Thursday, 5 February 2009
The gas mask has become a well established motif of the vinyl movement. Whilst I suspect somewhat cynically that its use may sometimes serve as a way out of developing a character’s face it still serves as an effective solution viz. CMC by BxH. Three Zero have made the facial filter theirs, with it being both a uniting theme amongst all the figures and extending to their logo (designed by Michael Lau). I guess the use of the gas mask by Three Zero goes back to Wong Kim Fung’s GI Joe customs. But like the spray can, what may be an indicator of a visual style can also easily become a cliché. I think BxH achieved perfection with their use of the gas mask back in ‘99 with Pagoda Kun. Three Zero have also skilfully united various artists designs with their mask, including Eric So and Jason Siu. But both these companies were there at the beginning; they started vinyl toys; this gives them a pedigree and almost impunity in the use of the mask. Those who seek inspiration or apply the motif must act with care or fall into the trap of the cliché and sub par. The troughs of mediocrity in vinyl toy design will be surmounted by fresh ideas rather than rehashed themes.