-remembered, two-level flagship that closed in April of 2014 but rather it was its predecessor, the quaint little space that operated from September of 2003 until the larger location’s opening a couple of doors down on May 1st, 2008. And when Kevin “Klav” Derken entered this art toy haven, presumably around mid-2005, he made one of his first designer toy acquisitions, a piece from the brand’s recently debuted Dunny Series 2. Breaking open his purchase’s packaging, eager to discover which of the collection’s randomly inserted designs he received, Derken gazed upon the gold and silver coloration of one of the series’ rarest production editions, Sket One‘s Dae Dae Dunny.

A Brief History of Sket One’s Dae Dae Dunny

To put the issuing of Dunny Series 2 into perspective, this follow-up to the form’s then-already scarce 2004 debuts was the recipient of great popularity and speculation, its release marked by a line of people intently waiting to enter the brand’s packed New York location. And Sket One, an already accomplished artist, was situated to reap greater recognition through the Dunny Series 2 collection as his work was thoroughly represented within. Not only did this series contain his production Camo design and a single, hand-modified “Golden Ticket” piece (learn more here) but he also had a second factory-produced edition within, the Dae Dae Dunny, as well as its alternate “chase” coloration. And the Dae Dae Dunny was surely a heart-warming inclusion for him, as the initial concept came from the artist’s oldest daughter, Daelyn Yasgar, Sket One’s refined rendition being titled after and even baring his little girl’s nickname, DaeDae — or Dae Dae.

But it is doubtful that Kevin “Klav” Derken knew any of this when he exhumed that design from its Dunny Series 2 packaging, the work radiating cartoonish happiness from its deceptively simple-looking aesthetic. In fact, Derken admits that his immediate reaction was that of disappointment, the novice collector having been eager for a piece with more flash. But as the years passed and Derken matured so did his appreciation for the Dae Dae Dunny. Proudly displayed within his home collection, Derken’s copy of the Dae Dae Dunny eventually fell victim to his own daughters. Perhaps as a form of memorial to this minimalist design that became one of his personal favorite designer toys, Derken decided to pay tribute to it through a recent hand-painted work.

Klav’s Dae Dae Janky

When Derken was invited to participate in Mothership Toy Gallery‘s Superplastic Super Release Party, celebrating the newest endeavor by Kidrobot’s founder Paul Budnitz (learn more here), the artist was presented with an approximately 8-inch tall Janky form to decorate however he so wished. And, as already implied, Derken opted to adorn the new form in patterning inspired by his favorite Dunny design, thus creating his own interpretation of the Dae Dae on the relatively new fox-like and sneaker-adorned shape.

Hand-finished with lacquer and oil paint, Derken’s unique Dae Dae piece beautifully captures the original’s frontal design, the painstaking precision with which each shape is formed revealing the artist’s obvious reverence for the Dae Dae Dunny. But by augmenting it with patches of rust-like spots, a signature aspect in Derken’s creations, there is the added implication of something forgotten, abandoned to decay. While this may simply denote the passing of time, specifically the over dozen years since the original Dae Dae was released, it could also be a witty denouncement of the short-term memory of collectors, their forgetfulness of once popular designs with the passage of years. And if you subscribe to this latter theory then Derken is doing more than paving the future through his art as this homage is also a passionate plea to remember the past.
Klav’s unique Dae Dae piece will be available at the Superplastic Super Release Party, which will take place on Friday, January 11th, 2019 from 6-9pm at the Mothership Toy Gallery‘s physical location (223 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19123).

View the gallery’s dedicated Facebook event page for the Superplastic Super Release Party

For more information on Klav:
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