We love cute stuff, we love weird stuff (uh, have you seen our Cthulhu slippers?), and we love rabbits. So when we happened upon the hop art of toymaker Victor Huang, we knew we had to feature his work on From Hop to Pop. Lucky for us, Victor is not only quick on the draw email-wise, but also a super neat guy.
H2P: If you could be so kind, would you tell us a bit about yourself (age, location, artistic background)?
VH: I am twenty-four years old, located in Chicago, Illinois. In November 2007, I taught myself how to sew and have since been challenging myself and attempting to advance my skills as a toymaker. I am also an aspiring printmaker and illustrator.
H2P: Can you talk about the significance of the rabbit as a muse? How did this develop and what triggered it?
VH: I was born in 1987, which according to the Chinese zodiac is the year of the rabbit. Compassionate, creative and ambitious are traits of rabbits in the zodiac and I’d like to imagine that there is some truth to the description. I am certain that I would not be who I am today if it were not for Bugs Bunny; not only the cartoon character but also the twelve inch tall stuffed toy version that has stood as a friend and accomplice for my entire childhood. He has survived torn limbs and ears and while others have gotten lost he has traversed the country at my side. He now sits comfortably in line with the half dozen other stuffed animals, retelling the same stories to his compatriots for the last decade. It may be time for him to see the world once more!
H2P: Likewise, is there something about the rabbit in particular that you value (as opposed to other animals)?
VH: It’s important to note that outside of the occasional bunny sneaking through the neighborhood I unfortunately have very little experience with actual rabbits! I certainly keep the virtuous lessons learned from the tale of the tortoise and the hare (which is not particularly gracious towards the hare’s character). However, my toy bunnies have been a constant for me since their creation three years ago. While other times I am compelled to attempt more complicated designs there has been no necessary alteration to the basic design of the bunnies since I made the first, although there have been some interesting additions.
H2P: Rabbits have this reputation as cute, fluffy and passive animals. Some of your edgier work, the survivor and zombie rabbits in particular, represents a much different vision. Or does it? If so, was this subversion deliberate on your part?
VH: I realized that I very much enjoy the juxtaposition of the familiar and the unexpected. Generally my method to create this contradiction in toys and art is the straight forward addition of teeth. I agree that bunnies aren’t generally imagined as being menacing but as an occasional fan of the zombie genre in film and fiction, I saw absolutely no reason why I couldn’t detail a few teeth onto a toy bunny. Add on an ample amount of red embroidery thread to bloody them up and characters were born and flooding into my mind. Whether their inception was an intentional attempt at subversion I can’t be sure, however their continuation and development has become more of an experiment in character creation.
H2P: What reactions have you received to these pieces? What type of people have purchased your toys, and what – if they mentioned – motivated them to buy?
VH: I have sold some of my bunnies in a toy shop in a designer toy shop in Chicago called Rotofugi while other sales happen in my online Etsy shop. I do believe that there are a wide variety of people who currently enjoy the joyous company of my toy bunnies. I make the sort of toys that I would like to own, so while I don’t know very many specifics of the people who purchase my toys I’m sure that they each have some common interests with myself!
Are you a fellow zombie movie enthusiast for a penchant for subtly subversive cuddle toys? Be sure to check out Victor’s Etsy page to pick up your very own brain-eating bunny rabbit.
Questions? Complaints? Tips? Contact us: sarah [at] venderagroup.com