Mikie Graham’s This Is Your Brain (Custom Jumping Brain)

Artist Emilio Garcia has an obvious obsession with brains, using their shape and patterning as the basis for a variety of pieces, like his popular Jumping Brain design. Depicting an anatomical interpretation of a brain with frog-like appendages, this design is a sly play on the idea of someone’s mind being able to leap from idea to idea.
In 2008, Garcia began self-making his Jumping Brain sculpture in resin, but the form found far greater reach when a mini vinyl version was released by Toy2R in 2010. And, since then, a wide variety of artists have altered the form through sculpting and paints, including those involved in 2011’s Brain Evolution exhibition, which strictly displayed custom versions of the piece.
But I like to think that one alteration of Garcia’s sculpture tickles his brain-centric mentality more than the others. And that is Mikie Graham’s This Is Your Brain rendition, a wonderfully twisted jest on the classic This Is Your Brain on Drugs campaign that launched in 1987; the simple but effective message behind which was that your brain was an egg, drugs were a frying pan, and a fried egg was your brain on drugs.

My Impressions of This Is Your Brain

Graham’s piece came packaged in the below-pictured presentation box, a removable photo print mounted to the lid that expresses clearly the concept: it has all the same elements as original campaign’s posters, but reimagines the frying pan as representing art instead of drugs. And the work itself takes Garcia’s Mini Jumping Brain, coating it with clear resin and some hand-painted details to resemble the sunny side up egg. And the finished piece fits perfectly into its actual, miniature cast iron frying pan housing.

Originally released at San Diego Comic-Con in 2012, Graham handmade these in a signed and numbered edition of 10. Now, at this point in his career, Graham had been focusing on art toys for about five years and was employed regularly by the Blamo Toys collective to paint pieces. So, when all 10 copies of This Is Your Brain sold out at San Diego, Graham understood he had something special, something that people appreciated and related to.
Thus he decided to make an additional 15 copies in the edition, setting aside five for the 2012 Designer Toy Awards, taking place during New York Comic Con weekend, and leaving nine for online sales to those unable to attend these conventions. Of course, if you do that math, that leaves one copy unaccounted for.
The remaining one — #13 — was Graham’s contribution to the Memories Are Made Of This exhibition at Munky King in August of 2012. Alongside this piece was a unique companion version, a multi-colored rendition titled This Is Your Brain On Drugs.
A wonderfully nostalgic twist on an already artful form, Graham’s piece remains a simple but delightful part of my collection.

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