The GeeksverseINTERVIEW | Urban Vinyl designer Kiwi Chen

INTERVIEW | Urban Vinyl designer Kiwi Chen
Published on Thursday, September 11, 2014 by
We talk to Kiwi “Wikitoybox” Chen, the person behind those plastic poo pics popping up in your social media feeds.

I’ve been involved in the Instagram toy community for almost two years now. Earlier this year, I started seeing people post photos of fake poo in various colors. Where were these folks getting their plastic poo? Was someone actually making and selling these things? After seeing more of these pictures pop up, I asked around and I was told to contact user “Wikitoybox” who was the creator of what are apparently called the “MyShietz” vinyl collectibles.

“Wikitoybox,” it turns out, is San Francisco born-and-raised designer Kiwi Chen—collectors of superhero-themed memorabilia may not know it, but she contributed to the creation of custom jewelry designer Christoph “Batjeepster” Hollars on his Green Lantern: Blackest Night-inspired ring designs from a few years back.

Below is an edited, compiled transcript of my email exchanges with Chen.

The Geeksverse: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got interested in designing toys?

Kiwi Chen: My name is Kiwi Chen and I’ve been collecting all sorts of toys for the past 28 years. One day I was shopping online, like I always do and I stumbled upon Michael Lau‘s artwork and his Urban Vinyl figures back in 2004. From then on, I found my passion with Urban Vinyls. Unfortunately we didn’t have the technology to make toys and it was really hard for me to find a company to mass produce it. Then my health took a toll on me in 2006 and I stopped what I was doing until I got better

GV: What was the first toy you designed?

KC: My very first design was the Taiko Urban Vinyl Figure. The reason why I choose this design is because I played taiko for seven years with Gen Taiko and I love the drums and I thought it would be cute to make.

GV: How did the MyShietz come about?

KC: For MyShietz and MyLilShietz, I wanted to take toy pics with poop and since it was hard to find any, I just did this for fun. Also, I wanted to start off with something small, to learn and challenge myself to make resin. I did six months of researching and looking for eco-friendly epoxy resin at the same time. I really didn’t think anyone would want to purchases these suckers. And I’m very grateful.

GV: Now that the MyShietz and MyLilShietz have been in production for a while, are there any other designs that you are looking to bring into the market?

KC: Oh most definitely. I am looking forward to producing the Taiko Urban Vinyl Figure, which I did concept artwork for back in 2004. But with the technology we had back then, it was a bit harder for me to get it done. And just last week, I finally got my prototype done by a company called Shapeways. I’m very pleased with it. Also, I’m working on a 45 rpm adapter resin figure, which is my company logo and I’ve been currently sculpting this one by hand. I enjoy making toys this way.

GV: Where can people buy your products? Do you have a web based store front?

KC: Well, for the meantime I’m selling my products through my Instagram (@wikitoybox) and at toy and comic conventions in the San Francisco/Bay Area. I have a website (www.wikitoybox.com), but I’m still currently working on that part, along with other projects. And next year, I’m actually very excited to announce that for the first time, I have been offered a space at San Diego Comic-Con through JusToyz. I’m hoping I can get noticed by one of the bigger toy companies and that they would sign me on, and I could get the rest of my other designs out.

GV: Any final thoughts?

KC: I would like to give a warm and heartfelt thank you to the following friends and family: Christoph “Batjeepster” Hollars for helping me and teaching me how to make resin figures, Ann Sidenblad for the amazing AutoCAD work, Lilianna Lopez Gama for helping me vectorize my artwork, and to my other half, Sandee Salomon for all her support throughout the years. And specially to the Instagram Toy Community for the astonishing support and to you guys as well. This is my first time ever getting interviewed, I’m very grateful and thank you so much everyone!

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