I was sold on coarse‘s Permanent Guest from the moment I saw it. I found something reminiscent of Calvin & Hobbes in the design. Of course, the innocence expressed through Bill Watterson’s creation was replaced by something darker. There was, once you knew the tale, an exploitative element to their work.

The Concept of Permanent Guest

Their tale is a modernized animal fable, detailing a naive raccoon lost in the desert who encounters a fish in a wheeled bathtub. Tricked by the fish into thinking it dangerous to try and eat it, the raccoon is further deceived with the promise that the fish grants wishes, but only if it is released into the ocean. So the raccoon, eager for the wishes, begins the arduous journey of pulling the fish in his mobile tank.

Without spoiling the ending of the tale, let’s merely say that it is strongly implied that the fish does not have the ability to grant wishes nor does he foresee the raccoon surviving long as his conveyor. Thus a classic tale of the weaker animal using wit to surpass the supposedly superior beast, though this version adds an element of innocence being taken advantage of as well.

My Impressions of Permanent Guest

First and foremost, these are truly vinyl sculptures, lacking the many points of articulation you’d normally associate with a designer toy. The raccoon’s head turns, but that’s the extent of it unless you count the rolling wheels under the bathtub. Most vinyl designer toys that attempt this sculptural feel do so by still being made of multiple parts but which are glued into place rather than affixed by an articulation point, so what really makes this special is that Coarse did not employ that — quite frankly — subpar standard. Instead, these pieces are truly pulled in larger elements; the raccoon’s body and head are each one vinyl form, attached by their one point of articulation, while the fish’s singular parts are affixed into the bathtub by the water formation. Brilliant engineering on their part, a truly artistic meeting of form and functionality.

The fish’s bathtub is drawn by the raccoon by way of a fabric string, one that can easily be adjusted in the raccoon’s hand or removed completely. When extended to the full distance the string would allow while remaining in the raccoon’s hand, this piece measures a massive 20-inches long, with each figure being roughly 8-inches tall and 5-inches wide.
Permanent Guest Full Set

Editions of Permanent Guest [show]

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