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I Am Plastic, Too: The Next Generation of Designer Toys Hardcover – October 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; 2nd edition (October 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810988879
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810988873
  • Product Dimensions: 11.6 x 9.8 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #308,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Founded by designer Paul Budnitz in 2002, Kidrobot is the premier designer and retailer of limited-edition art toys and apparel. They operate store-galleries in six cities and their products can also be found at select boutique retailers around the world and on their website, www.kidrobot.com.


More About the Author

Paul Budnitz is the founder of Kidrobot, the world's premiere creator of art toys, fashion apparel and accessories. He also owns and runs Budnitz Bicycles, a titanium bicycle company, is an author of several books, exhibits as a photographer and filmmaker, and has founded a dozen companies.

The son of a nuclear physicist and a social worker, Paul Budnitz was professionally coding safety analysis software for nuclear power plants by the time he reached high school. He also created video games for the now-legendary Commodore 64 home home computer. By the time he reached college he swore he'd "never touch another computer again."

Budnitz studied photography, sculpture, and film at Yale University, earning honors and a degree in Art in 1990. His first two films, 93 Million Miles and Ultraviolet won awards in Berlin and many other film festivals and were distributed worldwide. Artforum magazine hailed 93 Million Miles as "one of the best films of 1998."

As Budnitz's energies became increasingly devoted to moving images he became aware of gaps in existing technology. "Since there weren't any affordable ways to edit a film on a computer in 1995, I hacked my own hardware system to edit my films," he says. He made the first feature film to be edited on a home computer, an achievement chronicled in Wired Magazine in 1996.

That combination of entrepreneurial spirit, a keen aesthetic sense and encyclopedic love for global popular culture, and a well-developed talent for hacking would characterize all of Budnitz's future ventures, including Kidrobot.

"My grandfather was a small-town doctor and he used to say that I was missing a gene that told me that some giant risk I am about to take with my life is both stupid and dangerous. I'm grateful for this. Everything beautiful that we create in life requires a leap of faith."

For Budnitz, one venture lead organically to the next. He started his first business, M.O.B., while still in college, selling clothing he created to museum stores worldwide. This soon evolved into collecting, selling, and modifying vintage Levis and other wearable cultural artifacts, such as classic Air Jordans (which Budnitz sold in Japan for as much as $16,000 a pair).

In 1997 Budnitz began recording sound for his 16mm films on MiniDiscs, a new audio format that he'd run into while on a trip to Tokyo. Soon Budnitz was hacking and customizing MiniDisc players for film and sound recording and selling them on the then just emerging Internet. By 2001 Minidisco.com had become an $10 million business run out of a garage on software Budnitz had written himself.

Budnitz's career took another unexpected turn in 2002 when he came across images of cutting-edge vinyl toys that were coming out of China and Japan. These toys included "vinyl toys based on cereal box characters, and remixed GI-Joes turned into stylized B-boys."

He recognized the quirky, intricate toys as works of popular-art, pieces that mixed many aesthetic movements he loved -- including fashion, cartoons, graffiti, comics, music, and fine art. Budnitz sold Minidisco and sunk the proceeds into founding Kidrobot in a California garage in 2002, leveraging the technology he'd developed for his older businesses. He moved the new company to New York City in 2003.

"When I first started this company is was really hard to explain to people what I was doing. People would ask, 'are they art or are they toys?', and I'd say, 'Both, and selling them is part of the artwork too.' That question has always driven me a little crazy. Now the toys are in museums AND they're for sale in stores."

Budnitz called upon the talents of friend Tristan Eaton, the illustrator he'd worked with on his previous animated films. Together they created Dunny and Munny, two of Kidrobot's best selling characters. With a philosphy of collaboration, Budnitz brought in dozens of other fine artists, graffiti artists, and illustrators to work on toy projects with him. Kidrobot produces roughly 60 new toy projects each year and its toys are sold in thousands of stores worldwide.

In 2006 Budnitz co-designed much of Kidrobot's acclaimed limited edition apparel line. With clothing pieces priced between $175 and $3000, Kidrobot apparel can be found in Barneys New York and many other high-end retailers worldwide.

In December 2007, 10 Dunny toys and 3 Munny toys created by Budnitz & Eaton, with paints by various artsits, were accepted into the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Kidrobot's innovative toys were also the centerpiece of the 2006 Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Museum Design Triennial.

Budnitz has designed or art directed virtually every product created by Kidrobot since the company's inception. Budnitz's original creations include Dunny & Munny with Tristan Eaton, Zoomies, MoochyPooty (recently animated for Wildbrain's brilliant Yo Gabba Gabba on Nick Jr.), and many others.

Budnitz has worked with many of the world's top artists, designers, and fashion brands. A short list includes artists & illustrators Frank Kozik, Dalek, Doze Green, Tara McPherson, Gary Baseman, Huck Gee, Tristan Eaton, David Horvath, Shepard Fairy, Eboy, Tilt, Mist, Joe Ledbetter, and Paul Pope; Designers including Heatherette, Lemar & Dauley, Jil Sander, Dries Van Noten, Marc Jacobs, Visionaire, and Paul Smith; Musicians including Swizz Beatz, DJ QBert, and Gorillaz; and brands like Nike, Barney's NYC, LaCoste, Burton Snowboards, The Standard Hotels, Siemens, Swatch, and Volkswagon; and many, many, many others.

Kidrobot runs a website and retail stores in New York City, London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, & Miami. Its products can be found in over 1000 retailers worldwide.

Budnitz has also conceived of and co-designed all of Kidrobot's retail stores and the Kidrobot Room (within Peter Gatien's CIRCA mega-nightclub in Toronto). In late 2006 he authored the book I AM PLASTIC: The Designer Toy Explosion, published by Harry Abrams Press. This was followed in 2011 by I AM PLASTIC TOO, and his children's bookcreated with Aya Kakeda,The Hole in the Middle.

In 2010 Budnitz created Budnitz Bicycles, following up on his lifelong passion for bicycling. Often called the Aston-Martin of bicycles, Budnitz uses titanium to create the fastest, lightest, and among the most beautiful urban bicycles in the world. In 2012 Phaidon called Budnitz, "The man who made bicycles beautiful again".

He is currently working on a non-fiction book on business and art, and with Callaway Digital Arts on iPad stories for children and adults.

Budnitz still occasionally photographs, including a center spread for Readymade Magazine and album covers for Black Lab. Budnitz frequently appears as a speaker at conferences on business innovation and creativity worldwide. He posts blog at paulbudnitz.com.

Paul Budnitz splits his time between Colorado, New York City, and The Netherlands, where he rides his bicycle and wears size 13 sneakers.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on January 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I AM PLASTIC, TOO: THE NEXT GENERATION OF DESIGNER TOYS provides Kidrobot's Paul Budnitz, who surveys the latest and most sought-after toys around the world. Examples from over a hundred toy artists and companies offer images from the hottest world designers and considers the evolution of the designer toy movement in a top pick for arts and social history collections.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carol D. Ferrando on August 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Even if you're not a Vinyl toy junky, you will enjoy this book. Amazing, amusing and very creative Vinyl toy creators.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maksim Bursac on May 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is excellent. It features intereseting interviews with the artists, loads of images in a nicely designed hardcover. A must for any designer toy enthusiast!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Shellie on November 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
With I Am Plastic, Too: The Next Generation in Designer Toys the exploration of the designer toy phenomenon by Kidrobot's Paul Budnitz picks up from where his first book left off. And much like the first I Am Plastic, Too is a highly personalised overview of some of the best art toys created in the past few years; ranging from vinyl and resin figures to those made from wood, and even a small selection of plush toys. The book also focuses on one of the latest and most exciting developments in designer toys, the production of one of a kind custom figures. These custom figures are unique signature objects and often run into the many thousands of dollars in cost, and as a result are greatly desired. This has required the regional production of these one off toys also undergo a shift of focus from East Asia to the West (primarily America) where the vast majority of artists now live and work, and that too is reflected in this book. Making a selection of art toys for inclusion in this book was always going to be a difficult task, for compared to even three years ago there's a plethora of new artists working in the medium so inevitably some were going to be included and others excluded. Of course this choice was made easier by the fact that Paul Budnitz has a highly idiosyncratic, particular and eclectic taste that is unmistakably his. But for me the great beauty of the designer toy phenomenon is that not every artist is going to appeal to every collector, some will have favourites whose output they follow avidly and others they aren't especially interested in.Read more ›
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By Gerbear on July 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It worked
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By S. Garsson on May 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book, great bio's about the artists, great photos of great Plastic toys. Haven't fully absorbed the content yet, because there is so much great stuff in the book. If you are a fan of the subject matter, this is a must have edition. I would buy it again in a heartbeat!
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It is one of the best reference for the wonderful world of the designer toy.It's base on the very best designer around the world with many short interesting interviews.I loved finding so many of artist I am collecting included in this beautiful book.
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