Obama Rocks NYC: ART + ACTION = OBAMA 08

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Street View: Photo by Erick Gonzales

The ART + ACTION = OBAMA 08 exhibition went down as a night to remember at Toy Tokyo’s gallery space, The Showroom NYC. After all the harried preparations by the ART + ACTION artists, Jailbreak Toys, agitprop media, Toy Tokyo, and sponsors Singha and Halcyon, everything finally came together in an absolutely stellar event.

Lines Down The Block: Photo by Erick Gonzales

Lines Down The Block: Photo by Erick Gonzales

There were lines down the block for a majority of the evening as New Yorkers jockeyed to get a look at more than 80 one-of-a-kind Obama Action Figures, customized by contemporary art superstars, toymakers, and graffiti legends. Folks were excited: snappin’ pics, smilin’, drinkin’, and dancin’ to the dope tunes from funk collective Truth & Soul.

The first piece sold before the show opened; “Brand New Funky President” by Suckadelic, which went to one of his loyal collectors in California. The first piece to sell at the show was another complete standout, “‘O’” Bomba” by Strong Island-style graffiti legend and clothing designer to the stars, Phetus. The next was Beck(y)‘s incredible “Here’s To You Joe 6-Pack” of 6 bottle-capped Obamas marked “Rich Brown Ale.” And on and on it went, with excited Obama fans buying a unique piece of history while donating to the Obama For America campaign.

Suckadelic and Michael Ricardo Andreev: Photo by Erick Gonzales

Suckadelic and Michael Ricardo Andreev: Photo by Erick Gonzales

We were blessed to have contemporary artstar Ron English on hand at ART + ACTION to sign his “Abraham Obama” posters, not long after he finished his American tour with his massive 12′ x 11′ renditions of the poignant Obama/Lincoln hybrid image. Ron turned out to be mad cool, and so humble!

Ron English Signing "Abraham Obama" Posters: Photo by Erick Gonzales

Ron English Signing His Abraham Obama Posters: Photo by Erick Gonzales

Israel “Lev” Levarek, owner of Toy Tokyo, and Kenny Levarek, manager of The Showroom NYC, did an incredible job of making the event run smoothly. Since its debut exhibition of subway graffiti art Tag The System in 2004, The Showroom NYC has always been a mecca for underground artists. The Showroom NYC’s past exhibitions represent a who’s who in the world of contemporary art: Mars-1, Dalek, KAWS, Oliver Vernon, Jeff Soto, Shepard Fairey, and many, many more.

Break When The Shit Hits The Fan by Damion Silver: Photo by Erick Gonzalez

Break When The Shit Hits The Fan by Damion Silver: Photo by Erick Gonzales

Coincidentally, Mars-1 was the first artist to light a fire under ART + ACTION. Once Mars-1 signed on to customize an Obama Action Figure, getting other notable artists and toymakers to sign onto the project was a piece of cake: Damion Silver, Michael Joo, Brin Berliner, Nemo, and Erick Scarecrow to name a few. Shepard Fairey was also a huge support to ART + ACTION. He donated 100 “Hope” posters to be given away at the exhibition and 10 signed prints to be sold at auction to benefit the Obama For America campaign. The thrilled look on people’s faces when they were handed the iconic “Hope” image at the door was absolutely priceless.

Way behind the scenes of the event was agitprop media group, headed by music branding genius Ko Kawashima. The agitprop team, including PR superstar Todd Fraser, Viral Marketing maven and Curator Jenn Breckenridge, and graphic design wiz Marnin Schwartz-Lachar, worked tirelessly to make the ART + ACTION event an evening to remember. And it was.

Breckenridge talked about the curating ART + ACTION, “I loved this project! Everyone involved helped to raise thousands of dollars for Obama and brought complete joy to New Yorkers in the process. I thought J*Rock’s original Obama toy was genius and now all these artists have taken his action figure to a whole other level. I would have never guessed that playing with toys could be so meaningful.”

J*Rock, Ko Kawashima, Jenn Breckenridge, Alyssa Zeller, and J*Rock's Mom: Photo by Erick Gonzales

J*Rock, Ko Kawashima, Jenn Breckenridge, Alyssa Zeller, and Barbara Steisand J*Rock's mom: Photo by Erick Gonzales

Jailbreak Toys would like to thank once more all the artists, patrons, our incredible photographers Levi Stolove and Erick Gonzales, Lev and Kenny along with the super fun staff at Toy Tokyo, Truth & Soul, our incredible volunteers Lisa DeNarvaez and Heather Umlah, Singha, Sirius Radio, and of course, to the man with the superplan, the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama.

Complete list of artists we’d like to thank with all our hearts: Ali, Alyce Gottesman, Alyssa Zeller, Angel Tan , Beck(y), Berto, Bigfoot, Brent Nolasco, Brett Klisch, Brian Butler, Brian Colin, Bridget, Brin Berliner, COPE2, Crystal Puckett, Damion Silver, Dana Woulfe, David Heale, Denise DeSpirito, Diablo Blanco, Dionysus, Doug Boehm, E Marley, Erick Scarecrow, Farhana Akhter, Frank Schaefer, frost215, Gage, Georgalas, Grand Commision, Ian Lee, J*Rock , Jason Alberto Garcia, Jeaux Janovsky, Josh Falk, Justin Volpe, kaNO, Kenny Levarek, Lahn Lenore, L’amour Supreme & Mishka, Leecifer, Madtwiinz, Marco, Mars-1, Matthew Hawkins, Metal Wing, Michael Farmer, Michael Joo, Michael Ricardo Andreev, Mike Dytri, Nai, Nelson X Ascensio, Nemo, Nick Martin, Nick Z, Brian Nash & Ricky Brandano (ObamaLOL.com), Orlando Dominguez, Paulito, Peat Wollaeger, Peter Kato, Phetus, pocketwookie, Randy McBluejeans, Rsin, Rukshana, Ruthie Holswade, Shawn Bishop-Leo, Shepard Fairey, spök-spök, Stephen Reynolds, Suckadelic, Tom Nussbaum, Ton Wayne, Veronica Landslide, Voltaire, Zale.
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  • http://www.ilovedragonflly.com pocketwookie

    Great write up! And thanks for putting this thing together.

  • http://www.doubled8.blogspot.com Jeaux Janovsky

    We did it! Thanks for putting together such a great and memorable show!
    Big love to all. Go Obama!

  • Barbara

    Just met your mom – she’s so proud! Dad too! We would like to sell the inaugural dolls at the store – mom says “this is my favorite store” – please get in touch with us! THANKS – Aline & Barbara

  • http://rpmallz.wordpress.com/2008/11/15/obama-toys/ Obama Toys « Rpmallz’s Blog

    [...] Obama Rocks NYC: ART + ACTION = OBAMA 08 [...]

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    well, hi admin adn people nice forum indeed. how’s life? hope it’s introduce branch ;)