From what I’ve seen of Chinese artist Chen Wei‘s photography and multimedia works, he focuses on capturing frozen moments, ones that blur the boundary between a cinematic reality and a magical dreamscape. And, in a strange sense, these guiding principals of his art carry over to his entries into the designer toy movement, which he issues under the guise of Cacooca and typically involve an anthropomorphic panda in the midst of some mundane task.

A Brief History of Cacooca

While he’d formed the Cacooca identity in 2001, it wasn’t until 2004 that he first began exploring his panda character’s form. And it would be five years before he debuted Pandashow Series1, the first limited edition depiction of the form. With him steadily issuing various hand-painted, cast resin renditions of the character ever since, as well as two vinyl editions in 2014: the Panda Classic and P.R.A.H., or Panda Riding A Hippo.
Now, over the years, this fantastical form of an anthropomorphic panda has been presented in a variety of costumes and humorous contexts, each one making the animal seem all the more human by its revealed interests. And this is exemplified perfectly in the newest Cacooca series, Panda Ink, as issued in collaboration with Mighty Jaxx.

My Impressions of Panda Ink: Hike

Starting in February of 2017 with this Hike depiction, Panda Ink is a monthly series, each installment typically embodying some everyday activity: running, playing video games, cuddling with cats, fishing, you get the idea. But what makes them really memorable is the true attention to detail on these weighty, 4-inch tall PVC frames.
The panda itself seems deceptively simple, but there’s a beautiful contrast between the smooth white body and heavily textured black elements, with the oversized, perfectly shaped eyes granting an expressiveness to the whole. And the harmonious minimalism of the character itself strikes a brilliant balance with its highly detailed additives, like the realistically sculpted backpack and the insanely intricate binoculars.
In fact, the only aspect that seems out of sorts to me is the map the panda is holding, one which is devoid of any markings placed upon it, though it doesn’t detract from the joy this adorable sculpture grants its owner.

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