Art and toy lovers-a-like flocked to hidden gem Fullcircle Gallery in Leeds, at the end of last month, to experience The Icons Customs Toy Launch.
The exhibition, which ran for six days, saw The Hang Gang’s owner Barry Darnell bring together a number of well-known artists including Welshman Pete Fowler, Germany’s finest Bruno Orbit, and London-based Holly Stanway, to create their own custom toy icons for people to view and buy.
Guests were greeted at the free event with live music from up-and-coming Leeds indie/pop band, Escort Knights, as well as J.Cub, the leading figure of E.A.R Recordings, who both put on a spectacular show. The café and bar were the hub for many visitors, who sipped their drinks whilst watching live art, courtesy of Guy Kinley and other talented artists.
The Icons themselves were amazing in their own right, from Matt Jones’ striking sticky note bear, where Jones literally ‘bared’ all his thoughts on bright yellow sticky notes whilst making his creation, to US sculptor Drilone’s haunting ‘RAF 2870 Pilot’.
The artists had various reasons for entering pieces into the exhibition. Lunartik’s Matt Jones said: “I liked the sound of the show; it seemed good to have my ideas shown up North for a change, Barry and the Hang Gang Team were also doing something for the people, and that’s why I joined in. I like working with good people, they make me happy.” Meanwhile, creator of the ‘Don’t Forget Your Mittens’ Icon, Holly Stanway, agreed to take part straight away. The plush designer and model maker said: “Barry asked me and I said yes immediately – I’d never done a Bearbrick before and he seemed nice.”
When asked if the event was successful, the curator of the show, Barry Darnell replied: “Yes of course, this was something new and unique for the North of England and to say the venue is slightly out of town it was great that so many made the journey to come and enjoy it.”
The exhibition finished on November 3rd, although you can still purchase some pieces from The Hang Gang’s website: www.thehanggang.co.uk.
Words by Sarah Watson