Embarking on our safari of Kidrobot‘s Wild Ones, the company’s first Dunny series of 2018, we stop by an abandoned television. Clicking it on, the screen illuminates with surprising life, vintage-looking cartoon creatures dominating every channel. But rather than being images from the past, these are premonitions of the near future. These are the Wild Ones designs of Squink.

But who is Squink?

Born and raised in the English town of Dronfield, a young Chris Booker always had an affinity for creating art but there was no way he could suspect he’d do so professionally one day under the alias Squink. Already familiar with the designer toy movement at the time, though as a collector, Squink began hand-painting vinyl forms around 2006. Initially influenced by his collegiate graphic design studies, the artist became quickly known for his striking detailing and polished aesthetic, as can be seen in the above-pictured Kono the Yeti (2010) and Bubblegum Tiger (2011). Evolving to include sculpted elements and eventually creating forms entirely his own, Squink’s inclusion in the factory-produced Dunny: 2011 series, Ken the Mysterious Tiger, prompted him to become a full-time, self-employed artist. And it also spurred him to shift his style, incorporating nature-inspired flourishes and grimy speckled overlays into his hand-painted works, such as the pictured Dodo – The Dunce (2017) exhibits. But Squink’s subject matter over the last dozen years has remained focused, his preference for cartoon-inspired nostalgia being obvious, even in his recent factory-produced pieces for Kidrobot’s Wild Ones Dunny series.

Squink’s Wild Ones Dunnys

Panic

With a looming cloud of worry above his head, Squink’s retro-colored Panic design is steeped in elements from the Golden age of American animation. Simple curved lines emphasize a feel of concern emanating from Panic‘s oblong eyes, a drop of sweat on one side of his head, an overlapping pair of bandages on the other. And perhaps he should be anxious as two bolts of lightning plunge down his ears towards him. On his backside, above a billowing puff from his posterior, the words “Wild Panic! Since 1931” are emblazoned. Likely referencing the so-called Iwerks Era of animation, 1931 being the first full-year that the co-creator of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Mickey Mouse, Ub Iwerks, produced shorts under his own Iwerks Studio brand, Panic can be seen as loving tribute by Squink to the animated laugh riots of yore.

Bubblegum Bear

Since introducing it in 2009, Squink has revisited his Bubblegum aesthetic infrequently, its primarily pink decoration spawned from his love of that color. And for his first factory-made rendition of the concept, the Bubblegum Bear, a glossy finish was employed that immediately sets it apart. Popping with pink, perhaps implying a burst bubble of gum coating him completely, this design employs similar elements to Squink’s Panic piece, though slight adjustments transform worry into jubilant joy. And while the rabbit-like ears of the Dunny may seem out of place for a bear character, they are reminiscent of the forms Chuck Jones employed for his Merrie Melodies rendition of the Three Bears.

Kono the Yeti

For his third and final design in the Wild Ones Dunny series, Squink revisits a hand-painted piece he created in 2010, Kono the Yeti. Inspired by the Abominable Snowman from Nepalese folklore, Kono is rendered in a stylistic manner similar to his other two contributions, such as the subtle inclusion of lightning bolt-like stress marks. With simple lines creating the visual texture of his fur and cartoonish hearts being employed for his nipples, it seems that Kono the Yeti is destined for bigger things as Kidrobot will produce a roughly 8-inch tall version of the design in April, which will be limited to an edition of 700 pieces.

Click Here to Acquire the Wild Ones Dunny Series from Kidrobot, or Click Here to Find a Kidrobot Retailer to Order it from.

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